Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC: Is there a difference?
The difference between delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC comes down to a few points, such as legality, chemical structure, the source, and the effects. In states where marijuana is illegal, delta 8 offers a less potent, legal alternative.
They both come from the cannabis sativa plant, along with over 100 other cannabinoids. While cannabis plants contain an abundance of delta 9, though, there’s very little delta 8. However, both produce a psychoactive high.
While they share certain similarities, there are key differences between Delta 8 and Delta 9 that you should understand. To learn more about each compound, read on.
- Delta 8 and Delta 9 both come from cannabis plants.
- They have similar chemical structures, both produce psychoactive effects.
- Many users claim Delta 8 offers a less intense “high.”
- Legality for both varies by state, but delta 8 is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
What is Delta 8?
Delta 8 is a minor cannabinoid found in both hemp and marijuana. Because there’s not much of it available in either plant, companies manufacture a concentrate from hemp-derived CBD. While CBD doesn’t produce a high, delta 8 THC does, although it’s a mellower high compared to delta 9. Delta-8 THC products are legal in many states and available as edibles, drinks, vapes, gummies, and more.
There is not much research yet into the effects and benefits of delta 8. Users tend to report a less intense high than marijuana. For those users, it offers a more manageable high.
- Reduced inflammation
- Pain relief
- Better sleep quality
- Better appetite
- Calming your nervous system or immune system
What’s Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 THC is the major component of cannabis that produces a psychoactive, euphoric effect. In states where marijuana is legal, dispensaries offer a full range of products, including edibles, tinctures, pre-rolls, lotions, and vapes.
More research exists on the effects and benefits of delta 9 THC products. Companies market their products as a treatment for certain conditions, diseases, or symptoms.While medical marijuana is a bit more prevalent, only two synthetic THC formulas have FDA approval: dronabinol and nabilone. These treatments alleviate nausea from chemotherapy, and nabilone can be used to increase the appetite of patients with AIDS.
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved creativity
- Improved appetite
Delta 8 vs Delta 9: What are the differences?
Think of these two compounds as siblings. They’re not identical twins, so they share similarities but have a key difference that sets them apart.
Delta 8 and delta 9 have very similar chemical structures. They both contain carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen but differ in the arrangement of those elements. That small variation has a huge impact on how it interacts with your body.
As we examine these two compounds from different angles, the differences and similarities become all the more clear.
Hemp vs Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana are both part of the Cannabis Sativa species. They look very similar, but like Delta 8 and Delta 9, they’re not twins. Their key difference is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Naturally, hemp only has 0.3% THC at most, which isn’t enough for the intoxicating sensation marijuana brings to the table.
THC and CBD are found in both plants, but there’s a much higher concentration of THC in marijuana. That 0.3% THC is part of why Congress removed hemp from the controlled substances list in 2018, making the sale of hemp-derived products possible.
People have been researching delta 9 THC and marijuana overall for around 60 years. On the other hand, delta-8 and other cannabinoids are fairly new. They weren’t as prevalent in the research on marijuana, so less is known about the specific benefits and effects.
When someone wants to choose between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC, the determining factors for many are the side effects and benefits. Both compounds produce an intoxicating high, but the potency is a key difference.
Delta 8 THC products can be around ¼ to ⅓ less potent than delta 9. There are other factors to consider, such as your body chemistry, but many people speak to delta 8’s mellower high.
Delta 8 and Delta 9 both activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body, so they can have a positive or negative effect.
- Activating your body’s CB1 receptors can help you relax and sleep, improve your appetite, and protect you from overstimulation. Overstimulation can lead to lethargy, anxiety, panic attacks, dry mouth, dry eyes, and loss of coordination.
- Activating the CB2 receptors can reduce inflammation and help to calm an overactive immune system.
Are they legal?
The legal situation for both delta 8 and delta 9 is complex, unfortunately. There are legal rules and regulations, or a lack thereof, that make complicate the legality. Marijuana is a little easier, so let’s start there.
Marijuana is legal in some states, but it is not legal at the federal level. It also depends on whether it is legal for recreational use or medicinal use. Texas, for example, approved very specific use of medical marijuana, but overall, the possession of marijuana is a criminal offense.
On the other hand, delta 8 THC has a legal loophole at the federal level, but some states made it illegal. The loophole comes from the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the production of hemp. Sourcing CBD and other cannabinoids became a hot topic of debate soon after.
Texas is a strong example here as well. The State’s Department of Health tried to make delta-8 THC a controlled substance, sparking an ongoing legal battle. Currently, there’s no ban on the sale of D8 products in Texas, but it’s different in other states.
It’s important to do a little research about your area’s laws before you purchase any THC products.
What you can take away
Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are natural compounds found in cannabis plants. They both produce a sense of euphoria, but many say D8 has a less intense high. There are side effects that are good and certain adverse effects to watch out for.
When you understand the differences and similarities of these two compounds, you can make an informed decision. Cannabis laws continue to change, and organizations continue to conduct research. If you want to try hemp-derived delta-8-THC products, it’s important to look for a Certificate of Analysis. These documents tell you what’s really in the products and whether the dosage is accurate.