A new alternative to marijuana spreading across the United States remains unregulated in Michigan, but one state representative wants to change that.
State Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, has introduced a bill that would bring this new kind of weed into the fold of the state’s definition of marijuana, making it a hot new commodity that’ll be sold only in reputable dispensaries near you to those 18 or older.
“We did a lot of work on this bill with various sectors of the cannabis community, along with the cannabis vendor community, and even alongside the hemp community,” Rabhi said. “We got much approval from those entities.”
The new substance has become increasingly popular, and like its cousin, CBD, can be sold in states that haven’t legalized marijuana due to a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill. Both CBD and this new substance are derived from hemp and not marijuana. It’s legal in 35 states, which makes its availability quite widespread. This new substance, colloquially known as “diet weed,” is called Delta-8 THC, and reportedly can give you highs without the common downsides.
“Delta-8-THC is distinct from THC, the most abundant and intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis,” claims WeedMaps, the popular weed and dispensary reviewing site. “While the two share many similar properties, such as reportedly stimulating appetite, reducing nausea, and soothing pain, Delta-8-THC tends to exhibit a lower psychotropic potency than THC when inhaled,” the site continues.
So the high is allegedly milder than that of regular THC. There’s no doubting that its increasing popularity can be attributed to its ease of access and muted effects.
I asked r/Delta8, a community of avid users on forum site Reddit, why they use Delta-8 THC and what benefits it gives them over traditional THC.
“Compared to traditional delta 9 THC, delta 8 is more of a focused and euphoric high with fewer paranoid or anxious thoughts, if any at all in my experience. With this in mind, I use delta 8 to deal with generalized anxiety disorder and depression, as I find myself more carefree and creative on it,” says user triadmatt. User RawAndRealRetail echoes the positive sentiment, saying that “It does everything Delta-9, or regular weed, does. It more or less cures my crippling arthritis. It more or less cures my awful GERD, which had my diet severely restricted at one point. Pretty much all of my old man problems since turning 40 have disappeared with D8.”
However, there may be some noteworthy adverse side effects to the newly popularized chemical.
Wayne State University School of Medicine is warning against Delta-8 because of misleading packaging and the possibility the products can be mistaken for CBD products.
Wayne State University School of Medicine also says that Delta-8 THC is unregulated in Michigan, making it a dangerous thing to buy gummies you see in the gas station. Furthermore, “Although Delta-8 THC is less psychoactive than Delta-9 THC, it still has psychoactive properties that can cause significant toxicity,” the school says.
“Two kids ate their father’s recently purchased Delta-8 gummies at a vape shop and ‘developed sedation, slowed breathing, low blood pressure and slowed heart rate, requiring admission to the intensive care unit.”
Leafly, another weed and dispensary review site, wrote about Delta-8 THC and tested its effectiveness. Dante Jordan, a writer for the site, tried a reputable brand of gummies known for its traditional THC gummies and documented his experiences. Jordan says that “the Smokiez delta-8 gummies experience had me blasting music, dancing around my Airbnb, and punching out sentences that writer’s block had been stifling for over a month.” Some say that the reason they use it is due to its legality in many states that haven’t legalized traditional THC.
“I prefer D8 way more than D9, but I will go back to D9 if/when they make it legal in my state.” user triadmatt continued. User ShroomingMantis said “as a community, we would love regulation in the sense of companies being required to fully test for solvents, reagents and any other impurities or potential contaminants to keep D8 safe for the many people that greatly benefit from it, and by states banning it, all that does is prevent more openness and legitimacy within the industry.”
States may ban Delta-8 in an effort to crack down on this new, unregulated cousin of marijuana, but that may cause complications for the people who regularly use it, forcing them to search for something similar through less-than-desirable means.
Rep. Rabhi wants to bring Delta-8 into the fold of regulations with House Bill 4517, which passed the House and now sits with the Committee on Regulatory Reform.
“One of the things that was important to me, as someone who doesn’t believe in prohibition, instead of prohibiting it, we wanted to bring it in the realm of regulation,” Rabhi said.
Instead of at liquor stores and gas stations, the product would be sold at dispensaries and certified vendors of cannabis.
“Since we are defining Delta-8 along with Delta-9, it would be able to be sold in dispensaries,” Rabhi said. “Even though it’s a hemp-derived product, it has to go through the same regulations, the same sales standards that Delta-9 THC would have to go through.”
Your CBD Store in Plymouth has a newly stocked line of Delta-8 products. The line includes gummies and a mouth spray. They come in kiwi, assorted fruit and guava flavors.
“Studies say that Delta-8 THC can work with the nervous system, and can have pain relief,” said Kate Diebolt, the owner of the CBD shop. “CBD and Delta-8 THC reportedly work together quite nicely, which makes its sale at CBD outlets quite convenient.
“Some of our products contain a mix of CBD and Delta-8 for a really smooth experience,” Diebolt said. “It’s such a great product, and it’s helping so many people.”
Contact Sam Fogel: SFogel@gannett.com, or @SamuelFogel on Twitter