If you are told to name all the cannabinoids you know, your knowledge would probably revolve around CBD, CBC, CBG, CBN, and Delta-9 THC. But, did you know that there exists another cannabinoid, Delta-8 THC that offers numerous medical benefits and provides a cool psychotropic effect?
Despite its numerous uses, Delta-8 THC has not received as much attention as it’s cousin Delta-9 THC. That notwithstanding, this article focuses on enlightening you on all things Delta-8 THC.
What exactly is Delta-8 THC?
It is among the more than a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is a potent isomer and is mostly derived from the hemp plant. It has the same structure as Delta-9 THC but with significant differences.
Delta-8 THC can occur naturally within the plant in small portions (around 0.1%), or it can be derived from CBD or Delta-9 THC through a series of chemical reactions using solvents, heat, catalysts, and varying PH environments. Sometimes, when Delta-9 THC is left in storage for long periods, it degrades into Delta-8 THC.
It is relatively expensive to acquire due to the technical process involved in acquiring it.
Similarities and differences between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC
They both possess double bonds within their molecular chains. However, in Delta-8, the bonds can be found on the 8th chain, while on the Delta-9 THC, they are on the 9th chain. The difference determines how tightly they bind to the brain receptors.
Delta-9 has a similar structure as anandamide, a neurotransmitter dubbed ‘bliss molecule’ since it stimulates the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, time perception, and concentration. The similarity in structure enables the Delta-9 to mimic the neurotransmitter and binds to the brain receptors, thus producing the ‘high’ effects.
Since Delta-8 is different in structure, it cannot fully bind to the receptors; therefore, it does not have the same potency as its counterpart.
Delta-8 is more stable than Delta-9 THC. The latter is easily transformed into Delta-8 and CBN through oxidation whereas the former has a longer shelf-life and never oxidizes making it a perfect medicinal compound.
Both compounds bind with CB1 receptors, but for Delta-8; the effects are slightly different due to its unique chemical structure. As a result, Delta-8 gives users a clearer ‘high’ and higher concentration with no anxiety or paranoia.
Anxiety: Delta-8 THC has anxiety-reducing properties and gives its users a calm, relaxed, and focused ‘high’.
Pain and inflammation: studies indicate that Delta-8 is effective in eradicating pain and managing inflammation by interacting with the CB1 receptors.
Nausea and vomiting: a 1995 study looked into the effects of delta-8 THC on cancer patients undergoing treatment. The findings indicated that Delta-8 helped finish nausea and vomiting in the patients.
Similarities and differences between Delta-8 THC and CBD
CBD (cannabidiol), is the most abundant cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. Like Delta-8 THC, CBD contains a myriad of benefits for its consumers but without the psychoactive effects.
Delta-8 THC is still fairly new, and sufficient research is yet to be conducted to establish its authority in the cannabinoid world definitively. There is still a lot that needs to be done to prove its legitimacy, unlike CBD, which has been thoroughly researched.
CBD can easily be found at the local drug store, pharmacy, or in any of the many online headshops whereas it requires a bit more effort and sometimes more money to acquire Delta-8 THC. That is changing this year, with popular CBD brands expanding into producing Delta-8 products; from smokeable flower to edibles and even vape cartridges/juice.
As mentioned above, Delta-8 THC does give the user a ‘high’ effect, though not as strong as that of the Delta-9 THC. Although Delta-8 and Delta-9 have a different molecular structure, they appear the same once the former is metabolized and analyzed. This means that if put under a drug test, a user will test positive for THC.
CBC, on the other hand, has no psychoactive effects and does not show up on a drug test.
CBD can be found in high concentrations in a cannabis plant whereas Delta-8 THC is usually present in lower concentrations of less than 1%. However, Delta-8 THC can be made in large scale through a process that involves extraction, isolation, conversion, and finally refinement.
Where can Delta-8 be found?
Delta-8 THC is fast becoming a popular cannabinoid among cannabis enthusiasts. It can be easily found in vape cartridges, soft drinks, tinctures, and gummies. You can buy them at your local dispensary or from online headshops.
The legal status of Delta-8 THC
What is important to note is that Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are two different cannabinoids. According to the 2018 farm bill, all hemp-derived products are legal if they contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. This means that Delta-8 THC from the hemp plant is federally legal. However, different states have different laws. Some allow Delta-8 THC for medicinal use only while others allow for both recreational and medicinal use of the cannabinoid.
Delta-8 THC dosing
The recommendation is always to start with the lowest dose, then work yourself up to your desired effect. Give Delta-8 THC the time to work on your body and don’t rush into taking more if the effects are not felt immediately. Moderation is key.
This wonder cannabinoid is fast becoming the new sensation in town. In the next coming years, when proper research has been conducted, Delta-8 THC is likely to revolutionize the cannabis industry.