Delta 8 is one of the hottest substances out there right now. It’s also one of the most misunderstood and hotly debated. The past few years have seen a slow building interest in THC, and the pandemic has jumpstarted that to the point where new delta 8 brands and products are popping up everywhere.
Of course, in the process, as with any industry, there has been a wide variety of quality accompanying this delta 8 boom. Being able to tell good delta 8 products from bad ones is essential not just for purposes of personal satisfaction and getting your money’s worth, but avoiding hazardous, impure, lower-quality options as well.
So if you’ve been wondering “Where’s the best delta 8 near me?” and asking Google to find you the best delta 8 products in your area, this guide is for you.
Near You Versus Online
Before we get too far down the delta 8 rabbit hole, it’s worth asking the meta question of whether you should be Googling “best delta 8 near me” or simply “best delta 8 online.”
Does it matter where your delta 8 products come from?
Does it matter specifically if it comes from a place near you?
Well, the answer to the first question is a definite yes. Just as a wine lover knows Napa in California, Tuscany in Italy, and the Champagne region in France as some of the world’s supreme wine regions, certain hemp-growing regions have begun to distinguish themselves as being particularly good.
But does that mean you need to order from an outlet near you?
After all, the Internet does a fantastic job of closing distances and bringing us all together. In theory, you can order delta 8 or any other product from sellers around the world, so why plug “best delta 8 near me” into that search bar at all?
Well, for starters, delta 8 is in something of its Wild West phase right now. It is largely unregulated with lots of brands making big promises, and you just have to take their word for it or do your research (hence articles like this).
This is one often overlooked positive to buying from delta 8 outlets near you. By doing so, you can use local resources and ask around to get a bit clearer of an idea of who these people are and what their reputation is like. While we’ll get to the reputation-gauging game for delta 8 a bit later, no matter what product you’re considering buying, local word of mouth is always a valuable resource.
What’s more, in a world dominated by monolithic corporations, it’s always nice to support small businesses and their more personalized touch. Would you rather give your hard-earned money to a faceless corporation who’s only in it for the money, or someone local whom you may know personally and who’s genuinely devoted to “the craft?”
After all, which would you trust more – random faceless promises on the Internet, or honest assessments from local people you can put a face to and trust?
In the absence of federal or state regulation, the industry has begun to impose unofficial “expectations” on its brands. Delta 8 and CBD users overall know what they want in a product and what helps improve safety, and so project those expectations back on brands, who have to keep up or face community backlash. Given how important goodwill within the community is to these brands’ futures, adhering to these unofficial rules becomes necessary for their survival.
Among the most important of these unofficial rules is that companies should always submit their products to independent third-party laboratory testing, be transparent about tests, and post results.
This is essential for making sure that the products that are being pumped out by these companies are safe to use. You obviously don’t want to smoke or ingest anything that contains heavy metals, pesticides, or other contaminants. Food products require testing – and if you ever want to see what things were like before those standards, and don’t have a weak stomach, check out Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle – so why shouldn’t delta 8?
However, this is also where we start to run up against problems with local distributors. As much as we may like the romantic idea of a delta 8 small business David taking on those corporate Goliaths, the sad fact is local, smaller makers often can’t afford or just don’t test with third-party labs.
Supporting local businesses is good.
And important for communities.
And something we should all do a lot more.
But you don’t want to put your health at risk by doing so.
As such, unless the local distributor you’re considering does indeed offer third-party laboratory testing, you’re safer buying delta 8 products from community-cleared online shops that have subjected their products to these tests.
Other Reasons Why Online Is Better
There are several other reasons why the online sphere is, for now, the dominant force in delta 8.
For one thing, the selection is simply better. Say what you will about Jeff Bezos’s billionaire space fantasies and union-breaking ways – Amazon does offer a better selection of products than local small businesses ever can. The same is true for online delta 8 distributors versus their local counterparts.
What’s more, just as Amazon Prime often offers goods at lower prices than local businesses, the same holds true for online delta 8 distributors. This is true in part because online delta 8 distributors don’t need to pay middlemen, and so they can afford to offer better prices. They can even offer discounts that would make local distributor’s heads spin. Some online shops even offer discounts and loyalty programs.
In addition, because these companies typically post their certificates from the third-party testing online, you can check into the veracity of that certificate. Anyone can simply “say” they’ve been cleared or “post” a certificate, but the best big-time options online will be able to prove that.
On that note, let’s take a look at a few of them, shall we?
Most Reliable Delta 8 Brand Online Near You: Area 52
Do you live in California, Oregon, or the West Coast more generally?
If so, congratulations – one of the best-regarded brands in the industry is located “near you” (or close enough for delivery purposes, anyway).
