With cannabis still illegal in Wisconsin, citizens are turning to Delta-8 as an alternative. It’s a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, separate from Delta-9 (regular THC). Although the chemical compounds are different, the sensations are quite similar.
The 2018 Farm Bill, which ended the federal prohibition on growing hemp, legalized the sale of Delta-8. However, some states implemented their own bans against it. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah.
While Delta-8 is legal in Wisconsin, it can still show up on drug tests as positive, as there is no way to differentiate between the different isomers of THC.
Delta-8 is roughly 50-70% as effective as Delta-9. Stronger than CBD, it still provides a psychoactive euphoria comparable to the high of regular cannabis, albeit less bold.
“It’s kind of like a diet weed scenario.” Said August Battles, CEO, and Co-Founder of Vance Global Inc., a CBD shop in Milwaukee that sells Delta-8. “You still get the relaxation, the anti-inflammatory. You still get the ‘high’ so to speak. But it’s not as intense. You don’t become forgetful. You don’t get as paranoid. In a time when cannabis potency has skyrocketed, it’s kind of like smoking a joint from the 90s.”
While some may view the gentle high of Delta-8 as a disappointment compared to THC, others see it as a positive.
“It takes a lighter toll on you; but, you still get all the feels of the real deal.” Said Hunter Reed, 25-year old Green Bay native and Delta-8 user. “You’re a little more aware, a little more socially connected. It’s better for a more energetic setting where you don’t feel subdued and withdrawn.”
Wisconsin and Cannabis
Aside from recreation, many Wisconsinites find medical benefits in Delta-8. Some people use the cannabinoid as a refuge from alcohol, prescription medication, insomnia, and nausea. Early research shows Delta-8 aiding in tumor reduction.
“Just the feedback we’ve gotten from our customers off using the Delta-8 has been night and day,” said Zach Rowe of Hazy Daze CBD in Milwaukee. “I’ve seen tremendous benefits in terms of people relieving pain. If they’re going through an anxious period or they’re down and depressed, we’ve noticed it providing people with the uplifting aspects of your life.”
Delta-8 can be found in a variety of forms, including concentrates, edibles, vapes, and cigarettes. Vance Global Inc. and Hazy Dayz both began selling Delta-8 in the past year. It is currently their most popular item. With the rate of cannabis legalization spreading exponentially across the country, both Battles and Rowe expressed optimism in Wisconsin overturning within the next few years. Until then, Wisconsin residents can hold themselves over with Delta-8.