1. What is the difference between delta-8 and delta-9?
Delta-8 and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are compounds found in both the cannabis sativa and hemp plants, and have a similar chemical structure. Both types of THC molecules work with the body’s natural cannabinoid center by activating both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with similar properties. Both strains have been shown to improve sleep and anxiety as well as improve appetite and prevent sensory overstimulation.
Beyond the similarities discussed above, the two substances have many differences. The first difference lies in the amount of research on the two variants. Delta-9 THC has been researched for decades and has plenty of studies published about it. Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is a relatively new entry to the market and has little objective and scientifically confirmed information published about it.
Potency and regulation are other differences between the two. Delta-9 THC has been closely regulated, especially in the United States. States with legalization measures keep a close eye on its creation and sale. This includes tracing the compound from manufacturers to product sellers. The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for Delta-9 THC to be contained in hemp products, as long as the levels are below 0.3% by dry weight. Any products with amounts higher than 0.3% of delta-9 THC are technically classified as cannabis products.
Delta-8 THC sellers have not been as conscientious. Because it is a relatively new substance and scientists have yet to study its side effects in detail, properly researched dosage information has yet to be created. Delta 8 is also found in the hemp and cannabis plant, but occurs naturally in low quantities.
One other difference, for example, is the consumption method used for each substance. Delta 9 can be consumed directly via vape cartridges with cannabidiol, CBD oil tinctures, beverages, as well as via flower buds and edibles. Delta-8 is extracted from the plant and synthesized before being sold. Selecting reputable processors who use high-quality ingredients is one of the first factors to consider for anyone sourcing extracts.
2. What are the benefits of delta-8?
Because delta-8 is newer on the market than delta-9, the range of effects it has on users needs further testing and research. Users consuming delta-8 often experience an indica type of effect, regardless of which terpenes are used in the finished product. For someone who finds delta-9 THC to be too strong, delta-8 may be the answer. Some potential benefits include the following:
- Pain relief
- Improved appetite
- Better sleep quality
- Reduced inflammation
- Lower anxiety and stress
3. What are the benefits of delta-9?
Delta-9’s side effects have been more closely studied and include:
- Increased appetite
- Enhanced sense of well-being
- Better moods
- Enhanced sensory perception
Delta-9 has also been shown to potentially have therapeutic uses for conditions such as vomiting and nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, chronic pain, and pressure in the eyes, among others.
4. What are the side effects?
The short-term side effects of both molecules are very similar. Although long-term studies have not been completed, there is an abundance of anecdotal experience to give us an idea of what to expect. These side effects are generally mild and resolve within 12 to 24 hours. They include:
- Dry Mouth
- Memory Impairment
- Panic Attacks
5. Which molecule is more potent?
Delta-9 is more potent than delta-8. The exact potency of delta-8 has not been clearly established by researchers, but at the same dose and when purified with no contaminants, delta-9 is stronger than delta-8. This can be a virtue or a drawback.
Consumers who find delta-9 or marijuana products too strong might find delta-8 a better fit, but this comes at the loss of potency. It is possible to purchase the same quantity of delta-9 as delta-8 and at the same price, but the former requires small levers for use, which means that it offers an increased number of doses in comparison to the latter.
People looking for the best “bang for their buck,” on the other hand, might find the strain too weak for their purposes. This is especially true for individuals looking for help with issues such as depression or PTSD.
The “right” THC products vary from person to person.
6. Which one is more psychoactive?
Delta-9 is more potent than delta-8 when taken at the same concentrations. Whether taken via capsules, topicals, tinctures, gummies, or bud, its high is stronger and its benefits more pronounced than delta-8.
7. Which one is more therapeutic?
Because it is more studied and its production is more closely followed, delta-9 is more therapeutic and safer for treatment. Its health benefits and risks have been well established, as have patients’ reactions to the substance. This includes its impact on the mind with symptoms like paranoia as well as the human body with symptoms like dry mouth and a rapid heart rate. All of this makes it more suitable for medical use than delta-8.
8. Which one has a higher affinity for the CB1 receptor?
Evidence shows that delta-9 creates a stronger bond with both cannabinoid receptors, including CB1 receptors, than delta-8.
9. Which one has a higher affinity for the CB2 receptor?
Delta-9 has a higher affinity to CB2 receptors than delta-8. The latter drug has difficulty binding to CB2 receptors at all, while delta-9 has no such problem.
10. Which one is more stable?
Delta-8 is a more stable option for customers. While it affects the brain in ways similar to delta-9, it has fewer recorded drawbacks. It can increase some of the same protective feelings and functions as delta-9 without the potential for strong drawbacks that the use of the latter can cause. Delta-8 can potentially increase appetite without triggering the “munchies”, a common result when using delta-9.
Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the safety of delta-8 is better than delta-9. It simply means that its results are less volatile at the loss of potency. Cannabis use in general is not known as a particularly dangerous activity, of course, but if stability, calmness, and lighter effects are some of the qualities you have in mind, then the weaker sibling to delta-9 might be the right choice. These are all things to keep in mind when picking the best form of the cannabis plants’ chemicals for you.
11. Which one is more legal?
The legality of cannabinoids and the cannabis industry are debated topics. In the United States, one state might restrict access to the substance. Because it has been a popular form of THC for longer than delta-8, delta-9 has many policies and legislation surrounding it. In fact, there are all sorts of things regulated with ever-evolving laws to protect the consumer.
Delta-9’s popularity and strength have made it one of the most regulated drugs in the world. Delta-8 is not quite as well known. The practices surrounding its manufacture and sale are not nearly as robust and detailed, and some states don’t have many, if any, laws on the books when it comes to this compound. It is imperative to exercise caution when purchasing and using delta-8 for these reasons. Don’t take a risk – if you aren’t sure if the substance is allowed in your location, the best approach is to avoid owning and using it.