By ALYSSA ORTIZ
A relatively new psychotropic product known as delta-8 has come on the market, gaining popularity in the last few years.
Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid, similar to delta-9 THC, but is produced synthetically and induces a mild high compared to its delta-9 counterpart. It’s an over-the-counter product and is sold in various forms such as pens, gummies and capsules.
Delta-8 is derived from hemp, which is a cannabis plant containing less than .3% THC.
“You can take the CBD from the hemp plant and, through a diligent conversion process, turn it to delta-8 THC with the natural occurring compounds from the hemp plant,” Rene Ceballos, regional marketing director of CBD Plus U.S.A.
According to Ceballos, the resulting product is confirmed to be safe in a Drug Enforcement Administration testing facility, meeting the standards required to be legally sold.
Delta-8 can be legally acquired in Amarillo by college students that are 21 years of age or older.
“The user can find a comfortable consumption method and start low, working their way to the desired relief they need to help with common college ailments like stress, anxiety, depression, sleep and even fatigue,” Ceballos said.
While he expressed his belief in the potential benefits, Ceballos recognizes the concerns circulated by the media regarding the safety of the product.
“One of the common issues in the nation with delta-8 THC is that anyone that has a license could sell, but not everyone goes through a diligent process to ensure safety and quality procedures for their products,” he said.
Due to this, many consumers are unaware of what they are putting into their bodies, or if it is up to the legal standard. Often when a person has a negative experience with the product, it could potentially be due to the fact that shops do not properly research the quality of their products.
Another major concern with delta-8 lies in the lack of FDA regulation. “The risk that’s always there without FDA regulation is there’s not enough research or knowledge to really know if this is something safe to take or not,” Jerrod Hinders, counseling center coordinator, said.
The lack of established labeling procedures and quality assurance means the public cannot be certain on what exactly the substance consists of. This can negatively affect consumers, especially if they are seeking relief for medicinal or therapeutic reasons.
Hinders advised students to not consume any products not regulated and approved by the FDA, including delta-8, due to the potentially harmful effects to one’s health. “I know that there’s been over a hundred reported cases of having adverse side effects to the use of delta-8,” he said. “Typically, this can look like vomiting, dizziness. It can result in hallucinations or even behaviors that might induce harm for somebody or somebody else.”
Hinders also expressed concerns with the way delta-8 is advertised, specifically targeting children. “There are concerns with it being created as edibles or gummies, that a child might see and think that it’s a candy and take it inadvertently,” he said.
He noted that there have been several documented cases where similar situations have occurred. Additionally, Hinders said that other aspects to be cautious of include how and where the product is stored, as well as the container itself.
While aware of the negative perceptions on delta-8, Ceballos wants the public to know that the cannabis plant is safe for people to use.
He said people should learn more about the plant to better understand the potential benefits and relief it can provide to certain people “We are proud to say that we care about every single patient and spend time learning about their ailments,” he said. “Then we can prescribe them the right legal cannabis product that is going to take care of them and have them coming back for legal relief.”