We live in a world where cannabis edibles are becoming more common, so it’s no surprise a new snack has appeared to shake things up a bit. After munching on CBD gummies for a while now, we can now enjoy delta-8-THC gummies too. But wait — do you even know what those are?
As an isomer of delta-9-THC (or the standard THC as we all know it), delta-8-THC is comparable to its close cousin in that their molecular formulas are identical. However, it is not as potent as regular THC. Ultimately, this gives it an advantage in the industry since it can make the whole experience of consuming cannabis a bit easier on us all.
One issue we’ve run into is that the market for this cannabinoid isn’t so vast; truthfully, not many brands are eager to invest the time and money needed to test their products and verify their effectiveness.
But lo and behold, we have found three brands that can honestly say they have some of the best delta-8-THC gummies right now. Let’s learn more about them.
Best Delta-8-THC Gummies on the Market
Paving the way for other brands looking to get into the delta-8-THC business is Area52, a brand that specializes in making gummies, vapes, and tinctures out of delta-8-THC distillate. It currently has only one gummy variety to offer — but oh, is it a good one!
For one, each gummy has 25 mg of delta-8, which is a fairly potent dose for most users. Usually, we’d take about one to two gummies per day to reap all the benefits and none of the consequences. But the brand also says that we can cut it in half for a lower dose.
Another thing we love about these gummies is that they come in our favorite fruity flavors. The bag contains 30 gummies in total and an assortment of flavors, such as pineapple, green apple, and strawberry. And yes, these are all-natural flavorings, and the gummies are even sweetened with natural sweeteners. The well-known publishers LA Weekly and Observer recently ranked them as the top Delta 8 THC brand in 2021.
The gummies are also non-GMO, gluten-free, and suitable for vegans, and the delta-8-THC in them is derived from organic US hemp using pressurized CO2. The best part, however, is that the company tests their potency and purity in independent labs. It even publishes the results online.
2. Finest Labs
Then we have Finest Labs, which offers a good option for beginners or those who are more into micro-dosing. Its gummies contain 25mg of delta-8 and are made using broad-spectrum hemp extract. The company also takes advantage of terpenes to perfect the formula. The final result is gummies that can mellow you out but not overpower you.
Much like Area52, Finest Labs also tests its products in third-party labs to ensure they’re safe and potent. However, despite the quality, they may not be the most affordable option out there, especially if someone has a high tolerance or prefers higher doses.
Finally, we have 3Chi, a company that boasts a rather wide range of products for this market. As one of the industry pioneers, 3Chi has had time to perfect formulas and discover new ways to thrill its target audience. Naturally, this has resulted in the brand offering not one but two gummy varieties.
The regular gummies come in two flavors, Black Raspberry and Watermelon, and there are two quantities to choose from. With a pack of 8, we get 200 mg, whereas, with a pack of 16, we can enjoy 400 mg of delta-8-THC. Each gummy offers 25 mg in total.
The other variety is similar but might be a better option for those looking for extreme relief. 3Chi’s Delta-8-THC:CBN gummies contain a 1:1 blend of both compounds (12,5 mg each), and there’s even some CBC in there too. This version, however, only comes in one flavor.
So does the brand have any faults? Well, it tests its products thoroughly, so we applaud that effort. We’d just like a bit more transparency in terms of its hemp source and more information about the process of acquiring delta-8-THC at 3Chi.
Delta-8-THC Gummies 101: What Are They Exactly?
Most of us have only heard of regular THC before, or rather, delta-9-THC. For so long, we might have even believed that’s the only type of THC we can enjoy.
But there are various types of THC, and one of them is delta-8-THC, the regular THC’s close psychoactive cousin.
As mentioned, both of these share an identical molecular structure. Yet, there is a slight difference that helps set them apart.
Both have a double bond in their structures, which could be the reason they can intoxicate us. But this structure isn’t arranged the same way in both compounds. In delta-9, that bond is found on the ninth carbon (each has a chain of carbon atoms). In its cousin, delta-8, it’s on the eighth.
Because of this, the effects aren’t the same either; delta-8 is half as potent as delta-9. Naturally, it then comes with fewer and less serious side effects.
For example, delta-9 can potentially crank up anxiety and paranoia in users in uncomfortable amounts. Delta-8, on the other hand, doesn’t cause as much mental discomfort, which gives it a huge advantage among users, especially those who may be too sensitive to marijuana.
