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What to Expect in This Episode

In this somewhat unique episode, Tim joins Utah in the Weeds co-host Chris Holifield and Zion Medicinal chief science officer Blake Smith to talk about the similarities and differences between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC.

For starters, this podcast will introduce you to the idea of cannabinoid isomers. [03:58] That’s what Delta 8 and Delta 9 are. They are isomers with different characteristics that affect the endocannabinoid system in specific ways. Processors are very interested in these isomers for the purposes of creating more specialized product profiles.

Blake discussed the fact that Delta 8 is highly regulated in Utah. [07:07] It is only allowed medically, while other states do not even test for it. This causes concern for some medical professionals, including Tim, because patients could be consuming Delta 8 in out-of-state products without knowing it. Unfortunately, even some non-products produced and sold in Utah contain Delta 8.

Eventually, the discussion transitioned to the medical benefits of both isomers. [13:30] Delta 8 seems to be more beneficial for relieving pain because it delivers a body high rather than a mental high. Delta 9 is more appropriate for treatment goals involving its psychoactive effects.

Following the appropriateness of both isomers, Tim and Blake turned to discuss how Delta 8 is synthesized from Delta 9. [27:26] It can be done organically, but most processors do it chemically. That bothers Blake and Tim to the extent that they recommend not inhaling Delta 8 products. They also recommend only using properly-tested products.

This episode contains a lot of technical information relating to chemistry. It is probably in your wheelhouse if you appreciate the science behind Medical Cannabis. If you’re just an average user trying to decide between the two isomers, there is helpful information in this podcast for you too.

Resources in This Episode

Podcast Transcript

Tim Pickett:

Basically, let’s welcome everybody out. This is a joint venture of Discover Marijuana and Utah in the Weeds. Discover Marijuana with Tim and Blake. I’m Tim Pickett, and we’ve got Blake Smith, who you can see masked up. And at the airport just joining us back perfect timing Blake, to join us. We’re going to talk about Delta 8 versus Delta 9 today. And I’m going to share my screen and do some intros just to get started so you guys can all learn who we are, if you don’t know who we are.

Tim Pickett:

I’m going to share the sound here, the PowerPoint. So we’re going to talk about Delta 8 versus Delta 9, which is a really great topic. We’re going to cover both Delta 8 and Delta 9, we’ll cover the benefits, we’ll talk about the questions between the two why one might be better than the other for certain things, how they fit specifically in Utah from a medical market perspective. So let me introduce myself. I’m Tim Pickett. I’m the founder of utahmarijuana.org, and Utah Therapeutic Health Center. I’m the host of Discover Marijuana and one of the CO hosts of Utah in the Weeds podcast. I happen to be voted the best QMP in Utah, which is awesome. I really appreciate that. We’ve got Blake Smith there.

Blake Smith:

I don’t know Tim, I voted for you like 10 times.

Tim Pickett:

Nice. So we got Blake Smith, he’s the Chief Science Officer at Zion Medicinal. Also the other co-host of Discover Marijuana. We do a lot of educational YouTube stuff. Blake, do you want to add anything there? He left?

Blake Smith:

Well, no, I’m here. I don’t know. What else should I add? My background is bio analytical chemistry and I love doing this.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. And Chris Holifield with us. My co-host on Utah in the Weeds. I’m really glad that you came tonight, Chris, and you could do this with us.

Chris Holifield:

I’m honored to be here.

Tim Pickett:

So, what I think is nice about this group, the three of us is we cover all aspects, right? We cover the medical side from the provider, we’ve got the science from Blake and we’ve got really, Chris you’re like the connoisseur and the cannabis culture guru in Utah.

Chris Holifield:

I don’t know if I go that far. I’m just a regular Joe that enjoys cannabis.

Blake Smith:

And Chris, I voted for you like 10 times as being the connoisseur of Utah.

Tim Pickett:

Okay.

Chris Holifield:

Thank you.

Tim Pickett:

So you can find Blake and I on Discover Marijuana, our YouTube channel. You can also find… you can subscribe. We have a ton of videos there. Here’s one, here’s a little clip of Blake and I. This is a fun little clip. Let me see if I can get it to play.

Blake Smith:

To put it bluntly, one…

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. Nice.

Blake Smith:

What Cheech and Chong were smoking…

Tim Pickett:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Blake Smith:

Is not what we’re smoking today.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

What Cheech and Chong were smoking is not what we’re smoking today, Blake. And Utah in the Weeds podcast, if you’re not familiar with that, it really just cannabis culture in Utah. Yeah, Chris, I mean, we interview…

Chris Holifield:

Yeah. Over 60 episodes with patients and growers and pharmacists. I mean, Blake was on the episode way back, I think episode four. So we’ve chatted with all kinds of people on there.

