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Is Delta-8 Addictive?

May 1, 2024

A person is holding several orange gummy delta-8 candies in their open hand near a white orchid plant on a dark wooden surface, wondering, is delta-8 addictive?
Table of Contents

Introduction: Is Delta-8 Addictive?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid derived from hemp, has surged in popularity recently. Consumers are drawn to its potential therapeutic effects, such as pain relief and anxiety reduction. However, a crucial question lingers: is Delta-8 addictive?

The uncertainty behind this question can be a barrier for those seeking to explore its potential benefits. That’s why Wild Orchard Hemp is dedicated to providing the latest news and research on delta-8. Here’s what we know about delta-8:

  • Has Potential for Addiction: Delta-8, like marijuana, interacts with the brain’s reward system, possibly leading to cravings and dependence in some users.
  • Possibly Less Addictive than Marijuana: Available evidence suggests that Delta-8 THC may have a lower addictive potential compared to Delta-9 THC. However, it still has its share of risks.
  • Need for Research: Long-term effects and dependence potential require further study.

In this blog, we will provide a clear and objective analysis of the science behind delta-8 and its addictive potential. We will delve into the way delta-8 interacts with the brain’s reward system and explore the current state of research on delta-8 dependence. Finally, we’ll outline the signs and symptoms to watch for.

At Wild Orchard Hemp, we prioritize transparency and education, ensuring our customers make well-informed choices.

A dropper filled with delta-8 liquid rests on a wooden surface near a cup of tea and a small branch with green leaves, as user contemplates is delta-8 addictive.

What Is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a naturally occurring chemical compound, found in small amounts within the cannabis plant. In other words, it is a cannabinoid.

However, unlike delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana responsible for the “high” sensation, delta-8 exists in much lower concentrations.

Importantly, delta-8 often described as producing a milder and potentially less intense high than delta-9.

How is Delta-8 Produced?

There are two primary ways Delta-8 is produced. One method involves extracting it directly from hemp plants, which is legal in most areas of the United States due to their low levels of Delta-9 THC (less than 0.3%).

However, due to the low natural occurrence, manufacturers can also create delta-8 synthetically. To produce sufficient quantities for use, manufacturers convert hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) into delta-8 THC through a chemical process. The resulting difference in structure between delta-9 and delta-8 creates a slightly different effect.

Chemical Structure of Delta-8

Chemically, delta-8 THC features a double bond on the eighth carbon in the chain, whereas delta-9 THC has this bond on the ninth carbon. This subtle difference significantly affects how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It results in milder psychoactive effects than those of delta-9 THC.

Users often report feeling relaxed and clear-headed without the intense highs and associated anxieties that can accompany delta-9 THC.

A person in a hoodie stands amidst thick smoke, with sunlight filtering through the haze, wondering if it is possible to be addicted to delta-8 THC.

What Constitutes Addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition characterized by compulsive substance use or engagement in a behavior despite harmful consequences. It involves changes in the brain that affect self-control, judgment, and emotional regulation. Thus, people with addictions often experience intense cravings and difficulty controlling their behavior.

Several factors can contribute to addiction, including a person’s genetics, brain chemistry, environment, and mental health. Addiction can develop around a variety of substances. For example, people can become addicted to alcohol, nicotine, opioids, stimulants, and even cannabis.

In addition to substances, people can also develop addictions to behaviors such as gambling, shopping, or internet use.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be struggling with addiction, it is important to seek professional help.

Close-up of a person holding a lit cigarette between their fingers, with smoke rising and their mouth partially visible as they bring the cigarette to their lips as they question whether delta-8 is addictive.

The Science Behind Addiction

How THC Affects the Brain’s Systems

Our brain has a built-in reward system that motivates us to engage in activities essential for survival, such as eating or spending time with loved ones. This system is heavily influenced by the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors and natural chemicals within our body.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a critical role in regulating mood, memory, and pain. This system’s primary function is to maintain bodily homeostasis—balancing various physiological processes. The ECS interacts with naturally occurring compounds in the body known as endocannabinoids, which are similar in structure to cannabinoids found in cannabis.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, can mimic natural endocannabinoids. When THC binds to cannabinoid receptors, it disrupts the normal signaling process. This leads to the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana use, such as feeling happy, relaxed, or euphoric.

Delta-8 THC, while structurally similar to delta-9 THC, interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a slightly different way. Although research is still ongoing, some studies suggest delta-8 may also activate the brain’s reward system, potentially leading to feelings of pleasure and relaxation.

This activation of the reward system is a key factor contributing to addiction, as it can trigger cravings and a desire to repeat the experience. Therefore, delta-8’s potential to influence the reward system warrants further investigation concerning its addictive properties.

A Recap: The Brain & THC
  • The brain’s reward system, crucial for survival, is influenced by the endocannabinoid system (ECS), regulating mood, memory, and pain.
  • THC, like delta-9 THC, interacts with the ECS, disrupting normal signaling and causing psychoactive effects.
  • Delta-8 THC, similar to delta-9 THC, interacts with the ECS, potentially activating the brain’s reward system and leading to pleasurable sensations. This raises concerns about addictive properties.
A man in a black jacket exhales a cloud of vapor in a busy urban street during twilight, pondering, is delta-8 addictive.

