Although the number of states that have legalized cannabis for use by adults is slowly increasing, it’s no secret that most of the country has still not come around to the cause. This sad situation leaves most Americans without a way to enjoy a nice pot buzz for the sheer enjoyment of it unless they’re willing to risk the potential legal ramifications, which can still be severe in some jurisdictions.
But that’s all changing now with the advent of products made with the cannabinoid delta-8 THC becoming available to consumers from coast to coast. Like its sibling molecule delta-9 THC, which is largely responsible for the classic marijuana high associated with the plant, delta-8 THC has psychoactive effects, although they’re not as strong. Christian Peterson, the co-founder, head of product development, and COO of infused beverage manufacturer WUNDER, explained delta-8 THC’s effect in an email to High Times.
“Delta-8 THC creates more of an in-your-body sensation and physical relaxation,” Peterson said. “With less psychoactivity than delta-9, D8 produces a clear high without the anxiety often associated with D9. It can help people feel more in tune with themselves, more present in the mind, and it heightens the senses.”
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Chemically, delta-8 is very similar to delta-9 THC, with the only difference being the location of a double bond. Delta-8 is active at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors and has a psychotropic potency about one-third to one-half that of delta-9 THC. Delta-8 can be found naturally occurring in cannabis plants, but generally at low concentrations of less than 1% in dried flower. To produce larger quantities, delta-8 can be derived from either delta-9 THC or CBD in a lab. And if CBD from hemp is used, the delta-8 THC produced is federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Delta-8 THC has been researched since the 1960s, and several studies have shown the cannabinoid to have several therapeutic benefits, including antiemetic (anti-nausea), anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective effects. Although he’s careful not to make any medical claims about his company’s products, Nicholas S. Warrender, the CEO of Lifted Made, said that he sees great potential for delta-8 THC.
“It’s the most exciting cannabinoid that we’ve come across. We’ve worked with CBG, CBN, obviously CBD, CBC, and the minimal delta-9 that we can work with which is less than 0.3%,” Warrender said in a telephone interview. “So this is really a groundbreaking cannabinoid and I think it’s going to disrupt the industry in a very positive way.”
Lifted Made has just launched a line of delta-8 THC nano drops under its Urb Finest Flowers brand, which also features hemp flower, pre-rolls, vape products, and moon rocks. Each 1 milliliter serving of the flavored tinctures contains 11 milligrams of delta-8 THC, half a milligram of CBN, and 3 milligrams of delta-9 THC, which keeps the product in compliance with the 0.3% maximum mandated by federal law. The cannabinoids in the nano drops have a smaller molecule size than oil-soluble delta-8 products, allowing them to be absorbed by the body more quickly.
Lifted Made’s delta-8 THC nano drops are available now in three flavors: Go Grape, Let’s Mango, and Orange Dream. Delta-8 THC vape cartridges and nano-infused gummies are also about to launch, rounding out a line of products that Warrender believes will be popular across a range of consumers.
“I think it’s going to bring people who have been steady cannabis consumers more towards hemp, but also I think it’s going to introduce THC to the people that typically didn’t like cannabis,” he said.
Delta-8 Comes To The Cocktail Hour
WUNDER’s line of infused, natural sparkling beverages are produced with CBD and both delta-8 and delta-9 THC, all sourced from licensed cannabis in California. That makes them only legal in the Golden State, currently exclusively at The Apothecarium in San Francisco and for delivery in the Bay Area, although more outlets will be added soon. The tasty, effervescent beverages, Peterson says, are designed to be enjoyed socially just like cocktails, chilled or on the rocks.
“Our goal is to provide an experience that is similar to the positive effects of alcohol and without the negatives like hangovers and other health problems,” he explained.
To develop the line of sparkling beverages made with real fruit juice, WUNDER experimented with more than 20 cannabinoid formulations, settling on 2 milligrams of delta-8 THC, 2 milligrams of delta-9, and 4 milligrams of CBD in each 8-ounce can.
“Delta-8 provides more of a smooth in-your-body high, that we believe is similar to the physical relaxation effects of alcohol,” said Peterson. “A low-dose of delta-9 helps loosen up and free your mind, while CBD helps round out the experience, ensuring the overall effects are subtle and enjoyable, while also reducing any potential anxiety.”
WUNDER’s beverage feature cannabinoids in a water-soluble emulsion created by infusion technology firm Vertosa, which gives them enhanced bioavailability and makes drinks an optimal vehicle for their delivery.
“Beverages, especially those meant to be savored and linger in the mouth, are an excellent delivery method for Delta-8 because it is fast and efficient, and the effects can be felt throughout the entire body,” Peterson explained. “This is because the beverage can be absorbed multiple ways within the mouth: through the mucosal lining of the mouth, under the tongue or on the tongue itself. We’ve found the effects from our drinks can be felt in as little as 15 minutes.”
Delta-8 THC products from other companies are coming to market, as well. Hemp and vaping company launched a line in late July under the brand Delta Effex, and more offerings are sure to follow. So keep your eyes open. People are expecting big things for delta-8 THC.
“I think that this is the biggest cannabinoid that’s going to come out of the hemp industry that we’ve seen today,” said Warrender confidently.