C3 Video No. 5: Dr. Ben Caplan on Delta-8

Updated: Jul 10

In November 2021, Higher Learning LV™ interviewed Dr. Ben Caplan from Boston and the CED Clinic. Caplan, a medical doctor and clinical practitioner, utilizes the phytomolecules from cannabis and hemp with his patients.

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In the video interview below, Caplan discusses the topic of delta-8 THC, whether it is safe, and the overall scheme of synthetic versus organic molecules within a wellness framework. His natural training charisma and deep knowledge of the biochemistry of the herb make Caplan an unusually adept and effective educator.


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The Interview


Higher Learning LV: "Much attention is being given to the THC isomer delta-8 THC. As a clinical practitioner who embraces molecules such as cannabinoids and terpenes in your daily practice, what is your approach to delta-8?"


Ben Caplan, MD: "A close cousin of the popular delta-9, delta-8 THC is a crafty actor. While many report that delta-8 is significantly less euphoric than delta-9, very little is known about its anti-inflammatory properties.


"Delta-8 is known to serve many of the same medical benefits as delta-9, including efficacy as a neuro-stimulant, an anti-inflammatory agent, and a mild relaxant. But it is far less studied than most other popular cannabinoids.


"Because delta-8 can be manufactured from CBD (cannabidiol) derived from hemp (which serves as a progenitor compound), most on the market has been produced from hemp manufacturing, not regulated medical dispensaries. This means that, while some of the products being sold are rigorously tested, they are not all mandated to be.


"Delta-8 is known to serve many of the same medical benefits as delta-9, including efficacy as a neuro-stimulant, an anti-inflammatory agent, and a mild relaxant. But it is far less studied than most other popular cannabinoids.

"This poses theoretical risk of which we all should be aware. Until the FDA has a better command of the hemp and cannabis products being used as medicine by adults throughout the country, I urge potential patients to be vigilant about inspecting certificates of analysis (CoAs) from reputable third-party labs prior to purchasing or consuming cannabinoid products."

Dr. Ben Caplan of the CED Clinic


HLLV: "Although most commercial delta-8 is synthesized from CBD or other hemp-based cannabinoids, the molecule is naturally occurring (although typically below 1% in most plant samples). Newly commercialized cannabinoids, such as delta-10 and THC-O Acetate are not naturally occurring. 1) What is your stance on the organic vs. synthetic debate and 2) should whether a molecule is naturally occurring matter to patients or practitioners?"


BC: "While many people seem to prefer 'naturally occurring' compounds, realistically, very little of modern life is naturally occurring. Our clothes and food are often mass produced, our water and medicines often derive from manufacturing and treatment plants, and even our exercise is frequently less than 'natural.'


"Within the medicinal cannabis domain—from a physiologic and biochemical perspective—the mass of literature and clinical expertise seems to suggest that the more a treatment mimics nature, the more likely it is to be healthy and beneficial. When a naturally occurring option is not available, the human-made equivalents are usually less effective and frequently accompanied by unanticipated downsides. These include side effects and unpleasant surprises."


"A rare coincidence of nature, many of these natural currents that are almost always transmitted through naturally occurring chemistry are known as 'terpenes' and are, coincidentally, produced in high volume within the cannabis plant."

HLLV: "Terpenes are all the rage in cannabis and hemp product formulations. Companies frequently market products with claims that the addition of terpenes makes them better or healthier. What is your opinion of terpenes as medicine?"


BC: "From the joyful aroma of a field of flowers to the relaxing delight of a forest walk, the effects of nature to benefit human health are poorly understood by science and a deeply underappreciated element of nature. Over the millennia, humans have separated themselves from the earth and the vast wealth of natural remedies. Just as a fish exists to thrive in the water, humans have existed to thrive in the wilderness.


"Similarly, just as there are natural nutrients, currents, and regional environments within the oceans that help fish to flourish, so to are there nutrients, chemical currents, and airborne sustenances that plug directly into human physiology—often with restorative or soothing effects.

"A rare coincidence of nature, many of these natural currents that are almost always transmitted through naturally occurring chemistry are known as 'terpenes' and are, coincidentally, produced in high volume within the cannabis plant (as well as tens of thousands of other plant species). It stands to reason that, if someone is unable to obtain their nutrients via a naturally occurring channel, such as within their own body, one of the best options is to supplement by incorporating cannabis into a regular consumption routine."


HLLV: "In your clinical practice, for what diseases and conditions are you noticing that cannabis- and hemp-based therapies offer the greatest efficacy?"


BC: "Cannabis seems to be most widely effective for relief of pain, sleeplessness, and mental health ailments. Examples include depression and anxiety."


"Cannabis seems to be most widely effective for relief of pain, sleeplessness, and mental health ailments. Examples include depression and anxiety."

HLLV: "What are the major misperceptions held by patients in terms of the effectiveness of cannabinoids and terpenes for the health of the human endocannabinoid system?


BC: "Most often, people hold the misunderstanding that the consumption of cannabis is tantamount to either a euphoria-producing or anxiety-provoking experience. In fact, the majority of medical use of cannabis tends to minimize the euphoric effects. Under trained medical guidance, patients are often able to completely avoid the unfortunate element of increased anxiety suffered by some.


"Many people also seem unaware of the gradual waning of endocannabinoid production within the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of our own bodies. Many of the ailments of aging are well managed, if not outright treated, with cannabinoid derivatives such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.


"The determination of which products are best for which patients or lifestyle consumers, including in what amounts and by which exact consumption avenue, is the individual mystery of cannabis medicine and current focus of the medical profession."


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