Updated: May 6
Walking into a smoke shop is an experience full of questions — what is that? How does that work? What do you put in there?! The list goes on. One of the more surprising products to find in store is delta 8 flower. Mind you, in an illegal state, seeing jars of bud on the counter is reminiscent of dispensaries and brings up lots of confusion about the legality of flower in a jar for sale in Texas. We've talked about delta 8 on the blog before, but what is delta 8 flower?
In this blog we'll get into all of the details about delta 8 flower — what it is, if it will get you high, the legality of the flower, and how delta 8 could affect a drug test.
What Is Delta 8?
Before we can talk about delta 8 flower, we need to really understand exactly what delta 8 is, to begin with. Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC, or just delta 8, is one of the over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Delta 8 is found in naturally occurring cannabis in very small proportions, however. Because of this, it is impractical for delta 8 products to be made with naturally occurring delta 8.
How Is Delta 8 Synthesized?
So how is delta 8 synthesized? Because it is found in such trace amounts in naturally occurring cannabis and hemp plants, it is not feasible to extract delta 8 directly from plants. Rather, it is created in a lab.
The process is... complex. Delta 8 is created through a process called "isomerization" — defined by Britannica as "the chemical process by which a compound is transformed into any of its isomeric forms, i.e., forms with the same chemical composition but with different structure or configuration and, hence, generally with different physical and chemical properties."
So, delta 8 starts out as CBD. Pure CBD isolate is used, and through a series of chemical processes, delta 8 is created from the CBD structures. Basically, delta 8 and CBD both have all of the same components, just in a different order; isomerization deconstructs and reorders CBD into delta 8 THC. Because nothing is added in this process, delta 8 is not a truly "synthetic" cannabinoid.
How Is Delta 8 Flower Made?
So delta 8 is created from CBD, but where does the flower come in? Well, delta 8 flower starts out as just a plain ol' hemp nug. Since hemp is now federally legal under the 2018 farm bill, hemp flower is used as the vehicle for delta 8. There are a few methods used for getting the delta 8 on the flower, though.
The delta 8 distillate, the pure delta 8 created through isomerization, is an oil. One of the ways that delta 8 flower is made is by dipping hemp flower directly into the delta 8 distillate oil. This creates a delta 8 flower that is never quite dry and burns with a heavy smoke. Though potent, these types of delta 8 flower may be harsh for less-experienced smokers.
Some flower is created by being lightly sprayed with the delta 8 distillate, which creates a drier flower than the dipping. This process results in flower that is less potent but easier to smoke.
Alternatively, some delta 8 flower is created by spraying the flower with a dried version of the delta 8 distillate — something like kief crystals. This allows for a heavier dose of delta 8 to be applied to the flower without creating an oily and harsh product.
Some delta 8 flower may be made by using a combination of the methods above. Each of these methods, or the combination of them, will create an end-product with different effects, so be sure to try different varieties to find the one that suits you best.
Delta 8 Flower Effects
Delta 8 has effects similar to indica strains of cannabis. Users report that delta 8 creates a smooth, mellow, and relaxed state, without the anxiety and paranoia that some people experience with traditional THC. This is because delta 8 is only about half as psychoactive as delta 9 THC. Lower doses of delta 8 create a slight sense of euphoria, decrease anxiety, and increase sociability. Higher doses of delta 8 can make you lethargic — perfect for dosing before bed if you're a troubled sleeper. Delta 8 is also associated with increased appetite.
The Entourage Effect
Delta 8 flower also has unique benefits to other delta 8 products because of the hemp flower underneath; with delta 8 flower, you also reap the benefits of whole-plant hemp. Hemp naturally contains high levels of CBD and myriad terpenes that may interact with delta 8 to produce the entourage effect.
The entourage effect is the intersection of cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are compounds found in plants that produce aromas and flavors. Cannabinoids are the compounds in plants that produce physical and mental effects in the body. There is a growing body of evidence that "combining terpenes with cannabinoids enhances the mood-stabilizing effects" of the cannabinoids themselves, among other benefits.
So, when you smoke delta 8 flower, the terpenes present in the hemp interact with the delta 8 to produce a more stable effect on your mind and body.
Is Delta 8 Flower Legal?
Both delta 8 and hemp are currently federally legal under the 2018 farm bill. However, there are several states in which delta 8 has been made illegal. These include:
Delta 8 Flower & Drug Testing
If you are someone who gets drug tested — delta 8 might not be the product for you. Drug tests aren't actually searching for delta 9 THC in your system, they are searching for the compound(s) that delta 9 THC metabolizes into. And, unfortunately, delta 8 THC also metabolizes into these compounds. So, even if you are smoking zero traditional cannabis, delta 8 flower may cause you to fail a drug test.
What Is Delta 8 Flower? — A Final Word
Delta 8 flower is a great option for those who want to puff on something smokable, but who may live in a cannabis-illegal state, or for whom delta 9 THC is too potent or has unwanted side effects. Delta 8 flower also offers its own benefits, as well as the additional benefits of using CBD/hemp that may produce the entourage effect.
If you've got questions we didn't answer about anything delta 8, or when you're ready to explore our wide array of products — come on into any one of our 7 Mr. Nice Guys locations throughout Corpus Christi and talk to our knowledgeable staff. And as always, have a nice daze!