Delta-8 THC has become increasingly popular amongst consumers for its ability to produce a marijuana like high with less instances of unwanted side-effects, like paranoia and anxiety. While social media may make it sound like a newly discovered cannabinoid, scientists actually synthesized delta-8 in 1965 but it has recently become a favorite in the hemp community. Keep reading to learn more about delta-8 and its benefits.
What is Delta-8 THC and how is it different from delta-9 THC?
Delta-8 THC or delta 8 tetrahydrocannabidiol is one of hundreds of cannabinoids that occur in cannabis plants. Chemically, delta-8 THC is quite similar to regular THC, which is also known as delta-9-THC. In fact, delta-8 is formed when delta-9 THC ages. In terms of cannabis, the word delta stands for double bond and the number refers to the location of the double bond. Delta-9 has a double bond is on the 9th carbon atom in the molecule’s chain, hence the name delta-9-thc. Delta-8, on the other hand, has a double-bone on the 8th carbon in the chain.
What are the effects of Delta-8 THC?
Like delta-9, Delta-8 THC does possess psychotropic qualities. However, delta-8 has been reported to be about two-thirds as potent than delta-9 THC. This difference in potency can be traced back to the location of molecule’s double bond. Delta-9 thc, which is found in marijuana products, works by binding to CB1 receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system, which in turn produces the psychoactive effects marijuana is known for. When that double bond moves to the 8th carbon in the chain, the molecule no longer able to bind to CB1 receptors as easily, resulting in a lower psychotropic potency.
Because delta-8 acts quite similarly to regular THC, they share similar reported benefits such as:
- Appetite stimulation
- Reduced nausea
- Reduced pain
- Lower levels of anxiety
In a 1995 study, researchers tested delta-8’s antiemetic efficacy in relation to cancer treatment. The results showed that delta-8 prevented vomiting in all subjects, with minimal negative side effects. Additionally, in an animal study, the cannabinoid was found to have a higher potential to stimulate appetite than d9 THC.
A 1987 study found that the cannabinoid improved levels of acetylcholine in the brains of mice. Decreased acetylcholine levels are associated with Alzheimer’s. These results suggest that D8 may also possess some neuroprotective qualities.
One of the most exiting studies relating to d8-thc found that the cannabinoid was actually able to reduce tumor size and increase survival time in rats infected with lung cancer. Unfortunately, there has been no further research into these capabilities. That being said, these initial studies show promise for d8 in a number of medical applications.
What does delta-8 THC feel like?
This question doesn’t have a simple answer, since cannabinoids can affect everyone a bit differently. It may be easier to describe what consumers have reported not feeling when using delta-8. Consumers have described the delta-8 high as a more mellow version of the high produced by delta-9 thc. That means reports of lower anxiety, reduced pain, and increased appetite.
Delta-8 has even become an appealing alternative to delta-9 THC because of its lower psychotropic potency. Those who enjoy the relaxing effects of marijuana but want to avoid potential unwanted effects like anxiety or paranoia have been turning to delta-8 products. Additionally, hemp derived delta-8 has gained popularity in places where delta-9 THC is illegal.
Where does delta 8 come from?
Most cannabinoids within the cannabis plant are produced by cannabinoid synthesizing enzymes and occur at fairly high concentrations. Contrarily, delta-8 THC occurs in very small quantities and forms when d9 THC degrades. Because of this, delta-8 must be extracted or synthesized from other cannabinoids. Once the delta-8 thc is extracted or synthesized, the concentrate can be used for many different applications like, delta-8 thc edibles or even delta-tincture to name a few.
Is it legal?
Currently, marijuana, which has high levels of delta-9 THC, is federally illegal. However, the 2018 farm bill made hemp including its derivatives legal as long as they contain no more than .3% delta-9 THC. This means that d8 products are legal, assuming they’re sourced from hemp and contain less than .3% delta-9 THC. As one might suspect, the DEA is currently reviewing their rules surrounding made with delta 8 THC, so legality is subject to change.
It’s especially important to make sure you’re purchasing delta 8 from a, experienced, reputable supplier because of its legal ambiguity. With that being said, some states have their own legislation regarding delta-8 so it’s important to check local laws before making any purchases.
Like many other cannabinoids, delta-8 shows significant potential but research has been hindered by legislation. We hope that with increased education and research, we’ll be able to further leverage the potential of this fascinating cannabinoid.