Delta-8-THC is a legal synthetic cannabinoid that is a clear chemical relative to THC. It is more potent than THC, and is the strongest cannabinoid that is not currently banned by the United States. Other cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabinol (CBN) are also being synthesized and tested to determine their potential as therapeutic agents in the treatment of various diseases.
Delta-8-THC is a chemical that is found in the cannabis plant. That is the same plant that people use to get ‘high.’ Delta-8-THC is a cannabinoid, a chemical found in cannabis. Cannabinoids are the chemicals that give cannabis its psychoactive effects. Delta-8-THC is responsible for the ‘high’ people get from smoking or eating fresh cannabis.
Most of us are old enough to remember the time when getting high meant knowing a man. Or at least you must have known the man who knows the man. Things have certainly changed since then.
- It’s not just statistics that show that more than half of Americans have tried marijuana and that about 55 million adults – nearly one in four – currently use it (1).
- Furthermore, 59% of American adults believe that marijuana should be legal for both recreational and medical purposes, and 91% believe it should be available to patients (2).
- Three dozen states where medical marijuana is now legal and 15 states where it’s legalized for recreational use? It is also more than that (3).
We’re talking about the proliferation of dispensaries and cannabis delivery services in America. We’re also talking about the ability to buy CBD online or in almost any shopping center; we all know that as the market grows, these CBD vendors will be willing to sell marijuana products as well. And now we can add another big change to that list: Companies sell Delta-8-THC freely online and in their stores. Delta-8-THC is not a weed. At least, not really. But it’s very similar to weed. It can get you high… and, for now, it’s legal in most states. Interested? Great, but we need to talk about cannabis before we talk about Delta 8 and how it differs from weed.
Cannabis and cannabinoids
Title first: Delta-8-THC (often called Delta-8 for short) is not what gets you high when you smoke marijuana. It’s Delta-9-THC. Let’s look at the details, starting with the difference between marijuana and cannabis (4). These are two different types of cannabis. When you buy marijuana, it comes from the marijuana plant. CBD is found in both types of cannabis, but it is primarily extracted from the cannabis plant. Why cannabis? In short, cannabis laws control or prohibit the sale of products containing the psychoactive delta-9-THC. The cannabis plant contains virtually no delta-9, so the CBD extracted from it can be sold commercially without these restrictions. But as everyone knows, products derived from the delta-9 rich marijuana plant do face federal and state restrictions. Next, let’s talk about cannabinoids, the main substances naturally present in cannabis. There are more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis plants (5). However, Delta-9-THC (usually just called THC) and cannabidiol (usually called CBD) are the most dominant and well-known. Both plants are believed to have many medicinal properties, but only delta-9-THC provides the intoxicating effects the herb is known for (6). In general : The higher the THC content, the higher the consumption. Other cannabinoids also appear to have medicinal effects. For example, if you read about marijuana or CBD, you may have come across CBG or CBN; these lesser-known cannabinoids are still being researched, but they can help with problems like insomnia, arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders. This finally brings us to Delta-8-THC. It is another cannabinoid found in both marijuana and cannabis, and its molecular structure is almost identical to that of delta-9-THC. However, it differs from the Delta-9 in a few important ways.
Delta-9 vs Delta-8
These are the main differences between delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC.
- Delta-9 is found in large quantities in marijuana, but marijuana contains minimal amounts of delta-8. (Hemp contains very little of each cannabinoid).
- Delta 9 is much more psychoactive than Delta 8. Delta-8 is estimated to be twice as strong.
- Delta-9 occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. Delta-8 is not. It is formed when Delta-9 degenerates over time. Moreover, delta-8 is stable, whereas delta-9 can change into other cannabinoids such as delta-8 or CBN upon oxidation.
- Delta-9 interacts with the body differently than Delta-8, meaning it has different healing properties.
For more explanation, we need to dive a little deeper into biology. But don’t worry. We’ll make it as painless as possible. All substances contain a number of molecules that are connected by chemical bonds. For example, the molecules of delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC are virtually identical, but some of them are linked in slightly different ways. This difference is crucial. We will explain why after we discuss the biological part. When THC or CBD trigger a physical response – such as euphoria or relief from a migraine – it happens by interacting with certain signaling receptors. These receptors, called cannabinoid receptors, are part of a network (the endocannabinoid system, or ECS) spread throughout the body. There are two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2 (7). Surprisingly, the existence of ECS was not discovered until the 1980s. It supports a variety of normal bodily functions such as memory, metabolism, mood and appetite. ECS relies on state signals emitted throughout the body by molecules called endocannabinoids. When the ECS receptors receive signals, the body responds by triggering the appropriate reactions. Okay, back to the THC. We have already described how it has medicinal and psychoactive effects: by interacting with the same ECS receptors that regulate almost everything in the body. The interaction takes place when THC binds to (or binds to) CB1 receptors. However, due to the different structure of delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC, these cannabinoids bind to the receptors in slightly different ways. This means that the body reacts to these products in a slightly different way. Here’s one of the main ones. Researchers believe cannabinoid receptors can block – or reduce – the psychoactive effects of THC (8). And CB1 receptors seem better able to block the effects of delta-8-THC; more psychoactive effects can penetrate delta-9-THC. You can probably guess what that means. Delta-8 does not get you as high as the THC in marijuana. This is because it is much less potent and blocks even more ECS receptors from potentially high levels of delta-8 (9). It’s no fun when you end up on the couch with snacks and watching Harold and Kumar movies. But it’s a good thing if you want to sell some form of THC without possibly breaking the law.
