Skip to main content

What Are The Key Differences Between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC?

We know that both delta 8 and delta 9 are forms of THC compounds, but as delta-8 is so new to the market, it’s natural that many people aren’t sure how they differ from each other.  If you are going to invest in a delta 8 product, it can be a good to know how it compares to delta 9, as many discover that delta8 offers some unique advantages over the latter.

Now, by taking a closer look at how these two cannabis-derived cannabinoids differ from each other, you can get a better gage for what to expect when trying delta 8 for the first time.  If you have also been wondering, “what is delta 8 THC?” it’s important to understand this cannabinoid as it relates to delta 9, a compound that many are familiar with.

Delta 8 is Oxidized Delta 9

Because both delta 8 and delta 9 are forms of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), one would imagine that they have a lot in common.  In fact, delta 8 was once delta 9.  As delta9 matures in the plant material, it oxidizes over time, which produces delta 8.  In other words, delta-8 is simply the delta-9 compound which has naturally aged in the plant’s chemical composition.

One is Milder Than the Other

Does delta 8 THC get you high?  Yes, however, not as much as delta 9.  Because delta-8 is oxidized delta-9, it’s naturally weaker, as compounds degrade with age.  Generally, it is believed that delta8 is about 70% as potent as its predecessor compound, which is largely why the delta 8 effects are not as powerful.  The delta8 feeling commonly described is one of relaxation, mild euphoria, and mental clarity, with many regular users saying that delta 8 doesn’t disrupt their consciousness as much as delta 9.

It is important to note that just because delta 8 is milder does not mean that it won’t produce intoxicating effects.  Also, any substance that is intoxicating should be used responsibly and with caution, especially by those who are totally new to it.  If you have never used THC, then you’ll want to start out with a very low dose in order to get an idea of how it makes you feel.  We also urge you to never drive after taking delta-8 and avoiding anything that requires physical exertion and could be dangerous, such as using certain kinds of machinery.

One is Legal, and One is Not

Overall, cannabis has had a complicated relationship with the law over the years.  Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that many people are confused about the legality of delta-8 THC.  In fact, delta 8 is legal under federal law.  This is because of the 2018 Farm Bill.  It decriminalized the hemp plant, which was once a classified substance under the cannabis genus along with marijuana.  Lawmakers decided that hemp, due to being a non-psychoactive plant, was legal.  Of course, hemp is non-psychoactive as a whole due to its low amount of THC.  But delta 8 is extracted from the plant material and concentrated to produce delta 8 products that are psychoactive.

The reason why even this is legal is because the Farm Bill clearly states that all hemp derivatives, which includes individual compounds, are legal with the exception of delta 9 THC.  Delta 9 remains an illegal substance, being naturally prominent in the marijuana plant.

However, bear in mind that delta 8 is illegal in some states.  Individual states can modify federal law to criminalize certain cannabis-based substances, and some states have.  The large majority, however, stick to federal law, allowing delta 8 THC to be sold and purchased legally.

It is important to point out that delta 8 and delta 9 are so similar that just because one is legal and one is not, you may still encounter some trouble in certain settings.  Delta-8 is likely to stimulate the production of the same enzyme used to metabolize delta 9, which is THC-COOH.  This enzyme is what is identified in a urine test commonly used by employers.  So, if you use delta 8, you may fail a drug test.  Similarly, should law enforcement confiscate your delta-8, it may register as delta-9 by a standard drug-testing kit.

One is More Prominent in Hemp Than the Other

The reason why hemp is legal is because it naturally contains about 0.3% delta 9 THC.  This makes it a minorly occurring cannabinoid.  In comparison, there is anywhere from 15 to 20% CBD (cannabidiol) in the hemp plant, and about the same amount of THC in the marijuana plant.

Delta 8 is even less prominent than delta 9 in hemp.  There is no more than 0.1% delta-8 in any given strain.  This is why using the whole hemp plant will not get you high – there’s so little THC compared to the other compounds that it’s just not possible.

Delta 8 products, however, have higher delta 8 levels.  This is because they contain an extract made by concentrating the delta-8 compound, and thus gives manufacturers the ability to create delta 8 goods in any strength they choose.

One is More Available Than the Other

Because delta 8 THC is federally legal, it’s more accessible than delta 9 THC.  In most states in America, you need a medical marijuana card to be able to lawfully purchase products containing delta 9.  But the average American, assuming they don’t live in a state that has outlawed delta-8, can easily purchase it online.  Those who wish to buy delta8 can choose from a wide range of strengths and formulations, and even find local stores selling it.

Delta 8 Works with the Endocannabinoid System Differently

Delta 8 and delta 9 are both cannabinoids, along with CBD, CBN, CBG, and many others.  Cannabinoids are unique compounds in cannabis that bind to cannabinoid receptors belonging to the body’s endocannabinoid system.   This allows cannabinoid receptors to regulate bodily processes that deal with sleep, inflammation, mood and more.

Each cannabinoid plays a different role in the endocannabinoid system’s function by binding to different receptors.  Therefore, delta 8 and delta 9 each interact with the endocannabinoid system differently, leading to slightly different effects.  The effects of delta-8 are still being researched so that we have a more detailed picture of what this compound can do, and how its effects are different from those of delta-9.

Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are Remarkably Similar on the Surface

Ultimately, the cannabinoid experience you have with each will be different from the other.  Delta 8, unlike delta 9, is federally legal, and therefore easier to find.  Further, the effects of delta-8 just are not as strong as those of delta-9.  Still, delta8 is an intoxicating compound, which means that beginners should go slow.

Leave a Reply