Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC” as it is known to most, is the cannabinoid that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects. It is described as being the ingredient that makes marijuana “psychoactive.” THC has also been found to have a wide variety of medicinal benefits, including treating epilepsy and pain in many ways, as well as helping to alleviate nausea, reduce inflammation, and treat weight loss.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known commonly as THC, is the compound in the cannabis plant that gets people high. In fact, it’s the compound that makes people high, which is why medical marijuana is often referred to as “weed.” But, there’s a question as to whether or not the medical benefits of THC are identical to those of the recreational weed.

So you’re done with work and you’re really thirsty. You go to the nearest bar and ask if they have imported beer. Of course, said the bartender. We got Heineken and Dos Equis. Heineken seems to be just the thing. Great, you say. Give me a Heineken. The bartender disappears for a moment, puts a glass on the bar and pours you a beer from an open green bottle.  You take a long, deep sip, and…….wait! It’s not Heineken, you might say. Of course I do! said the bartender. It’s brand new! Heineken 0.0… without alcohol! Arrrr, you say. There’s nothing wrong with drinking beer without alcohol. In fact, it may be the right choice if you need to drive home. But it’s best to know in advance what you’re getting. It’s a bit of a hackneyed way to introduce a new baby in CBD stores and online: Delta-8-THC. Of course, the first sign that something is wrong is that it’s called THC, but you don’t have to go to a pharmacy to get it. But it’s best to know in advance what to expect. And while Delta-8 can give a very pleasant high, it’s not the Delta-9 THC you’re used to when smoking weed. Here’s a more detailed look at what you get when you buy a Delta 8 THC, and why it differs from a Delta 9. It’s best to start at the beginning.

What is THC?


Cannabinoids and the body

We all know that marijuana contains the cannabinoid THC; that’s what gets us high. It is also the source of many medicinal properties of the herb. But here’s the thing. THC is simply an acronym for the psychoactive component of the herb. Its full name is delta-9-THC (or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, to be exact), and it’s just one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana (1) (2). (It should be noted that these cannabinoids are also present – in varying amounts – in cannabis, another plant species. This information will be important later). Why do cannabinoids act on the body when cannabis is smoked, inhaled or ingested? This is because they are similar to endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that the body makes naturally. Endocannabinoids are a component of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates important human functions such as metabolism, mood and memory (3). They are essentially messengers in the system. Endocannabinoids tell the body what to do, and the messages are relayed through the cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. However, endocannabinoids are not the only substances that interact with receptors. Cannabinoids such as delta-9-THC are very similar to endocannabinoids, so they too interact with ECS receptors when ingested. That’s why weed gets you high and helps relieve pain; it affects the signaling system that tells the body what to do and how to feel.

Delta-9-THC and Delta-8-THC: Science

Let’s begin this section with an explanation you may not be familiar with. In fact, delta-9, the substance most of us think of as THC, is not native to the cannabis plant. Instead, the plant contains a cannabinoid called THCA, a precursor of THC (4). It is only converted to delta-9-THC when it is burned or heated, so for example grass must be de-waxed by heating before it can be used in food. Once established, delta-9-THC is not particularly stable. If the jar is stored for an extended period of time, exposure to oxygen can cause oxidation and degradation of Delta-9, changing its chemical structure. And when this happens, a substance called delta-8-THC is formed, another substance that doesn’t occur naturally in the cannabis plant and is only present in marijuana (and cannabis) in minute quantities. Delta-9 and Delta-8 are virtually identical, as you might infer from their names; scientists call them analogues. The only physical difference between the two is the way different molecules are linked together. However, this small change has major implications for their properties. One difference is that Delta-8 is only twice as strong as Delta-9. Other: Delta-9 and Delta-8 do not interact with the ECS receptors in the body in the same way. There are two groups of these receptors, called CB1 and CB2 receptors. Researchers think that CB1 receptors are more important in this case, because the cannabinoids in cannabis actually bind (or attach) to the receptors – and delta-9 and delta-8 bind to them in slightly different ways because of their different structures. That’s why it’s so important. When cannabinoids bind to CB1 receptors, the receptors are believed to partially block the signals they emit (5). This means that not all Delta 9 commands are sent to the brain. And it seems that because of the difference in physical structure, even more delta-8 signals are blocked by the receptors. In other words: There are two reasons why Delta-9 is more psychoactive than Delta-8.

  • The Delta 9 is more powerful.
  • The ECS blocks more effects than the Delta-8.

Okay, that’s the difference between delta-9 and delta-8 in scientific terms. What differences will you really notice?

Delta-8-THC versus Delta-9-THC: User experience

word-image-5340 The reason why people are happy to find Delta-8-THC online or in their local CBD store is pretty simple. It can put you in a state of elation. But that’s why – as we said at the beginning – it’s important to know what you’re getting. It’s still THC and you can still get high from it, but many people describe the feeling of Delta-8 as a light herb. You already know that Delta-8 is only 50% stronger than Delta-9, and the ECS weakens its effect even more (pardon the pun). But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because this story doesn’t end here. Users often find that the Delta-8’s hum is more comfortable than what they are used to. It is psychotropic and euphoric, but certainly not as intense as smoking marijuana. This means that it is pleasant to inhale or consume, but tends to produce a softer, brighter buzz in the head that can improve concentration and sociability without causing drowsiness or sedation. Delta-8 is also much less likely to cause paranoia or anxiety in users prone to these conditions. It can be both relaxing and uplifting, depending on the strain it comes from. One final difference between the Delta 8 and Delta 9: Delta-8 cannot be smoked like a flower. Because cannabis contains only trace amounts, it must be specially prepared for use in a separate form, usually as a concentrate. Delta-8 can be consumed as marijuana or vape and is also available as a smoke blend. You can’t just roll it up or push it down the tube.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 : Pharmaceutical benefits