Tim Pickett:

So tonight, we’re going to talk about and I’ll intro this for us, Blake, Delta 8. Really, let’s focus a little bit on Delta 8 first. Blake, you want to give us a rundown of what exactly Delta 8 is?

Blake Smith:

Yeah. So Delta 8 is an isomer of Delta 9. And basically, the reason why it’s called Delta 9 is because of where the covalent bond is sitting. It’s attached to the ninth carbon on that carbon ring of the THC molecule. So technically, there’s multiple isomers. There’s Delta 8, there’s Delta 9, Delta 6, Delta 10, Delta 11. And so each one of these isomers has different characteristics, in terms of how long it hangs out in endo cannabinoid receptor system one, versus how long it hangs out or moves to endo cannabinoid receptor system two which means it has different targets and they have potentially different therapeutic values. Some are naturally occurring in plants, others are moved through different means either using a catalyst or you could use energetic oxygen and UV light. There’s different ways to create these isomers. Typically you can find Delta 8 in plants, but it’s really small. Usually it’s more of a considered a degradation product if it’s found naturally in plants.

Tim Pickett:

So it’s going to act differently because it’s going to absorb or bind to different receptors?

Blake Smith:

Typically, it has to do with how long it sits in endo one versus endo two. So let me give you an example. So typically speaking, when we think about THC Delta 9, we’re mimicking the dopamine in the central nervous system, your body recognizes THC and knows what to do with it because it acts very similar. But because of where the covalent bond is, and its binding affinity, it tends to stay there for a period of time, which causes a larger psychoactive effect. Delta 8 does not tend to hang out in endo cannabinoid receptor system one for very long. In fact, it moves right to endo cannabinoid receptor system two, which is the cellular uptake of cannabinoids. You find higher reception sites typically around the trunk of your body where you have your organs that will uptake cannabinoids quicker and have more receptor sites in general. And so this is why Delta 8 is often described as a body high. And so can it get you psycho actively high? Yes, it can, but usually not to the same degree that Delta 9 will.

Tim Pickett:

Got it. So let’s talk about the legality of Delta 8 here and the loophole that it falls under, right? Because you can make it from a hemp plant. You can basically like, you’re not really synthesizing it, you’re deriving it from hemp plant, right? But you’re not having to sell it in the medical market, particularly in many states, right?

Blake Smith:

That is correct. So typically, you can take THC Delta 9, and you can do conversion properties with it, and you can get it to move to Delta 8. But the more prevalent, the thing that people are more interested in, is if they can take CBD and make Delta 8 from CBD because the cost is so much better. However, to do that, it requires usually very harsh catalysts to do that. People are using sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid to form that catalytic bridge. In which case, if you don’t get that cleaned up, you can get what I call Frankenstein monsters on an HPLC, high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometer, you’ll see a lot of little peaks. And then you’ll see a peak that comes up that represents your Delta 8, and then you’ll see these other little peaks. Those little peaks can represent impurities and that could be a potential problem.

Blake Smith:

In the state of Utah, we do not allow Delta 8 except in the medical market, and we require 95% purity to do so. Which, this may not be positive, but I think it’s a good rule. Because especially if you’re inhaling it, you don’t want to inhale Frankenstein monsters, you want something that you know is medicinal and has a very, very high quality standard to it.

Tim Pickett:

Okay. So back up just a little bit, because I know, I mean, I have them in my house, CBD Gummies that are not just CBD gummies that were purchased in Utah. And then what you’re saying is that and they’re not labeled Delta 8, but man, they feel just like Delta 8. Is this something that you’re saying it’s essentially not allowed or they’re not labeling it and they’re putting it through in Utah? Or what’s the… Do you know much about that?

Blake Smith:

Yeah, if you’re buying it from out of state, then most states don’t regulate the same way that Utah regulates the Delta 8 market. So you could theoretically come from Florida and you could bring a nerds rope that technically passes the National Farm Bills, Delta 9 standard and point 3% THC, because they don’t recognize Delta 8 or Delta 10 or Delta 6 as a THC derivative. They only are counting Delta 9 and THCA. So if that’s the case, I mean, theoretically, I could put hundreds of milligrams into one of these products and in some states, it’s never even tested and I don’t even have to declare it because they don’t test for it.

Tim Pickett:

Got it.

Blake Smith:

That’s pretty sketch. I mean, if you think about it.

