It didn’t take long for the other cannabinoids from cannabis to get their place in the spotlight with the rapid growth of the CBD space.
Delta 8 THC is one of such cannabinoids — also known as “cannabis light” or “diet cannabis.”
As the market becomes more dynamic, companies are looking for opportunities to introduce some bolder products that are still federally legal.
The milder psychoactive effects and lower risk of adverse reactions such as anxiety and paranoia have made Delta 8 a new target for creative entrepreneurs. Better yet, the 2018 Farm Bill created a situation where Delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level despite being the analog of the outlawed Delta 9 THC.
Where’s the catch? And more importantly, where should you look for high-grade delta 8 THC?
Here we discuss the perks and pitfalls of buying Delta 8 locally vs online.
Delta 8 THC Near Me: Local Vendors vs Online Shops
Delta 8 THC has come into sight as an appealing alternative for people who would like to experience similar benefits to delta 9 THC but experience anxiety and paranoia when they take too much.
You can find delta 8 THC products pretty much everywhere; they’re in dispensaries, vape stores, head shops, and even at gas stations.
However, the delta 8 space is very young, so today customers must face the same challenges as CBD users did a few years ago. There are simply too many brands offering poor-quality products and hoping to make a quick buck on a booming market.
Delta 8 products are unregulated, meaning there are no established manufacturing, testing, and labeling standards.
Products sold locally often don’t have certificates from third-party laboratories. Some of them are less potent than advertised, whereas others may be contaminated due to improper purification or the use of bleaches to make delta 8 THC distillates appear cleaner (pure D8 distillates have a slightly pink color).
Why Online Shops Are Better If You’re Looking for Delta 8 THC
The current state of the delta 8 THC space has made many people turn to online delta 8 THC vendors. Online shops offer several perks that you won’t find locally, including:
Better Product Selection
Local vendors usually have one or two types of delta 8 THC products in stocks (tinctures and vapes). Online stores offer a wider product selection to choose from, including concentrates, distillates, and edibles.
All these types of delta 8 come in different concentrations and flavors, so you can further diversify your experience and choose a form that suits your preferences and dosage needs.
Owners of traditional shops need to cover certain costs that translate into higher prices of their products. Online shops don’t have to deal with the middleman, so they usually offer better prices on top of appealing discounts, coupon codes, and reward programs. The availability of online vendors creates a competitive market, encouraging companies to fight for customers with their prices.
Buying delta 8 THC is easier and more convenient than local shopping. You can browse through different formulations, potencies, flavors, and prices in the comfort of your home. There’s no need to bounce between local shops. Another perk of buying Delta 8 THC online is that you can use a credit card for payment; most dispensaries and head shops only accept cash for now.
Most delta 8 THC products are sold directly by the manufacturer, which makes research easier. Not only can you read about the company’s experience and manufacturing practices, but you can also look into the certificates of analysis from third-party laboratories and read user reviews. When you shop for delta 8 locally, you need to rely solely on the store owner’s knowledge or the information provided by the shop’s staff.
Best Delta 8 Brand Near Me: Area 52 (Most Reliable)
As mentioned earlier, we could count reputable Delta 8 THC brands on one hand, but there’s one particular company that really excels at quality standards. Area 52 is a relatively new California-based company that offers a selection of premium pure delta 8 products from organic hemp. Their products are legal and safe because the entire collection is tested in an ISO-certified laboratory for the potency of d8 as well as for purity.
You can choose from three product types: tinctures, gummies, and vapes.
The Delta 8 tincture comes with 1200 mg of total delta 8 THC (broad-spectrum distillate) infused with natural vanilla flavor. A single serving (1 mL) contains 40 mg of delta 8 THC, which is enough to experience the health benefits of this cannabinoid and get elevated for at least 4 hours.
Area 52 also offers Delta 8 THC gummies in three assorted flavors: Strawberry, Pineapple, and Green Apple. Each gummy contains a potent dose of 25 mg of delta 8 THC and is formulated with organic ingredients. You can eat them even if you’re vegan or gluten-intolerant because the gummies are made without animal derivatives and wheat.
