A Different Kind of High: What Is Delta-8?Written by Chris Weatherall on Jul 6, 2021
Image Credit: https://www.delta8oils.com/
Over time, delta-8 has become more and more widely known, especially among those already interested in cannabis. At this point, it has actually become something of a hot topic — still, not everyone has the clearest understanding of what delta-8 even is, or where it can be purchased. How different is it from “regular” THC? Does it have different effects? How does one even go about (legally) getting a hold of delta-8? That’s exactly what we’re going to be covering today.
So, What Is Delta-8?
First, let’s go over some of the basics. Like delta-9 THC, which is what most cannabis users are used to, delta-8 is a cannabis compound. Delta-9 is the primary compound in cannabis that causes someone to become high. Whenever you get high and experience feelings of sedation, euphoria, symptom relief, happiness, and more, that response can most likely be attributed back to delta-9 THC and its effects on the body.
When most people refer to “THC,” they are actually referencing delta-9 THC. In reality, delta-8 is also a form of THC, which shares a fair number of similarities with the more popular variation. Despite the similarities between these two cannabinoids, they don’t each provide a truly identical response.
The Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC
To begin with, it should be noted that delta-8 (known scientifically as delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC) is substantially less potent than the standard delta-9 THC. So, whenever you partake in some delta-8 over other cannabis products with more potent THC, you’re going to experience a far less intense high.
Does Delta-8 THC Get You High?
As we’ve mentioned, yes, delta-8 THC does result in the experience of feeling high.
Both delta-8 and regular THC, when ingested, will bind to your body’s endocannabinoid system. The result of this is you becoming high. Delta-8 is chemically similar to delta-9 THC, in that both of these structures include a double bond. It’s this double bond that is believed to trigger the experience of being high.
Although both of these compounds have a double bond, that bond is not found at the same place in both delta-8 and delta-9 THC. This might sound insignificant, but when it comes to chemistry, this can make quite the noticeable difference. Both of these cannabinoids possess a chain of carbon atoms — however, delta-9 THC has its double bond on the ninth carbon atom, while delta-8 has its own double bond on the eighth carbon atom. Hence, the names “delta-8” and “delta-9.”
Due to these differences in double bond placement, delta-8 isn’t going to bind to the endocannabinoid system in the same way as delta-9 THC. Because these two compounds bind in a slightly different fashion, the potency of the high is affected. So, delta-8 causes a less intense high, compared to standard delta-9 THC.
Nonetheless, more research still needs to be done before we have a clearer idea as to why this interaction is different.
Why Might Someone Choose Delta-8 Over Delta-9 THC?
In some instances, depending on an individual’s preference, a less potent high could be preferable. For these people, delta-8 can be a fantastic substitute for standard delta-9 THC. Plus, if you currently reside in a state where cannabis is illegal, then you may be in luck. Although the legality of delta-8 is still on the wishy-washy side of things (more on that later), it is legal in some states where regular delta-9 THC remains criminalized. Individuals will be able to experience some of the muted effects of typical THC, while still remaining within the law.
In addition, some people are more prone to experiencing the potential negative side effects of THC. This could include paranoia and anxiety, for example. These individuals in particular are likely to desire a milder high. If you tend to experience these side effects after ingesting delta-9 THC, then the switch to delta-8 could look especially appealing.
Common Effects of Delta-8 THC
According to those who’ve consumed delta-8, the effects are about in line with what you’d expect from regular delta-9 THC. For instance, by ingesting delta-8, consumers could experience uplifting feelings, a milder sense of euphoria, happiness, and a sense of relief and relaxation. Delta-8 users have also reported that it can help fight insomnia.
The potential side effects of delta-8, in turn, are typically quite similar to delta-9 THC in their nature. For example, there’s always a chance that delta-8 could lead to red eyes, dry mouth, “the munchies,” issues with short-term memory, or even some feelings of paranoia or anxiety. Worth keeping in mind is that delta-8 has yet to undergo extensive testing and studies. As a consequence, until more research is performed, we can’t be perfectly sure of all its effects on the human body.
Is Delta-8 Less Intense Than THC?
Yes, it’s fair to say that the effects of delta-8 are considerably less intense than regular delta-9 THC. This could be seen as either a pro or a con, depending on individual preferences and what someone is expecting to get out of a high.
Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC will lead to feeling high, although the intensity of that high will be greatly subdued with delta-8.
Delta-8 Versus CBD: How Are They Different?
