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Cannabis is a complex plant with hundreds of chemicals. Each one of these chemicals have medicinal and psychoactive properties that are unique to them. While CBD and THC are two of the most prevalent cannabinoids of the cannabis Sativa family, there’s hardly much awareness about delta-8 THC (delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol) and how it’s different from the more widely known cannabinoid – Delta 9 THC.
Generally, the term ‘THC’ is used to refer to Delta 9 THC. However, there are several isomers of the same cannabinoid that deliver slightly different effects and delta-8 THC is one of them. But, is Delta 8 THC any different from Delta 9?
Well, we’ll cover this question today. In this blog, we will discuss the key differences between delta-8 vs delta-9 THC and more!
Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC is a topic often under debate in the cannabis community. Both are psychoactive cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. However, the biggest point of dissimilarity between the two is potency.
Where delta 9 is psychoactive and can lead to an intolerable head high, delta 8 THC is half as intoxicating as it’s cousin. This has to be the key difference if you ask. Simply put, delta-8 THC shares similar properties with delta-9 THC but the effects are cut down in the case of D8.
Delta-9 THC enjoys a wider recognition in the cannabis industry for being the primary psychoactive constituent and of course, its unique and therapeutic effects. Remember how a marijuana smoker gets high after taking a few puffs? Well, it’s the presence of delta-9 THC or just THC that makes the person feel high.
Now, coming to the extraction process of both the cannabinoids, delta-9 THC is easily extracted while delta-8 THC goes through a different and expensive extraction process. Given the fact that delta-9 THC is found in abundance in the cannabis plant, it’s extraction is easier and fairly cheaper.
On the other hand, extraction of delta-8 THC becomes difficult as it’s a minor cannabinoid naturally found in low quantities, so, its extraction from the plant becomes pretty hard. Fortunately, experts found another way to produce delta-8 in higher quantities. Delta-8 is generally synthesized entirely from CBD (cannabidiol) with the use of solvents which is generally a slightly expensive process.
Although the conversion of delta 8 THC from CBD is time-consuming and expensive, it has greatly helped manufacturers make delta 8 products readily available.
It’s synthetization from CBD is the reason why most of delta8 is produced from hemp and not marijuana plants since hemp naturally contains higher levels of CBD than marijuana.
Discovered in 1964, delta-9 THC enjoys a dedicated following in the cannabis industry for its euphoric and relaxing effects. When smoked, THC gets absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain, connecting itself to endocannabinoid receptors.
These receptors are present in different parts of the brain, such as the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia which influence different functions, such as memory, coordination, pleasure, pain, thinking, etc.
Both delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC primarily bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors and eventually influence the different functions, making a user feel different emotions depending on his/her health condition.
Delta-8 also produces effects similar to those of delta-9 but are less potent, ensuring that the user doesn’t get overwhelmed with the effects.
Now, this is very important to understand. Speaking from the federal perspective, marijuana is not legal. However, many states have legalized medical and recreational marijuana in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill signed by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The bill plays a huge role in the history of cannabis as it removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.
Simply put, it allowed the manufacturing of cannabis derivatives with extremely low concentration of delta-9 THC ( less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis). That is why, it is said that the bill has a loophole, making delta-8 legal. delta- 8 containing less than 0.3 % THC is assumed to be legal but yet the compound falls into the gray legal zone. Why? Because the name of the delta-8 THC compound is not directly mentioned in the list of cannabis derivatives in the Farm Bill.
The whole legality concept of these cannabinoids is truly confusing. But what you need to remember is delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC with no more than 0.3 % of THC are legal.
THC, in general, possesses more risk as compared to CBD. Research on marijuana suggests that chronic use of THC can lead to severe side effects including CHS (Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome), Psychosis, and others. CHS is a newly discovered syndrome caused by long-term consumption of marijuana and is characterized by regular bouts of vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.
Experts suggest that individuals with long-term marijuana consumption and dehydration are more likely to get the syndrome.
Though delta-8 is less potent than delta-9 THC, experts advise a moderate use of both the cannabinoids. Excessive use of THC is anyway risky for general health.
Also for those who get a doctor’s recommendation from Online Medical Card or any other MMJ recommendation service, the debate of Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC has more importance because one of these cannabinoids may prove to be more beneficial than the other.
Delta-8 THC and delta–9 THC products containing less than 0.3 % THC are legal in a few of the states while some others have banned it as marijuana is not legalized by the federal government.
If you live in a state where delta-8 is legal, you could easily get a variety of delta-8 products in the dispensaries and online cannabis shops. Also, whenever you buy delta-8 or delta-9 products, make sure you check for their third-party lab results and CoA to ensure that the quality standards of the products are upheld. Pick products from the best brands in the industry.
Now that we know both delta-8 and delta-9 THC produce different effects, their dosage recommendation would also differ to some extent. Considering that delta-8 is less potent, it’s recommended dosage is 10 mg to 60 mg while the dosage of delta-9 is 5 mg to 30 mg.
Though THC has the ability to make you high, its consumption in moderation would keep you in a much safer place. So, you should always start off with a low dosage and gradually ramp the dosage if you are not getting the desired results.
Well, both delta-8 and delta-9 THC belong to the THC family which itself is known for its psychoactive effects. Use of both the cannabinoids in moderation could help alleviate symptoms of some medical conditions and their excessive use, on the other hand, can cause some serious side effects. So, which one is better?
Frankly, it depends on many factors including the user and what effects he/she is seeking. For many delta-8 works better as it’s less potent and easy to manage. However, for some, delta-9 does the job as it influences their particular condition well. You will probably have to experiment with both the cannabinoids and see what works the best for you.
Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are part of the THC family but vary from one another in some aspects. While the therapeutic benefits of each are somewhat similar, the two differ in terms of potency, legality and their basic molecular structure. In the end, both have great potential to be effective in being helpful for certain medical conditions. But, it’s all about which one suits you best.
Based on the facts that we have discussed above, you can narrow down your choice to one. For instance, if you like a prominent head high, Delta 9 is for you. But, if mild, mellow relaxation with faint high is what you need, Delta 8 is the way to go.