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What is Delta 8 THC?

Part of the Top Shelf Hemp Co. mission is to ensure our customers are well informed as to what they are putting in their bodies. This is why taking a critical look at Delta 8 THC is a priority.

A Quick History

Delta 8 THC was first discovered in the early 1970s and quickly falling out of vogue mid-decade. A handful of studies were done over the next 40 years. It wasn't until the passing of the 2018 farm bill that Delta 8 made its return to mainstream science.

The Science

Delta 8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. It's an isomer of Delta 9 THC. This means that these compounds have the same components in a different atomic arrangement. It differs from Delta 9 THC, the THC you’re most familiar with, due to the location of a critical chemical bond. While both contain double bonds in their molecular chain, Delta 8s double bond is on the 8th carbon chain rather than the 9th. This is where their common names come from.


While research is still limited, preliminary studies indicate a relatively gentle psychotropic effect.* It seems to boast an antiemetic effect 200% more potent than Delta 9.* It appears to be much more effective for the treatment of nausea.* It also appears to counteract a lack of appetite to a greater extent than Delta 9.* These features could make Delta-8 an important element in cancer patient treatment.* Combining it with CBD would allow doctors to fine-tune dosage for their patients.*

Delta 8 also appears to stimulate the production of acetylcholine.* Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that aids in neuroplasticity, cognition, arousal, and memory within the brain. Studies suggest that Delta 8 may be a valid treatment for conditions such as Alzheimer’s.*

We're eagerly awaiting further research on this exciting cannabinoid.

Anecdotal Observations

Anecdotally, people are using Delta-8 for a myriad of reasons. Its mild psychotropic effect often seems to manifest as slight feelings of euphoria and relaxation*. I’ve personally used it in the past to help treat my insomnia with some success.* Some people are using it for muscular relief, smoking/drinking cessation, and nausea prevention.*

Where Delta 8 THC Comes From

Delta-8 is found in trace amounts, naturally, in the hemp plant. It’s not a cost-effective means of production to extract it directly from the plant. The most common means of producing Delta-8 is synthesizing it from CBD isolate. Being found in nature, it’s not considered a synthetic cannabinoid, however, this definition is subject to interpretation, as the main source of Delta 8 is a synthetically produced form. Almost all Delta-8 THC on the market today is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD, which makes it, in theory, part of a federally legal chain of origin.


The legality of Delta-8 is currently under question because it can be extracted from either cannabis or hemp. Thanks to the 2018 farm bill, hemp can be legally grown and used for extractions all over the United States, making Delta 8 legal in states where Delta 9 THC is illegal federally. The following map outlines states that have currently restricted Delta 8, have legislation pending, only allow it in dispensaries, or have no prohibitive legislation in place, and is current as of the publication of this blog post.

Wrap Up

Delta 8 THC isn't legal in all states. Its metabolites may trigger many drug tests looking for Delta 9 THC metabolites. As a precaution, you should not take this product if you need to pass a drug test. The research and anecdotal evidence are promising. Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid worth keeping an eye on. Check out the product profiles on our blog for more information on each of our 5 craft edible flavors and 3 infused flower strains.

*Top Shelf Hemp Co. makes no health claims about Delta 8 THC. Everything expressed in this blog post is based on the opinion of the author and information sourced online.


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