What Is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a chemical compound called a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in both hemp and cannabis plants.
In certain states, you can legally purchase products that contain a concentrated form of Delta-8 THC, including edibles, vapes, cartridges, tinctures, and capsules. With its popularity rapidly growing, you can find these products almost anywhere, from convenience stores to boutique dispensaries.
Typically, Delta-8 gives people a euphoric high that is milder than they might experience from marijuana. Additionally, there are many people who use it to ease symptoms of chronic pain, depression, or stress. Currently, there’s not a lot of research to support how effective it is, but it’s a field of continued interest.
- Delta-8 is a naturally occurring compound of the cannabis plant, but most products use a synthetic concentration sourced from CBD and hemp.
- The main concern for many consumers is a lack of regulation, so it’s important to purchase D8 products from a trusted source with Certificates of Analysis.
- There are many potential benefits to D8 but a lack of research to confirm health benefits.
Is D8 Synthetic?
Delta-8 is a form of THC, which is a psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis sativa. Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol naturally occurs in cannabis and hemp, but it’s often in trace amounts. So, the concentrate often comes from CBD and hemp.
Generally speaking, hemp and CBD do not have enough psychoactive compounds to produce a high, but they still have trace amounts of Delta-8 THC. The concentrate used in D8 products comes from these legal sources to be sold alongside other legal cannabis and CBD products.
How Is Delta-8 Different From Other Cannabinoids?
With the growth in demand for delta-8 products, what sets it apart from other cannabinoids? Firstly, the chemical structure is quite similar to delta-9 THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
Delta 8 Vs. Delta 9
Both cannabinoids are forms of THC. However, people generally mean D9 when they refer to THC because cannabis contains a significant concentration of delta-9. Moreover, delta-8 is less potent than delta-9.
Still, it affects your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and mood. Other side effects common with THC also tend to be less potent with delta-8, including drowsiness, anxiety, and paranoia.
Delta-8 Vs. Delta-10
Occasionally, you might see products containing delta-10 THC. D10 is in the same family as D8 and D9. Much like delta-8, it’s possible to produce D10 in a lab with hemp. Aside from that, there’s not much information about delta-10 out there.
Some people say that D10 helps them focus and improves their mood with less of the high experienced from Delta-8. There are many claims to the benefits of delta-10, but there’s no research to back it up.
Delta-8 Vs. CBD
Unlike delta-8, CBD does not produce a high. CBD similarly comes from both hemp and cannabis plants, and you can find both in stores. The FDA also approved CBD as part of an anti-seizure drug used to treat people with epilepsy.
Research is ongoing on the health benefits of CBD for issues like diabetes, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis. For delta-8, the research is lacking currently.
Delta-8 Vs. HHC
HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) is THC that goes through hydrogenation. It similarly comes from hemp, and it’s used in many products, including vapes and edibles. Both D8 and HHC bind to brain receptors that cover bodily functions like memory and sleep. However, the way they feel can be quite different. Some users claim that HHC produces a feeling similar to that of delta-9, which means it is a more intense high.
Why Do People Prefer Delta-8?
According to a survey of delta-8 users, they reported feeling less anxious or paranoid in addition to feeling a “nicer” high compared to delta-9 products. Participants’ most common experiences with delta-8 were pain relief, euphoria, and relaxation. While some people reported limited issues with short-term memory, an altered sense of time, or difficulty focusing, it was not to the same extent as regular marijuana.
Jessica Kruger, a clinical assistant professor of health behavior at the University at Buffalo, led the study. In an interview with the New York Times, she said, “When we asked participants to compare delta-8 to delta-9, they felt that it was less intense. They remarked how they could use delta-8 and still be productive, whereas when they use delta-9 they would say that they had things like ‘couch lock’ or didn’t feel like getting up and doing anything.”
According to their research, it seems unlikely that the effects of delta-8 and delta-9 are different. Instead, they found that there’s less of the drug in CB1 receptors, which reduces the more distressing symptoms of getting “too high.”
How Do People Use Delta-8?
There are several ways to use delta-8, so the “how” is often down to personal preference.
- Edibles, such as gummies or drinks
- Liquid extracts in tinctures, which people take directly under the tongue or use in food or drink
- Vape concentrates or waxes
- Topical products, like lotions, patches, or creams
- Capsules taken orally
- Smokeable buds or flowers coated with D8
How Does Delta-8 Make You Feel?
Delta-8 produces a high similar to that of marijuana but at a lower level. The main difference boils down to chemical structure and how it interacts with your body.
At the chemical level, delta-8 is nearly identical to delta-9. The core difference is the location of a bond between two carbon atoms. This difference in location means that there’s less attraction between your body’s cannabinoid receptors and delta-8. As a result, there’s less of a high compared to delta-9.
Delta-8 & Brain Chemistry
There’s not a lot of research on this just yet, but cannabinoids generally boost the levels of dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel good, in the brain.
Your Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is a network of signals and receivers from cells throughout the body. Your brain has more cannabinoid receptors than any other type. These CB1 receptors regulate your central nervous system, meaning they control your body temperature, alertness, sense of pain, mood, and hunger.
Endocannabinoids “unlock” the CB1 receptors, and delta-8’s structure is quite similar to the makeup of endocannabinoids, allowing it to activate these cells. That’s how delta-8 produces the high you feel.
Delta-9, on the other hand, more closely mimics the structure of endocannabinoids, allowing it to “hijack” your cells a bit more.
So, Is It Legal?
THC is under heavy regulation wherever it is legal. Delta-8 is such a popular alternative to THC because it’s legal in the majority of the United States. What many people wonder is “If it’s THC, how is it legal?”
The answer lies in the source: hemp. When Congress passed the 2018 version of the Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, they took hemp off of the list of Controlled Substances. The reason for this is that hemp has many additional uses and a low natural THC content.
Following this decision, the popularity of CBD and Delta-8 THC skyrocketed. Both are easily sourced from hemp, which created a legal loophole. Some people say we don’t know enough about D8 products or that there’s not enough regulation, so it’s important to check any product for a valid Certificate of Analysis (COA) that verifies the dosage and ingredients.
A Mellow Alternative for a Texas Sober Lifestyle
A lot of people prefer Delta 8 over marijuana for its mellow effect. People make different claims about what they feel, but everyone’s experience is different. Ultimately, it boils down to body chemistry.
If you want to test the waters with D8 products, a seltzer can be an easy starting point. Take it slow with a Sunday sipper that won’t leave you hungover. If it’s right for you, you can enjoy a Texas Sober lifestyle alongside HoBuzz.