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Marijuana or cannabis has been popular among teenagers and adults alike, especially after many states have formally legalized its use across the United States. One particular form of cannabis that many people have favored over others is Delta 8, mainly because of its unique effects. As an alternative to traditional marijuana products, Delta 8 is thought to offer milder results with much fewer risks, attracting people to use and abuse it. However, there is not enough information on the addiction potential of Delta 8, which warrants caution of use until experts have more solid data on it. Until then, it is important to understand what this formulation is, how it differs from regular marijuana, and what to expect from its use.
An Overview of Delta 8 THC and its Legal Status
Delta 8 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the active compounds found in cannabis. It is similar to the more common Delta-9 THC, the compound found in most marijuana products on the market, except that the former is slightly weaker regarding producing psychoactive effects. While delta-9 THC remains illegal in many states, Delta 8 has been legalized after the 2018 Farm Bill, making it acceptable to grow and extract as long as it comes from hemp.
This recently acquired legal status is the biggest reason why Delta 8 is becoming more popular in younger communities of drug users. Additionally, people who have been using the Delta 9 marijuana products are also switching to Delta 8 alternatives as they are easier to find and purchase. These Delta 8 products are available in different forms, and users can vape, smoke, or ingest them in the form of edibles as per need. Because of the relatively weaker high, many people also believe the Delta 8 variants are safe and not likely to cause addiction.
Despite being easily accessible, the legal status of Delta 8 is still in the gray area in many places. Many people use the Federal Farm Bill to justify its legality; however, the bill only states hemp and its byproducts to be legally used and does not specifically mention Delta 8 anywhere, which may confuse things. Nevertheless, the product is slowly becoming widely available across the country. This widespread use and availability also warrant caution, as many manufacturers have started manufacturing substandard variants that mix Delta 8 with other psychoactive substances to improve its euphoric effects. These hidden ingredients are not disclosed most of the time and may put a user’s health in jeopardy.
Identifying the Symptoms Of Delta 8 Addiction
Many people undergoing Delta 8 addiction deny having a problem, especially in the beginning. Such individuals have a hard time realizing how their excessive drug use is affecting their lives and relationships with others until the damage becomes irreversible. Loved ones are usually the first ones to notice the unusual addiction symptoms and can help these people get out of the addiction cycle through professional help and support.
If you suspect that you or someone has been abusing Delta 8 and has likely developed an addiction, look out for the following symptoms:
- Continuing to use Delta 8 to avoid experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms
- Inability to cut back or stop using Delta 8
- Not owning up to the drug problem with others
- Planning your daily schedule around using the substance
- Becoming mentally preoccupied with using Delta 8
- Spending excessive time and money in fueling the substance use
- Inability to eat, sleep, or focus without being under the influence
- Constantly increasing the dose of Delta 8 to feel the same high
- Paying no attention to personal and professional life
Is Delta 8 Dangerous? The Risk of Withdrawal
Despite acquiring legal status in many states across the United States for both recreational and medical use, Delta 8 remains a Schedule I drug as per the Controlled Substances Act. Experts have been facing lots of challenges in commencing cannabis research due to supply and regulatory barriers, and, as a result, our knowledge about its health effects and risks of using Delta 8 remains limited.
Many people have persistent misconceptions regarding Delta 8’s effects on the body and mind due to these constraints. Some believe this variant leads to milder euphoric effects; hence, it is not addictive or dangerous. However, it is crucial to remember that Delta 8 still falls under the category of psychoactive drugs and can lead to dependence and addiction, especially if used with other similar substances.
Moreover, like with any other psychoactive drug, there is always a risk of developing physiological and psychological dependence on Delta 8. However, Delta 8 THC withdrawal is likely to be different than the one experienced by opioid users in a way that it comprises more mental and emotional symptoms than physical problems. Regardless of the nature of these withdrawal symptoms, they are often severe enough to interfere with daily life and relationships.
Mentioned below are some of the most common Delta 8 withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms generally begin within 24 hours of consuming the last dose and are likely to peak within 3 days, following which they gradually subside. Some people may continue experiencing them for a few weeks. The physical symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Cold sweats
- Muscle pain
- Hot flashes
Mental withdrawal symptoms of Delta 8 may include the following:
- Mood swings
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
If you or someone you know has been suffering from Delta 8 addiction and undergoing withdrawal symptoms, seeking professional help is the right way to move forward. Some withdrawal symptoms mentioned above can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening; hence, going through the process under expert supervision is safe.
