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Delta-8 & Delta-9 THC: What’s the Difference?

by Cannaporium Doe


What Is THC?

You’re probably familiar with THC, whether you’ve experienced its effects firsthand or you’ve just heard it described throughout popular culture. THC is the component of cannabis that causes a high or stoned effect. This natural plant compound binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, often causing psychoactive effects. THC is one of the major components of many cannabis cultivars, and it is well-studied for its unique effects on the human brain and body.

What many people don’t know is that there are two different types of THC. While there are many similarities between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC, there are also a few notable differences. Here’s what you need to know about Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and what makes each type unique. 

How THC Works

THC works in the human body by attaching to cannabinoid receptors and activating them. In doing so, it can affect your mood, perception, thinking, and more. It is most commonly associated with creating a feeling of euphoria, elation, and often relaxation.

THC interacts with other cannabinoids and terpenes, and certain cannabinoids can even change the effect of THC. For example, high levels of CBD are well-known to reduce the stoned effect that is associated with THC.

Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC is the less prevalent of the two types. When you break down the components of your average cannabis plant, you’ll see a lot less delta-8 THC than delta-9 THC. This means that it needs to be concentrated in order to reach therapeutic levels, so you won’t find dry herb that is high in delta-8.

Right now, manufacturers are experimenting with extracting and concentrating the delta-8 so that users can experience it at much higher levels than you can experience from the plant itself. Many people who have tried these concentrates love the feeling it gives them. Chris DeWildt at the Grower’s Network writes,

 “Delta 8 THC came to my attention a couple months ago when a friend offered up his vape pen. He claimed it was Delta 8 THC and the effects were different than those he experienced with Delta 9. He described a smooth buzz with no paranoia. As I mentioned, I was skeptical, but not for long. It was just as he described it. I was stoned, but my thinking remained lucid and really, I just felt good.”

People who have tried delta-8 THC concentrates seem to agree that its effects are slightly different than the effects of your average, delta-9-rich cannabis. Right now, there aren’t a lot of delta-8 products on the market, but a few brands are producing delta-8 concentrates and tinctures. Since it is a form of THC and it has psychoactive effects, you will be limited as to where you can purchase and use these products.

Delta-9 THC

Delta-9 THC is one of the main chemical constituents of marijuana. It’s the primary cannabinoid that causes a high in those who use marijuana. When people talk about THC, they’re referring to delta-9. It provides a variety of mental and physical effects, both recreational and therapeutic in nature. People frequently describe feelings of euphoria, relaxation, increased appetite, heightened senses, and an altered perception of time.

There’s still plenty of research to be done on delta-9 THC, but it is currently one of the most-studied cannabinoids, along with CBD. It may help relieve a number of symptoms including nausea, pain, poor appetite, headaches, seizures, sleeplessness, digestive upset, and much more. Currently, there are FDA-approved, THC-containing medications that help relieve symptoms caused by chemotherapy. However, studies also show that THC can increase the risk of psychosis and anxiety, particularly in adolescents.

Recap of the Differences Between the Two

  • Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are chemically different from one another, but only by the location of an atomic bond. Delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon in the chain, whereas delta-9 has its double bond on the ninth.
  • The subtle subatomic difference can cause the two to interact differently with your endocannabinoid system.
  • Practically speaking, the biggest difference between the two is that delta-8 THC is much less prevalent than delta-9 THC.
  • Delta-8 has a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9, though it can still provide a high.
  • Delta-9 is more widely researched than delta-8 at this point in time. However, the interest in delta-8 has spiked recently, and new products are entering the market as a result.




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