What is Delta-8 THC?
The Benefits Of An Emerging Cannabinoid
Do you ever wish you could enjoy all the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the negative side effects?
I’m talking zero paranoia, grogginess, or “dude, where’s my car?” moments. Just a focused calm you can enjoy anywhere, anytime with a host of amazing long-term health benefits to boot.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Well lucky for us, this is now made possible thanks to new developments surrounding a little cannabinoid known as delta-8 THC.
And you may be thinking “wait a sec, how is that different from regular THC?”
For starters, what we casually refer to as “THC” is actually a cannabinoid known as delta-9 THC.
This is the ingredient responsible for delivering marijuana’s famous “high,” and while delta-8 closely resembles delta-9 on a molecular level, make no mistake –
There’s a HUGE difference. But more on that in a minute.
What Does The Research Say?
First discovered in 1941, delta-8 THC or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol has long garnered interest among the medical community for its therapeutic qualities.
However, stigma surrounding “regular” THC or delta-9 has unfortunately forced delta-8 into the shadows for many decades due to its psychoactive qualities.
But now that recreational and medical marijuana are both broadly accepted throughout the US, we’re finally tapping into delta-8’s true potential.
And between recent studies and the ever-growing mountain of anecdotal evidence, there’s a lot to unpack.
The Benefits of Delta-8 THC
So what does science tell us about the therapeutic and medicinal qualities of delta-8 THC?
Here are just a few conditions this cannabinoid has been shown to fight:
Pain and Inflammation
A 2018 preclinical study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that delta-8 THC helps to significantly diminish pain and inflammation thanks to its analgesic properties.
The research found that when applied topically, delta-8 THC assisted in pain reduction and reduced inflammation through its effects on the body’s CB1 receptors.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, delta-8 THC displays anxiety-reducing qualities similar to those of delta-9 THC and CBD or cannabidiol.
Not only that, but many anecdotal reports also claim that the consumption of delta-8 produces a calm, focused high free of the paranoia often tied to delta-9.
The antiemetic effects or nausea-fighting potential of delta-8 THC was first reported in a 1995 study in Life Sciences.
Following eight pediatric cancer patients over the course of two years, the study found that no vomiting occurred when patients ingested delta-8 THC before and for 24 hours after cancer treatment.
Loss of appetite
Research published in 2004 in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior found that a low dose of delta-8 THC administered to mice over 50 days resulted in a 22% increase in food intake compared with controls.
The research also reported that delta-8 increased food intake significantly more than delta-9, a known appetite stimulant.
Brain Fog and Degeneration
Some research shows that delta-8 THC may even have neuroprotective properties.
The cannabinoid works to increase levels of an important neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine, which aids in neuroplasticity, cognition, arousal, and memory.
Not only that, but it’s been shown that both delta-8 and delta-9 may even play a role in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s when used in treatment.
Related Reading: Best CBD Oil for Alzheimer’s Disease
The Best of Both Worlds
The benefits of delta-8 THC are actually quite similar to CBD in a lot of ways.
That said, delta-8 THC also allows consumers to experience a mild high without the side effects that typically come with regular THC, including paranoia and slowed thinking.
This means if you want a product that combines all the best parts of THC with the health benefits of CBD, delta-8 is the product for you.
Delta-9 THC: A Quick Recap
When people talk about the ingredient in marijuana known for producing a “high,” they’re typically referring to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or simply “THC.”
As the most abundant and intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis, delta-9 binds with CB1 receptors in our brain to produce various psychoactive effects, including:
- Altered perceptions
- Loss of inhibition
In other words, your classic marijuana high.
However, there’s another variant of THC that produces a distinct high of its own – one that many people might prefer over that of delta-9.
You guessed it – it’s delta-8 THC, and this little cannabinoid is stirring up quite a buzz in the cannabis and healthcare industries.
Delta-8 vs Delta-9: Key Differences
From a molecular standpoint, Delta 8 and 9 are almost identical apart from a couple of electrons.
But while these deviations may seem small, they make a world of difference in how they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
No More Anxiety or Paranoia
If you’ve ever experienced unpleasant side effects after taking delta-9 THC (or you’re afraid you might), it’s time to switch to delta-8.