While the delta 8 industry is not officially regulated, Area 52 has quickly established itself as one of the gold standards by which other brands in the community measure themselves. They are well-known for both their high degree of quality and the manner in which they pursue it.
The California-based company offers a wide selection of products sourced from organic hemp grown in the state as well as on farms in Oregon and Colorado. They are subjected to third-party testing and purity in ISO-certified laboratories.
Area 52 offers tinctures, vapes, and gummies. The tinctures are infused with a smooth vanilla flavor infused and 1200 mg of delta 8, with a single serving offering 40 mg. This is enough for most users to feel the effects for at least four hours after ingestion. In addition to their vanilla tinctures, the company’s gummies come in green apple, pineapple, and strawberry flavors, with each gummy containing a potent 25 mg of delta 8.
If you’re vegan or gluten intolerant, good news – Area 52’s products are vegan-friendly and free of animal derivatives as well as wheat or other gluten products.
They also offer delta 8 cartridges and disposable vape pens , which feature 900 mg of delta 8. Each strain features its own terpenes, while the blend overall tends to offer a smooth buzz that leaves users full of energy for the day ahead.
Learn more: Best Delta 8 THC Gummies
Good for Newbies: Finest Labs
Delta 8 and THC more broadly has seen a boom in interest and use over the past few years, and especially in the past year-plus given the uncertainty over COVID and prevailing economic ennui. As a result, there are a bunch of new users of delta 8 and even more who are curious about delta 8-infused products who may not be ready for the higher dosages offered by a brand such as Area 52.
If that’s you, have no fear – Finest Labs has carved out a niche for themselves designing delta 8 products for newbies just like you. Their tinctures and gummies are marked by their high quality and low potency, making it an easier entry point into the world of delta 8 and THC products than many other brands on the market today. This is also good news for those who may be familiar with THC products but simply have a naturally lower tolerance.
Their delta 8 tinctures feature concentrations of 500 mg and their gummies have 10 mg, more than two times less potent than those offered by Area 52.
Delta 8 products like these are good for those looking to work their way up to higher dosages as well as those content with a milder buzz. That’s actually a microcosm of one of the biggest reasons why delta 8 is so popular – namely that it’s a milder version of delta 9, a previously-popular CBD that is far stronger. Delta 9 is also illegal, whereas delta 8 occupies a more legal (but still complicated and evolving) place on the federal and state level. Still, milder delta 8 products such as Finest Labs can allow you to reap the benefits of high-quality THC at a lower potency.
Learn more: Best Delta 8 THC Vape Carts
3Chi is a favorite amongst Delta 8 lovers. This isn’t surprising since the brand was one of the first to dip its toes into the Delta 8 THC market. Not only have they kept up the quality of their Delta 8 products, but they offer quite the large selection of them, much larger than other Delta 8 producers.
However, the biggest thing that makes 3Chi stand out is their transparency. They third-party test all their products for purity as well as for potency. 3Chi keeps its products up to date with COAs and has all the lab analyses publicly available on their website. Therefore, their customers can rest assured that they’re getting the best and safest product.
Learn more: Best Delta 8 THC Tinctures
Delta Effex is another giant on the Delta 8 market. They offer quality extracts in four different formats: cartridges, tinctures, shots, and edibles. However, their best seller is their D8-loaded gummies. Coming in five different flavors, these gummies are not only tasty, but they’re also powerful, with 25mg of delta 8 per piece. While the gummies take a bit longer to kick in, they produce a much more potent buzz than oils and tinctures.
The biggest downside of Delta Effex is third-party testing. While they do check their products for potency and quality, they don’t test for heavy metals, residual solvents, filth, moisture, and pesticides.
Created by a team of researchers and cultivators, Exhale Wellness is a brand dedicated to making life-changing products. They extract their delta 8 from the finest non-GMO hemp sourced from reputable farms in Colorado. The plants are completely pesticide-free and are grown using only natural fertilizers. Hence, Exhale Wellness delta 8 THC tinctures, gummies, and vape carts are not only potent but also extremely safe to consume.
Everest may offer a limited choice of delta 8 products but they take care to make the product high quality. They always insist on third-party testing, to make sure their candy is both potent and safe. Unlike other brands, they also test for heavy metals and pesticides. The full phytochemical analysis of each product is available on their website, so their customers can be sure what they’re buying.
As mentioned, Everest’s biggest weakness remains its limited selection. Their gummies come in only one 20mg potency, and in one flavor, Blue Raspberry.
Veterans of the CBD industry, Diamond CBD has recently expanded into the delta 8 THC market. They developed a wide selection of delta 8 THC infused oils, edibles, vapes, and pre-rolled joints. To make sure these products pack a punch, Diamond third-party tests for quality and potency. All the lab analyses are available on Diamond CBD’s website, so customers can know exactly what they’ll be getting before they decide to order.
