New Cannabinoid: What is Delta-8?

What is Delta-8 THC and how is it different from Delta-9 THC?
13 July 2021
6 min read
New Cannabinoid: What is Delta-8?

Contents:
  • 1. What is delta-8?
  • 2. How is delta-8 made?
  • 3. What's the difference between delta-8 and delta-9?
  • 4. Delta-8 vs cbd
  • 5. Will delta-8 get you high?
  • 6. The effects of delta-8
  • 7. How to consume delta-8?
  • 8. Is delta-8 legal?
  • 9. Is delta-8 safe?
  • 10. In conclusion

Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has become popular lately due to its similarity to THC. Despite being similar to THC, Delta-8 (aka Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol) will also get you high but its effects are much less potent than "regular" THC (aka Delta-9).

1. What Is Delta-8?

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol has been recently discovered and labeled as the cousin of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the form of THC everybody knows. Delta-8 is being sold as “weed light” or a “superior version of THC”, usually sold in edible or vape form. 

 

New cannabidnoid delta-8: what is delta-8?

Delta-8 is usually extracted from hemp due to being more available than in THC-rich cannabis plants.
 

Delta-8 THC is very similar to Delta-9 THC which is the main active component of cannabis, and has a similar chemical structure, offering similar psychological effects (although less potent), but they differ in the way they’re produced. Delta-9 THC is found in the raw form of cannabis plants but Delta-8 is found on hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant bred to contain as little THC as possible, generally used to make fiber, biofuel, and bioplastics.

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What is THC?

2. How Is Delta-8 Made?

Delta-8 is found in cannabis in small amounts,  but it’s most commonly extracted from hemp plants due to being more available in hemp. Usually, CBD is extracted from hemp and then isolated, then the CBD isolate is synthesized into Delta-8. Because you actually have to extract all the cannabinoids found in hemp and then isolate Delta-8, this cannabinoid requires more processing and it’s more expensive to make than CBD, but due to being a “legal” alternative to Delta-9, it has increased in demand over the last couple of months.

3. What's The Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9?

Just like Delta-9, Delta-8 also binds to your body’s endocannabinoid receptors, which causes you to experience the effects associated with cannabis. Chemically, both cannabinoids are similar but both forms of THC have a double bond in different places. Both cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms but Delta-9 has the double bond on the ninth carbon while Delta-8 has it on the eighth carbon.

 

New cannabidnoid delta-8: delta-9 vs delta-9

Delta-9 and Delta-8 have similar chemical structures.
 

This causes Delta-8 to bind to the endocannabinoid system slightly differently, and despite not confirmed yet, scientists think this is why the effect is much less potent than regular Delta-9 THC. However, this cannabinoid is fairly recent so more research needs to be done to understand how it interacts with our body.

4. Delta-8 vs CBD

This new cannabinoid is more similar to THC than CBD, due to the chemical structure and because it gets you high, unlike CBD. Also, Delta-8 binds to the cannabinoid receptors more similar to Delta-9 THC than CBD. This is because CBD doesn’t bind as easily to the endocannabinoid receptors, and this is what makes it non-intoxicating and able to produce the medicinal effects most medical consumers are looking for.

So, if you’re looking for effects similar to Delta-9 THC but not as strong, Delta-8 might be a good alternative. Just remember that if you’re looking to relieve symptoms associated with a disease or disorder, CBD may be better than Delta-8, especially if you don’t like the psychoactive effects that Delta-9 THC produces.

Related story
What is CBD?

5. Will Delta-8 Get You High?

As mentioned, Delta-8 will definitely get you high but not as much as Delta-9. Due to Delta-9 still not being prohibited in most places (due to being a relatively new discovery). Consumers can get their hands on Delta-8 more easily and have become a “legal” way to get effects similar to THC.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 Comparison

CharacteristicDelta-9Delta-8
PsychoactiveHighModerate
Cost$$$$
Typical Dose5 - 20 mg 10 - 40 mg
AnxietyMild - ModerateVery mild
AppetitteMild - ModerateVery Mild

 

Consumers claim that Delta-8 absolutely gets you high, but the effects aren’t as potent as when consuming regular THC products, despite the milder effect, consumers have reported preferring this new cannabinoid to Delta-9 THC due to the milder effects, which can help avoid some of the negative effects THC can produce such as anxiety or paranoia. 

