Delta 8 THC in a nutshell
We explore the fascinating possibilities behind Delta 8 THC, the lesser-known “sister” of Delta 9 THC, which is the cannabinoid most think of when hearing THC. There’s a lot to know about THC Delta 8 and how it works.
- What is Delta 8 THC?
- What’s the Difference Between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC?
- How Do You Use Delta 8 THC?
- What Are the Effects of Delta 8 THC?
- Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
Exploring Cannabis Cannabinoids
While only two are widely known, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis plant produces over a hundred distinct cannabinoids.
Each one has a different effect on the body, and we don’t fully understand the effects of many, even those that have been widely studied.
What we do know is that cannabinoids imitate naturally occurring compounds in the human body known as endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids mediate communication between cells. As you can imagine, being the human body is composed of cells, these compounds have wide-reaching health effects—again, that we don’t yet fully understand.
Different cannabinoids bind to or affect different receptors within the endocannabinoid system and produce varying effects. This aspect is part of why different strains of cannabis and hemp produce different effects.
For instance, Indica-dominant cannabis strains are known for their relaxing effects, because they tend to be higher in CBD than THC, while Sativa-dominant cannabis strains typically have higher THC content than CBD and are known to produce a more euphoric, uplifting feel.
THC binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are primarily found in the central and peripheral nervous systems. These receptors seem to have behavioral and cerebral effects, leading to the “high” THC causes.
On the other hand, CBD works indirectly by stimulating the production of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, the bliss molecule. It also affects serotonin receptors and immune system function. That’s why CBD is more commonly used for therapeutic purposes and produces no psychoactive effects.
All forms of the cannabis plant, from hemp to high-grade medical marijuana, contain some level of CBD, THC—and Delta 8 THC—among other cannabinoids.
What is Delta 8 THC?
What most of us know as “THC” is actually “Delta 9 THC” (or Δ9 THC).
Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol is an “analog” of Delta 9 THC with a very similar molecular make up — just a few different atomic bonds.
Some even believe that Delta 8 may be formed as Delta 9 degrades, which could explain why it’s found in such low levels in the cannabis plant. While Delta 9 THC can reach levels as high as 30% in some cannabis strains, Delta 8 rarely exceeds 1%, regardless of strain.
Delta 8 THC is also only found in plants with some level of Delta 9, though keep in mind that even hemp contains low levels of Delta 9.
While Delta 8 also binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors just like Delta 9, the effect is less pronounced and doesn’t generally produce psychoactive effects although it is known to give a head buzz or euphoric high which is why it has become so popular as of late.
What is the Difference Between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC?
On the surface, Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol is different from Delta 9 THC only because of a small shift in a single chemical bond.
Delta 9 THC has a double bond on the ninth molecule, and Delta 8 has a double bond on the eighth molecule. That tiny difference gives Delta 8 THC an entirely different effect on endocannabinoid receptors.
Some people claim that Delta 8 THC has more substantial positive effects than Delta 9, but without the cannabis-related risk of paranoia. Others say the high from Delta 8 is longer lasting.
Personally I feel like the “high” from D8 products is much more controllable and functional. It just gives me a nice relaxing buzz without taking it overboard. The only downside being that most Delta 8 THC products (especially the smokable ones) give me a terrible cotton mouth and red eyes.
Like any cannabinoid products containing THC, Delta 8 has effects that can vary from person to person.
How Are Delta 8 THC Products Made?
As mentioned, Delta 8 THC is found in very low concentrations in all forms of cannabis. That’s one reason prior to the loosening of cannabis regulation in the US (and other parts of the world), most notably the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta 8 received very little attention.
As the industry has grown, more advanced extraction techniques have grown with it, leading to methods of increasing Delta 8 production and isolating it, namely, distillation, selective breeding, and molecular isolation.
A method of converting CBD into Delta 8 THC was also discovered, which significantly increased its market feasibility. Why not Delta 9 THC? We’ll get to that in a moment—hint—it’s a matter of legality.
Where is Delta 8 available?
Finding a good Delta 8 vendor can be a little tricky since the boom in demand has created an opportunity for shady e-commerce stores to sell fake or low quality products.
Many of the Delta 8 carts on the market, especially from new brands are not recommended to purchase due to their poor business practices, customer service and dubious lab results.
Popular website Hempire Direct was forced out of business due to a trademark issue with Swisher Sweets. Hempire Direct had great D8 THC products and the company’s owner made a splash on the CBD scene thanks to his flashy style and wild IG TV videos.
Secret Nature is one of the best (if not the best) CBD flower brand on the market with consistent top-shelf indoor CBD buds. Lately, they have started releasing fantastic Delta 8 THC products that deliver the same fabulous quality as their flower.
My recommendation are their vape carts. They come in Indica and Sativa options and are full of clean flavor and sharp effects that keep you nice and faded for a long time.
Best Delta 8 THC Vendors
So among the new vendors that are adding Delta 8 products to their menus, which one is good and which one is bad?
Honesty, the best way to look at buying Delta 8 is by starting with potency and price and then looking at which brand you want to support.
Hempire Direct Review
*** OUT OF BUSINESS ***
As mentioned earlier, Hempire Direct offers a great variety of D8 gummies, vape carts and candies that all pack a great punch at a great price.