The main differences between these two molecules are as follows:
Delta-9 Is Stronger Than Delta-8…
If we want to get the same effects of a 10 mg delta-9 gummy, we’d have to double our dosage and go for a 20 mg delta-8 gummy. Because of those changes in the double bond placement, delta-9 is always going to be more potent than its cousin.
…But Our Bodies Don’t Adapt to Delta-9 so Fast
When we’re building tolerance to a substance, we have to keep upping the dosage, as we’ve almost become desensitized to the previous one, i.e., we aren’t experiencing the same effects. With delta-9, tolerance is built much more slowly than with delta-8.
There’s nothing to despair about, however; it’s just as easy to combat tolerance as it is to build it up. We just have to be mindful of our dosages and try to use delta-8 in moderation.
Whether that’s going to be in the form of micro-dosing, taking a gummy or two every other day, or increasing the dosage in reasonable increments that won’t build our tolerance too fast — it’s a personal choice. Plus, even if we’ve built up too much tolerance, we can decrease it in about a week by taking a break.
Delta-9 Generates Stronger Side Effects…
One of the things most cannabis users are scared of is getting high and triggering extreme anxiety and paranoia. That can definitely happen with delta-9 due to its potency. Other potential side effects include physical changes like rapid heart rate, coordination issues, and sedation.
Fortunately, delta-8 seems to avoid those extremes. It generally provides users with a smooth high that keeps the body centered and the mind free from any fogginess. Granted, we can experience some focus loss and tiredness from taking too many delta-8 gummies. But paranoia and anxiety are rarely a cause for concern.
…And It’s Also Fairly Illegal
Over the years, various states have legalized marijuana, but we cannot say that it is legal on a federal level. In contrast, though the situation is still somewhat bleak for delta-8, it is technically legal in all 50 states.
Confused? So were we. But despite hemp and marijuana both being cannabis varieties, they’re seen differently through the lens of the US legal system.
While hemp was removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act in 2018, marijuana still remains on the list and is thus federally legal.
By definition, this means that hemp-derived products containing 0.3% or less of delta-9 are legal in the US. And delta-8 falls in that category, so it should enjoy the same status.
But all is not so peachy, as states have the right to impose their own laws. In the following ones, the ban on delta-8 products has already taken place:
- Rhode Island
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also condemns synthetically extracted products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol and sees them as illegal in the US. This shouldn’t apply to hemp-derived products, as they aren’t made in labs using synthetic compounds. And yet, it all boils down to how DEA sees the law, so any delta-8 companies out there could very well get in trouble over this.
How Companies Make Their Delta-8 THC Gummies
In short, brands use the active form of delta-8, or rather a distillate, and inject it into the base for their gummies. This sort of infusion may be a more reasonable approach for those who don’t like vaping or ingesting tinctures. It’s a satisfying, downright delicious way of mellowing out. Plus, these gummies may have a longer shelf life than other extracts and offer a practical instant dose — you just pop one or two, and that’s it!
Finding the Perfect Dosage
And speaking of dosing, it’s been shown that the average range for these gummies is from 10 to 60 mg. If we take 10 mg, we will only get slightly intoxicated, which does have a few benefits, such as better focus and motivation, less stress, and a tiny bit of euphoria.
For some, this may be enough at the beginning, and we do recommend going with the lowest dosage first to see how you’ll react to delta-8. Once you’re ready to go a bit higher, you can increase your doses by 5 mg until you hit that sweet spot.
In general, those looking for milder effects can go ahead and take one to two 10 mg gummies a day. However, since most gummies come in bags of 30, it may be more cost-effective for some to invest in higher potencies and customize their dosages. After all, you can always half the gummy or even cut it up into quarters to ensure you don’t take too much too soon.
Remember that it’s possible to overdose on delta-8. If we take too much of it, it may sedate us, cause discomfort and fatigue, and even prevent us from focusing properly.
How Safe Are Delta-8-THC Gummies?
Though delta-8-THC requires more research, studies done so far haven’t found conclusive evidence regarding its toxicity. Treading carefully is a must, though.