Tim Pickett:

But we’ve talked a lot about this. Now I wanted to get your opinion too, because we talk about it in that QMP, the qualified medical provider and the pharmacy medical provider like working group that I run, or that I’m involved in. One of the big topics, one of our big priorities is to crack down on the testing of these over-the-counter CBD products with Delta 8 in them because there are multiple reports specifically from like, Mindy Mondeo, at Beehive in Brigham City will say, “Look, I get this package, and the patient brings it in. And is like, “Hey, I got this at so and so’s clinic or so and so’s shop. And this did not… this made me feel funny.” Right? And it has Delta 8 in it. But it was purchased here in Utah. So I know these things are getting through. But essentially, it’s because of the federal rules aren’t clear and Utah’s rules are clear. But you could theoretically bring a product in from out of state, or you could almost bring a product in from out of state that meets criteria and then sell it.

Blake Smith:

Yeah, I mean, it would come down to whether or not the Department of Ag can find you and enforce it.

Tim Pickett:

Got it.

Blake Smith:

Now we do know that they’ve done some enforcement and there’s been some people who have had some pretty serious ramifications for that. But yeah, I mean, let’s just say because I have a hemp company as well, I could theoretically make a bunch of gummies if I had wanted to and throw Delta 10 in them, for example. No one is testing for Delta 10. That CBD gummy would never ever show up as having any THC. But Delta 10 is about two thirds more potent than Delta 9. I could get a lot of people really lit really quickly off a Delta 10 gummy product and it would be “fully legal”. This is why having a medical program becomes really, really important because if we’re talking about medicine, you should know everything in it. And I wouldn’t even just say psycho actives, if I have a whole bunch of CBN, or CBG, or CBC in a product you should probably know about those cannabinoids too. What’s to stop me from throwing melatonin in if I don’t declare it?

Blake Smith:

I mean, really the difference with medicine is you should know everything that’s in your product, you should know that it’s been tested to a certain standard. And I would love to know what Chris… Chris, I’ve just thrown a lot of bombs out there in the universe, man. What do you think about all this? I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard some of this before, but I’d love to hear what you think.

Chris Holifield:

About Delta 8?

Blake Smith:

Just everything that Tim and I have been talking about so far, the regulation, how it works, Delta 10 other variants?

Chris Holifield:

Well, my concern is, especially since Delta 8 gets labeled in with more of the hemp industry, the hemp industry wants to be away from the THC industry. So it’s like you start wrapping the two together and it’s just they start… gets in the wrong hands, it can get somebody messed up. Like I shared a story about my mom getting a hold of some Delta 8 actually. I think, Tim heard that story. My mom was given some CBD. And we come to find out later on it has some Delta 8 in it. I mean, it pretty much knocked her out, passed her out on the floor. And to me, for anybody to be able to get that from any store, that doesn’t sit well with me. That needs… That’s just my honest opinion. Because that could have really hurt my mom.

Tim Pickett:

Yep. This is good. Let’s move on to Delta 9 a little bit, right? Let’s talk about Delta 9. We know it’s more commonly known than Delta 8. It’s what gets us high, right? It’s associated with all the psycho activity. And it’s not necessarily associated with I don’t know the Delta 9, we’re talking absorption in the brain, right, Blake?

Chris Holifield:

I think he froze up on us.

Tim Pickett:

I think Blake might have froze. And I can go through a little bit of this. But really, it’s going to bind pretty well with the endo cannabinoid system one, CB one receptors, Delta 9. When we talk about them together, Delta 8 versus Delta 9, we really are… we’re really going to talk about, from a medical standpoint, we’re talking about the benefits of each. So Delta 9 is associated with pain relief from this psycho activity, right? You’re disassociating yourself from the pain. Whereas Delta 8’s pain relief is more peripherally absorbed and it’s more of that body high sensation. So it may be in fact “more pain relieving”, but it’s not as disassociating.

Tim Pickett:

So some people really like that idea because it doesn’t get them high. And other people will say, “Well, this Delta 8 product doesn’t work.” Because they’re used to that psycho activity. And so I think from that, from the pain relief perspective, you’ve got to… it’s about setting expectations first, before using the product and then knowing what you’re using. Delta 8 is really well known for anti-nausea. It’s also really well known. Here, we didn’t list it, but it’s also very well used for GI, and like Blake was saying it absorbs really well in the trunk area of the body in the GI system. So it tends to help people with more abdominal pain or more GI upset issues, things like that, just because there’s a lot more receptors there.

Tim Pickett:

Blake, we’re talking about the comparison between Delta 8 and Delta 9 from a medical standpoint. We’ve got the psycho activity and the dissociation of Delta 9, where we have that peripherally absorbed Delta 8 and the benefits of anti-anxiety, for example, where you may get better anti-anxiety from the Delta 8 product, because it’s not as bi-phasic or it doesn’t cause increased anxiety at high doses like Delta 9 does.