Delta 8 THC Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
The Delta 8 THC withdrawal timeline can vary depending on how much of this drug they are using, their tolerance level, duration of use, and other personal factors. Some people may start experiencing the symptoms within a few hours following the last dose, while others may not feel anything for days or weeks. The intensity of these symptoms may also vary depending on the total duration for which a person has been using Delta 8.
Below is a general breakdown of the withdrawal symptoms based on the timeline following the last dose.
23-48 hours following the last dose
Most people start experiencing the initial milder withdrawal symptoms during this timeframe, typically including aggression, mood swings, nightmares, and a lack of sleep. Some also find it difficult to maintain focus and concentrate on anything.
3-5 days following the last dose
As the withdrawal progresses, additional symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, depression, and headaches, kick in. Many people also lose their appetite and do not feel like eating anything, which de-energizes them.
One week following the last dose
Within one week, most people have started developing the peak symptoms. Sometimes, these symptoms may become severe and include issues like tremors, delusions, and hallucinations.
Possible long-term withdrawal effects
While most people get out of the withdrawal phase within a few days, others are at high risk of experiencing some complications in the long run, such as schizophrenia or psychosis.
Professional Help for Delta 8 Addiction
While the potential is low, Delta 8 can still induce addiction in many people, which can be extremely difficult to come off without a proper plan. The earliest step for Delta 8 addiction and withdrawal management is understanding what to expect from the process and familiarizing yourself with the common withdrawal symptoms. Remember that the treatment experience can vary from person to person, and some may struggle more than the others in terms of coping; however, seeking professional help can make the experience less challenging.
Fortunately, many rehabilitation centers offer help to people fighting Delta 8 addiction. The immersive inpatient and outpatient programs these facilities offer provide care and support at multiple levels so that users can adopt a sobriety path that they find the most convenient. Following are the levels of care a rehab is likely to offer to its patients for Delta 8 addiction:
- Inpatient Treatment: This level of care offers the most intensive, rigorous, and well-structured support and treatment for people with severe Delta 8 addiction. Clients remain on site under medical supervision throughout treatment and participate in therapy and other recreational activities as needed.
- Partial Hospitalization Program: This level of care is similar to a day treatment program that offers therapy and support during fixed hours during the week. Clients can go home after finishing their daily treatment.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs): These programs are less intensive than partial hospitalization programs and offer limited hours of therapy on selected days of the week. All therapy sessions occur under a dedicated team’s supervision, including a therapist, doctor, and case managers.
- Virtual Programs: Many rehabs offer telehealth sessions that clients can remotely attend without visiting the rehab in person.
- Evening IOPs: These sessions occur during evening hours to accommodate people with other jobs or personal responsibilities during the daytime.
How do people take Delta 8?
Delta-8 compounds are taken similarly to Delta-9 THC products or any other forms of marijuana. People can get it as vaping products or use its plant form to roll a joint or smoke it through a pipe or pong. Some of them also like putting Delta 8 into gummies and candies.
What is the difference between Delta 8 and marijuana?
Delta 8 is quite similar to the regular Delta 9 THC, the only difference being that the former is less potent. Despite having a similar structure, Delta 9 is slightly different on an atomic level, allowing it to produce a milder effect than Delta 9. Additionally, Delta 8 is legal in most parts of the United States, whereas marijuana’s legal status may vary from one state to another.
Can you get addicted to Delta 8?
“Is Delta 8 addictive?” is a common question that many people using marijuana legally and illegally are interested in. So far, scientists have no evidence to determine if Delta 8 is addictive or not. However, some sources believe it can be habit-forming and lead to tolerance over time. Hence, experts advise using it cautiously until further studies confirm the addiction status.
Will I develop Delta 8 withdrawal symptoms if I quit using it?
Delta 8 is one of the active ingredients found in cannabis; many people have been using it for some time now. However, experts still do not have enough data to determine if it will lead to withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the substance. While the majority have reported not feeling anything significant, some people did go through mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using this substance. The most commonly reported symptoms include irritability, difficulty sleeping, and physical discomfort. What’s important to remember is that these symptoms typically lasted for a few days and were mostly mild.
What are the side effects of using Delta 8?
The following are the side effects of using Delta 8 daily:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Troubled breathing
- Mood swings
Remember that these side effects may vary from one person to another.
Can Delta 8 cause depression?
As per studies investigating THC and its effects on mental health, depression is one of the likely side effects of using this compound.