Nickolas Jarosh started smoking marijuana after his shifts as a 911 dispatcher. He’d flip between working days and nights, and the inconsistent schedule made it difficult to fall asleep. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, helped, he said.
Jarosh, 29, who now lives outside Houston, no longer works a job that forces him to keep inconsistent hours. He also no longer has access to marijuana, which he said had also been helping to ease his anxiety and depression.
But four months ago, he found a substitute: a federally legal form of the psychoactive compound called delta-8 THC. Now, he orders it from a company in Boston that works it into gummies, chocolates and vape cartridges.
“Delta-8 makes a huge difference in being able to relax, clear my mind and get to sleep. I wake up feeling more rested,” said Jarosh, who has also tried cannabidiol, or CBD, products, which he said help a little, but not enough.
“Switching to CBD products that also have delta-8 has made a huge difference. It’s not quite as potent as delta-9, but it’s very similar,” he said.
When people talk about THC, they’re typically talking about delta-9 THC. That’s the chemical responsible for the high associated with marijuana. But it’s not the only compound found in cannabis.
The cannabis plant contains more than 500 chemical compounds, including 100 cannabinoids, like CBD and various forms of THC.
Although some states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, on a federal level, the plant remains listed as a Schedule I drug, a tier reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medicinal benefit, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration
However, the legality of the plant’s individual compounds, including delta-8 THC, falls into a gray area.
Thanks to a loophole in the 2018 farm bill, delta-8 THC is