If you are someone who loves to get high at a party with friends or need something to unwind after a long, hard day at work, you should know that there is a simpler, safer, and legal option over marijuana.
Would you be excited if we were to tell you that you can get high, feel relaxed and calm, and get all the benefits of CBD and THC, but without the typical side effects of marijuana, such as hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, depression, etc.?
Well, there is such a compound. It is called Delta-8 THC.
Admittedly, it is still Tetrahydrocannabinol. But it’s not Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol – known for its extreme side effects (which we just mentioned a while ago) and for being a controlled substance (hence illegal!).
While Delta-8 THC does give you almost a similar high and helps you zen out like Delta-9 THC, it does so in a mild manner, that is, without the possible “out-of-your-mind high”. In other words, you won’t get stoned.
Delta-8 THC is legal as long as it is derived from natural hemp (a milder cousin of marijuana) and does not contain traces of Delta-9 higher than 0.3% by dry weight in the product. And, this compound is recently gaining in popularity across the world, more so in America.
So, what is Delta-8 or D-8?
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 (which is how Delta-8 THC is more commonly known) isn’t the most popular or predominant cannabinoid present in cannabis plants. D-8 is, in fact, found in very small concentrations in natural hemp, which is what makes its extraction, isolation, and refinement so very difficult.
However, it is still prominent among the 120 cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis.
Interestingly, it can be derived from its isomers – CBD and Delta-9 THC. But that isn’t the most ethical way of extracting it. However, it is still noteworthy that Delta-9 THC degrades into Delta-8 THC inside the plant as well as when stored for a prolonged period.
According to The National Cancer Institute, Delta-8 THC is “an analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” The institute also maintains that “this agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC), the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
You must be aware that Delta-9 THC reportedly reduces nausea, soothes pain, and stimulates appetite. Although Delta-8 THC has the same benefits, the point that works in the latter’s favor is that it tends to have slightly less potent psychotropic effects than Delta-9 THC.
However, since Delta-8 THC has not received as much attention as Delta-9 THC, there has been limited research into the cannabinoid.
Delta-8 THC has a lot in common with Delta-9 THC, the main form of THC found in cannabis, including a similar structure, there are quite a few notable differences between the two.
Difference Between Delta-8 THC and CBD
Delta-8 THC may not be as prominent as Delta-9 THC, but it is still among the predominant cannabinoids with psychoactive properties. However, CBD is NOT a psychotropic cannabinoid.
Although CBD is a cannabinoid and can break down into Delta-8 under certain environmental conditions, its ability to interact with the human endocannabinoid system is quite different from a typical psychotropic compound.
In simple terms, CBD’s behavior in our body varies considerably from any psychotropic compound, making its effects quite different. That is why it does NOT give you a high or have any mind-altering effects.
As an avid consumer, you probably already know that CBD is the main cannabinoid found in hemp plants and that it is also the key non-psychoactive compound in all kinds of cannabis plants.
You should know that just like Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC can both be present together, so can Delta-8 THC and CBD. In fact, the latter combination is well-known for providing consumers with a very mild high, along with several benefits, like fighting stress and exhaustion.
While CBD can have better results in the long run, Delta-8 THC can give you a quick fix. However, on the flipside, Delta-8 can be a bit harsher on your throat and can show up on a drug test – which is not what happens when you use CBD.
In brief, the differences between Delta-8 THC and CBD are:
- Could show up on a drug test
- Present in low concentrations in natural hemp
- Can be used both medicinally and recreationally
- Interacts primarily with CB1 receptors of the Endocannabinoid System
- Usually does not show up on a drug test
- Available in high concentrations in hemp plants
- Usually used for medicinal purposes
- Binds indirectly with both CB1 and CB2 receptors
However, both compounds share some similar effects, such as calming, relaxing, energizing, focusing, relieving pain, reducing inflammation, alleviating anxiety, preventing nausea, etc.
It all boils down to your choice. It is really up to you to make the most of each compound. Your choice depends entirely on how you want to utilize cannabinoids and for what purpose.
Benefits of Delta-8 THC
Delta-8 THC is said to help relieve anxiety; act to salvage, recover, and regenerate the nervous system; act as an anti-nausea drug; aid in increasing hunger; also help relieve pain.
Because of its structural difference with Delta-9, Delta-8 THC interacts more with CB2 than CB1 receptors. This means it has plenty of benefits on the body with fewer side-effects influencing the CB1 receptors, and, hence, the brain. [Note: The mind-altering effects are caused by the direct interaction of the cannabinoids with the CB1 receptors.]
As Delta-8 THC’s psychotropic behavior is less potent than Delta-9, it can help stabilize one’s mood, without the strong side-effects associated with Delta-9, such as increased anxiety, depression, and paranoia.
People have reportedly experienced a sense of clarity, felt more focused, and were able to breeze through their daily tasks after using Delta-8 THC, as the body finds this compound easier to handle.
In a 1995 study, published in the Life Sciences magazine, scientists discovered that not only does Delta-8 THC have a lower psychotropic potency than Delta-9 but it even has the potential to treat children as young as three years and suffering from hematologic cancers. They also discovered that vomiting could be prevented with D-8 THC treatment when initiated two hours before an antineoplastic treatment and continued every 6 hours for 24 hours. They also found the side effects to be negligible when compared to D-9 THC.
Owing to its better safety profile, Delta-8 THC appears to a preferable choice of treatment for a wide range of cancers.
According to a 2004 comparative study, published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, very small doses of Delta-8 THC can increase food consumption and change the levels of neurotransmitters in mice, thereby promoting weight gain among individuals who have lost significant weight due to prolonged illness. Scientists, involved with this study, also concluded that Delta-8 in low doses can also prove therapeutic to patients with weight-related disorders.
Is Delta-8 Legal?
Although most people are still skeptical about its legality, Delta-8 THC is indeed federally legal in the US.
However, there are certain restrictions in a few states.
With the legalization of hemp farming and manufacturing of hemp-based products by The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), all derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids, sourced from hemp, have been deemed legal. The only condition is that they must be procured naturally and should not contain Delta-9 THC above the legal threshold of 0.3% by dry weight.
However, products sourced from marijuana aren’t legal in most states, except a few states, where it can also be legally used for recreational purposes.
Best Ways to Consume Delta-8 THC
If you’re looking for immediate impact, you should try vape pens. Edibles take the longest time to metabolize and reach their targets. However, Delta-8 tinctures’ time of impact rests somewhere in the middle.
But that does not necessarily mean that vaping is the ideal method of using Delta-8. Each of these cannabinoid delivery methods has its pros and cons. Whatever you choose, make sure to buy from a reputed, reliable, and responsible company and/or brand.
It doesn’t matter how many features a product has. What matters is your health.
Always check the ingredients used, the farming practices, the extraction and manufacturing processes, and the third-party lab results, before making up your mind about a Delta-8 brand.
You would also do well to start with a small dose. Delta-8 THC tends to sting the throat a bit. It’s best to allow your body to adjust to the new compound before upping your dosage. Additionally, don’t forget to consult your doctor if you’re already suffering from a medical condition.
Note that Delta-8 THC may well show up on a drug test. Although its psychotropic effects are more subtle than D-9 THC, it still shares the same metabolites that drug tests look for. So, if you want to avoid failing a drug test, stay away from all cannabis derivatives for at least a couple of weeks.
So, if you want to consume Delta-8 THC – in any form – it is best to first have all the facts before trying it for the first time. Like all cannabinoids, their effects vary from person to person.