Psychedelic Medicine


Delta-8 THC: Your Questions Answered with Dr. Carey Clark


This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast features a conversation with Dr. Carey Clark, discussing delta-8 THC. Dr. Clark is a registered nurse and an expert in cannabis care nursing. She holds a PhD from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is the immediate past president of the American Cannabis Nurses Association. She is also the editor and author of the first nursing textbook on medical cannabis Cannabis: A Handbook for Nurses and has over thirty publications in academic journals. Currently Dr. Clark serves as a professor at Pacific College of Health and Science where she also developed the first college-level, academic certificate in medical cannabis.

In this conversation Dr. Clark introduces delta-8 THC, discussing its chemistry, pharmacology, and legal status. She begins by sharing that delta-8 is a minor cannabinoid which exists naturally in small quantities within cannabis and hemp. Delta-8 THC is chemically very similar to delta-9 THC—the primary cannabinoid within cannabis which is known for its mind-altering and medicinal properties—and in fact, delta-9 naturally degrades into delta-8 under certain conditions. Due to the structural similarities, delta-8 produces similar effects to delta-9, and may have similar medical applications.

Dr. Clark mentions that delta-8 may be synthesized from CBD, allowing for this compound to be readily produced from legal components. However, the delta-8 which results from these synthesis methods contains traces of unknown compounds, perhaps as a result of the particular solvents used in the reaction, so Dr. Clark cautions that consuming these products could have certain risks, though the delta-8 cannabinoid itself is thought to have a similar safety profile to delta-9 THC. Instead. Dr. Clark emphasizes that whole plant medicines are likely the ideal for patients seeking to treat medical conditions with cannabis, but since delta-8 may be more readily available in certain areas due to its murky legal status it may be the best option for some individuals.

While scientific research into delta-8 is currently lacking, Dr. Clark shares the results from a few studies which use animal models and one study looking at the effects of delta-8 in the context of pediatric oncology. In addition to these published studies, Dr. Clark also shares anecdotal reports from patients, saying that these experiences are crucial, preferring to think of these reports as qualitative data which has yet to be systematically studied.

In This Episode

• What delta-8 THC is and how it is made
• Potential safety concerns with delta-8 products
• The current research on delta-8
• The legal grey-area of delta-8 THC and states which have banned the cannabinoid
• Differences in the doses and effects of delta-8 and delta-9 THC


“My hope as well is that people who are able to access whole-plant medicine can really use whole-plant medicine safely and effectively and they have access to safe, effective medicines. That would be my recommendation—if somebody had a choice—over choosing a really synthesized medicine at this point because of the safety issues.” [15:30]

“[T]there’s still very little research and most of the patient experience we’re hearing is really anecdotal.” [24:52]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.