Blake Smith:

Yeah. Sorry, Tim, I missed the question I cut out for a minute. But discussing the medical benefits for Delta 8 versus Delta 9, is that where we’re at?

Tim Pickett:

Yeah, basically. We’re talking about what Delta 9 is better for and what Delta 8 is better for.

Blake Smith:

Sure.

Tim Pickett:

Talking a lot about about trunk issues and abdominal pain issues for Delta 8.

Blake Smith:

Yeah, that’s absolutely right. When we think about Delta 8, I mean, the first thing that immediately comes to mind are cancer patients, people who are on chemotherapy that causes nausea, upset stomach, even if you are just taking medications say, antibiotics that cause disruption in the stomach, like… anyway, there’s a slew of them. But those are immediately the things that come to mind. Also IBS, if you’re talking about colitis, and some of those things, Delta 8 can have a much better effect for those. Also, if you’re just in pain, it can help take the edge off. And so without inhibiting cerebral function in any way, shape, or form, if you’re looking to have a long lasting psychoactive effect, Delta 8 could be a disappointment for you.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah.

Blake Smith:

Especially if you have tons of Delta 9 in the system, or are used to Delta 9 in the system, Delta 8 could be not the right product for you, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Tim Pickett:

Right. Like we talk a lot about patient specific medical care. And we can move on from this slide, I think, because when we’re talking about why bother with Delta 8, well, this is a good example. I’m going to show this video of you and I Blake talking in your lab, about the lady with hand arthritis.

Blake Smith:

Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

It works.

Blake Smith:

One of my favorite stories ever is we had this little bit older woman who said, “I’ve had arthritis for the last 30 years, and I have tried everything with my doctor everything. And there’s no way…” her fingers were actually bent, she couldn’t unlock her fingers. And she is just pointing me like that. “So there’s nothing you can do to do this. I’ve lived with this my whole life.” And so we rub some balm on her knuckles. And I said, “This is going to be a great moment for you to prove me wrong.” And then after a couple minutes, she’s like, “Now see, I told you.” And she’s pointing and moving her fingers and they were completely locked before which again, you don’t have to be a believer. It just works when it’s real medicine.

Tim Pickett:

That can be about both Delta 8 and Delta 9. But the really that patient specific guideline, you’ve got a 68 year old gentleman who gets dizzy, who has some type of cancer and needs pain relief, but doesn’t have a lot of experience with that psycho-activity, perfect patient for a high Delta 8 product versus a Delta 9. You’ve got a 32 year old woman who is used to Delta 9, has smoked weed for years on and off maybe. And she’s not going to get… she might pick up the lemon dream vape cart that I’ve got here the box and she might think, “Gosh, this thing isn’t strong enough.” Right? Because it’s going to be weighted heavily to Delta 8 versus Delta 9. So in that patient I’m going to recommend Delta 9 product.

Blake Smith:

Yeah, I mean, you’re exactly right, Tim. I mean, one of the other ways to think about some of this is why… there’s all these other cannabinoids, why do we even use Delta 9 or some of these other cannabinoids. The fact of the matter is, there is therapeutic value. One of the greatest things that we have found in cannabis science, especially around the entourage effect is THC has a higher absorption rate than CBD or some of the other cannabinoids do. And so when you pair some THC with other cannabinoids, the overall effect is ultimately better. And so the other thing that’s really cool about that is because you have higher cellular absorption rates with THC, and that can be both Delta 9 and Delta 8, and I’m assuming that that’s the same for other analogs. But I have another test to run on that. But yes.

Blake Smith:

And so in a balm, in some of those types of things, a topical as much as you can throw in almost the better because it’s a localized effect right there with multiple cannabinoids, including CBD for inflammation. And so Delta 9… and there’s other great purposes to Delta 9 too. I think particularly of somebody who is doing cognitive behavioral therapy, and who has very low levels of THC for them to reward new behavior trends set forth between them and their specialists that they’re seeing is a positive way to reinforce new behaviors. It’s a reward system for the brain.

Blake Smith:

I mean, there are plenty of places where THC Delta 9 is extremely appropriate. The thing that I think is interesting is the rec market tends to say Delta 8 has no value. It’s a cheap, synthoid version of Delta 9. And so that’s not the real stuff. And what I would say is, I think that’s actually a pretty ignorant position to take. The whole point of almost all medicine that’s been created since the beginning of time has come from finding plants, mostly plant extracts, finding out what medicinal properties they have, extracting those properties, and then figuring out their mechanisms of action, and then using those specific isolates to make medicine. You can look at aspirin and see the salicylic acid. You can get that from birch trees. You can…

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. White willow bark, right?