It is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the differences between the two forms of THC in terms of health and medical benefits, as little research has been done on delta-8. The potential medicinal uses of delta-9-THC in marijuana have already been clearly established (6). These include relieving chronic or severe pain, relieving stress and anxiety (in many patients), treating nausea, vomiting and epilepsy, and stimulating appetite. It also has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Some of these benefits also appear to be provided by delta-8-THC, although to date much research has been conducted in animals and not in humans. Delta-8 is promising for the relief of pain, as has been demonstrated in several experiments in mice and rats (7) (8). It seems to increase appetite even better than Delta-9 (9). It has certainly been shown to work as an anti-emetic to prevent nausea and vomiting in children undergoing cancer treatment (10). And anecdotal reports claim that Delta-8-THC has helped some people reduce stress and anxiety. Delta-8 is also thought to have neuroprotective properties, promote memory and learning ability, and may even hold promise in the fight against cancer. These capabilities have not yet been proven, but research on the Delta-8 and Delta-9 is ongoing.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 : Availability

One of the biggest differences between the two forms of THC we already mentioned: the availability. This comparison is perhaps the most useful of all – at least for readers looking for legal buzz. Availability Delta-9 Currently, marijuana (which contains delta-9-THC after burning or heating) is only available in dispensaries in legal states (11). Fifteen states now allow recreational use of marijuana, and nearly 40 states have some form of medical marijuana program. Unless national attitudes change radically, these numbers can only increase over time. The amount of delta-9 in CBD (which can be sold legally almost anywhere) is negligible and not enough to get anyone high. So the only way to get Delta-9-THC legally is to buy weed in the states where it is sold legally. Availability Delta-8 Marijuana and cannabis contain negligible amounts of delta-8 after oxidation of THC. Since hemp products like CBD are sold legally across America, you might think that hemp is a good – and legal – source of Delta-8. You would be right. And he’s wrong too. Here’s why. There is so little delta-8 in cannabis plants that it is not worth extracting. Any company that does this will definitely lose money in the process. However, there is also good news: CBD can actually be converted to delta-8 because of the physical similarity of the cannabis molecules. This process, called isomerization, produces enough delta-8-THC to be marketed – and it is sold in a growing number of stores and online retailers that sell CBD. Unfortunately, the glory days of Delta-8 would not last long. It now appears to be legal under the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows for the sale of CBD and other naturally produced cannabis products (12). However, there is another law that prohibits the sale of synthetic drugs (such as K2 and Spice) (13). And some claim that isomerization is the process by which delta-8 is synthesized, which makes it theoretically illegal. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is trying to shed light on this matter, but in a very unhelpful way. It is considering a new rule that would specifically ban psychoactive products like Delta-8. Conclusion: The legal Delta 8 is now available everywhere. However, there’s a good chance it won’t be on the market for long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better D8 or D9?

If you’re looking for an upgrade from your American Spirit D8 or D9 and curious how much they’ve changed under the hood, here’s a recap of the main differences between the two. Every once in a while, a new medication comes along that is so different from anything else on the market, that it’s difficult to believe it’s been approved. That new drug is called Dronabinol, which is an oral cannabidiol (CBD) medication that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. There is no question that Dronabinol is a game changer for patients who have to deal with nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy drugs. For instance, the medication has been shown to be effective in treating nausea and vomiting for roughly 6 to 9 hours, which is about as long as the duration of the initial chemo-therapy treatment.

Are Delta 8 edibles the same as Delta 9?

The two major active ingredients in Delta 8 are the cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and both are psychoactive—which means they affect the brain—and they make up a small part of the total weight of the edible. The CBN (cannabinol) component is about 25% of the active weight, while the CBG (cannabigerol) is about 50% of the active weight, with the remainder of the active weight made up of a combination of other cannabinoids and non-cannabinoid components. Delta 9 vs. Delta 8 edibles are different in that they contain different amounts of cannabinoids. Delta-8 edibles contain about Is it really that different from Delta-9? Well, not quite. Delta 8 is slightly different in that it has a higher THC content of 15%. Delta 9 has a THC content of 9%. The main difference between the two is that Delta 9 is higher in THC and has a lower amount of CBD compared to Delta 8.

What is the difference between Delta 8 9 and 10?

Deltas are the most potent of all the cannabinoids available today. They have been hailed as the newest wonder drug for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and MS, but they can also be found in some medicinal cannabis strains, such as the famous Charlotte’s Web strain from Colorado. Delta-9-THC is the most potent version of the cannabinoid, but the Delta-8-THC strain, which is also known as the Haze strain, has a lesser ratio of THC to cannabidiol (CBD). As a mother of two, I was one of the many people who didn’t know what the difference between Delta 8 and Delta-9 was, until I had a conversation with a friend. Her son had been prescribed Delta-9 by his doctor, but she wanted to know if the prescription was the same thing as the recreational drug known as D9, which is a drug that is dangerous to people who abuse or are addicted to drugs.

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