Humans have been using cannabis or hemp for ages, and yet, amazingly, there are so many unanswered questions about it. For almost a century, consumption of all kinds of cannabis products was illegal, even if it had no psychoactive properties. Fortunately, now the understanding has improved, and non-psychoactive cannabis extracts are legal, and CBD oil is one example of such a product.
Nonetheless, things are still ever-changing. As CBD became legal, the market got flooded with various CBD oils. Then in 2021, FSA classified CBD as a novel food that requires regulatory approvals.
However, things are even more unclear regarding psychoactive compounds in CBD products. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products are also available. Some consider them to be superior because of their content of THC. However, legally, the content of THC should be small enough so that not to cause a high. Thus, legally available products would have THC not more than 0.2%.
But, in recent years new kind of THC has gained popularity, that is delta-8 THC. It is especially popular in the US. However, its popularity is also rising in the UK.
Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC, differences and safety
When people say THC, they generally mean delta-9 THC. It is a compound that is well known to cause high or euphoria, dependence, and a range of other ill effects. However, it may boost specific effects of CBD oil when present in traces.
Researchers have long known the presence of other kinds of THC, especially delta-8 THC. In the US, it is often promoted as a safer THC, though that is barely true.
Delta-8 THC indeed causes less high, but it still causes high. Its side effects may be comparatively less than delta-9 THC, but they are still there.
Recently US FDA issued a warning against using delta-8 THC. However, the number of reports regarding its toxicity has constantly been increasing. Moreover, many seem to consume it without knowledge. Moreover, there have been many instances of the use of delta-8 in adolescents.
Delta-8 side effects are not just due to the substance itself. One should know that legally cultivated hemp contains very minute amounts of delta-8 THC.
So, where does all the delta-8 THC come from?
Well, most of the delta-8 THC is rather synthetically created. It is made by adding certain acids and solvents to CBD isolate or distillate. It is a process called isomerization. Once the delta-8 has been created, the remaining solvent is removed from the end product. However, in practice, things differ, and many solvents may remain in the end product, causing severe side effects.
Is delta-8 THC legal in the UK?
It is legal if it is of natural origins and in traces in CBD oil and does not cause euphoria. Which in practice means that the combined content of delta-8 and delta-9 should not exceed 0.2%.
However, at present, there are no specific restrictions on delta-8. It means that it falls into the grey area. Under some circumstances, it might be legal, while under others, it may not be.
Further, things are expected to change. As novel food regulations would become stringent, it is quite probable that products will be tested extensively for psychoactive compounds. It is entirely possible that quantities of delta-8 might also be tested specifically in each product in the future.
Due to this confusion regarding its status, one may rarely find delta-8 added to any high-quality product in the UK. Further, it is worth noticing that UK law clearly classifies any mind-altering substance as illegal if created synthetically. Since most delta-8 is made synthetically from CBD isolate, it won’t qualify as legal.