The 2018 Farm Bill dictates that delta 9 THC levels must remain below 0.3 percent in all hemp-derived products due to the fact that delta-9 can actually produce feelings of anxiety and paranoia in higher quantities.
Not only that, but delta-9 is also known to negatively impact mental performance and even produce greater peaks and valleys when it comes to your overall energy.
And this is partly because delta-9 is strong.
Like really strong.
|Metrics||Delta 8 THC||Delta 9 THC|
|Concentration in Hemp||Less than 1%||Up to 30%|
|Receptors||CB1 & CB2||CB1 & CB2|
|Typical Dose||10–40 mg||5 – 20 mg|
|Effects on Appetite||Strong Stimulant||Moderate Stimulant|
|Anxiety Side-Effects||Negligible||Mild to Severe|
By comparison, delta-8 is typically only about 50 percent as psychoactive as delta-9.
Why? Because delta-8 produces much weaker bonds with the body’s CB1 receptors, resulting in lesser, gentler psychotropic effects than its stronger cousin.
That means you get all the good without the bad.
And it gets even better…
A Relaxed, Focused Calm
Due to its high potency, delta-9 THC is more likely to induce feelings of euphoria over relaxation.
And this is where so much of it comes down to personal preference.
If you’re looking for something that’s going to elevate your mood and provide an overall feeling of contentment, delta-9 might be your best bet (just remember the potential side effects mentioned earlier).
On the other hand, if you want to eliminate your stress without the intense “high” that comes with regular THC, delta-8 might be a better option.
Because it’s significantly milder than delta-9, this variant of THC provides a focused calm that aids relaxation while posing zero threat to mental performance, making it perfect for whenever, wherever.
This Part is Key
One more important difference between delta-8 and 9 lies in speed of absorption.
Not only does each cannabinoid produce different effects in the body, but they also do so at very different rates.
Once consumed, delta-9 takes hold very quickly to induce the effects mentioned above in a matter of minutes.
Because of this, delta-9 requires careful planning to ensure it doesn’t disrupt any plans you might have for the day.
On the other hand, delta-8 kicks in gradually over time to deliver a significantly smoother experience with next to no risk of anxiety.
So How Does Delta-8 Actually Work in Our Bodies?
Delta-8 is not only capable of binding to our brain’s CB1 receptors but also the CB2 receptors found in our digestive and immune systems.
Together, CB1 and CB2 receptors regulate neurohormones which actively affect physiological processes including mood, pain response, and appetite.
In other words, when delta-8 interacts with these receptors, it activates a multitude of physiological changes for immediate and long-term health benefits.
How is Delta-8 Made?
While delta-8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the hemp plant, buds often only contain less than 1% of the compound.
So in order to produce a substantial amount of the delta-8, a specialized extraction, isolation, conversion, and refinement practice must be performed.
What does that mean?
It’s actually simpler than it sounds:
CBD is extracted from hemp, refined into an isolate, and then synthesized into delta-8 THC. Pretty cool, right?
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC are now legal and no longer on the list of controlled substances.
And since delta-8 THC is derived from hemp, which has negligible THC traces, it’s officially legal on a federal level.
Despite the signed federal rule, however, states have the power to control the use of delta-8 THC in their jurisdictions.
Is Delta-8 Legal in My State?
While delta-8 THC may not be legal in all 50 states, it is legal in most of them. Only 11 states have banned it, and this is likely to change over the next few years.
These states include:
- Rhode Island
Controversies Around Delta-8
While legal in most states, it should be noted that there are currently no regulations surrounding delta-8’s production.
Similar to CBD, this means you have no real way of knowing exactly what you’re getting in every product, and that’s why it’s important to look for brands that publish their lab results online.
And this is important to note:
Certain delta-8 products might not always be gentler than regular THC depending on strength of potency.
Even though delta-8 typically produces a milder high than delta-9, this is easy to change by increasing the dosage of delta-8.
Meanwhile, individual people may be more or less sensitive to one form of THC than the other.
If you try delta-8, it’s important to start with a low dose and slowly increase until you feel like you’ve reached the best dosage for you.
