Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC: What’s the difference?
Turns out pretty big, keep reading.
The primary active ingredient in marijuana that produces the psychoactive (the old “weed”….), or mind-altering, effect (aka the “high,”), as well as many other therapeutic properties associated with the plant, is the chemical compound tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short.
However, THC doesn’t only exist in one form.
The most commonly-known form of THC, by far, is delta-9 THC, but another of the four most common chemical compounds in marijuana is Delta-8 THC.
Like delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC also produces a high, but it possesses many distinct differences too.
What makes it legal? (UPDATE: legality is changing, plus more people prefer Delta 9 THC which is becoming more and more legal)
Delta-8 and delta-9 are both cannabinoids (such as CBD, CBN, CBDA, and CBG).
As the law allows, this cannabinoid, just like permitted CBD and alike, has a content much lower than the federally allowed amount of 0.3%.
How does Delta 9 THC help?
Many other cannabinoids exist in the cannabis plant as well, though THC, in all its forms, is the group of cannabinoids attributed to the psychoactive properties cannabis possesses.
By taking cannabinoids like delta-8 and delta-9 THC into your system, you can help to correct irregularities in these regulatory functions and compensate for an inadequate supply of natural endocannabinoids when your body and/or brain need them to achieve certain objectives (like relaxation, appetite, or pain-relief.)
While delta-8 and delta-9 THC are both forms of tetrahydrocannabinol that provide many of the same benefits, they each provide them in different manners and degrees.
Not only is the high that delta-8 THC produces less intense than that of delta-9 THC, but, according to user reports, it is also less cerebral, providing a more lucid, clearheaded, and engaging bio-availability experience without foggy-headedness or anxiety while still offering relaxation and a pervasive body euphoria.
Also D8 less sedating, allowing you to achieve the desired relaxation results without experiencing sleepiness or fatigue as a side effect. Whereas delta-9 most of the time will eventually enter into “fatigue mode”.
Generally speaking, one way many users think of delta-8 THC in terms of its effects and benefits (albeit not its molecular makeup) is as somewhere between CBD and delta-9 THC.
It is non-habit forming and best when vaporized, as the bio-availability is around 80% (in other words your body will get more, as there are fewer barriers to enter the bloodstream).
Physical and mental benefits?
Both delta-9 and delta-8 THC possess many similar therapeutic properties, though within these similarities may be differences in intensity of effects and degrees of effectiveness.
|Anxiolytic (Anxiety relief)
Due to its lighter psychoactive profile, delta-8 THC is less likely to contribute to feelings of anxiety and other mental distress than delta-9 THC. What’s more, its similarities to CBD may also allow delta-8 THC to help ease anxiety symptoms already present. But research also says otherwise, Delta 9 is the better way to go. If possible.
In 2017, one cannabis product manufacturer told a reporter from High Times that delta-8 THC may actually stimulate the appetite even more than delta-9 THC could. (We verified this claim) Slightly, not so much as thought though.
|Antiemetic (Anti-nausea and prevents vomiting)
The same 1995 study that found cancer-killing properties in delta-8 THC also found that it aided the study’s subjects in experiencing less nausea and vomiting related to their standard cancer treatments.
|Analgesic (Pain relief)
Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC have similar benefits for pain, particularly neuropathic pain.
|Neuroprotective (Protection against nerve damage, impairment or degeneration)
Likewise, both forms of THC provide potentially-comparable protection from neuropathic harm.
|Learning and Memory
One area where delta-8 THC may provide benefits not currently attributed to delta-9 THC is learning and memory.
A deficiency of acetylcholine has been linked to cognitive deficiencies and memory problems such as are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that delta-8 THC may have benefits for these issues as well.
Molecular Breakdown of D8 & D9 THC
Delta-8 THC binds to the CB1 (cannabinoid receptor 1) and CB2 (cannabinoid receptor 2) receptors, two G-protein cannabinoid receptors found in the central nervous system, much like another well-known cannabinoid and popular cannabis derivative, CBD (or cannabidiol.) By contrast, delta-9 THC binds only to the CB1 receptor.
- The CB1 receptor is associated with pain, mood, movement, and sleep, among other functions.
- The CB2 receptor is involved in the communication functions of the immune system.
This may suggest delta-8 THC potentially more effective than delta-9 THC in providing therapeutic benefits involving the immune system.
Structurally, just a few atomic bonds distinguish the two forms of THC.
Specifically, both forms of THC have a double bond in their respective structure. However, in delta-8 THC, that double bond is in the eighth position, whereas, in delta-9 THC, it’s in the ninth position.
Differences between strains or names?
Terpenes and different levels of cannabinoids.
Much is made of this, and for good reason. Though you will probably not notice too much of a difference. Terpenes add the flavor profile, and sometimes they can play a role in the overall feeling.
Terpenes are everywhere, not just in hemp and marijuana. What gives that orange its flavor profile? Terpenes! Some terpenes are proven to have a different variational effect over another one.
Terpenes can make a sweet flavor, like in Pineapple Express. It has a higher amount of terpene, Limonene. Or we can take, for example, Jack Herer, which tastes a bit earthier and has a higher amount of Linanol terpenes.
A formidable opponent, but nowhere near as effective as THC, Delta 8 is also quickly becoming a topic of conversation among lawmakers, it is already banned in 6 states with more on the way, why? Because it does affect you, and more of the brands are turning out to be falsely labeling and making false claims. The down and dirty is that Delta 9 THC kicks the hell out of Delta 8, it is also being sold at some outrageous prices due to having the name “THC” in it, but falls way short of the benefits of the “real thing”. Having tried both, “D8” as its called on the street, doesn’t come close to D9 THC (weed) and at the prices gauging and no future market for it, seems we have or might have, a failed marketing campaign over something that gives you the same effect as holding your breath for 20 seconds.
Don’t bank on it, we do not discourage you to try it, but there is just, sadly, no comparison. And health-wise, it is turning out not to do anywhere near the things said about it. That was a large part of the marketing, a legal weed, but in the case, not so fast and not close at all.