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Delta 8 THC is another cannabinoid that has been put into the spotlight with the rapid development of the cannabis market.
After CBD has paved the way for other hemp compounds, entrepreneurs are making bolder moves with the opportunities provided by the legal status of delta 8 on a federal level.
The market has become more dynamic than a few years ago, so it’s no wonder that new delta 8 THC products are storming the market — widely popping up online as well as in local shops.
The question is: where should you look for high-quality delta 8 THC?
Is buying D8 locally actually that convenient?
What are the perks of buying delta 8 THC online?
Here we leave no stone unturned weighing the pros and cons of both methods.
Delta 8 THC & Weed Near Me: Should You Buy Products from Local Shops?
There’s an evident demand for delta 8 THC products. The cannabinoid is an appealing alternative for people who would like to experience the same benefits they get from delta 9 — but in a legal way and without the aforementioned side-effects.
Delta 8 is popping up virtually everywhere. You can find them in dispensaries, head shops, vape stores, and even at gas stations — it’s federally legal, after all.
However, today customers are faced with the same risks as CBD users did when the market was in its infancy. There are simply too many poor quality products churned out by companies who have seen an opportunity to make a quick buck out of a booming industry.
The delta 8 space is unregulated, which means there are no established manufacturing and labeling standards.
A lot of delta 8 products sold locally lack certificates from third-party laboratories; some of them contain much less delta 8 THC than advertised or their delta 9 content exceeds the legal limit; others are downright dangerous due to improper purification or the use of bleaches to make delta 8 distillates appear cleaner (pure delta 8 THC has a slightly pink color).
That’s the main reason why people prefer to shop for delta 8 THC online. Not only are online stores safer to purchase from, but they also offer better prices and a greater product choice on top of other perks.
Delta 8 THC from Hemp vs Delta 9 THC from Marijuana
Delta 8 THC, short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is an analog of the standard THC you’re familiar with when discussing the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
The standard version is actually called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
So, what makes these compounds different besides the name? What is it that makes D8 legal while the D9 remains banned by the law?
First off, delta 8 has a different chemical structure than delta 9. This slight difference makes it half as potent, meaning that delta 8 THC is supposed to have a much milder intoxicating effect on the user. According to people who take delta 8, the effects are smoother, with a lower incidence of side-effects like anxiety and paranoia.
Delta 8 THC isn’t naturally synthesized by the cannabis plant. Instead, it comes as a result of Delta 9 THC’s breakdown. Over time, THC can degrade into CBN (cannabinol), which is much less psychoactive but has a considerable sedating effect on the user; a very small percentage is converted to a more stable form of THC — delta 8.
The cannabinoid can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana. Manufacturers using hemp for extraction employ a special conversion process from CBD to delta 9, and then to delta 8. The final product is federally legal because it contains less than 0.3% of delta 9 THC.
Can You Buy Delta 8 THC Legally?
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The legality of delta 8 THC depends on the source — a similar pattern applies to CBD products.
When sourced from marijuana, the extract will carry significant levels of delta 9 THC aside from delta 8 and other cannabinoids. Such products are only legal in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
But — as mentioned in the section above — the legal status changes when the product is made from hemp plants.
The 2018 Farm Bill made a clear distinction between hemp and marijuana; hemp was reclassified as an agricultural commodity and thus made legal on a federal level, allowing for the sale of hemp-derived products as long as the total delta 9 THC content is kept at 0.3% or below.
Delta 8 THC has raised controversy among some federal agencies, including the DEA. According to the DEA, all synthetically-derived products are “tetrahydrocannabinols” classified as controlled substances. In other words, the production and sale of synthetically made delta 8 THC is illegal.
However, synthetically-derived means that the product was created in a laboratory from synthetic ingredients.
Delta 8 THC uses a conversion process from plant-derived cannabinoids, and although there are toxic chemicals involved in it (they are further purged out of the product), it is anything but synthetic.
So, until this issue becomes clarified by government officials, delta 8 THC is theoretically legal on a federal level, but most people consider it in a legal grey area.
11 states have explicitly banned the sale of delta 8, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah.
Why Online Shops Are the Place to Go for Delta 8 THC
There’s a good reason why people are turning to online stores for high-quality delta 8 THC, including:
Better Choice of Products
Most local shops offering delta 8 THC sell only one or two product types — usually tinctures and vapes. Online stores have a wider product selection to choose from, including gummies, capsules, and topicals on top of the above formats.