While their testing practices are rigorous, they do have a flaw. Diamond doesn’t test products for contaminants such as heavy metals and toxins. Therefore customers can’t always be sure whether Diamond’s hemp is organic or pesticide-free as they claim on their website.
Why Is Low-Quality THC Dangerous?
At this point, it’s worth revisiting why the issue of quality in THC is so important in the first place.
As mentioned, trustworthy delta 8 companies such as Area 52 and Finest Labs have their delta 8 products tested for purity. That’s in part due to the fact that delta 8 can be sourced organically or synthetically, and while there are good legal reasons for the latter being prominent, which we’ll get into in a moment, they can use toxic chemicals.
That doesn’t mean that these chemicals wind up in the final product – on the contrary, in good products, they’re filtered out. That’s what the purity testing process is for, to make sure that all the toxic byproducts are gone and only organic, safe delta 8 remains.
Still, that should underscore why it’s so important to only buy high-quality independently-tested delta 8 products. Without that testing, who knows what could be in that cartridge you’re vaping or gummy you’re swallowing?
Sourcing and Extracting Delta 8
As we’ll see below, how delta 8 is sourced can have a huge impact on its legal status. For now, the important thing to know is that delta 8 can be sourced from hemp or marijuana, with the latter obviously only being permissible in states that have already legalized it. If you do live in a state that has legalized marijuana, ordering from sources that use this rather than hemp may be the better choice, since they require less plant material for sourcing purposes. This in turn makes them less expensive to produce without “cheapening” the product.
However, for the vast majority of Americans, hemp-sourced delta 8 remains the easiest or only choice from a legal perspective.
Also of note is the method of extraction used in sourcing the delta 8. At present, CO2 extraction is the most popular method. It makes use of pressurized CO2, which simultaneously possesses liquid and gas properties. This makes it efficient for extracting cannabinoids as well as terpenes from the hemp. It is also able to do this without requiring added heat or solvents that can potentially damage the source.
Learn more: Best Marijuana Dispensaries Near Me
The Legal Situation Surrounding Delta 8
As mentioned above, delta 9 is illegal in the United States now. However, the same can’t be said about delta 8 – “technically,” at the federal level at least, and in some states it’s a very different story.
Confused yet? Don’t worry, that’s why we’re about to take a deeper dive into the complex legal situation at play with delta 8.
The 2018 Farm Bill is the source of much of the confusion surrounding delta 8, since it legalized hemp products in the United States. In theory, this should legalize delta 8 as well, since it is sourced from hemp containing less than 0.3% of THC, and there is nothing in the act that explicitly bans it. As a result, delta 8 exists in a legal grey area on the federal level – it isn’t technically illegal, and a loophole makes it technically theoretically “legal,” but there’s no legislation coming out and saying it’s “OK,” either.
This gets even more complex at the state level.
States such as California as well as the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana-derived THC products for recreational use, which helps make the production of products such as delta 8 more legally permissible.
Other states have gone in the other direction – as of now, these states have outright banned THC and delta 8 derivatives:
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
As mentioned, when delta 8 is sourced from marijuana, it will contain a fair degree of delta 9 THC, meaning it will only be legal in places that allow that already. Even this, however, is being cracked down on by the Drug Enforcement Agency, who have classified delta 8 as a tetrahydrocannabinol. These are controlled substances, and can thus theoretically make synthetically-produced delta 8 a felony.
However, this is where we get back to the issue of what we classify as “synthetic” delta 8.
Although delta 8 is, as mentioned, sometimes synthesized with the use of toxic chemicals, not only are these chemicals removed in “good” delta 8 products, but the process itself uses a conversion process from existing plant-source cannabinoids. This is in contrast to something that is wholly synthetic and has no real connection to plants and organic matter to begin with. As a result, delta 8’s status as being “synthetically-derived” in the way the DEA means is very much in doubt – adding still more greyness to an already-grey area legally-speaking.
In short, on the federal level, delta 8 is theoretically legal but by no means outright legalized in legislation, creating a loophole some states have sought to close with bans while others which have already legalized marijuana have allowed them to flourish.
Be very careful about understanding where your state stands as well as the laws of the state of any company from which you plan to buy before placing your order.
Learn more: Can You Legally Buy Marijuana Online?
Delta 8 is a new and growing industry. That means there is a lot of excitement surrounding it, but a lot of questions as well, especially pertaining to how it is sourced and what its legal future may be.
For the moment, ordering online is the way to go, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore local options as well. In fact, if you live in delta 8 hotspots such as California, you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds by browsing the online options offered by local brands.
If any of the above interests you, do your research, shop smartly, make your own responsible decision, and wait and watch with the rest of us as we see what the future of delta 8 has in store.