Blake Smith:

Yeah. Willow bark. Thank you. willow bark. Yep. There’s a whole bunch of different natural remedies, that basically are the exact same compounds that we now create.

Tim Pickett:

All right. Your dandelion tea for the diuretic, your willow bark.

Blake Smith:

Yeah. I mean, there’s tons and tons of examples of this.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. And we’re not always having to… so the benefit from both is that patient specific therapy. So from a rec market side, yeah, maybe there is less value for Delta 8 on the rec side. I mean, maybe that’s true.

Blake Smith:

I think that’s probably true. I think that is probably true.

Tim Pickett:

But from the medical side, there’s going to be a lot of people who really benefit from a more tailored approach, right? That’s what we could call it?

Blake Smith:

No, I think that’s absolutely the right way. For a perfect example of this, why would you take aspirin, versus Tylenol, versus ibuprofen, right? All three of those are designed to do a similar function, they technically metabolized differently, one is stomach metabolized one is intestinally metabolized, the other is liver metabolized. They actually, mechanism do something slightly different from each other and so there’s a time and a place where aspirin is appropriate. Taking half a Tylenol a day will not thin your blood whereas taking half an aspirin a day would. And so, even in pain we need to think about medicinal properties of the individual cannabinoids including isomers.

Tim Pickett:

So do you find that there’s going to be more… so if there’s Delta 8, Delta 9, and so if somebody is a flower connoisseur. They like flower. They’re going to get a higher Delta 9 product versus Delta 8, right? Because it’s not really made in high quantities in the plant itself so-

Blake Smith:

Yeah, generally speaking that’s correct.

Tim Pickett:

So, you’re going to be looking for, from a Delta 8 perspective product wise, you’re going to be looking for products that are cartridges, tinctures, bombs, things like that.

Blake Smith:

Yeah. And you might include gelatinous cubes in Utah, right?

Tim Pickett:

Yeah, edibles.

Blake Smith:

There are some other products edibles, you might find Delta 8 products in those. But again, usually speaking, you’re going to pair that Delta 8 with other cannabinoids as well. Because I would be hesitant to say that any one single cannabinoid by itself without any other values, probably is not the right medicine either.

Tim Pickett:

Right. Chris, what do you think about the products? Have you tried a lot of products with Delta 8? Chris might have frozen too. That’s okay. I think, I mean I recommend, for example, I have a lemon dream vape cart box here and it’s fairly high, it’s about two thirds Delta 8 versus one third Delta 9. And I find myself recommending this cartridge all the time to patients who are new to the cannabis scene like the don’t have a lot of experience with Delta 9, and that psycho-activity. But I have also had patients come back to me and say, “Wow, that lemon dream wasn’t very strong, it’s not strong enough.” But it’s always patients who have a little higher tolerance for THC, for Delta 9, or they’re looking for something more disassociating and less of the Delta 8 effect. When you ingest Delta 8 versus Delta 9, is there a difference between the absorption?

Blake Smith:

Yeah, so Delta 8 absorbs quicker. And there’s actually ways to even increase that if you like normal type something. What we have found say for example with the Plush Gummies produced by Zion, they are typically 10 milligrams of Delta 9 and 10 milligrams of Delta 8. And you will feel Delta 8 start to affect you at 45 minutes almost to the tea. And you’ll feel this immediate relaxing and body sensation, and then between an hour and five, and an hour and 15 minutes, you’ll feel the head change for the Delta 9. So even how they absorb them, and that’s based on q log p value, what the absorption is across the cell membrane. Delta 8, the isomers of different forms of THC have different qualities, and that’s actually expected based on changing the chemical bonds so.

Tim Pickett:

Got it. We’re waiting for Chris to come back on here we lost him for a minute, hopefully he’ll come back but one of the questions that we have on the chat here is wondering why some are saying Delta 8 THC is too synthetic, also why and in parentheses hemp companies say Delta 9 THCV Isolate is unstable and quickly turns to Delta 8 THCV. Do you know much about this Blake? This is definitely out of my wheelhouse, we’re talking about THCV.

Blake Smith:

By the way, I love THCV. It’s non psychoactive and has appetite restriction qualities to it, and so there’s some really cool implications medically for THCV. I mean, this may not be popular to say but let’s just be true and honest with everybody here together tonight. You can make almost any cannabinoid from almost any other cannabinoid. And you can do that under various types of conditions. Some of those conditions can be very, very, strong and hard, you could be throwing really strong basis, really strong acids. Or you can be doing all kinds of interesting catalytic bridges, so like to make CBN, a lot of times people would use iodine. But let’s be honest about this, if you’re using iodine as your catalytic bridge, you should not be inhaling that in your lungs because you can’t get it all out. If your CBN has a slightly pink hue to it, you should be a little bit concerned about that because real CBN that doesn’t have a catalytic bridge like iodine or something that’s in that same class of compounds, typically is yellow or a golden honey color, just like your other cannabinoids like CBD.

