Delta-8 THC is a cannabis compound that is surging in popularity thanks to its similarity to THC, which is known for its potent mood-lifting capabilities and pain-relieving properties. However, while Delta-8 THC shares many of the same effects as traditional THC (AKA delta-9 THC), it feels much less potent. Here’s everything you need to know about Delta-8 THC.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a chemical compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. It offers many of the same effects as standard THC, which is also known as delta-9 THC. The key difference is within their chemical structure. This difference causes delta-8 THC to feel less intense than delta-9 THC.

Delta-8 THC is typically extracted from hemp plants since hemp farming is legal in the US. Typically, extracting delta-8 THC involves extracting CBD from the plant, refining it into an isolate, and then synthesizing the isolate into delta-8 THC. Even though it comes from CBD commonly, it has more similarities to THC than to CBD.

Not only is their chemical composition nearly identical, they share similar effects. Delta-8 THC bonds to our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote effects just like delta-9 THC and cause a high. However, its chemical structure causes that high to be much less intense than standard delta-9 THC.

If you’re in the market for products that promote similar effects to THC but feel much less potent, you’ll probably like delta-8 THC. The high feels clearer and still promotes a variety of therapeutic effects.

What’s the difference between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC? 

The main difference between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is in their chemical structure and the way they interact with our bodies. Delta-8 THC feels less potent than Delta-9 because it binds to the endocannabinoid system differently. Delta-8 THC has a double bond on its 8th carbon chain while Delta-9 has it on the ninth carbon chain. This small detail makes a huge difference in the ECS’s ability to process these cannabinoids. This is why science suggests that Delta-8 THC feels less potent than Delta-9, though further research is needed to solidify these findings.

Does Delta-8 THC get you high? 

In short, yes. Delta-8 THC will get you high, just not as high as delta-9 THC. In many places where cannabis is still illegal, Delta-8 THC is still a legal way to experience some THC-like effects. Many people who use cannabis medicinally also like Delta-8 THC for its less intense effects. Delta-9 THC can cause anxiety and paranoia for some people, and Delta-8 offers a smoother, more mild high.

What are the effects of Delta-8 THC? 

Most users report that Delta-8 THC feels a lot like THC, just less intense. Many users report feelings of euphoria, happiness, relief from pain, and a mental lift. Some people use it for insomnia, too. Essentially, it has all the same effects as Delta-9 THC, they’re just less potent.

In the same vein, Delta-8 also comes with some similar side effects as Delta-9. Delta-8 will still likely cause you dry mouth and eyes, short-term memory loss, anxiety, paranoia, or a case of the munchies. However, we haven’t studied delta-8 THC as much as we’ve studied delta-9, so more research is needed to accurately depict the full spectrum of effects it has on the mind and body.

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? 

Delta-8 THC exists in a state of legal purgatory, at the moment. About 11 states specifically address the legality of delta-8 THC right now, and deem it illegal. However, the majority of the country has it up in the air. For example, the DEA is looking to pass a rule that would make delta-8 THC a schedule 1 controlled substance, like cannabis.

However, Delta-8 doesn’t come from cannabis. It comes from hemp, which is completely legal as long as the plant contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. The DEA introduced an interim rule last year to further differentiate between cannabis and hemp. That interim rule said: “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances,” which would make delta-8 illegal on the federal level.

Cannabis is legal in many states at this point too, so lots of retailers follow state laws instead of federal laws anyway. Regardless, the best course of action is to check the laws in your state and follow those accordingly. The DEA’s IFR is open for review until October 2021, so until then, delta-8 THC is in a legal gray area.


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