The Potential of Delta-8 Addiction

So, is delta-8 addictive? Well, delta-8’s potential for addiction is a topic of ongoing research and debate. While it shares some similarities with delta-9 THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana known to be addictive, delta-8’s effects are generally considered milder. This difference might translate to a lower risk of addiction.

The Psychological Dimension of Addiction

Despite having milder effects than delta-9 THC, delta-8 still interacts with the brain’s reward system. It can cause psychological effects like feelings of pleasure, euphoria, and relaxation.

These positive feelings can trigger cravings and a desire to repeat the experience. Some users may even rely on the substance to manage stress, anxiety, or depression. This is a hallmark of addiction.

The Physiological Dimension of Addiction

Additionally, delta-8 use may lead to physiological effects such as tolerance buildup. This means that over time, users may need to consume more delta-8 to achieve the same desired effects. Tolerance buildup can be a sign of dependence. This means that the body adapts to the presence of the substance and experiences withdrawal symptoms when it is no longer present.

It’s important to remember that delta-8 is a relatively new product, and long-term studies on its addictive potential are scarce. Therefore, exercising caution and being aware of the potential risks is crucial.

Close-up of green cannabis plants that has Delta-8 THC with sharp-edged leaves, illuminated by bright light in an indoor cultivation setting.

Scientific Research on Delta-8

Definitive research on delta-8’s addictive potential is limited. Scientists are still working to understand its full effects on the body and brain.

However, existing research on delta-9 THC, its close chemical cousin, offers some insights. Studies have shown that delta-9 THC can be addictive, leading to dependence and withdrawal symptoms in some users. This raises concerns about delta-8’s potential for similar addictive properties.

While some preliminary studies suggest delta-8 may activate the brain’s reward system to a lesser extent than Delta-9 THC, this doesn’t definitively rule out addiction. The reward system’s activation can still trigger cravings and a desire for repeated use.

Additionally, anecdotal reports have surfaced online describing experiences of tolerance buildup and withdrawal symptoms with delta-8 use. However, the validity of these reports requires further investigation through controlled clinical trials.

Given this information, can we answer the question: “is delta-8 addictive?” No. The current lack of long-term research on delta-8 makes it difficult to definitively answer the question of addiction. More studies are needed to explore the potential for dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and the factors that might influence a person’s susceptibility.

A person wearing a lab coat, hairnet, face mask, and gloves examines a cannabis plant in a greenhouse.

Signs and Symptoms of Delta-8 Addiction

Delta-8 is a relatively new product, and research on its addictive potential is ongoing. However, some signs and symptoms commonly associated with dependence on psychoactive substances may also apply to Delta-8 use. These include:

  • Cravings: A strong desire or urge to use Delta-8, even in situations where it’s inconvenient or undesirable.
  • Preoccupation with Use: Spending a significant amount of time thinking about obtaining and using Delta-8 THC.
  • Increased Tolerance: Needing higher doses of Delta-8 over time to achieve the same desired effects.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological discomfort when trying to cut back or quit using Delta-8. These symptoms can vary but may include irritability, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and changes in appetite.
  • Failed Attempts Trying to Quit: Trying to reduce or stop Delta-8 THC use without success.
  • Neglecting Responsibilities: Prioritizing Delta-8 use over work, school, hobbies, or social activities.

Recognizing these signs and symptoms is crucial for early intervention and treatment. If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs, seeking help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist is essential.

A person wearing sunglasses places a pink gummy in their mouth near a fenced outdoor area, wondering about addiction.

Is Delta-8 Safe?

As mentioned, there is a lack of substantial research on delta-8. However, to date, there is no research that indicates delta-8 is any less safe than marijuana. Thus, delta-8 is generally considered safe as long as it purchased from a reputable source. This is not to say, though, that delta-8 is completely without side effects.

The Side Effects of Delta-8

Generally, delta-8 THC is considered to be less potent than delta-9 THC. However, while some users report experiencing relatively mild effects compared to delta-9 THC, potential risks remain. These can include short-term side effects like dry mouth, red eyes, and dizziness. In higher doses, delta-8 may also cause anxiety, paranoia, and impaired coordination.

Another concern surrounds the potential for long-term effects. Since delta-8 is a relatively new product, there’s a lack of research on its long-term impact on the brain and body.

Concerns over Lack of Regulations for Delta-8 Production

However, the safety of delta-8 THC is not solely about its psychoactive intensity. The method of production and the presence of contaminants also play crucial roles. Delta-8 THC is often synthesized from CBD in laboratory settings. This can lead to the presence of unregulated by-products if not carefully controlled. Thus, the unregulated nature of the delta-8 market raises safety concerns.

Ensuring that products are free from harmful chemicals and are produced under stringent standards is vital for consumer safety. At Wild Orchard Hemp, we ensure that our delta-8 products meet high standards of quality and safety through third-party lab testing.