Some people however are offended by the flashy sales tactics and aggressive marketing that the brand is doing. Expect a lot of emails and text messages post-purchase.
Some of the more “classic” brands are offended by the flamboyant brand and feel like its holding the industry back by giving it a bad image.
Personally… I say the proof is in the puddin’ and the quality of the Delta 8 products are really high and the price is great. For that reason, I put Hempire Direct at the top of Mount D8.
Plain Jane Delta 8
Plain Jane offers a much smaller line of D8 products but they deserve to get mentioned just because their gummies are great!
A word of caution… The Delta 8 pre-rolls are not nearly as effective and powerful as the other D8 products.
How Do You Use Delta 8 THC?
As Delta 8 THC’s extraction methods lead to concentrate or distillate, it can be purchased for use in a variety of forms.
D8 THC Vape Carts
You can get vape cartridges, or “carts,” loaded with concentrated liquid. Vaping Delta 8 THC is a potent option that gives you quite a serious buzz that cannot be compared to CBD.
Delta 8 THC carts are available in a wide variety of flavors with the Super 8 Sativa being my personal favorite.
Delta 8 THC Edibles
Delta 8 THC cannabinoid-infused edibles, such as gummies, are also widely available. These are good if you need a discreet method of consumption.
You can also make edibles using Delta 8 THC. Make small batches while you are still determining how much you need and consume small amounts to gauge your tolerance. Brownies are a favorite, but you can make all kinds of edibles using Delta 8 distillate.
Remember to keep all CBD and THC items, especially appealing edibles, away from minors. This is especially true now that the market is getting more “creative” with their products. You can find Delta 8 Nerd Ropes, Skittles, Air Heads (Pot Heads) and other candy-like variations.
Delta 8 THC Oils
Much like CBD, you can dab-on infused oils or take tinctures sublingually. An infused cream can be helpful after a good hard workout or a day of heavy lifting. Just rub the cream on the area that feels stiff or tight.
Delta 8 THC Flower
Some cannabis growers mist down their harvested flower with Delta 8 THC concentrate. If you prefer smoking CBD flower, this can be the easiest way to access a higher Delta 8 concentration. Keep in mind that this is only an option for hemp flower with THC levels within the legal limit or if you live in a state where marijuana use is legal.
What Are the Effects of Delta 8 THC?
While we touched on this briefly already, to quickly recap, Delta 9 THC interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system, producing a euphoric “high” effect. Delta 8 THC has a lower psychotropic potency than Delta 9 THC, meaning it won’t get you high.
Most users describe its effects similar to CBD, but also noted feeling “clear-headed.” It’s relaxing and non-sedative. It can be uplifting when your mood feels off. It’s great for evening use if you have a busy schedule the next day.
Some users also suggest dosing with Delta 8 makes it easier to notice positive cannabinoid reactions when coupled with other cannabis products. Others report that Delta 8 THC makes them feel much better than Delta 9.
Like mentioned above, there is a high risk of getting both extreme cotton mouth and red eyes from delta 8 smokables. More so than with Delta 9 THC in my experience.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
There is a lot of conversation around what constitutes “legal THC,” and this is where Delta 8 THC coming from hemp becomes important. Marijuana, and THC derived from it, is still classified as a schedule 1 drug and is illegal on a federal level. However, as of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and any cannabinoid derived from it are not.
Per section 297A of that bill: ‘‘The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”
As Delta 8 THC can be made from hemp-derived CBD, it sneaks into a grey area of the law and is technically legal—so long as it’s made from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC.
Getting hemp flower from a compliant grower can help you protect yourself against running afoul of cannabis laws.
Your first move should be identifying a safe source of hemp-derived cannabis. Then you can start digging deeper into primary and secondary cannabinoids. Only use products that fall below the federally approved THC limit, and stay informed about and in compliance with state and local restrictions.
UPDATE: In March 2021 updates were made as to the legality of Delta-8 THC. Some states have outright banned it while other states are working on new legislation.
The cannabinoid already has provoked bans in 12 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island and Utah, according to Marielle Weintraub, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority, which certifies hemp products (and has recently decided not to certify delta-8 products). Meanwhile, legislative bans are brewing in other states, including North Dakota, Alabama and Oregon.
Will Delta 8 THC Trigger a Positive Drug Test?
While Delta 8 THC is legal, you could run into issues if, whether for employment or other reasons, you have to undergo drug testing.
CBD, which is almost exclusively derived from hemp, may or may not show up on a drug test. THC, including Delta 8, is much more likely to show up. If you’re worried about an employer’s no-tolerance policy, using a THC cannabinoid of any kind might be a poor choice.
If you have questions about using Delta 8 THC, get advice from a legal professional. Any form of THC cannabinoid, including Delta 8, could cause effects on your body and mental status. If you don’t know how you will react, use Delta 8 THC first in the safety and privacy of your home.
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Article written by CBD Incubator: We are mad scientists who try every CBD product that we get our hands on. Our collective of reviewers range from athletes to grandmothers and even cats and dogs. We do the research for you and gather it in digestible articles and product reviews to help you make informed decisions.