What is Delta-8 and is it legal in Ohio?

Delta-8 products can be considered a cousin of Delta-9, which contains both psychoactive properties and THC. But one remains illegal at the federal level.

TOLEDO, Ohio – There’s a new product that’s sharing the shelves with CBD, which is causing a stir in the hemp industry and a different kind of buzz for consumers too.

Kevin Spitler of the Toledo Hemp Center saw a surge in demand for Delta-8 over the past month.

“It has a similar euphoria to marijuana, just not as intense. Not as much paranoia associated with that euphoria,” Spitler said.

It’s the Delta-9 THC that is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. Delta-8 is slightly different at the molecular level. Delta-8 products come in a variety of forms and they are completely legal under current Ohio hemp laws.

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Because of these molecular similarities and the presence of THC, you still won’t pass a drug test, says Spitler. This is because, despite the differences in legal status, the tests cannot find a difference between Delta-9 and Delta-8.

At the Toledo Hemp Center, you must be 21 years or older to purchase Delta-8. No medical marijuana card is required as the two products are different.

“Since you don’t need a real medical card to get it, it’s nice and convenient for a lot of people, and a lot of people aren’t looking for the really heavy euphoria that marijuana or medical marijuana will bring,” Spitler explained.

At the federal level, Delta-8 is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the definition of marijuana as a controlled substance as long as it contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.

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Spitler says he is aware of where his products come from and is confident that it will be beneficial, but doctors disagree.

“We don’t know what it is, whether it’s safe to use because we don’t have this data,” said Dr. Rajiv Parinja, a psychiatrist at Mercy Health. “So my recommendation to people would be that if you are afraid, if you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should see your GP.”

He says he wouldn’t advise people to use Delta-8 without clinical research because there is so much unknown, especially when it comes to regular and long-term use.

“There is almost inevitably an downstream cost that can worsen your mental health. This goes for cannabinoids, for alcohol, and for other harsher substances,” Parinja said.

This could be why a dozen US states have already moved to make Delta-8 illegal. This even includes some states where Delta-9 is legal, such as Colorado, where recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012.

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