All these types of delta 8 come in different potencies and flavors, which further allows you to diversify your experience and choose a format that suits your dosage needs and preferences.
The majority of delta 8 THC products are sold directly by the manufacturer. Buying right from the source allows you to verify your vendor’s credibility by checking the lab reports of its products as well as their reputation among users. There’s no need to wonder whether or not the product has been tested in a laboratory — all you need to do is look for the lab reports. And if the company doesn’t publish them or, at least, send them on via email on request, it’s an instant red flag.
Running a traditional shop involves different operational costs that are usually reflected in the product prices. Online stores can cut out the middleman, so they usually offer better prices than local vendors. You can also take advantage of special discounts, coupon codes, or join a reward program to save on your favorite products. Last but not least, the availability of online stores creates a competitive market, which motivates the owners to appeal to more customers with their prices.
Buying delta 8 THC online is more convenient. When shopping for D8 online, you can compare different brands, formulations, and prices without leaving your house. You can do it regardless of the time of the day — which isn’t the case for local shops. Another advantage in favor of local vendors is that you can use your credit card for payment, unlike local stores where you’re required to use cash most of the time.
What Are the Risks of Buying Low Quality Delta 8 THC?
The pitfalls of buying delta 8 THC products — whether locally or online — include its legality and safety.
As mentioned, despite being legal on a federal level, delta 8 THC remains in sort of a grey area.
When you buy delta 8 THC, you need to know where the cannabinoid comes from.
Marijuana-derived products are only legal in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. If you live in one of these states, you may consider yourself lucky, as marijuana is a more efficient source of delta 8 THC than hemp.
But if you want a federally legal product, hemp is the only option. Hemp plants contain 0.3% of THC or less, staying in compliance with the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill.
However, even hemp-derived delta 8 THC may not be safe for your health if you purchase from the wrong source.
Only a few d8 companies test their products in third-party laboratories for potency and purity. The vast majority of delta 8 THC available in local shops isn’t certified, meaning that users don’t know exactly what they’re buying. Some companies fail to purge the toxic chemicals applied during extraction from the final product, while others use bleaches to make their extracts appear cleaner than the actual delta 8 distillate.
Relying solely on the store owner’s word isn’t enough when it comes to your safety. Certification is the only legitimate proof that the product is safe for consumption.
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at how to shop for delta 8 online to prevent poorly made decisions.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for When Shopping for Delta 8
There’s a large degree of difference when it comes to the quality of delta 8 THC sold online and locally.
Due diligence is required during research because of the loosely regulated nature of the delta 8 space.
Here are the most important considerations for those looking for high-quality Delta 8 THC.
The Source of Delta 8 THC
Now that we’ve established Delta 8 can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana, it’s important to know how the source material was farmed.
Cannabis plants are dynamic bioaccumulators. Simply put, they easily absorb every substance from the environment they thrive in — both the good and the bad ones.
The best delta 8 THC products are made from organically grown cannabis plants. They should be cultivated in a clean soil and without pesticides or synthetic growth boosters. Such plants yield high concentrations of the major cannabinoids, allowing for a more efficient extraction than the mass-produced crops.
On the other hand, cannabis grown in a poor-quality environment may contain heavy metals and other toxic substances from the soil and air — requiring further purification, which may compromise the potency and overall quality of the final product.
CO2 is the industry’s standard for cannabis extractions. This method uses pressurized carbon dioxide to pull the beneficial compounds from the plant; it doesn’t require additional heat or aggressive solvents, making CO2 the safest way to make delta 8 products.
Then, of course, you need to consider how the delta 8 THC was converted. The only legal method to extract delta 8 from hemp is through conversion from CBD. This, in turn, involves the use of toxic chemicals that require high-tech equipment and skilled lab workers to remove them properly from the final product.
Reputable manufacturers send samples of their products to third-party laboratories for a content analysis. These laboratories look into the product’s potency and its cannabinoid profile on top of searching for potential contaminants.
The Certificate of Analysis from an independent lab is a legitimate proof of the product’s quality and safety. Never purchase delta 8 THC from companies that don’t publish the lab reports — they may sell untested, dangerous D8 extracts.
There are many reputable CBD companies who have decided to extend their product selection with different forms of delta 8 THC. These companies have a lot of positive reviews on third-party cannabis websites, such as expert blogs and online rankings, where users can share their experiences with different brands. It’s always better to purchase from a trustworthy source because you minimize the risk of getting ripped off.