Yes, delta-8 can be taken in high doses without us succumbing to a fatal overdose. But it comes with a few uncomfortable side effects everyone should know about, such as:
- grogginess and fatigue
- dry mouth and eyes
- loss of focus and concentration (impairment)
This feels a lot similar to the side effects we can expect from using CBD. However, the real danger with delta-8 lies in the more sinister ingredients found in various products — contaminants and synthetic additives.
Using Toxic Chemicals to Convert One Compound Into Another
Here’s the kicker: neither marijuana nor hemp can contribute enough delta-8 to produce the amount of distillate needed to make products. Marijuana, of course, may have more of it. Nevertheless, using it is only possible in states that hold a more favorable view of the compound — like those that allow medicinal and recreational use.
Giving up wasn’t an option, so what do manufacturers do? They cannot get enough of delta-8, as it’s not synthesized naturally by cannabis. In fact, it’s only available in trace amounts after delta-9 degrades to cannabinol (CBN).
Well, the solution is to trigger the conversion of CBD into delta-9. From there, manufacturers can synthesize enough delta-8 for their products.
As you can imagine, this is a very precise process involving hazardous substances that requires lots of skill and knowledge — something not many companies can boast about. So, the main problem is that these toxic chemicals can contaminate the final product if they’re not eliminated completely in due time. And the only way to check whether they have been removed is to do a third-party lab analysis.
Removing the Natural Color
Another issue is the use of bleaching agents. A trustworthy company will tell its customer that delta-8-THC comes in the form of a pinkish liquid. An unreliable one will continue to support the long-standing practice of bleaching distillates to achieve transparency — something users have been made to believe is how the substance should look. Naturally, just by trying to get rid of that pink color, a manufacturer can make the product even more toxic, and thus risky.
Rest easy, though, as we have taken this into account while doing our reviews. Our recommendations are made with bleached delta-8-THC, so they’re much safer than some of their competitors.
How to Choose the Best Delta-8-THC Gummies for Your Needs
So now that we’ve gone through all the benefits and side effects, how do we choose the best delta-8-THC gummies?
In short, our decision depends on a few crucial factors:
Suitable Source and Extraction Method
Quality hemp is a must if brands want their products to be as safe as possible. That, however, means they have to invest in hemp grown using the best farming practices. It should come from farms with nutrient-rich, clean soil that’s free from any harmful elements, like metals, pollutants, and mold.
Similarly, the extraction method will pave the way toward making the final product safe and pure. Thus, reliable companies use pressurized CO2 extraction, which is expensive but effective, yielding the purest extracts overall.
Third-Party Lab Testing
Going for brands that do third-party lab analysis (and let users see the results) means that we can determine whether a product has the right delta-9 content. If we live in a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, our only option is to go for hemp-derived products. But even then, we have to mind the threshold of 0.3% delta-9-THC; going above that could get us in trouble with the law.
The analysis can also show us whether we’re looking into products that have less delta-8-THC than the label says. Of course, it would even show if the product contains any microbial contaminants, bleaching agents, heavy metals, pesticides, or solvents (e.g., propane, butane, and hexane).
According to Daily CBD, high-quality delta-8-THC gummies will have a simple formula consisting of a natural gummy base, flavorings, and colorings (organic extracts and juices), as well as the distillate. Any artificial additives added to the mix may prolong the shelf life or somewhat improve the flavor. However, they pose a risk in the long run.
Real Testimonials and Reviews
Finally, we must listen to our peers and consider what they’ve said about certain products or companies. Since the market is still in its early days, there’s no telling what kind of a reputation a company has right now. However, we can rely on user reviews found online that detail what consumers thought about the products and if their experiences lean more to the negative.
In the end, we have to be vigilant, as there will always be brands making low-quality products and proclaiming them as the be-all and end-all. But remember — not everything we can see online is true. We should all check third-party websites for negative reviews before going through with the purchase. Still, it is best to be wary about websites like Reddit, which can contain many fake reviews produced by the companies themselves.
A Few Parting Words
Marijuana may still be taboo, but delta-8 may turn things around as soon as more people find out about its milder psychoactive effects and the fact it doesn’t produce the paranoia and anxiety delta-9-THC is known for. Though there’s just a handful of brands we can rely on, we can find the best delta-8-THC gummies by investing some time in proper research. At the very least, we can all learn how to vet a company beforehand and interpret lab test results. After all, with unbiased analysis, we can actually make sure we’re using the safest products and not putting ourselves at risk of toxic chemicals that could ultimately jeopardize our lives.