Blake Smith:

But anyway, having said all that, look, one of the reasons why people say that it’s over synthetic, it’s because a lot of times most people are making this by flying harsh chemicals to make that. And I’m probably going to be shot by industry people on this, I hope not but the reality is there’s other ways to do this. I mean, naturally, like the degradation of THC to CBN can be done with energetic oxygen, UV light, and time, and a little bit of heat helps too. So UV, energetic oxygen, by energetic oxygen, by energetic oxygen it can’t be just O2, it’s got to be carbon monoxide or something along those lines. But those emanate out, they don’t stay on the molecule. Whereas I have concerns when you use things like iodine because you leave residues, it’s a similar problem with hydrocarbon structure. You leave residues on these molecules and so those things stay with those molecules when you inhale them, or eat them, or whatever that looks like.

Blake Smith:

So the synthetic side of it, look, if we’re talking about synthetic, what we’re talking about is spice. I know all the different chemicals needed to make THC. I can go into a lab and start putting phosphates together with carbon rings, and I can start doing organic chemistry and make THC. I can do that without any plant derived material or whatsoever-

Tim Pickett:

Now there’s products on the market with better THC that are synthetic. Marinol, and I mean these don’t come from anything related to the cannabis plant at all.

Blake Smith:

That’s right. But what we have found is, your body doesn’t react exactly the same way as does with THC. It’s like I sort of know what this is, but it’s not exactly the same. Whereas what we have found is, if you use plant material to start, and then you change cannabinoids based on using plant material or existing cannabinoids and just shifting the bond or things like that, your body knows what to do with those as if they were produced naturally. But that’s a tricky business, it’s a tricky business and it’s not for somebody in a garage with dirt floors and radiator hoses. And this is where pharmaceuticals employ chemists, and they employ scientists and doctors and stuff to start doing this in a way that you know you’re anywhere from 95 to 99.999% pure. And so-

Tim Pickett:

What I’m basically hearing from all this is, don’t inhale over the counter Delta 8.

Blake Smith:

Yep. I wouldn’t touch it.

Tim Pickett:

In fact, it’s probably not safe to ingest over the counter Delta 8 base because of the testing, because we don’t really know what’s all in there.

Blake Smith:

Whereas on the medical side the state does require testing. That’s why from a medical market side, you know that the Delta 8 being produced there is safe because of the stringent rules the state has set. If they can’t meet that criteria it can’t make it into the market. So any Delta you produce in the state that gets into the medical market meets that criteria.

Tim Pickett:

I’d even go one step further than this too, and tell me if you agree with this because I always tell my patients who are concerned, if they come in and they’re concerned about Delta 8, I would say, “Look, if you get a product with Delta 8 and you’re having to use a lot of it. You’re buying a vape cartridge and you’re having to use a lot of Delta 8 products, even in the medical market. I’ll suggest that my patients transition to a little more Delta 9 products so that they don’t have to use so much Delta 8 because even if it’s safe and we’re testing it, just because it’s not as, quote unquote, natural. If you’re having to use high doses of something that is helped along in the lab, and you could use flower to supplement that, then you might as well.” That to me just makes sense.

Blake Smith:

Yeah. We think about this in terms of what we would call, minimum efficacious dose. And so, if you can get away with having the desired medical benefit of 2% THC, or let’s even call it milligrams because I’m more confident with milligrams, I like to dose mg per kick. Let’s say you do two milligrams and that’s sufficient for you, that’s what you should be taking. So to your point, I’m in agreement with you. Look, if you have to take 100 mgs of Delta 8 and you could get the same effect with 10 mgs of Delta 9, you should do the 10 mgs of Delta 9. That’s a more efficacious dose responsible way to administer drugs. And so, that’s why on serving sizes you look at, you know, a Twinkie, you’re not supposed to eat both Twinkies in the pack, you’re only supposed to be one, right?. It’s because two is actually more than what you’re supposed to do now. This comes down to the individual controlling that.

Blake Smith:

We recommended the reason why you’re supposed to take one to two Advils is because of the amount of milligrams in there. But almost everybody’s like, “No, I need at least four.” And they just pop as many pills as they can take, so this is where the individual responsible needs to work with their medical provider and their pharmacist to get the right medicine, at the right dose, to alleviate the medical condition.

Tim Pickett:

Chris, do you have much experience with Delta 8?

Chris Holifield:

No, really no experience as far as I know of.

