The Columbus Dispatch recently took a look at the synthetic THC products on the market, and what they found only reaffirms what we’ve always said: The only safe, natural, and proven way to enjoy the health benefits of THC is by getting an Ohio Marijuana Card.
The Dispatch spoke with business owners who sell THC delta 8 and 10, synthetic drugs derived from natural cannabis, who swore their products were safe, effective, and legal. But doctors and the law aren’t so certain, and the bottom line seems clear to us: Why mess with an unproven, possibly illegal, synthetic drug, when you live in a state that allows you to treat your qualifying conditions with tested, legal, and natural medical marijuana?
What Are Delta 8 and 10 THC?
David Radford should know a thing or two about cannabis and health. Radford is not only a physician, he is the COO of Three Day Botanicals, a suburban Cleveland hemp retailer.
Radford explained to the Dispatch that delta 8 and 10 are synthetic drugs derived from natural cannabis.
“By tweaking the molecule, they could create delta 8 and delta 10,” he said.
According to Popular Science, at the molecular level, the two forms of THC are almost identical. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that natural THC, or delta-9 THC, occurs naturally in cannabis. Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is a less effective synthetic that is derived from hemp using a variety of chemicals.
Hemp cannot legally contain THC, but it can contain CBD, or cannabidiol. Most of the commercially-available delta-8 THC is manufactured using chemicals to molecularly alter hemp-derived CBD.
Delta 8 and 10 THC: Less Tested and Fewer Safety Regulations Than Medical Marijuana
Most of the retailers with whom the Dispatch spoke insisted that delta 8 and 10 are safe and effective treatments for a variety of conditions, such as insomnia and anxiety. Medical science, on the other hand, is less convinced.
“There are no long term studies and nobody is doing decent analytical testing,” said Radford. He told the newspaper that he doesn’t stock either form of synthetic THC in his shops, because he is personally not convinced that they are safe.
People should be cautious about delta 8 and 10 products because the chemicals used in their production do not have to be listed on product labels. This is because hemp-derived products aren’t highly regulated to ensure safety like medical marijuana is.
Synthetic THC Contains Hazardous Materials That We Know About…
Daniele Piomelli, head of the Center for the Study of Cannabis at the University of California, Irvine, told NBC News, “Whenever you are looking at one of these derived compounds, you have to ask yourself how it was extracted from a plant.
“In order for a compound to be administered, it has to be mixed with other compounds to be taken via mouth or inhaled,” Piomelli said. If you are taking an FDA-approved drug, all those chemicals are approved, but if this operation is run in a lab somewhere else, you really don’t know what is happening.”
Just consider one of the things we do know for sure about delta-8 production: The process uses solvents like dichloromethane, which when heated emits dangerous fumes. Without regulators looking over their backs and forcing them to protect you, delta-8 processors are more likely to leave these chemicals in the products they sell to you.
Synthetic THC Contains Mystery Materials as Well
As though ingesting a lot of chemicals is problematic enough, there are also the mystery ingredients common to delta 8 and 10 products.
When the U.S. Cannabis Council, a trade group for medical and adult-use marijuana companies, examined several delta-8 products in 2021, the group concluded that the lack of regulation for delta-8 products “presents a public health risk.”
The Council consulted with a private, independent lab to test 16 delta-8 products purchased in several different states. The findings revealed that all but one of the products contained illegal levels of delta-9 THC, the naturally occurring THC found in medical marijuana, and a few of the samples contained heavy metals.
Some critics argued that these results should not be given much credence, because the U.S. Cannabis Council represents medical and adult-use marijuana companies who are in competition with retailers who sell delta-8 products. However, the group’s findings were similar to the results found by journalists who had conducted similar investigations.
Synthetic THC Is Also Less Effective Than Medical Marijuana
Although they insist their products are safe, even retailers acknowledge that the synthetic forms of THC aren’t as effective as natural medical marijuana. Tim Alley, owner of Peace Pipes, a chain of smoke shops in eastern Ohio and Virginia, told the Dispatch that delta 8 and delta 10 is “THC's little brother,” adding “it feels like the real thing to some people.”
So delta 8 and 10 are possibly unsafe and definitely less effective than medical marijuana. But wait, there’s more! The synthetic forms of THC may also be illegal.
Synthetic THC Is Legal (Sort of) For Now
Making these medical marijuana knock-offs look even more questionable is their uncertain legal status.
A 2019 state law legalized hemp, which cleared the way for delta 8 and 10, as they are derived from CBD that is extracted from hemp.
“The argument is ‘the hemp plant is legal, and all we are doing is manufacturing a clever new product from the hemp plant,’” Doug Berman, director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University, told the Dispatch.
The Dispatch notes that there is “a patchwork of sometimes conflicting state and federal laws” at work here, and so authorities are reluctant to say conclusively if delta 8 and 10 are legal.
Shelby Croft, communications director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, told the Dispatch that the agency is waiting on a DEA ruling on synthetic THC.
“Until that time, we continue to urge all processors and consumers to thoroughly review all relevant state and federal laws before making and/or consuming these products,” Croft said.
Medical Marijuana Is Legal in Ohio
Fortunately for you, you live in Ohio, where you don’t need to rely on unregulated mystery medicine, whether it comes from a corner street dealer or a delta-8 product bought in a gas station. Why even mess with synthetic THC knockoffs when you can get the real thing?
When you use the well-regulated, scientifically-backed medical marijuana products you can buy in Ohio dispensaries, you have the peace of mind of knowing exactly what you’re buying and putting into your body, and exactly how safe and effective it is.
If you haven’t looked into medical marijuana yet, what are you waiting for? Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our experienced, compassionate cannabis doctors. You’ll meet with your new doctor via a telemedicine appointment, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
You’ll learn if you qualify for an Ohio Marijuana Card (and get one if you do) without even leaving your home!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Here at Ohio Marijuana Card, our goal is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (866) 457-5559, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!