6. The Effects Of Delta-8

People who have consumed Delta-8 have reported feeling the same effects as Delta-9 THC such as:

  • Mild euphoria;
  • Happiness;
  • Pain Relief;
  • And better sleep.

But despite the similar effects, consumers are changing to Delta-8 due to the effects not being overwhelming as when smoking a joint, for example. The side effects reported are the same as regular THC, including dry mouth, red eyes, and munchies.

 

New cannabidnoid delta-8: the effects of delta-8

The effects of delta-8 are similar to delta-9 but much less potent.
 

Even though it’s uncommon, Delta-8 can also cause paranoia and anxiety in certain individuals so it’s important to have in mind that this cannabinoid hasn’t been studied and, to understand its effects on the mind and body, there’s more research to be done.

7. How To Consume Delta-8?

So, if Delta-8 is not as strong as THC, how much should you consume? Well, more avid consumers will definitely feel that Delta-9 is much weaker, but it will depend on your body’s chemistry. 

To give you an idea of this new cannabinoid’s potency, people who only consume Delta-9 THC are consuming more than double the dose to get a similar effect. Here’s a table to help you. The lower cannabinoid percentage comes from the fact that Delta-8 is extracted from hemp, so it usually comes with high levels of CBD, CBN, CBC, and CBG, so, for example, if one gram of a Delta-8 concentrate contains 55% Delta-8, the rest probably is a mix of the cannabinoids mentioned.

Now, it’s hard to calculate a certain cannabinoid’s exact potency but in cannabis-legal countries and states, companies are claiming that Delta-9 is 1.5 - 2.0 times stronger than Delta-8. This means that if you want to get a strong effect, you’ll either have to consume more Delta-8 in order to get a more potent effect, although, if you are looking for a potent effect it may be better to stick to regular THC.

 

New cannabidnoid delta-8: delta-9 vs delta-8 product comparison

Delta-8 vs delta-9 products cannabinoid comparison.
 

Yet again, it's important to note that there’s very little research on this new cannabinoid so your tolerance level, mood, and several other things will affect your experience, so make sure you start with the minimum dose and only consume more if you’re okay with the effects experienced.

Also, remember that just like with regular THC, different absorption methods will dictate the type, potency, and length of the effect, so make sure you take this into consideration.

 

Different administration methods may provide slightly different effects, if you vape Delta-8 you will feel the effects in a couple of minutes but if you’re consuming edibles it can take at least 2-3 hrs before you feel the high so make sure you keep this in mind.

8. Is Delta-8 Legal?

Due to Delta-8 being quite new, it’s not illegal but it’s not legal either, it exists in a legal grey area. Delta-8 has been addressed in a few places but in others it’s not, this is because most laws refer to cannabis, THC, CBD, and Delta-9 THC but in most places, the law doesn’t even mention this cannabinoid. This cannabinoid is most commonly sourced from CBD hemp and not the regular cannabis plant, and hemp is legally sold in places where you can buy products that contain less than 0.3% THC, so technically, Delta-8 is legal.

On the other hand, this will change in the near future. As this new cannabinoid gains popularity, those in charge will end up changing the regulation; This will end up making Delta-8 illegal to sell but it will depend on each country’s or state’s interpretation of what cannabis is.

9. Is Delta-8 Safe?

Experts claim that Delta-8 presents the same dangers as regular THC (which is pretty harmless in most cases) but this doesn’t make it completely safe. This happens because it’s hard to find legal Delta-8, so most consumers end up buying black market products that can contain heavy metals or other substances that are harmful and toxic. The main example is the illegal vape market where makers add vitamin E acetate (a toxic substance) to produce Delta-9 vape cartridges, which has already led to thousands of hospitalizations and more than 60 deaths.

10. In Conclusion

If we’ve recently discovered Delta-8, a new version of THC, what will we find next? Despite being a millenary plant, we still know very little about the cannabis plant. As cannabis legalization happens across the world, more and more research will allow us to better understand and better use cannabis, this is one of the reasons why cannabis should be legalized. Scientific studies will not only allow us to find new uses for cannabis but also use it more safely. 

 

If you’ve ever tried Delta-8 before feel free to share your experience in the comment section below!

13 July 2021
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