When it comes to similarities to standard delta-9 THC, delta-8 comes a fair deal closer than CBD. CBD’s chemical structure and the body’s physical response (i.e., whether or not you can get high) are significantly different from delta-9 THC, while delta-8 remains quite similar.
Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC bind to your body’s endocannabinoid system in a similar (although not quite the same) way. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult for CBD is bind to the endocannabinoid system. As a result, CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike both forms of THC. Still, despite this lack of a high, CBD offers a variety of different potential medicinal benefits to its users.
If you’re seeking relief from symptoms that are commonly treatable with cannabis but don’t want to feel high, then CBD is the perfect option. With CBD, there isn’t a risk of intoxication. With delta-8, intoxication will still be a result, as with standard delta-9 THC.
How to Safely Dose Delta-8 THC
Dosing delta-8 is highly dependent on whether or not you have experience with delta-9 THC. If you’re a moderate to experienced cannabis user, then the effect of delta-8 is going to be significantly weaker. However, if you’re new to THC altogether, then it’s still important to have caution when first dosing delta-8. Although the potency is weaker than with standard THC, delta-8 can still have a strong effect on those without prior experience.
Importantly, edibles manufacturers may dose their products differently, depending on whether they contain delta-8 or delta-9 THC. For instance, a standard THC gummy will probably contain around 10 mg of delta-9 THC. An average dose, for most consumers, would probably be somewhere around half a gummy to a full gummy.
However, manufacturers generally try to account for delta-8’s weaker effect on the body. Oftentimes, delta-8 gummies are going to contain around 25 mg of the compound, for every gummy.
So, as delta-8 is typically less than half the potency of delta-9 THC, delta-8 gummies often contain over twice as much of the compound. In the above scenario, it would be expected that a 10 mg delta-9 THC gummy would have a similar effect on the body as a 25 mg delta-8 gummy, due to the difference in concentration.
Whenever you’re trying to figure out delta-8 dosage, it’s important that you remember how little research has been performed on delta-8. At the end of the day, due to this shortage of strong scientific research, we can’t be fully sure of how strong its effects are. We don’t yet have a good idea of how, exactly, delta-8 can affect the body. However, what can be said, is that you should treat delta-8 with the same level of caution you would any other cannabis product. Your body’s chemistry, the chemical profile, tolerance, setting, and the amount you’re consuming will all impact how the compound makes you feel.
Try starting out by taking delta-8 in small amounts. Once you have a grasp on its effect at that dosage, you can begin to take more. As you’re waiting for those effects to hit, keep in mind that the method of consumption matters. For instance, vaping delta-8 will typically lead to a quicker onset of effects, when compared to consuming delta-8 through edibles. If you’re using edibles, try to wait an hour or two before you try taking more.
The Current Legality of Delta-8: It Depends
As it stands, the legality of delta-8 in the United States is a bit complicated. Currently, there are not many state laws actually addressing delta-8 THC, leaving it in a sort of legal gray zone. More often than not, state laws that address cannabis products use language covering only cannabis, marijuana, THC, CBD, or even delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
At this point in time, 11 U.S. states seem to consider delta-8 to be illegal. It’s been proposed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), however, that delta-8 be indirectly classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. If this rule is to be put in place, delta-8 would become federally illegal. Nonetheless, the DEA’s proposed rule has yet to be implemented.
Worth noting is that delta-8 is typically sourced from hemp, rather than from cannabis. For this reason, delta-8 is currently sold (legally) in states where cannabis is still deemed illegal. As it stands, the majority of delta-8 on the market is a product of CBD, which has been extracted from hemp. Currently, hemp is federally legal, as it contains less than 0.3% THC.
A few years back, the 2018 farm bill was passed by congress. Through this federal act, hemp became legal in the United States. The language used within this bill would suggest that delta-8 is also legal, as it specifically indicates that the delta-9 THC concentration of hemp derivatives must be under 0.3%. Delta-8 does not contain any delta-9 THC. Nonetheless, in the cases of several states, the specific language used in the farm bill hasn’t been adopted into state law. In order for delta-8 to be legal in any state, that state must perfectly mirror the language used in the federal farm bill.
Find Quality Delta-8 Products at Kind Meds
Image Credit: https://www.delta8oils.com/
Kind Meds is proud to supply the Mesa, AZ area with some of the freshest, most high-quality cannabis products. We carry several delta-8 products, including the ILava Delta 8 Vape Cartridges, as well as Delta 8 Oils.
Interested in learning more? Consider checking out our cannabis menu to learn about our selection of medical and adult recreational cannabis products. Or, just stop by our dispensary in Mesa, Arizona.