What Is Delta-8-THC? The Basics Explained
Cannabis and the rapid rise in popularity of its compounds can be attributed to its wide-ranging benefits, including anxiety relief, improved sleep quality, and optimized digestion.
While compounds, including CBD and THC, are often utilized, other compounds like delta-8-THC are lesser-known.
What’s the difference between delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC?
Delta-9-THC or delta-9-hydrocannabinol is the scientific name for THC, a popular compound found in cannabis, well-known for its potent therapeutic and psychoactive effects. THC can get you high and is associated with feelings of euphoria, happiness, and symptom relief (1).
Delta-8-THC is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol and is slightly different from delta-9 as it has a double bond on the 8th carbon atom instead of the 9th (2). Due to this change in the chemical structure, delta-8 can cause similar yet less potent effects to regular THC.
What’s the difference between delta-8-THC and CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the most popular cannabis compound often utilized in multiple forms, including oils, tinctures, vapes, and edibles like gummies. Cannabis contains many compounds like CBD, THC, and other minor cannabinoids, including CBG and CBN.
Unlike regular THC and delta-8-THC, which have psychoactive properties that create a natural high for the user, CBD is non-psychoactive. Because of this, CBD is a popular alternative treatment option for patients looking for a natural and gentle approach to ease and assist symptoms.
The effects of delta-8-THC
The common symptoms of delta-9-THC or regular THC include euphoria and potent feelings of happiness, pain relief, and may even ease insomnia symptoms (3). Because of this, the effects of delta-8 will be similar, although to a lesser effect.
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of numerous endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors spread out within our brain and nervous system. Cannabinoids like THC can bind to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors, producing the signature high commonly associated with cannabis. This high can result in an elevated state of mind, activating the body’s reward system to reduce pain levels naturally (4).
Due to this, cannabis is a popular treatment for many pain-related conditions in conjunction with medication. These conditions include cancer-related pain, headaches and migraines, and arthritis.
THC can also help improve appetite regulation and decrease feelings of nausea. Our regulatory centers for vomiting and nausea lie in an area in the back of the brain called the “Chemoreceptor Trigger Zone,” or CTZ. THC stimulates the CB1 receptors within our brain, including the receptors found in the CTZ, which improves appetite (5).
Loss of appetite and nausea can be due to many complex factors. Still, it can often be attributed to stress and anxiety, chronic pain, or medications such as those used in chemotherapy (6). As a result, many cancer patients looking to ease and assist their nausea symptoms often turn to cannabis-based products like CBD and THC to improve their quality of life.
Delta-8-THC has similar effects to THC, so avid THC users may find some benefit in taking delta-8 if they’re looking for similar but subtler effects.
Will it get you high?
Since a high is a common side effect of taking THC, you may be wondering if delta-8 produces a similar high. A high will be experienced for many, although it may be smoother, milder, and less intense than a regular high produced by THC.
This will also depend on how experienced you are with taking cannabinoids and THC. For those used to taking a lot, the high you experience may not be noticeable at all. With all cannabis compounds, you must take it slow and listen to your body’s signals.
Safety and dosage
Because delta-8-THC has a similar profile to regular THC, the dosage should be relatively the same. For experienced THC users, delta-8 may even produce weaker effects than regular THC, so a higher dosage than you usually take may be required. For new users, it’s essential to start slow and then increase depending on your needs and preferences.
If you are worried about taking delta-8 for the first time, talk to your doctor. Several factors can influence how the compound is processed within your body, including the quality of the cannabis product, your body composition, and your tolerance level.
Regular THC produces side effects that slightly alter from CBD (7). These include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased hunger
- Short-term memory loss
- Red eyes
However, generally speaking, delta-8 is well-tolerated and will only cause minimal side effects for the majority, including dizziness, fatigue, changes in appetite, and mood disruptions (8). Due to its psychoactive nature, it is not recommended to take delta-8 around children, driving, or at work and school.
The bottom line
Delta-8-THC provides a wide range of therapeutic benefits and differs in its chemical composition and properties from other popular cannabis compounds like CBD and THC.
It is recommended to take delta-8-THC similarly to regular THC and take it slow when taking it for the first time.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**
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