Exploring the Science Behind Delta 8 THC: Perspectives from Australia

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta 8 THC, has become a focal point in discussions surrounding cannabis research and regulation in Australia. As a semi-synthetic, largely unstudied, unique cannabinoid with distinct effects and legal ambiguity, understanding Delta 8 is crucial for consumers, policymakers, and health professionals alike. 

This blog aims to dissect the science, legality, and potential of Delta 8 THC and provide a comprehensive overview from an Australian perspective.

What Is Delta-8?

what is Delta 8

Delta-9 THC, commonly known as THC, is an intoxicating compound naturally occurring in cannabis plants. It treats pain, appetite, insomnia, and other conditions effectively.

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as Delta 8 THC, is a minor cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Unlike its more prevalent counterpart, Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 is known for producing milder psychoactive effects. This cannabinoid binds to the nervous system’s receptors slightly differently, leading to its unique profile and effects.

What Are the Effects of Delta-8?

There is a complex legal landscape surrounding Delta 8 in Australia. Delta 8 is illegal in Australia, according to John Skerritt’s talk at the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia’s Cannabis conference.

In Australia, Delta 8 is illegal due to the fact that it is manufactured chemically.

Possession, use, and distribution of Delta 8 products without appropriate medical authorisation can lead to legal repercussions.

Is Delta-8 Safe?

The production of delta-8 is not subject to the same quality control standards as legal medical cannabis products in Australia since it is only available on the black market.

There is not enough reliable evidence to rely on to prove Delta-8’s effectiveness. So to err on the side of caution, we’d say No, delta-8 is not safe for use, yet.

Preliminary research suggests that while Delta 8 may have a lower propensity for inducing anxiety, it is not devoid of potential side effects such as dry mouth, red eyes, and short-term memory disturbances.

Understanding the Chemistry of Delta 8

The atoms in Delta 8 are the same as those in Delta 9 but are arranged differently. As a result of this slight difference in molecular structure, the endocannabinoid system of the body interacts differently, resulting in different effects.

A typical process of manufacturing Delta 8 involves converting CBD or hemp into a chemical compound.


Medical Uses and Potential Benefits of Delta 8

medical uses and benefits of Delta 8

Despite the fact that medical research into Delta 8 THC’s medical applications is in its infancy, some studies have suggested that it may help control nausea, stimulate appetite, and reduce pain. Other potential benefits of Delta 8 include – 

  • An Increase In Appetite
  • Assists With Sleep
  • Brain Protection
  • The Reduction Of Pain
  • Experience Of Increased Psychoactivity

Risks and Side Effects of Delta 8

Delta 8 THC consumption is not risk-free. Some side effects include cognitive impairment, dizziness, and drug reactions. There is also concern about the purity and consistency of products because the market is unregulated. Other potential risks and side effects of Delta 8 include –

  • Anxiety 
  • Loss Of Memory
  • An Elevated Heart Rate
  • Mouth Drying 
  • Irritated Eyes
  • Coordination Issues
  • An Inability To React Quickly

Delta 8 vs. Other Cannabinoids: A Comparative Analysis

Delta 8, Delta 9, and CBD are all cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, but their properties and effects are different.

Comparing Delta 8 THC with other cannabinoids like CBD and Delta 9 THC highlights its intermediate potency and effects. While CBD is non-psychoactive, Delta 8 offers a middle ground with manageable psychoactivity, which some consumers find advantageous.

Due to its synthetic origins and the current regulatory framework, Delta 8 remains illegal in Australia, unlike CBD, which is legal with a prescription, and Delta 9, which is regulated under certain conditions.

The Role of the Medical Cannabis Industry in Australia

Australia’s medical cannabis industry is at a nascent stage, with Delta 8 playing a potentially significant role. Its legal status and medical value are under continuous scrutiny, which will determine its future in the medical cannabis market.

Public Opinion and Controversies Surrounding Delta 8 in Australia

Public opinion on Delta 8 is divided. While some advocate for its low-risk profile and therapeutic potential, others are wary of its psychoactive nature and the lack of extensive research. 

There is a controversy surrounding both the regulation of the cannabinoid and its legal status as well.

Conclusions - The Future of Delta 8 in Australia

It remains unclear and controversial what the future holds for Delta 8 THC in Australia. Though it provides a milder psychoactive experience than Delta 9 THC, its synthetic origins and lack of substantial research raise safety concerns. Delta 8’s role will likely be shaped by ongoing scientific studies and regulatory changes as the medical cannabis industry continues to develop in Australia.

Even though Delta 8 products are illegal, they are still in demand and available in unregulated markets. As a result, comprehensive policies need to be developed that prioritise public health and safety while taking into account the therapeutic potential of novel cannabinoids. The right balance must be struck between enabling research, ensuring quality control, and protecting consumers.

Ultimately, the future of Delta 8 THC in Australia will depend on the collective efforts of policymakers, healthcare professionals, researchers, and the public. Open and evidence-based dialogue can pave the way for informed decision-making, addressing concerns, and maximising the potential benefits of this unique cannabinoid within a responsible regulatory framework.


Frequently asked questions

  • Delta-8 THC and THC (Delta-9 THC) are both cannabinoids found in cannabis, but they have slight structural differences. Delta-8 THC has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, while Delta-9 THC has it on the 9th carbon chain. This subtle variation affects their psychoactive potency and binding affinity to cannabinoid receptors, resulting in differences in their effects on the body and mind.
  • Delta-8 THC can be found naturally in small amounts in cannabis plants, particularly in aged or degraded plant material. However, most commercially available Delta-8 THC products are derived from hemp-derived CBD through chemical conversion processes. While some argue that these processes mimic natural conversion, others classify the resulting Delta-8 THC as synthetic due to its altered form.

Limited research exists on the specific effects of Delta-8 THC on cardiovascular health. While Delta-9 THC is known to increase heart rate and may pose risks for individuals with cardiovascular conditions, the impact of Delta-8 THC remains less understood. As with any cannabinoid, individuals with heart conditions or concerns should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before use.

Some anecdotal reports suggest that Delta-8 THC may offer potential benefits for anxiety due to its purported milder psychoactive effects compared to Delta-9 THC. However, scientific evidence supporting its efficacy for anxiety is currently lacking. Additionally, individual responses to cannabinoids can vary, and factors such as dosage, frequency of use, and personal physiology should be considered. It’s advisable for individuals seeking relief from anxiety to explore a range of treatment options and consult with a healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

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