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Setting it Straight on Delta-8-THC

December 1, 2020 03:00 pm ET
Setting it Straight on Delta-8-THC

Cannabinoid science is an area that is rapidly advancing across the United States. It wasn’t long ago that most people believed the propaganda of Reefer Madness. Cannabis was labeled with a stigma and stereotype that is very difficult to break. Years of negative propaganda at the hands of the US federal government has painted a picture of cannabis consumers being lazy, unmotivated individuals having no motivation, drive, or desire to be good contributing members of society. Thanks to the advancement of technology and information, people have realized this was nothing more than a well-orchestrated lie. Cannabis has shifted from being conceived as a drug choice of lazy people to becoming a potent, powerful medicine that helps with many different ailments and conditions.

Thanks to growing information on cannabinoids, when many people think about cannabis, they think about THC and CBD. THC is the prominent intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis that we know of. The abbreviation stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. The scientific name is actually Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. There are many different variances of Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol, with Delta-9 being the most common or most popular. Recently the discovery of Delta-8-THC has taken control of the internet. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a PCP at Harvard Medical School and board member of the Doctors for Cannabis Regulation advocacy group, says that Delta-8 has vast potential like so many other lesser known deltas. Dr. Grinspoon goes on to estimate Delta-8-THC to be approximately two-thirds as potent as its cousin Delta 9.

Delta-8-THC vs. Delta-9-THC

One of the telltale differences between Delta-8 and Delta-9 is its binding affinity to the human brain. Delta-9-THC binds to CB1 receptors that are located primarily throughout the brain. Delta-8 does the same thing; only it does not have as good of a binding affinity to CB1 receptors. For this reason, Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a McGill University Department of Psychology professor, believes it is less psychotropic. When it comes to scientific research and the way of Delta-8-THC, it is scarce. An outdated study from the early 1990s conducted on chemotherapy patients that were children showed that Delta-8 helped prevent vomiting just like Delta-9. Common side effects such as euphoria and irritability were only seen in two of the subjects studied. Consumer reports are suggesting that Delta 8 is less intoxicating and more energetic than Delta-9.

The DEA is Already Interfering with THC Derivatives

Medical professionals such as Dr. Gabriella Gobbi believe that Delta-8-THC holds the potential of a broader therapeutic window than Delta-9-THC because it doesn’t have as good of a binding affinity as Delta-9. The lack of this binding affinity to the CB1 receptors located in the brain produces less psychotropic effects. In August of this year, the DEA continued their draconian stance against cannabis by proposing that THC derivatives also be classified as Schedule 1 controlled substances. This would mean they would be highly addictive and have no medicinal value without having any research done. Dr. Grinspoon went on to say, “I guess I hope that with Delta-8-THC  people stick to the science and don’t try to oversell it.”

All too commonly, people advertise or suggest cannabis as a cure-all that will work for anything. This is very misleading as cannabis is not a cure-all for everything out there. It holds great potential in helping an individual achieve a higher quality of life while battling certain conditions and ailments. In some instances, it even may even be life-saving. However, results experienced by cannabis consumers will vary from person to person as each person’s body’s chemical profile is slightly different and will react differently to the chemical composition of cannabinoids.

Is it Medicine & Should We Treat it That Way?

When it comes to medical cannabis, much of it is still being treated like a recreational drug. Terpene profiles are not listed on many products, even though they could lead to many allergic reactions. Medical cannabis dispensaries are not taking the time to sit down with patients to discuss allergies and potential allergic reactions or to learn about current medications that patients are taking. If we’re going to call it medical cannabis, then we should start treating it like medical cannabis.

We don’t let people go to the pharmacist and pick up a prescription without the pharmacist having full knowledge of potential allergic interactions and a brief discussion with the consumer about the product. We don’t necessarily have to have a pharmacist in every medical cannabis dispensary, but those cannabis dispensaries that call themselves medical facilities should have access to a medical professional for patients.

This is essential as more research is starting to discover potential interactions with cannabis when taken in conjunction with certain medications or anesthesia. Hopefully, as research continues to develop around Delta-8 and other cannabinoids, the cannabis plant will finally be embraced for all that it offers rather than feared because of propaganda.

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