Delta-8 Products: The Smart ChoiceOctober 31, 2021
Delta-8 products are a family of cannabinoid receptor agonists that produce effects in humans which closely resemble those produced by Cannabis. Delta-8 comes from the trans isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), THC is delta-9, with none of the psychoactive effects associated with it. The reason for development was to provide a compound that could be used as an experimental agent in humans in order to further study the Cannabinoid system without producing subjective effects. It was also hoped that Delta 8 might have clinical applications in treating conditions such as pain and wasting syndrome at home, which have been shown to be relieved through interaction at receptors belonging to the cannabinoid class. A drug based on this compound would need to go through Phase I clinical trials before being tested in patients, rather than being given directly to patients as is usually done with drugs that are still under clinical development.
The only psychoactive cannabinoid receptor agonist that can be administered experimentally to humans without producing subjective effects is dronabinol (Marinol), the dextrorotatory stereoisomer of THC, but this compound has a number of drawbacks. It is orally active and so must be administered by mouth, at least for Phase I studies where it would have to compete against naturally occurring cannabinoids such as anandamide. Its half-life in humans is less than 4 hours, or 6 hours if taken with food, making frequent administration necessary if exploration of its dose/response profile was required. Dronabinol is also a controlled substance, as are all-natural and synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists that have psychoactive effects. This makes it difficult to obtain the drug, both for research purposes and for current clinical use.
Delta-8 THC has never been administered to humans, although there is some evidence from animal studies that it could be a useful therapeutic agent in a number of ways. It cannot easily be smoked because of its very low boiling point but would have to be vaporized or used in an inhaler if this was desired effect. There has been no human testing of delta 8 onlineas a medication because of unfavorable comparisons with dronabinol made by researchers who were studying different pharmacological properties between the two compounds. The investigators found that while delta-8 THC has little if any psychoactive effect in humans, unlike dronabinol it actually potentiates the analgesic activity of morphine at low doses. Unlike the natural agonist anandamide, both Delta 8 THC and dronabinol produce signs of physical dependence when given to animals chronically by injection or inhalation. At one point it looked as though Delta 8 THC might have had clinical application in that its long terminal half-life appeared to be ideal for treating pain patients who required continuous relief over long periods of time, but these results were later questioned on pharmacokinetic grounds.