What West Virginians Should Know About Delta 8
Delta-8 THC seems like a simple, legal alternative to marijuana in West Virginia, but as the old saying goes, “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Before shelling out your hard-earned cash for a lower-quality substitute, you should know the facts about delta-8 and how it compares to medical marijuana.
As of last April, more than 7,000 West Virginia residents had qualified for their medical marijuana card, and that number has continued to rise. Despite the slow rollout after medical marijuana legislation passed in 2017, dispensaries are now open for business and state residents finally have the option to enjoy the safe, raw relief that cannabis provides.
Still, for some reason, some people are hesitant to take full advantage of the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and are seeking alternatives, such as delta-8. Perhaps you’ve seen signs outside of smoke and vape shops advertising delta-8, which is advertised as a legal way to get THC without requiring a medical marijuana card.
The Legal Gray Area Surrounding Delta-8
Delta-8 THC products exist in a legal gray area, which makes them difficult to regulate. Technically, delta-8 does come from the cannabis plant, but this type of THC is found in such small quantities that it has to be synthetically-derived in order to be cost-effective for manufacturers.
This means consumers are at risk for exactly what they are putting into their body. Medical marijuana is highly regulated and checked for quality control. When it comes to delta-8, you may find mislabeled products and lower-quality, even toxic ingredients. You should be aware of this before considering delta-8 as a substitute for medical cannabis.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant, just like CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG, and THC. The THC that gets you “high” and is present in your favorite strains of medical marijuana, is known as delta-9 THC.
The primary difference between delta-8 and delta-9 THC is the placement of one specific atomic bond that affects the way these cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system. What this means is that your brain isn’t going to respond to delta-8 the same way it responds to the THC in medical marijuana.
Delta-8 isn’t naturally present in large quantities in cannabis plants. The delta-8 products you’ll find are manufactured through a process that converts the more abundantly-available CBD into delta-8 through a process using glacial acetic acid, which is essentially the scientific term for lethal vinegar. The acid converts CBD into several different compounds, including delta-8 and delta-9 THC.
After the conversion occurs, any solvents used to extract the CBD and convert it to delta-8 THC are then removed from the finished product. FInally, the purified delta-8 THC is ready to be added to products, such as gummies, for the consumer market.
Is Delta-8 Actually Legal in West Virginia?
Many people believe that because you see delta-8 advertised on signs in West Virginia and that you can purchase it without a medical card, that it is legal. That is not necessarily true. Delta-8 is actually listed in the DEA’s orange book of controlled substances as a schedule I substance—the same as delta-9 THC, heroin, and acid. That means that, on a federal level, it’s against the law.
The reason it is possible to sell these products is a combination of a legal loophole that attorneys argue makes delta-8 legal. The reason we don’t see it processed is due to the lack of resources to combat the problem. This means that for the time being, you probably won’t have any problem purchasing delta-8 and businesses will continue to sell it because it makes them money.
Most Delta-8 Is Made From Hemp-Derived CBD, Which IS Federally Legal
Hemp was defined as a completely separate plant from marijuana in the 2018 Farm Bill. This allowed states to develop programs that would support commercial hemp cultivation. Hemp is defined as cannabis plants that contain 0.3 percent THC or less. The plant’s derivatives are descheduled, which means they are no longer considered a controlled substance.
Here’s the loophole: Delta-8 THC is converted into its final form from hemp-derived CBD - not marijuana. Lawyers argue that because it is derived from hemp, then it must be legal, right?
Wrong. The DEA has specifically indicated that THC is THC no matter where it came from and therefore delta-8 THC is a controlled substance. That means it is illegal.
No One Has the Resources to Enforce the Legality
When it comes to enforcing laws related to cannabis, the Federal Government relies heavily on state cooperation. The federal government simply doesn’t have enough resources to pursue violators, which means the majority of policing on this issue will fall on local law enforcement.
Many companies are taking advantage of the confusion and are distributing delta-8 products without any oversight from state or federal regulators, which is why you are seeing delta-8 pop up all over the place.
Does the Delta-8 THC You Can Buy in West Virginia Get You High?
You can walk right into just about any vape shop in West Virginia and pick up some delta-8 THC products, and these products will get you at least a little high. The effects of delta-8 will depend on your tolerance, and experience level, with THC.
But, the fact is that, when compared with medical marijuana, the effect of delta-8 is muted at best. Some people may feel like this is a good way to introduce themselves to the world of cannabis, but those who are new to medical marijuana age better off starting low and going slow with the well-regulated and proven safe products that you can find in West Virginia medical marijuana dispensaries.
Is Delta-8 THC Safe?
This is another question without a clear cut answer. Delta-8 THC has the potential to offer a valuable therapeutic effect, because it does come with some of the same benefits as marijuana without making you feel quite as impaired. However, it does still cause impairment; and delta-8 products are currently unregulated because they are technically illegal.
The lack of oversight that we are seeing with delta-8 THC is very similar to the problems we saw when CBD first hit the market. Though this sector of the wellness industry has mostly balanced out, you should beware of companies that are out to make fast money from misinformed consumers. Essentially, you use delta-8 at your own risk.
Because delta-8 THC is a newer, unregulated product, the market is wide open for taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers who are not aware of the potential issues:
Incomplete removal of solvents
Presence of delta-9 THC
No delta-8 THC present
Medical Marijuana Is Legal and Well-Regulated
Of course we are going to argue on the side that you should get your medical marijuana card. But, we’re not wrong. There are many advantages to getting the safe, natural relief of legal cannabis.
First of all, there is no question about whether or not medical marijuana is legal in West Virginia. While it may be federally illegal, state laws protect residents who choose to participate in the program from adverse action taken by law enforcement.
Additionally, despite political issues and a slow program rollout, production of medical marijuana in West Virginia is highly regulated. Processors must follow strict guidelines and submit to regular inspections in order to maintain their license. When you purchase medical marijuana, you can be rest-assured that your products are pure, accurately-labeled, and safe.
When It Comes to Relief - Accept No Substitutes
When you have a West Virginia marijuana card, you can take advantage of all the products you can find at dispensaries throughout the state, including lower-dose THC and high CBD products. These are less likely to cause the level of impairment that you might be concerned about, starting with very low doses will help you understand your personal tolerance. All you need is your West Virginia medical marijuana card. Our team of compassionate cannabis doctors are ready to help guide you through the process.
They will help you navigate every step of the way. West Virginia’s program offers medical marijuana to patients with certain conditions and even offers an online application process! That’s right- you can even get your medical marijuana card online from the comfort of your own home with West Virginia Marijuana Card!
To get your medical marijuana card online in West Virginia, simply schedule your medical marijuana evaluation appointment today and get access to legal marijuana products available at dispensaries!
Being a West Virginia medical marijuana patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you. We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 877-303-8424 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
West Virginia Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve
wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana.
Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for
our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out West Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in West Virginia.