Delta-8 Banned in Arkansas
Arkansas marijuana patients are legally allowed to use a variety of cannabis products to treat approved conditions by the state. Recreationally, cannabis is still illegal to possess in Arkansas, but hemp and hemp-derived products can be grown or purchased legally. One of these cannabis products that many across the Country have begun using recreationally is Delta-8.
While there’s some confusion as to whether Delta-8 is legal or not, Arkansas lawmakers have been clear about its status in the Natural State: it isn’t legal.
And its legal status may not be the main reason why Delta-8 isn’t used by Arkansas marijuana patients.
In this Arkansas Marijuana Card guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Delta-8, what it is, and why it’s illegal in Arkansas.
What is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis plants, including hemp and can be synthesized from both hemp or marijuana.
It shares its chemical similarity with Delta-9-THC in that they both have double bonds in their molecular chain.
The main difference being that the bond in Delta-8 is on the 8th carbon chain, and the bond in Delta-9 is on the 9th carbon chain.
This may sound like a small difference for someone not up to date on their high school chemistry, but this small change in the order of carbons makes a significant impact on what the cannabinoid does, and how it works in our body.
How Does Delta-8 Work?
Since Delta-9 and Delta-9 both share similarities in their chemical structure, their effects are also comparable.
Delta-8 reportedly produces a familiar euphoric “high” to that of Delta-9-THC, followed by improved mood and relaxation, an increase in appetite, and decreased nausea and anxiety.
Although Delta-8 is reported to have similar effects to Delta-9-THC, they are not the same. Delta-8 seems to produce slightly lighter effects, although depending on dosage they might even be stronger.
Smoking Delta-8 is not common, as most cannabis flower doesn’t contain a significant amount of Delta-8 to experience any meaningful effects from.
Why Delta-8 is Not as Effective as THC
Delta-8 begins to work the same way as Delta-9-THC, by introducing itself to the endocannabinoid system and binding to CB1 receptors.
However, because of the difference in shape between the two compounds, Delta-8 is not as efficient in fitting into the CB1 receptor as Delta-9-THC and is therefore less effective at the same job.
Once it begins binding to CB1 receptors, the difference in chemical structure starts to become important.
Delta-8 Not as Great of a “Fit” as THC
Since the double bond is in the 8th carbon chain, the overall shape of Delta-8 is slightly different than Delta-9-THC.
This makes fitting into the CB1 receptor a more challenging job for Delta-8, and as such it’s not as efficient in binding to the receptor as Delta-9-THC.
This is likely why Delta-8 is reported to produce somewhat lighter effects than Delta-9-THC, Delta-8 just has a harder time fitting into the CB1 receptor.
This doesn’t mean that the experience is always light however, Delta-8 can be a strong sedative and should be introduced with caution and moderation for first time users.
Is Delta-8 Legal in Arkansas?
Delta-8 is illegal in Arkansas.
In fact, Arkansas has specific generalized legislature that would prevent any “THC-like” compound from being recreationally legal.
Although Delta-8 is legal in many states, it lives in a federal grey area.
Because Delta-8 can be synthesized from both hemp and marijuana plants, it currently falls under a federal grey area after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.
According to the bill, products derived from hemp are considered legal.
Products derived from marijuana are of course, still federally illegal.
But since Delta-8 can be synthesized from both hemp and marijuana, it could be derived from hemp and considered legal even though the compound is identical regardless of the plant it is synthesized from.
Why is Delta-8 Banned in Arkansas?
The reason why Delta-8 is banned in Arkansas is because of specific language in legislation passed in 2019, and later amended in 2021.
Act 565 is an amendment for the industrial hemp production rules in Arkansas, and it contains the language that prohibits the sale and distribution of Delta-8 as a legal product in Arkansas.
In the language, all mentions of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are referenced as “tetrahydrocannabinols”, of which obviously Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol belongs.
The Act details that hemp production and cultivation must contain no more “tetrahydrocannabinol concentration” than federally permissible, which is under 0.3%.
Not Delta-9, or Delta-8.
Just THC in general, as a generic and overreaching description.
Since Delta-8 is a tetrahydrocannabinol, Arkansas considers it an illegal substance whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana.
Why Medical Marijuana Patients Choose THC Over Delta-8
Because Delta-8 is less efficient, less regulated, and less available than Delta-9-THC, most medical marijuana patients continue to seek relief from traditionally available cannabis products.
There are also fewer studies and much less research on the efficiency of Delta-8 medically, while much more research has been ongoing for quite some time with Delta-9 and other cannabinoids within the plant.
While Delta-8 may show promise in medical applications in the future, the large majority of medical knowledge regarding the specific compound is unknown.
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