After legalization of industrial hemp in the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (the "farm bill"), CBD and other cannabinoids hit the market rapidly. Over the past year, loopholes discovered in the bill have allowed intoxicating components like hemp derived Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC to be sold everywhere in the United States. Delta 8 is minor cannabinoid that possesses psychoactive properties similar to the more well-known cannabinoid, Delta 9 THC. Both forms of THC are treated differently under federal law. Here is all you need to know about the difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC.
The Cannabis Plant
There are about 400 different identified compounds found in the cannabis plant. These ingredients include terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. Cannabis sativa is the most widespread species of cannabis. There are hundreds of strains, some with high Delta 9 THC concentration (marijuana) and some with very low Delta 9 THC concentration (hemp). Cannabis has two main cannabinoids most are familiar with: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both these cannabinoids can interact with the body through the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Their interaction offers pain relief, stress relief, reduced inflammation, and sedation.
These cannabinoids have become a prime component of numerous clinical and medicinal studies. Delta 8 THC is one of these cannabinoids that has created a significant impact on the cannabis industry. It is a novel and readily available cannabinoid that offers mild euphoric effects. There are many similarities between the "real" THC (Delta 9) and Delta 8 THC, but they also have some distinct properties. The cannabinoid Delta 9 THC is what marijuana users usually want when looking for a euphoric high. When people say "THC," they are generally referring to Delta 9.
Chemical structure of Delta 8 and Delta 9
The chemical structure of Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC is quite similar. A single, double bond on the carbon atom chain creates variations between the two.
Delta 8 THC has the double bond on the 8th carbon, whereas Delta 9 THC has it on the 9th carbon. The dual bond placement determines the way both these carbon atoms interact with the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
Delta 8 THC has become quite popular among cannabis consumers benefiting those who do not have legal access to marijuana derived Delta 9 THC. People looking for mild euphoric effects also opt for Delta 8 THC. After the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill, products derived from industrial hemp that contain less than 0.3 percent Delta 9 THC are legal. Increased cases of accidental exposure and overconsumption of Delta 8 have brought it under the limelight, and it has been under strict scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration.
On the other hand, Delta 9 THC derived from marijuana is identified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Schedule 1 drugs have a significant potential for abuse and little to no medicinal value. This of course, has been well disputed in many states across the country that have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. Any cannabis product that contains 0.3 % Delta 9 THC is federally illegal. The Delta 9 THC found in Snoozy Sleep Gummies is derived from industrial hemp and is therefore federally compliant.
Because of their structural similarity and mechanism of action, Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC share many medical benefits. Research has shown that Delta 9 THC works by interacting with the CB1 receptors of endocannabinoid system. They are primarily found in areas like the frontal cortex that regulate motor functions, motivation, cognition, and problem-solving ability. They are also densely present in the hippocampus, the part involved with learning and memory.
Delta 8 THC produces mild and smooth highs with almost half the intensity of Delta 9 THC.
These molecules have a high binding affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors and produce a wide range of effects.
Delta 8 THC produces the following effects:
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced vomiting
- An increase and then decrease of blood pressure
- Reduced heart rate
- Pain relief
- Inhibits growth of some types of tumors
- Stimulates appetite
The effects produced by Delta 9 THC include:
- Reduced anxiety in low doses and high anxiety in high doses
- Memory impairment in high doses
- Relieves depression in low doses
- Pain relief and muscle relaxation
- Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Antibiotic properties
- Appetite stimulant
- Reduced intraocular pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Improved blood flow to the brain
- Reduced nausea
- Promotes brain cell growth
- Inhibits cancer cell growth
What is a Delta 9 THC high like?
A Delta-9 THC "high" is often described as producing strong psychoactive effects. Users may experience visual and auditory hallucinations, impaired motor skills, and paranoia. The high from Delta-THC typically lasts for two to four hours depending on how its consumed.
The chemical in marijuana that gets users high is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but most people just refer to it as THC. It binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which produces effects like elation, relaxation, and laughter. Some other side effects can be sleepiness and forgetfulness.
Does Delta 9 get you higher than Delta-8?
Because Delta 9 9 THC produces a stronger euphoric effect than Delta 8 THC, there is a stronger possibility of overconsumption and negative side effects. Some Delta 8 users, on the other hand, may experience negative symptoms if they exceed their tolerance threshold. Delta 8 and Delta 9 have comparable adverse effects, as identified below.
Side effects of Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC
When it comes to causing an adverse effect, both these compounds differ in the level of intoxication and side effects. Evidently, Delta 9 produces more potent results than Delta 8 and offers more substantial euphoric effects. The chances of Delta 9 overdose are high, and new cannabis users can easily pass the THC tolerance.
The most prominent side effects produced by both Delta 8 and Delta 9 are:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Short-term memory loss
- Coordination issues
- Memory loss
- Fast heart rate
- Delayed reaction times
The effects of the compounds also depend on the dosage. Since Delta 8 offers a weaker effect compared to that of Delta 9, most Delta 8 products are sold at doses of about three times more than Delta 9. First-time users should begin with smaller amounts and increase them gradually.
Which one of these is right for you?
Both Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC can be harmful to the body, especially if taken in significant quantities. It is recommended to consider the intensity of the product before taking it for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Related: HHC vs Delta 9