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Ever heard of THC? You most likely have, but as notorious as THC may be, you may have no idea that there are actually multiple forms of THC. Delta 8 THC just happens to be making a name for itself in the world of hemp-derived products and for good reason. This is not the same as delta 9 THC, albeit the two different cannabinoids have some striking similarities both in structure and how they affect you. To get more acquainted with the differences and similarities, we've pulled together some of the specifics on delta 8 vs delta 9 below.
Delta 8 THC is delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (∆8 THC), which is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in plants of the cannabis family. You may also hear delta 8 referred to as D8 THC. While hemp does not produce an abundance of delta 8, delta 8 can also be synthesized via a conversion process using other cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol).
Even though most people are just getting familiar with D8 THC, the cannabinoid is actually one that is highly researched in science. Medical professionals, scientists, and others have been captivated by the cannabinoid's mild psychoactive nature and potential therapeutic benefits ever since it was first isolated from cannabis.
Delta 9 THC is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9 THC), which is a cannabinoid found in abundance in cannabis plants and in very minimal amounts in hemp. When people mention THC, which has long been the cannabinoid associated with cannabis use, they are most often referring to delta 9 THC.
Delta 9 THC has a long history because it has always been associated with the telltale euphoric effects of cannabis. This particular cannabinoid has been researched a number of times and has been shown to offer a number of therapeutic benefits, especially when it comes to pain. However, delta 9 THC has also been villainized because of its association with intoxication.
While delta 8 and delta 9 THC are both cannabinoids that are found in plants from the cannabis family like hemp and are molecularly similar, they do also have quite noteworthy differences. Let's take a closer look.
Both delta 8 and delta 9 are psychoactive cannabinoids by nature, but delta 8 is far less potent. In other words, delta 8 may cause a slight euphoria or telltale high, but this would not be an experience as intense as it would be if you were to consume the same amount of delta 9.
The intoxicating effects of delta 8 can vary depending on the person. Most people do report a positive experience, touting that delta 8 helps them feel more tranquil or relaxed or even more creative and focused. Some people describe the D8 THC usage experience as a mild "body high" that still allows them to focus and stay alert. Delta 9 experiences can also vary, but they are almost always associated with an intense level of euphoria that affects both the mind and body pretty profoundly.
Because of the fact that delta 8 is not as potent in terms of psychotropic action, it is an excellent alternative to delta 9. Specifically, people who enjoy the therapeutic effects of delta 9 but not the intense high feeling may benefit from delta 8 because it offers a milder experience.
Much like delta 9, delta 8 may be beneficial if you need to relax and unwind or even find a bit of relief from bodily discomfort. The only difference is, you can get these benefits without necessarily feeling completely out of sorts because of intense euphoria. So, if you have a project that you need to get done, but you need to focus in spite of bodily discomfort, a delta 8 THC gummy may be just what you need.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of two primary types of receptors that interact with cannabinoids: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system and brain; CB2 receptors are primarily found in immunological cells. Delta 9 THC shows a direct affinity for CB1 receptors, but delta 8 seems to have an affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This could explain the more muted psychoactive effects of delta 8.
One major way that delta 8 differs from delta 9 is legality. While delta 9 is still classified as illegal in quite a few states, delta 8 is not. The 2018 Farm Bill stated that products derived from hemp that contain less than 0.3 percent delta 9 THC are legal on a federal level. In technical terms, this makes delta-8 THC legal because it is created via extracts derived from hemp. Nevertheless, the cannabinoid currently falls into a sort of legal gray area in some areas and has faced restrictions in others.
Most hemp producers create delta 8 products through a basic cannabinoid conversion process using CBD. However, some states have made their own laws restricting the sale of delta 8. For example, in the state of Kentucky, there is an ongoing legal battle with the state's lawmakers trying to restrict the sale of products that contain delta 8. Oddly enough, delta 8 has even been outright banned in Colorado, even though Colorado is a fully legal cannabis state.