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What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Cannabis is a complex plant with hundreds of chemicals. Each of these chemicals has its own medicinal and psychoactive properties. While CBD and THC are two of the most common cannabinoids in the Cannabis Sativa family, little is known about delta-8 THC (delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol) and how it differs from the most well-known cannabinoid, Delta 9. THC.

Generally, the term “THC” is used to refer to Delta 9 THC. However, there are several isomers of the same cannabinoid that produce slightly different effects and delta-8 THC is one of them. But is Delta 8 THC different from Delta 9?

Well, we will cover this question today. In this blog, we will discuss the main differences between delta-8 vs. delta-9 THC and more!

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Understanding the Basics

Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC is an often debated topic in the cannabis community. Both are psychoactive cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. However, the biggest point of dissimilarity between the two is power.

Where delta 9 is psychoactive and can lead to an intolerable high, delta 8 THC is half as intoxicating as its cousin. That must be the main difference if you ask. Simply put, delta-8 THC shares similar properties with delta-9 THC, but the effects are reduced in the case of D8.

Delta-9 THC enjoys greater recognition in the cannabis industry for being the main psychoactive constituent and of course, its unique and therapeutic effects. Remember how a marijuana smoker gets high after taking a few puffs? Well, it’s the presence of delta-9 THC or just THC that makes the person feel high.

Extraction process

Now, regarding the extraction process of the two cannabinoids, delta-9 THC is easily extracted while delta-8 THC goes through a different and expensive extraction process. Since delta-9 THC is found in abundance in the cannabis plant, its extraction is easier and relatively cheaper.

On the other hand, the extraction of delta-8 THC becomes difficult because it is a minor cannabinoid naturally present in low quantities, so its extraction from the plant becomes quite difficult. Fortunately, experts have found another way to produce delta-8 in larger quantities. Delta-8 is usually synthesized entirely from CBD (cannabidiol) with the use of solvents, which is usually a slightly expensive process.

Although converting delta 8 THC from CBD is time consuming and expensive, it has greatly helped manufacturers make delta 8 products readily available.

It is the synthesis from CBD that is the reason most delta8 is produced from hemp plants and not marijuana, as hemp naturally contains higher levels of CBD than marijuana.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: understanding the effects

Discovered in 1964, delta-9 THC enjoys a devoted following in the cannabis industry for its euphoric and relaxing effects. When smoked, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain, connecting to endocannabinoid receptors.

These receptors are present in different parts of the brain, like cerebral cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia which influence different functions, like memory, coordination, pleasure, pain, thought, etc.

Both delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC mainly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors and eventually influence the different functions, making a user feel different emotions depending on their health condition.

Delta-8 also produces effects similar to delta-9 but are less potent, ensuring the user is not overwhelmed by the effects.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 - what's the difference?

Medicinal benefits of Delta-8 THC

  • help with pain relief
  • Helps with inflammation
  • Promote sleep
  • uplifting mood
  • Stimulate the appetite
  • Controls nausea and vomiting
  • Neuroprotective properties

Medicinal benefits of Delta-9 THC

  • Manages symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Helps people with glaucoma
  • Controls inflammation
  • Helps fight inflammatory bowel disease
  • Brings relaxation to body and mind
  • Manages nausea and vomiting
  • Relieves pain
  • Stimulates the appetite
  • Helps patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Controls epilepsy seizures
  • Manages symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS

Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 THC: Legal Status

Now, it is very important to understand. From a federal perspective, marijuana is not legal. However, many states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use as per the 2018 Farm Bill signed by FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The bill plays a huge role in cannabis history because it removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

Simply put, this has enabled the manufacture of cannabis derivatives with an extremely low concentration of delta-9 THC (less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis). That is why the bill is said to have a loophole, making delta-8 legal. Delta-8 containing less than 0.3% THC is supposed to be legal, but the compound falls into the gray legal zone. Why? Because the name of the compound delta-8 THC is not directly mentioned in the Farm Bill’s list of cannabis derivatives.

The whole concept of the legality of these cannabinoids is really confusing. But what you need to remember is that delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC with no more than 0.3% THC are legal.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Risks and Side Effects

THC, in general, poses more risk than CBD. Marijuana research suggests that chronic use of THC can lead to serious side effects, including CHS (cannabis hyperemesis syndrome), psychosis, and others. CHS is a recently discovered syndrome caused by long-term marijuana use and is characterized by regular episodes of vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Experts suggest that people who use marijuana long-term and are dehydrated are more susceptible to contracting the syndrome.

Although delta-8 is less potent than delta-9 THC, experts advise moderate use of both cannabinoids. Excessive consumption of THC is risky for general health anyway.

Also for those who, with the recommendation of a doctor of Online medical card or any other MMJ recommendation service, the Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC debate takes on more significance as one of them may prove to be more beneficial than the other.

Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 THC: Product Availability

Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC products with less than 0.3% THC are legal in a few states, while others have banned it because marijuana is not federally legalized.

If you live in a state where delta-8 is legal, you can easily get a variety of delta-8 products from dispensaries and online cannabis stores. Additionally, whenever you purchase delta-8 or delta-9 products, be sure to check their third-party lab results and CoA to ensure product quality standards are met. Choose products from the best brands in the industry.

Dosage recommendations

Now that we know that delta-8 and delta-9 THC produce different effects, their dosage recommendation would also differ to some extent. Considering delta-8 is less potent, the recommended dosage is 10mg to 60mg while delta-9 dosage is 5mg to 30mg.

Although THC has the ability to get you high, consuming it in moderation would keep you in a much safer place. Thus, you should always start with a low dose and gradually increase the dose if you do not get the desired results.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Which is better?

Well, delta-8 and delta-9 THC both belong to the THC family, itself known for its psychoactive effects. Using both cannabinoids in moderation could help relieve the symptoms of certain medical conditions, and excessive use of them, on the other hand, can cause serious side effects. So which is the best?

Frankly, it depends on many factors, including the user and the effects they are looking for. For many, delta-8 works better because it is less powerful and easier to manage. However, for some, delta-9 does the job because it influences their particular condition well. You will probably need to experiment with both cannabinoids and see which works best for you.

Final Thoughts

Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are part of the THC family but differ from each other in some ways. Although the therapeutic benefits of each are somewhat similar, the two differ in potency, legality, and basic molecular structure. Ultimately, both have great potential to be effective in being helpful for certain medical conditions. But, it all depends on which one is best for you.

Based on the facts we discussed above, you can limit your choice to just one. For example, if you like thrills, Delta 9 is for you. But, if you need smooth, mellow relaxation with a light high, Delta 8 is the answer.

Iris Room

Driven by passion, Iris is a content marketer who writes about cannabis, SEO, technology, thought leadership, skincare, health, lifestyle and more. She currently generates content for various companies and loves researching CBD and other cannabinoids. In her spare time, you’ll find her strumming to the tunes of a beautiful song.

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