Ways to Consume Delta-8 THC
Just like CBD and THC, Delta-8 may be consumed through a variety of formats depending on personal preference.
You can choose between tinctures, vape, edibles – the list goes on.
But which delta-8 THC product is best for you?
That depends on several factors, including the potency and speed of absorption you’re looking for.
How to Dose Delta-8 THC
There are several factors at play when determining the right delta-8 dosage for you.
For starters, some people are more sensitive to THC than others.
If you tend to be more sensitive to delta-9 THC in marijuana, it’s likely you could also be more sensitive to delta-8. This means you may need a smaller dose than most people.
Bodyweight is another key factor. The more a person weighs the more Delta-8 they may need to achieve the same effects as someone who weighs less.
And finally, the consumption method of delta-8 can affect how quickly you feel its effects.
|Your Weight||80 lbs (35 kg)||100 lbs (45 kg)||120 lbs (55 kg)||140 lbs (65 kg)||160 lbs (72 kg)||180 lbs (82 kg)||200 lbs (90 kg)||220 lbs (100 kg)||240 lbs (108 kg)||260 lbs (118 kg)|
|Mild Effects||5 mg||6.3 mg||7.7 mg||9 mg||10 mg||12 mg||13 mg||14 mg||15 mg||17 mg|
|Heavy Effects||15 mg||20 mg||27 mg||32 mg||36 mg||40 mg||45 mg||50 mg||54 mg||60 mg|
Dosages And Milligram Strength Per Delivery Method
Vape cartridges or vape carts are prefilled cartridges with delta-8 vape oil.
It generally takes between 1 to 3 puffs of delta-8 vape to feel the desired effects due to factors including the product’s milligram strength and your own tolerance.
Vaping delta-8 is the fastest delivery method as the cannabinoid is able to pass directly through the lungs and into the body.
While this method provides almost instantaneous relief, it can also pass through the body faster than other delivery methods.
When you vape delta-8, it normally only stays in your system for 2 to 3 hours, which may or may not be ideal for someone experiencing anxiety or chronic pain.
Delta 8 tinctures or oils typically range from 30 to 60 mg per dose, with a one-milliliter dropper holding a single dose.
Many droppers will also have markings at the quarter milliliter points to help create a more accurate dosage.
It’s also important to remember when taking delta-8 in this form that you hold the oil under your tongue for 30 to 90 seconds for full absorption.
Unlike vaping, you won’t experience immediate effects when taking delta-8 in tincture form, as most tinctures take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours to fully set in.
However, this delivery method can provide more lasting effects to keep relief coming for as much as 8 hours – something that can be helpful for chronic pain management.
The most popular Delta-8 edibles on the market are gummies, and these can range in strength from anywhere between 10 to 40 milligrams of delta-8.
Because they’re created with a pre-measured dose of delta-8 in each gummy, this allows you to start with a lower dose and then adjust the number of gummies to achieve the effect you desire.
Consuming delta-8 in an edible form typically results in the slowest onset as the cannabinoid must first travel through the digestion process.
But if you’re okay with a little waiting, gummies can make for a tastier, more convenient way to take delta-8 at home or on-the-go.
Can I Buy Delta-8 Products Online?
You can receive delta-8 THC in the mail depending on which state you live in.
Delta-8 isn’t legal in all states, and different producers may choose not to ship to certain states because of its hazy legality.
Be sure to check a producer’s website to see if they ship to your state. Surprisingly, even states that have legal, adult-use cannabis laws don’t always allow delta-8.
Commonly, retailers will ship to all states except Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska.
The Future of Delta-8 THC
Delta-8 may not be as popular as products like regular THC or CBD just yet, but this unique cannabinoid is expected to grow as mounting interest drives further scientific investigation.
And with its far-reaching implications for therapeutic use, new applications and products are just around the corner.
So if you take away one thing, let it be this:
Between its many beneficial properties and mild psychoactive effects, delta-8 is the perfect balance between THC and CBD. Not only does it offer everything from chronic pain relief to improved cognition, but it also provides a subtle, relaxing high that’s perfect for everyday use.
If you want all the benefits of cannabis without any of the anxiety, delta-8’s just the ticket.