What Is Delta-8 THC?


Written by: Officer Jermaine Galloway 

As a national trainer, I commonly receive drug related questions from across the country.  Every year, those questions may vary from vapes to CBD to the newest opioid that is trending.  But in 2021 without a doubt, the #1 drug related question that I get, is about Delta 8 THC.  This bulletin will highlight some Delta-8 street level drug trends, use, sales outlets and more.  I will also review some of the early feedback from youth and adult cannabis users of Delta-8.

Generally, when referencing the common terms of ‘THC’, ‘weed’, or ‘cannabis’ it means Delta-9 THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). As I have been teaching in my classes, Delta-9 is what we all know weed to be.  So, what is Delta-8? 

Delta-8 THC is a compound from the cannabis plant.  Many users of Delta-8 feel that it gives them about half the high of traditional weed (Delta-9).  Users also report that the high also doesn’t last “nearly as long” as Delta-9 THC.  You may be asking yourself, “Then, why do they use Delta-8?”  During my research scans, feedback gained from professionals, with clients caught using Delta-8, and talking to a handful of toxicologists, there are varying reasons for Delta-8’s popularity.  Please, keep in mind the reasons for popularity are subjective opinions, expressed by drug users of Delta-8:

  • Helps with their nausea,
  • Perceived by some users to be legal in many areas,
  • Readily available. (Depending on the state, Delta-8 is found in vape shops, smoke shops, CBD stores, gas stations, cannabis dispensaries (near other traditional cannabis products), and shopping malls, to name a few.)
  • Although not a new compound, it is a new cannabis trend for youth.
  • Not all labs can test for it, making it popular for some on probation or parole.

We are finding Delta-8 in many of the same forms we have traditionally seen Delta-9, including vape cartridges, wax, leaf, mixed with some CBD products etc. 

I would like to share some of the feedback on Delta-8 from previous class attendees”

  • Some very valuable info shared from one toxicology lab was that they had commonly seen Delta-8 traveling with Delta-9 test samples…but in early 2020 they began to see some Delta-8 cartridges with little to no Delta-9 and that is what set off the bells in their lab.  Also, one of the most common forms of Delta-8, were vape cartridges. 
  • A probation officer called me and shared that he had several clients fail recent drug tests and the clients claimed they had purchased Delta-8 cartridges from a local gas station and were told by the clerk that they would pass drug tests. 
  • Another probation officer said a pregnant female on her caseload told her that Delta-8 helps her with her nausea. 

In regard to the promotion and marketing of Delta-8 THC, we are seeing billboards on major highways, marketing in shopping malls (where youth frequent, sales of various forms in cannabis dispensaries, and sales in the local gas station. 

If you have questions about the legality of Delta-8 in your city, county or state, please contact your local prosecutor or district attorney, as they are the ones to direct that question. 


Updated on 11/13/2023