There’s a hot new cannabinoid on the market, but most of us don’t know much about it. Even amongst stoners, many who smoke weed on the daily may not be able to tell you much at all about what Delta 8 THC is or what it does.
Delta 9 THC, the chemical responsible for the classic cannabis “high” feeling, and Delta 8 THC have similar names, similar chemical structures and are derived from the Sativa cannabis plant family. So it’s understandable that they’re easy to confuse.
When the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, hemp production skyrocketed, creating a massive CBD market. Since then, hemp producers have also worked to synthesize a minor cannabinoid known as Delta 8 THC, which is normally only found in cannabis plants in small amounts. Delta-8 THC’s mild intoxicating qualities and long-lasting relief are making it an instant hit among cannabis consumers, especially new users. But before you purchase any product, you should be familiar with the benefits they give, and where they come from.
In the article below, we will discuss Delta 9 vs Delta 8, and what’s important to know about these two cannabinoids.
What is THC?
To get a better understanding of what Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC are, we should first understand what THC is.
Before deciding whether to get the Delta 8 vape or Delta 9 gummies, or any other cannabis products, you should be completely informed on what they are. The only way to be completely informed is to get to the very source of it all.
Delta 8 and Delta 9 are cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa plant. Delta-9 is more commonly known just as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol in the industry and to most consumers.
However, Delta-8 is also a THC, but of different pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. THC is known for its psychoactive effects and different to another significant cannabinoid that you may be familiar with: CBD, or cannabidiol.
What is Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or Delta 9 THC, is present in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It’s the compound that provides that one a kind of experience—that awesome cannabis high.
Delta 9 provides you that high by affecting the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain’s nervous system. When these receptors are stimulated, the ECS influences how the body reacts to pain, controls hunger, and experiences different emotions, which affects the mood. Delta 9 THC is the cannabinoid that provides the potency of the products and what we expect when we think of THC.
Lower doses are used for the potential therapeutic benefits it offers, like relaxation, mood improvement, muscle relaxation, and improved sleep. In higher doses, its psychoactive properties can lead to euphoria, anxiety, increased heart rate, and other similar symptoms.
So even though it is non-toxic and safe, if you consume Delta 9 products, you should know the proper dosage for you and not exceed the limit.
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) is also a cannabinoid of the marijuana plant or industrial hemp plant. It is meant to provide the beneficial properties of THC without the overstimulating effects of Delta 9.
Delta 8 is less potent than its more potent counterpart, Delta 9 THC. This cannabinoid can also be found in full-spectrum CBD products, like CBD concentration and CBD oil. When combined, they might provide therapeutic and healing properties of relaxation and improved mood. This cannabinoid is found in a range of products that are very popular on the market due to its combination of uplifting and therapeutic properties.
Delta 8 THC is also legal in most states in the US.
How Do Delta 8 And Delta 9 Compare?
Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are composed of the same elements (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen). They only differ slightly in how the elements are arranged. Although similarly composed, delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC exhibit many key differences.
Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC produce the same positive or adverse effects since both delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC activate the body’s CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Activating CB1 receptors can reduce pain, improve sleep, increase relaxation, calm an overactive nervous system, improve appetite, protect and heal nerves, and prevent sensory overstimulation.
Activating CB2 receptors primarily calms an overactive immune system and reduces inflammation, things that are crucial to improving many chronic conditions.
Delta-9 THC has been studied for nearly 60 years, but little research is published on delta-8 THC. A major difference between the two is how they are (or aren’t) regulated.
Delta-9 THC is highly regulated in states where legalization measures have passed. But many manufacturers of delta-8 THC products aren’t following specific regulations. Some may not ensure their products are free of adulterants or that the end product contains exactly what’s stated on the label because they aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Potency is another difference between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC. Most experts agree that a properly labeled delta-8 THC would be about one-quarter to one-third less potent than an equivalent amount of delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC can be smoked or vaporized in flower (bud) form without requiring extraction. Edibles, topicals, and other preparations do require an extraction process.
But nearly all forms of the Delta-8 THC products are synthesized, extracted, and purified. In the cannabis plant, Delta 8 is found in very low amounts.
Benefits Of Delta 8
The benefits of Delta 8 THC and its milder psychoactive profile make it an appealing alternative for people who don’t enjoy or cope well with the psychoactive effects of THC. Since Delta 8 THC is less potent as Delta 9 it carries a lower risk of anxiety and paranoia.
Delta 8 THC may help relieve stress improve your focus, restore proper sleep patterns, ease pain, reduce anxiety, boost appetite, and relieve nausea and vomiting. Keep in mind that studies on Delta 8 are limited, and its important to do your own research and determine what benefits and drawbacks are right for you.
But the best part may be that Delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level (at least for now). Many people say the biggest risk of Delta 9 THC is that it’s illegal federally. That’s not an issue with Delta 8 THC, for now at least. That means you can enjoy its benefits even if your state doesn’t approve the use of cannabis.
Benefits Of Delta 9
Although not legal on a federal level, Delta 9 THC still has several amazing benefits.
Potential benefits of consuming delta-9 THC may include:
- Improved sensory perception
- Heightened imagination
- Decreased anxiety
- Pain relief
- Increased appetite
- Feelings of happiness or exhilaration
Studies show using delta-9 THC may have therapeutic benefits for certain conditions.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Depending on several factors, including the amount and quality of delta-9 THC consumed, adverse side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Feeling uneasy, unhappy, or dissatisfied
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
There may also be short-term adverse effects of overconsuming delta-8 THC, including:
- Dry mouth and eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Impaired coordination
Adverse effects typically resolve within a couple of hours of inhalation or within several hours of edible consumption.
Which Cannabinoid Is Right for You?
Choosing between delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC products ultimately depends on the experience you’re looking for and whether or not the legal status of delta 8 or delta 9 matters to you.
You should also consider how your body reacts to cannabis. Your experience with these products will depend on your metabolism, genetics, how much you consume, the potency of a product, how you consume it, and how often you consume it.
For first-time users, Delta-8 THC may seem like a natural next step from CBD compared to trying Delta 9 THC right away. If you’re looking for a recreational buzz or more intense intoxication and relief that Delta 8 THC can provide, than you probably need the whole experience of Delta-9 THC.
No matter what you choose, don’t settle for the cheap stuff. Look for lab-tested products and buy from legal cannabis dispensaries or online retailers to have the best and safest experience.