Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
September 25, 2023

Delta 8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, albeit in minimal quantities. Chemically similar to Delta 9 THC, it differs in the location of a double bond within its molecular structure. Despite its low abundance, Delta 8 THC products have gained significant popularity due to their reported milder psychoactive effects when compared to Delta 9 THC.

To clarify, the term “synthetic” refers to compounds artificially created in a laboratory setting rather than being derived from natural sources. The question of whether Delta 8 is synthetic arises due to the different methods of production and extraction used to obtain this cannabinoid. This article aims to explore the various aspects of Delta 8, including its sources, production methods, and potential implications for consumers.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

What is Delta 8

Delta 8 is a psychoactive cannabinoid present in cannabis and hemp plants. Its chemical structure contains a double bond, distinguishing it from Delta 9 THC. Delta 8 THC products are gaining popularity for their potential medicinal properties and milder psychoactive effects compared to Delta 9 THC. However, the legal status of Delta 8 varies, as it is classified differently under different jurisdictions and federal law.

Understanding Synthetic Compounds

Synthetic compounds are artificially created substances that differ from their natural counterparts. Synthetic cannabinoids, like K2, Spice, and JWH-018, have been associated with adverse effects due to their unpredictable nature and lack of quality control in the manufacturing process. These risks raise concerns about synthetic Delta 8 THC products and their potential impact on public health.

Sources of Delta 8

Delta 8 is present in small quantities in cannabis and hemp plants. Extraction methods from specific cannabis strains with higher Delta 8 levels are used to obtain natural Delta 8 products. Additionally, Delta 8 can be extracted from hemp-derived CBD using isomerization or distillation processes. Furthermore, in a laboratory setting, chemical processes can create Delta 8 from other cannabinoids like CBD or Delta 9 THC, yielding synthetic Delta 8 THC.

Delta 8 from Hemp vs Synthetic Delta 8

There are distinctions between Delta 8 derived from hemp and synthetic Delta 8 in terms of quality, safety, and legality. While hemp-derived Delta 8 products undergo regulated extraction processes, synthetic compounds may carry potential impurities and higher toxicity risks. Moreover, the legal status of hemp-derived Delta 8 may differ from synthetic Delta 8, leading consumers to make informed decisions.

Legality and Regulation

The legal status of Delta 8 is subject to varying interpretations across different regions and countries. Under the 2018 Farm Bill in the United States, hemp-derived Delta 8 THC products are considered legal if they contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. However, synthetic Delta 8 may be classified as a controlled substance depending on the jurisdiction. The evolving regulatory landscape poses challenges for authorities in monitoring and controlling the distribution and use of Delta 8 products.

Safety and Health Considerations

The use of synthetic cannabinoids, including synthetic Delta 8, carries potential risks to public health. Adverse events related to synthetic cannabinoids have been documented, emphasizing the importance of responsible usage and further research. Third-party testing and purchasing from reputable sources can ensure product purity and safety, regardless of whether Delta 8 is derived from hemp or synthesized.

Controversies and Debates

The debate surrounding synthetic versus natural cannabinoids has led to differing opinions from various stakeholders. Industry experts, researchers, medical professionals, and consumers all have varying perspectives on the safety, accessibility, and ethical concerns of synthetic Delta 8 products. Public perception and media coverage influence consumer attitudes and choices, making informed decision-making crucial.

Making an Informed Choice

To differentiate between synthetic Delta 8 and products derived from hemp, consumers should read product labels, check for third-party lab reports, and buy from reputable vendors. Additionally, consumers must consider legality, product quality, and intended usage to make responsible choices regarding Delta 8 products.


Delta 8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid with potential medicinal properties that have sparked debates regarding its synthetic nature, safety, and legality. Understanding the distinctions between hemp-derived and synthetic Delta 8 products is essential for consumers to ensure their well-being. In an ever-evolving landscape, informed decision-making is crucial to navigate the complexities of Delta 8 and its role in the cannabis and hemp industry while safeguarding public health.


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