Tim Pickett:

Right. I mean, well, there you go. I guess at this point, that’s the answer we all…

Chris Holifield:

Have I gotten cannabis that has Delta 8 in it? Probably.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah, or products with Delta 8 in them.

Chris Holifield:

Yeah, because I know… wasn’t there, there was Zion, you guys had some flower that had some Delta 8 in it, at Wholesome I think I picked up. I personally have no complaints but-

Tim Pickett:

No. And I’ll be honest, when I have had, from a personal experience and from patient reports, if patients have… they don’t want a lot of psycho activity but they need that body relaxation, or that of patients with abdominal pain will come back and they’ll be like, “Man, I found this product that has half Delta 8 and a half Delta 9, and it’s just perfect. So that I can not be too high during the day and I can still work and I have an okay appetite. I don’t have that nausea in the morning. Those are perfect products for people. But like I say, it tends people with lower tolerance to THC, and you’re talking about minimum efficacious dose, well, that’s a medical market.

Blake Smith:

That’s right. I mean, here’s the thing that I think is also interesting. You can’t base it totally of THC percentage or milligrams because I’m going to high five everybody here and on the chat because we just got some state results on flower at 45%. Now, all of us around this table here, I don’t-

Chris Holifield:

That’s awesome.

Blake Smith:

…believe it’s a 45%. And the reason I don’t believe that is because we have internal analytics, and we showed it with somewhere closer to about 38%, and I trust my own analytics. But having said that, it comes off at 45%, man, if you’re not an experienced user, that’s going to floor you, that’s going to have some really crazy repercussions if you’re not comfortable with something that strong. And so, that’s not an appropriate medicine for certain conditions. Now, I would say there are probably people out there who have the tolerance, but that is inappropriate medication for certain conditions. And I do trust that people tend to know who they are and what their deal is, but this is why in a medical market, you need to talk with your pharmacist, you need to talk with your medical provider. Is this the right medicine for the condition that I’m looking for? And if you’ve been self-medicating for years and years, you probably have a good better sense of that than your doctor does. However, they should be part of that care team with you just like you would for antibiotics or anything else.

Tim Pickett:

Yep, I totally agree. And I’m a big proponent of medical marijuana programs in states, much more so even than adult use programs. I think that adults should have the choice to use what they want to use in a safe way, but I also think we leave out a huge number of potential patients that could benefit from medical cannabis when we bypass the medical market first, and we give people access to 45, or even 38% THC products. They don’t have good experiences so this is a great place to wrap up to our next episode.

Chris Holifield:

We have some questions [crosstalk 00:37:20].

Tim Pickett:

Good. We have some Q&A questions, takes forever

Chris Holifield:

Before we get out of here we got two questions up here. There was actually a question I noticed in the chat before I froze earlier, I don’t know if that ever got addressed.

Tim Pickett:

Yes.

Chris Holifield:

Somebody threw a question in there.

Tim Pickett:

We addressed that while you were frozen.

Chris Holifield:

Okay. So there’s two other questions in here. One’s from Courtney, she says that, does producing Delta 8 lower the cost of cannabis for patients in Utah, or does it not affect that?

Blake Smith:

This is a great question. So, I’ve heard this a lot from a lot of different people. Where they say, “Well, if you can make Delta 8 cheaper, you should make sure that it’s cheaper for patients.” And here’s what I would say. We should make all cannabis products cheaper for patients across the board, and that includes Delta 8 and everything else. But what I would also say is, it’s probably the wrong way to think about it because what happens typically, people are basing that off of percentage of THC. So it’s not the manufacturer’s ability to make that that makes, necessarily, the value proposition for medicine. But look, for me personally, I’m a producer. I don’t have a pharmacy, I don’t determine that final price, I can tell you what’s happened multiple times in the market where I’ve been asked to lower my prices as a wholesaler to the pharmacy, I’ve lowered some of my prices, and then those prices were not equally lowered on the pharmacy side. And so I take a hit at my company, and then the pharmacy gets the advantage.

Blake Smith:

Now, that’s not all pharmacies, and that’s not everybody, that’s a few isolated cases. But then, if I can’t guarantee a final distribution of that product at a lower price, I don’t have any incentive to change my pricing, does that make sense? I try to keep them reasonable within the market but I don’t have control of those final prices.

Chris Holifield:

There’s another question here, this one’s going to Tim. It’s anonymous, they say, Tim, do you prefer one over the other for your patients or does that vary by condition experienced?