Delta-8 for sale: Is it legal?
Delta-8-THC, which you can buy online or in a CBD store, comes from cannabis plants, not marijuana, as cannabis contains less than 0.3% delta-9-THC. If this amount is exceeded, the sale is not legal under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill that allow the sale of CBD and other cannabis products (10). But cannabis plants contain only trace amounts of delta-8. For this reason, it would be prohibitively expensive to extract the cannabinoid directly from the plant. This requires resourcefulness. The most commonly used method is a process known as isomerization, which effectively converts CBD to delta-8. This is not as strange as it may sound, since cannabinoids have a very similar chemical composition. (There is also a way to convert Delta-9 to Delta-8, but because it is derived from Delta-9-THC, it can only be sold in states where marijuana is legal.) Cannabis delta-8 is generally sold in the same forms as marijuana, in tinctures, oils, supplements, dabbing and vaping. The only form in which it is not available is smoked flour. It is important to note that real Delta-8 is not synthetic marijuana like Spice and K2. It would then be illegal to sell it. However, it is still in a legal grey area as it is synthesized from CBD. According to some legal experts, the government could interpret the law against synthetic herbs broadly to also ban Delta-8. The Farm Bill allows the sale of cannabis products with a minimum content of Delta-9, but does not mention Delta-8. Nevertheless, Delta-8 is a psychoactive substance. Therefore, the federal government has proposed amendments to the farm bill that could make Delta-8 illegal again. No decisions have been made on these changes yet, but some states have passed their own laws prohibiting the sale of Delta-8, and some manufacturers will not sell to customers in those states.
Why Delta 8?
Maybe you’ve already decided that the Delta-8 is worth a try. However, if you still have doubts, here are the arguments in its favour. The most obvious is the high performance of the Delta-8. It is not as potent as the traditional delta-9 THC in marijuana, but it still offers a milder, lighter, but euphoric effect that relaxes some and stimulates others. You can think of it as a light herb that’s great for relieving social anxiety or enjoying a light high while doing other tasks. It’s also cheaper than grass. Another benefit is that it’s a legal option – at least for now – for residents of many weed-hostile states. The medical benefits are less obvious, but still important.
- Fears: Research has yet to definitively answer the question of whether Delta-8 can relieve anxiety, but anecdotal reports suggest it shows promise. However, it is clear that Delta-8 does not cause the same level of anxiety or paranoia as many high-THC marijuana strains (11).
- Pain: Only one study has been published evaluating the effects of Delta-8 on pain, and this study was conducted in animals (12). However, initial results were impressive and showed great potential for the use of cannabinoids in pain management (13).
- Appetite: The feeling of hunger does not only occur after taking Delta-9. A preliminary study in rats showed that their appetite increased by 22% after administration of delta-8; this increase was even greater than the increase in appetite when delta-9-THC was administered (14).
- For nausea: Since marijuana is commonly used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy, it is only natural that Delta 8 studies with patients were conducted. And as early as 1995, this cannabinoid was shown to relieve vomiting and prevent nausea altogether.
No serious side effects of Delta-8 have been reported, but there is a potential downside: Like marijuana, it can trigger a drug test. Unfortunately, THC tests do not distinguish between delta-8 and delta-9.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Delta 8 a CBD or THC?
Delta-8-THC, also known as dronabinol, is a drug commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting. This drug is a synthetic cannabinoid, which means that it is a chemical that is chemically similar to THC, the main ingredient in marijuana. Delta-8-THC is thought to reduce nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy or brain injury. Delta-8-THC (delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid, and one of the cannabinoids produced in the plant known as “cannabis sativa”, or “marijuana”. Delta-8-THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, but it’s also present in trace amounts in other plants, such as the Hemp plant. Delta-8-THC also occurs naturally in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Asia, in the form of the psychoactive “Soma” plant, which is also a relative of the marijuana plant. Delta-8-THC is most commonly used as a recreational drug, but its medical uses have been explored as well.
Is Delta 8 the same as CBD?
Delta 8-THC is a synthetic, synthetic cannabinoids that are created in a laboratory. These come in various forms, for instance, it is usually found in a capsule, however, it is also found in a spray. The spray is used as a treatment for pain, however, it should not be used for this purpose. Delta-8-THC (Delta-8 or “delta-8” for short) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. However, because it lacks the psychoactive effects of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) the compound has also come to be known as an “inactive CBD”.
Is THC Delta 8 legal?
Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, or better known as just “Delta-8-THC” is a cannabinoid found in Cannabis. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, one out of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer. And while it is true that there is no cure for cancer, it is also true, that there are a select few that scientists, researchers and doctors have tried to harness natural compounds that help fight cancer. Some of these compounds are found in Marijuana. Delta-8-THC is a synthetic form of marijuana, and it is the main compound found in the marijuana plant. For decades, doctors have used it in their attempts to cure epilepsy, and it was even illegally prescribed by doctors to patients in the 1970s. However, it was only recently that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the drug for medical purposes.