There are a lot of new THC derivatives on the market and several cannabinoids as well that are taking up a large part of the cannabis alternative market. However, though these products are popular and are seen on a near-daily basis by most smokers and stoners, many people lack a real understanding of what these products are or what they are supposed to do.
Delta 9 THC, the chemical that provides that “high” feeling, and Delta 8 THC have similar names, similar chemical structures and are derived from the Sativa cannabis plant family. This can lead to some understandable confusion when discussing the two.
With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp production skyrocketed, leading to the eventual creation of what has become 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. It is also much more widely available than many standard THC based products that many smokers and vapers look to for relief, leading to a more widespread user base.
This is especially true for new users. As with anything you consume, it may be in your best interest to first learn about and understand the effects of what you're purchasing.
In the article below, we will discuss both Delta 9 vs Delta 8, and some of the most important things to know about each product.
What is THC?
To get a better understanding of what Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC are, we should first understand a little about what they are derived from: THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Delta 8 and Delta 9 are cannabinoids that can be commonly found in the cannabis Sativa plant. Delta-9 is most commonly referred to just as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol in the industry and to most consumers.
Now technically, Delta-8 is also a THC, but it's makeup results in different pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. THC is known for its psychoactive effects and is also different to another significant cannabinoid that you may be familiar with: CBD, or cannabidiol.
What is Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 provides the "high" feeling that many consumers enjoy by affecting the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain’s nervous system. When these receptors are stimulated, it affects how the body reacts to pain, controls hunger, and how you experience different emotions, which ultimately all affect the overall mood. Delta 9 THC is the cannabinoid that provides the potency of the products and what we expect when we think of THC.
For an even more in-depth look, check out this article published by the National Library of Medicine. (Source)
Consumers will typically consume or be prescribed smaller doses for the various potential benefits that can result from consuming smaller amounts. Some therapeutic benefits include: relaxation, mood improvement, muscle relaxant, and improved quality of sleep.
Some consumers prefer to consume larger quantities, resulting in more pronounced symptoms thanks to its slight psychoactive properties. Many experience euphoria, increased heart rate, anxiety, and other similar symptoms. These results from consumption are based on several factors that differ from person to person, which is why it is important to test and understand your own limits for consumption, after properly researching the potential effects.
So, though Delta 9 is non-toxic and possesses a number of beneficial effects, it is still important to properly figure out where you stand in terms of tolerance, and also understanding just what it is you are looking to receive through consumption.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) is also a cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. It is meant to provide the beneficial properties of THC without some of the overstimulating psychoactive effects of Delta 9.
Delta 8 is less potent than its counterpart, Delta 9 THC. This cannabinoid can also be found in full-spectrum CBD products, like CBD concentrates and CBD oil. When combined, they may provide some of the therapeutic and mood improving effects that consumers seek through consumption. This cannabinoid can be found in a wide variety of products that can found in the market, ranging from various edibles, to some topical products. This availability through several channels as well as the fact the Delta 8 THC is legal in most US States leaves a lot of room for the product to be available and appealing to many consumers.
Delta 8 vs. Delta 9
Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are technically composed of the same elements (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen). The difference between the two is in how the elements are arranged chemically. This change in design ultimately leads to the specific differences that standout among the numerous similarities between Delta 8 and Delta 9.
Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC produce the same positive and/or adverse effects since both actively affect the body’s CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. The 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. (Source)
One of the biggest differences between the two substances is that Delta-8 THC is a recently developed derivative and alternative to Delta-9 THC. This means that while Delta-9 has been under public scrutiny and has been researched and studied for over half a century. Delta-8 has barely any published research, and very little regulation in how it is produced, distributed, and sold. This is part of why it has become so widely available and popular among consumers.
States that have legalized consumption of Delta-9, both medical and recreational, are highly regulated in how they distribute, sell and advertise Delta-9 THC. However, many producers of Delta-8 don't have specific regulations to follow, meaning that some producers aren't guaranteeing and ensuring that their products are free of adulterants or other potentially harmful substances, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn't overlooking and testing the products before they hit the general market.
General consensus among experts says that properly identified Delta-8 THC would be about 70-80% as potent as Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC can be smoked or vaporized, and it can also be extracted from flower to prepare edibles, topicals, and other concentrates.
However, nearly all forms of Delta-8 products have been synthesized, extracted, and purified because Delta-8 THC is only found in minute amounts in the cannabis plant.
Benefits of Delta 8
Other than the differences in regulation and availability, one of the main reasons consumers look to Delta 8 rather than Delta 9 would be for its reduced psychoactive properties.
Delta 8 THC may help relieve stress, improve focus, improve quality of sleep, ease pain, reduce anxiety, boost appetite, and relieve feelings of nausea.
Keep in mind that studies on Delta 8 are limited, and it's important to do your own research in order to better understand how you personally may be affected by use and what drawbacks may be worth considering based on your own personal history.
The best part for many may be that Delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level (for now). That means that you can still consume Delta 8 THC even if cannabis isn't legal yet in your state. Many people would agree that the biggest risk of Delta 9 THC is that it’s illegal federally.
Potential Benefits of Delta 9 THC
Although not legal on a federal level, there are many states that have legalized Delta 9 THC. This is because it has been proven that Delta 9 THC has several beneficial properties when consumed.
Potential benefits of consuming delta-9 THC may include:
Improved sensory perception
Feelings of euphoria or exhilaration
Pain and inflammation reduction
Studies show using delta-9 THC may have therapeutic benefits for certain chronic conditions relating to the aforementioned benefits..
Potential Side Effects of Delta 9 THC?
There are several factors to consider when consuming Delta 9: Tolerance, quality and quantity of Delta 9, hydration level, emotional state. All these factors and a few others can ultimately determine how you will react to Delta 9 in varying levels. If you overconsume you may experience symptoms such as:
Feelings of uneasiness or dissatisfaction.
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
As you can see, some of the symptoms related to the psychoactive components in Delta 9 THC are less commonly seen in cases where Delta 8 is consumed.
The adverse effects relating to overconsumption of Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC tend to be relatively short-lived, most of the time resolving within a few hours. (In the case of edibles it is usually a longer resolution period as your body takes longer to digest the THC.) The amount and the quality of the consumed product, as well as the method of ingestion all factor into how long you may feel the effects of the THC.
Again, it is important to research and understand the potential effects, benefits, and less-likely detriments of consuming THC in any form. Understanding your own personal condition is also important. We at Stache always recommend looking at several sources of information and making your own educated conclusion on what is best for you.
Consulting your Physician or Mental Health Care Professional may be best before beginning to consume products containing THC.