Finally, the Pineapple Express delta 8 THC cartridge offers 900 mg of d8 and a blend of the strain-specific terpenes. This combination of ingredients provides a smooth energetic buzz perfect for daytime consumption.
Runner Up: Finest Labs (Best for New Users)
Finest Labs is another young company that has entered the market with a similar product selection to Area52. But unlike its competitor, Finest Labs focuses on slightly lower potencies that are supposed to work better for new users who want to start low and slow with delta8. The company is also a good pick for lightweight consumers with a low tolerance to delta 8 THC.
At concentrations like 500 mg (d8 tincture) or 10 mg (d8 gummies), it’s easier to try different dosages and gradually work your way up to the point where you experience a smooth high and optimal health benefits. Lower strengths also mean lower price per product. If you’re looking for premium delta 8 extracts from an affordable brand, Finest Labs is just the right companion.
What Are the Dangers of Buying Low Quality Delta 8 THC?
Whether you’re shopping for delta 8 THC locally or online, there are a few pitfalls you should be aware of.
The most obvious risks include its safety and legality.
Delta 8 THC is theoretically legal on a federal level, but in reality, it remains in a legal grey area.
If you want to make sure your delta 8 products are legal, you need to know the source of the cannabinoid.
The only products accepted by the federal government are those derived from hemp plants. Marijuana-derived delta 8 THC can be purchased in places where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized. As of today, 15 states have entirely legalized THC-rich cannabis and its derivatives.
Unfortunately, even hemp-derived products may be dangerous for your health if you’re buying from an unverified source.
Only a few brands offering delta 8 THC test their products in third-party laboratories for potency and purity. The vast majority of products sold locally aren’t certified, meaning that users may expose themselves to harmful chemicals applied during extraction or the aforementioned bleaches used to make the end product look cleaner than the actual delta 8 distillate.
Due diligence and proper research is required if you want to ensure the right quality of a delta 8 THC extract. You shouldn’t rely only on the store owner’s word, because at the end of the day, nobody will tell you that their products are of low quality.
Things to Look for When Shopping for Delta 8 THC
No two delta 8 THC products are made the same. Let’s dive deeper into some important factors determining the quality of delta 8 THC extracts.
The Source of Delta 8
You already know that delta 8 THC can be extracted from hemp or marijuana. If you live in a marijuana-friendly state, then buying marijuana-derived delta 8 products is a good idea because such products require less plant material than hemp-derived extracts, which makes them more cost-efficient.
However, for most people in the US, the only way to try delta 8 THC is to purchase products made from hemp.
Regardless of the source, you should know that cannabis plants are effective bioaccumulators. In other words, they draw up every substance from the environment they grow in — including the good and the bad substances.
In a perfect world, the plant should contain only the good ones.
Which is why farming practices are paramount for the quality of hemp flowers.
Hemp that has been grown organically — under natural sunlight and without pesticides or growth boosters — will yield clean flowers rich in cannabinoids. This is the best type of hemp to produce delta 8 THC, unlike mass-produced hemp that some manufacturers use for extraction.
CO2 extraction is the golden standard on the cannabis market. This technology uses pressurized carbon dioxide that possesses the properties of liquid and gas at the same time. This unique trait enables efficient extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp — without using extra heat or aggressive solvents.
Then you need to consider how the delta 8 THC was obtained. The only legal way of making delta 8 THC extracts is through conversion from CBD to delta 9 THC and then to delta 8. Like we said, this process involves the use of toxic chemicals that can pass into the end product if not purged properly.
Trustworthy companies send samples of their products to third-party laboratories for a content analysis. These laboratories verify the potency of delta 8 in the tested sample as well as the entire cannabinoid and terpene profiles. They also look for potential contaminants, such as pesticides, funghi, mold, heavy metals, or residual solvents. If a product passes the test, it receives a certificate of analysis (COA) so that customers can look into the results. If a company doesn’t publish these lab reports on its website or, at least, via email, it’s an instant red flag.
