Many of my friends live in states which don't have regulated Adult Use cannabis programs, in cities such as Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas, and Birmingham, Alabama. They don't offer residents options to legally produce, purchase or partake of Delta-9 THC, everyone's favorite cannabinoid found in, you know, the pot weed.
For those seeking a head change, this leaves few options outside of alcohol, or street drugs, which carry an increased risk of having fentanyl in them. So, yeah, then what legal choices are available?
For many years, you could buy "synthetic cannabis," aka Spice, or K2, an ever changing noxious chemical mix sprayed onto legal herbs and smoked. Yum. Does it work? While it gets users high, it has some side effects, such as devolving into a literal zombie-like state. FRFR. A Google search provides numerous photos, videos and accounts of users stiff-limbed, stumbling, falling and passing out on busy sidewalks and roads, like the worst cosplay ever of "The Walking Dead." It's still available in some states that want those sweet Zombified Spice Tourist dollars.
Then came the Farm Bill of 2018, which effectively legalized hemp, the plant with 50,000 industrial uses, and the primary source of CBD. Few but the lightest of lightweights find CBD provides any true form of intoxication or high, and it's far safer than synthetic cannabis.
Hemp legalization offered processors the opportunity to experiment and see what other cannabinoids could be identified, extracted and concentrated. They hit paydirt with Delta-8 THC. Because it's taken from the hemp plant, Delta-8 is legal and can be sold outside of a regulated cannabis program. (Though banned in nearly 20 states.) Which it is, in every conceivable form.
Products can be found from gas stations to dedicated storefronts. Numerous companies are hawking Delta 8 distillate infused hemp flower joints, moon rocks, shatter, vape carts and gummies. It's available in the aforementioned cities and many others, and it's getting people high.
Delta-8 THC is found in very small quantities in hemp. The products sold use a concentrated form. So long as the product is third-party tested for purity and contaminants, you're good.
The Food and Drug Administration received a mere 104 reports of adverse effects from Delta-8 between Dec. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2022, including "hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness." (Also known as "I Am So Damn High Help Me Jeebus" syndrome.)
Delta-8, even in higher concentrations, isn't as concerning as some other hemp-derived new products finding their way to consumers. Last month the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws issued a warning regarding a study showing a potential danger for those who vape THC-O Acetate.
THC-O Acetate is a synthetic cannabinoid reported to be three times stronger than Delta 9 THC. Effects are likened more to a mushroom or acid trip than cannabis. Good to know. It's widely available in vape carts.
What troubled researchers is, when heated in a vape, it produces ketene, a dangerous substance that impacts your lungs in the same manner as when you heat Vitamin E acetate.
Remember Vitamin E acetate? Pepperidge Farms does. It was the vape-cart thickening additive determined to be responsible for the nationwide EVALI vaping crisis in 2019-20 that hospitalized thousands and killed 59, some as young as 15. It's since been banned as an additive.
The list of new, and some would say questionable, hemp-derived cannabinoids, natural and synthetic, are overwhelming. One of the study's authors said that he's concerned with (checks notes) THCP, THCjd, THC-H, THC-B, HHC, and Delta-10 THC. WTF?
He told High Times that "...some of these other new cannabinoids that are being synthesized from hemp, which are brand new and never been tested in human subjects before. THCP is being advertised as having 30 times the binding power to receptors as THC. These compounds have never been found in nature before—being made by fairly amateurish underground hemp chemists—raise a lot of concern."
California NORML says CBN, CBG, CBC, THCV, THC-A, CBD-A, and Delta-8 THC are safe. Maybe stick with those for now; that really should be enough to keep most anyone pain free and chilled out.