Cannabis plants growing inside a greenhouse with sunlight filtering through the structure create a serene atmosphere.

Food and Drug Administration Reports on Delta-8

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several reports and statements regarding delta-8 THC, reflecting growing concerns about its safety and regulatory status. In these reports, the FDA has emphasized the need for further research into the potential health risks associated with delta-8 THC, including its addictive potential and long-term effects on users. The agency has also highlighted the importance of clear labeling and accurate dosing information to ensure consumer safety.

Moreover, the FDA has received reports of adverse events associated with Delta-8 use, including instances of hallucinations, vomiting, anxiety, and trouble thinking. These reports emphasize the potential risks, especially when considering the lack of long-term safety data.

One particular area of concern raised by the FDA is the lack of oversight in the production and sale of delta-8 THC products. Without proper regulation, there is a risk that these products may contain harmful contaminants or inconsistent levels of delta-8 THC, posing potential health hazards to consumers.

While the FDA has not issued any specific regulations or restrictions on delta-8 THC at this time, its reports underscore the need for caution and vigilance when using products containing this compound. Consumers are advised to purchase delta-8 THC products from reputable sources.

At Wild Orchard Hemp, we take these FDA reports seriously and are committed to upholding the highest standards of quality and safety in all our products. We strive to provide our customers with accurate information and reliable products crafted from American-grown hemp, ensuring their well-being and satisfaction.

A person standing outdoors, facing sideways, exhales a large cloud of smoke obscuring their face as they wonder the addictive potential of delta-8.

How to Use Delta-8 Responsibly

Responsible use of delta-8 THC is essential for ensuring a safe and positive experience with this compound. Here are some key guidelines to consider:

  1. Start Low, Go Slow: Begin with a low dose of delta-8 THC and gradually increase it as needed. This approach allows you to gauge your tolerance and minimize the risk of overconsumption.
  2. Be Mindful of the Source: Purchase delta-8 products from reputable vendors who can provide certificates of analysis (COAs) verifying the product’s potency and purity.
  3. Pay Attention to Your Body: Be aware of how delta-8 affects you. If you experience any negative side effects, discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional.
  4. Use in a Safe Environment: Consume delta-8 THC in a comfortable and familiar setting where you feel relaxed and secure. Do not use it in situations where you need to operate machinery or drive since delta-8 can impair coordination and judgement.
  5. Avoid Mixing Substances: Refrain from combining delta-8 THC with alcohol or other drugs, as this can amplify its effects and increase the risk of adverse reactions. If you take any medications, consult with your doctor before using Delta-8.
  6. Take Breaks: Give your body time to rest and recover between Delta-8 THC sessions. Prolonged and frequent use can lead to tolerance and dependency.

Remember, Delta-8 is not for everyone. If you have any underlying health conditions or a history of substance abuse, it’s advisable to avoid Delta-8 altogether.

Frequently Asked Questions

RELATED TO: “Is Delta-8 Addictive?”

Is delta-8 safe for your brain?

While delta-8 THC interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid system, research on its long-term effects is limited.

It may have milder psychoactive effects compared to delta-9 THC, but further studies are needed to determine its overall impact on brain health.

Thus far, no studies indicate it is any less safe than marijuana. 

Is delta-8 harmful to the body?

Delta-8 THC may have potential health risks, especially with frequent or heavy use.

Short-term effects may include dry mouth, red eyes, and impaired motor skills. Long-term effects and potential risks require further research for a comprehensive understanding.

Is delta-8 safe for daily use?

Using Delta-8 THC daily may increase the risk of developing tolerance and dependency. It’s advisable to use it sparingly and monitor its effects on your body and mind.

Does delta-8 have withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms from delta-8 THC can occur with regular and prolonged use. These may include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and changes in appetite. It’s essential to use delta-8 THC responsibly and monitor for any signs of dependence or withdrawal.

Is delta-8 natural or synthetic?

Delta-8 THC can be derived from natural sources, such as hemp, through extraction and purification processes. However, it can also be synthesized from CBD in laboratory settings. It’s crucial to choose products from reputable sources with transparent manufacturing processes.

Will delta-8 test positive?

Delta-8 THC can potentially trigger a positive result on drug tests designed to detect THC metabolites. While it’s less likely to result in a positive test compared to Delta-9 THC, it’s essential to be cautious if you’re subject to drug testing.

What is the difference between delta-8 and CBD?

Delta-8 THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, but they have different chemical structures and effects. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive properties and may cause euphoria, while CBD is non-psychoactive and is commonly used for its potential therapeutic benefits.

Conclusion: Is Delta-8 Addictive?

In summary, the question “Is Delta-8 addictive?” warrants careful consideration. The available evidence suggests that while Delta-8 THC may have a lower addictive potential compared to Delta-9 THC, it is not without risks. Research into its long-term effects, dependency potential, and overall safety is ongoing, highlighting the need for caution and responsible use.

As with any substance, moderation, informed decision-making, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals are essential. At Wild Orchard Hemp, we prioritize customer well-being and advocate for informed and responsible use of Delta-8 THC products crafted from American-grown hemp.