Tim Pickett:

I basically try to meet patients where they’re at. So, somebody comes in and they’ve used cannabis before and they understand what THC, what Delta 9 feels like. You’re going to try to guide them into products that will help them, maybe higher THC products if a patient has… There are times when Delta 9 is extremely valuable, and that’s when somebody, you can just tell, they cannot get out of their own head with their pain. So you can try Delta 8 in those scenarios, but you want to add Delta 9 to that because you need to get them some relief. Like some type of, wow, I’m going to put my pain over there for a while. That’s the Delta 9 patient, and that’s meeting patients where they’re at. Delta 8, if I run into patients with chemo induced nausea, or really just chronic nausea in general, or patients who are really anxious but that anxiety manifests in a lot of abdominal pain, and cramping, and abdominal type issues, then Delta 8, I tend to lean those patients to that right away.

Tim Pickett:

But in addition, like we touched on tonight, I’ll write down CBN and I’ll say, when you’re going to the pharmacy, ask about products with CBN. Ask about products with Delta 8, and I’ll just write those two things on the paper, and then I hand it to the patient and then they can go make that next step with the pharmacist to try to pick the product that might work for them.

Chris Holifield:

There’s another question here, the final question unless anybody else has any questions, throw them in the Q&A. It says, are there other Deltas aside from eight and nine? I believe this was a question related too, yeah.

Blake Smith:

Yeah. So there’s, we know of, there’s Delta 10, Delta 6, and Delta 11. Sorry with that, they’re announcing over the intercom. Delta 6, we have made a Delta 6 before but we don’t know therapeutically really what it does yet, and so you haven’t seen any products from Zion were round Delta six because I don’t know yet what it does and therapeutically what the value set of that is. Based on some initial preliminary tests we’ve done, we think it will be more like a Delta 8 feel, it’s not a psychoactive. But we haven’t seen what medical benefit it has yet.

Blake Smith:

And then Delta 10, we have been able to make multiple times and we have found that it’s about two thirds more potent than Delta 9, but we haven’t taken it through all safety parameters yet. And Delta 11 actually is interesting, because it often is a product where if you take even CBD, and you encapsulate that CBD, and you run it through your intestines, and it sits in there for a really long time, so let’s say you have big steak dinner, and mashed potatoes, and gravy, and you take three or four CBD Gummies with it, and that sits in your intestinal tract for a very long period of time, you’ll start to do conversion within your own body, and then your liver will actually do a conversion step to turn it into alpha-hydroxy Delta 11, and you can get very high off of that as well. And so some people who take CBD will have a high experience, it’s not from the CBD, it’s because your body is doing conversion to Delta 11.

Tim Pickett:

Wow.

Chris Holifield:

Wow, that’s a lot of info right there.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah, that’s a lot of info. It really comes down to just being careful. This is strong medicines-

Blake Smith:

Yeah. That’s right.

Tim Pickett:

It doesn’t matter who talks about it, we should just talk about it as a strong medicine. This is some strong stuff.

Blake Smith:

And very cool stuff. And very cool stuff, right?

Tim Pickett:

Super cool.

Blake Smith:

And we have great operators in the state of Utah, we have a lot of different companies. If you look at Fruit of Life from Wasatch, for example, it’s one of the most popular carts that’s out there. It’s a very cool product and has a lot of popularity. Almost everybody out there is producing things. And so that’s one of the cool things about the market, is if it’s done right, all products should be found everywhere and all patients should be able to benefit from all of those products and that’s a really cool thing.

Tim Pickett:

That’s awesome.

Chris Holifield:

Amen.

Tim Pickett:

Well, I’ve liked this discussion. Let me see if I’ve got… I don’t have anything else except for, follow us on YouTube, Discover Marijuana. You can find both the YouTube channel with Tim and Blake, the Discover Marijuana education series. You can also switch over to a playlist, That’s all Utah in the Weeds, and Chris and I’s podcast there. You can find out more at zionmedicinal.com. Blake, do you have a way for people to reach out to you guys specifically with questions or should they go through us?

Blake Smith:

They can reach out to Zion, especially around Zion products, although you know me, I’m happy to talk about anything anywhere in the industry. I just think having a good industry presence is the right thing to do for patients, but they can reach out, there’s an email for Zion Medicinal email that gets read, I believe, twice a week. But also, if they give them to you, you have me on hot quick dial, so you can call me anytime and get quick answers so.

Tim Pickett:

Yes.

Chris Holifield:

You’re on his fav five.

Tim Pickett:

That’s right, fav five. Well, how about us Chris?

Chris Holifield:

You’re on my top one man, right there.

Tim Pickett:

I’m in the top five? At least I’m on the top five with both of you guys.

Chris Holifield:

Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

From us, really, again, utahmarijuana.org, you can find everything you need to know about the Utah cannabis program right there.

Blake Smith:

Alright, I’m jumping on a plane, I’ll see you all later.

Chris Holifield:

See you Blake.

Blake Smith:

Bye everybody.

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