Best Delta 8 THC Near Me
Area 52 (Best Delta 8 THC Online Vendor)
- US-grown hemp
- Pure delta 8 THC distillate
- Wide range of potencies and flavors
- Up to 1200 mg of Delta 8 THC per bottle
- Third-party tested for potency and safety
- A bit more expensive than competitor brands
- Not available locally (yet)
Area 52 is a relatively new brand that offers a broad selection of premium delta 8 THC products derived from hemp. Not only are these d8 extracts federally legal, but they’re also safe because the entire product line-up is rigorously tested for quality and purity in an independent, ISO-certified laboratory.
The guys at Area 52 offer three forms of delta 8 THC: tinctures, gummies, and vapes.
The D8 tincture contains 1200 mg of broad-spectrum delta 8 (distillate infused with cannabis-specific terpenes) in a delicious vanilla flavor. At 40 mg of delta 8 THC in every milliliter, the product is suited for both beginners and experienced users alike. The product offers easy and precise dosing using a transparent glass dropper. The tincture is sweetened with natural stevia, which means no added calories and simple sugars.
The company also offers Delta 8 THC gummies in three flavors: Green Apple, Pineapple, and Strawberry. Each gummy carries a convenient dose of 25 mg of Delta 8 THC and is made with organic ingredients, including the flavorings and colorings. The gummies are made without wheat and animal derivatives (gelatin), which makes them suitable for vegans and people with gluten intolerance.
Area 52 vapes have been formulated with strain-specific terpenes to reflect the flavor of the original cannabis strain used for extraction. The Pineapple Express cartridge features 900 mg of delta 8 THC, providing refreshing exotic flavors and energizing effects — perfect for daytime consumption.
Finest Labs (Runner Up)
- American hemp
- CO2 extraction
- Great for new users and lightweight people
- 3 product types to choose from
- Third-party tested for quality and safety
- Limited flavored options
- No high-strength products
Finest Labs is a good pick for people who have never tried delta 8 THC, or any cannabis product, in their lives. The company offers a similar product selection to Area52 — including tinctures, gummies, and vape carts — but in lower concentrations.
These products are great not only for beginners but also for lightweight users and microdosers who use smaller amounts of delta 8 THC in their routine.
The Finest Labs Delta 8 THC tincture contains 500 mg of delta 8 THC, breaking down to 15 mg for every milliliter of oil. The tincture is flavored with strawberry extracts and sweetened with all-natural stevia to improve the flavor.
Their gummies are made with 25 mg of pure delta 8 THC infused into a vegan-friendly gummy base. These little treats are available in one flavor option: strawberry.
The Finest Labs Delta 8 THC vape cartridge features 900 mg of active delta 8 THC and cannabis-derived terpenes from the Strawberry Cough sativa strain and can be used on any standard vape battery.
All products from the Finest Labs collection are tested in a third-party laboratory for their delta 8 THC content, delta 9 levels, other cannabinoids, and potential contaminants.
What Customers Are Saying About Buying Delta 8 in Local Shops vs Online
“So I’m looking at the carts at my local vape store and say ‘hey do you sell delta 8?’ The employee says ‘what’s that? I don’t know what that is.’ I say hemp-derived delta 8 THC. The guy flips out and tells me to get out of the shop immediately and he is calling the cops. I walked out a little embarrassed, never being bounced out of any place in my life.” – JH6JH6 (Reddit user)
“Online, that’s the way to do it. Everything online is priced better and just over all better quality. Shop online to win. The best d8 you can’t buy in stores. Not yet at least.” – jbird12356 (Reddit user)
“Guys at local shops clearly have no idea what delta 8 is. Nevermind the difference between legal THC and non.” – Iamjacksgodlungs (Reddit user)
With the massive growth of the online delta 8 space, it’s vital that you’re getting your products from a trustworthy source.
Online vendors are currently the best source of high-quality delta 8 THC. They offer competitive prices, convenience, purchase safety, and a greater product variety.
Doing your research online is also easier and less time-consuming than browsing between different brands and products locally — bouncing from one store to another.
Many new businesses are popping up, which is great, but without proper regulation, it’s up to the customers to make the delta 8 producers in check and make sure they are selling high-quality products.
We hope this guide will help you distinguish between legitimate products and scammy companies so that you always make a well-informed decision.
Enjoy your delta 8 online!
The reviews and statements published here are those of the sponsor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or views of Observer.