One of the best ways to find a trustworthy delta 8 THC vendor is to look for reputable CBD companies that have decided to expand their product lineup with d8 extracts. Such brands have many positive reviews on third-party websites — expert blogs, CBD rankings, forums — and provide independent lab reports as a proof of their products’ quality. COAs from third-party laboratories ensure that you’re buying a legitimate product and reduce the risk of getting ripped off.
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC stands for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol — an analog of the standard THC that causes the signature marijuana high.
This standard version has a slightly different name; it’s called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
So, how is it possible that one of these versions is legal while the other remains banned on a federal level since 1937?
In order to explain that, we need to take a closer look at the chemical structure of both compounds.
Delta 8 has a different molecular structure tha delta 9. This slight difference makes it twice less potent, which produces a milder intoxicating effect on the user. People who take delta 8 THC report a smoother high with a lower risk of side-effects like anxiety, paranoia, or racing heart.
Cannabis plants don’t synthesize delta 8 THC naturally. Instead, delta 8 THC comes as a byproduct of Delta 9 THC’s breakdown. Over time, THC can degrade into two compounds: delta 8 and CBN. However, most of the THC transforms into CBN, a less psychoactive but more sedating cannabinoid. A negligible amount is converted to a more stable delta 8 THC.
How Is Delta 8 THC Produced?
Delta 8 THC can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana.
Marijuana-derived delta 8 is legal only in the states that have legalized its recreational use and can be converted directly from delta 8 THC.
Manufacturers using hemp for extraction use a special conversion process from CBD to delta 9 THC and then to delta 9.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal to Buy in the United States?
The legal status of delta 8 THC depends on the source — just like CBD products are treated.
When extracted from marijuana, the extract will contain a considerable amount of delta 9 THC besides delta 8 and other cannabinoids. As mentioned, such products are only legal in places that have an established recreational marijuana market.
On the other hand, hemp-derived Delta 8 THC products are federally legal because their delta 9 THC content doesn’t exceed 0.3%.
The 2018 Farm Bill drew a thick line between hemp and marijuana. Hemp was reclassified as an agricultural commodity, becoming a regular crop just like canola or flax. Hemp-derived products are federally legal as long as the total delta 9 THC content is kept under 0.3%.
However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has taken a different stance on delta 8 THC products, claiming that delta 8 falls into the category of “tetrahydrocannabinols” which are labeled by the government as controlled substances. In plain English, this means that the production and sale of synthetically made delta 8 THC is a felony.
The bad news for the DEA is that the way delta 8 THC is extracted these days is anything but synthetic by the definition of “synthetically-derived.”
Synthetically-derived means that the product was made in a laboratory using synthetic ingredients.
Delta 8 THC uses a conversion process from plant-derived cannabinoids, and although there are toxic chemicals involved (which are further removed from the product), it is far from synthetic.
Long story short, delta 8 THC is theoretically in a legal grey area until the government officials clarify the issue.
11 states have explicitly prohibited the manufacturing and sale of delta 8 THC, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah.
As the delta 8 THC space continues to grow, there are more entrepreneurs eager to set their foot in the booming industry.
Due to the lack of regulations in terms of the product’s manufacturing and labeling standards, many companies are churning out low-quality, overpriced delta 8 extracts because they don’t take any responsibility for what they’re selling.
The best way to find a high-quality delta 8 vendor is to look for a reputable online store. You can count on a greater product variety, better prices, and convenient customer experience — not to mention the vast opportunities to research your potential supplier.
If you prefer to buy cannabis products locally, you’ll likely find many businesses offering delta 8 THC near you. Living in a marijuana-friendly state is one way to obtain high-quality d8 products because cannabis dispensaries must comply with the state regulations surrounding the sale of cannabis products. For hemp-derived extracts, we suggest that you do thorough research and read user reviews on third-party websites to check if one of your local vendors is worth your trust.