Get to know your cannabinoids: Exploring Delta-8 THC
When most people think of cannabis or cannabinoids, they are most likely thinking of CBD or the psychoactive Delta-9 THC, or more commonly known as marijuana. However, there is one cannabinoid making its way up the ranks and becoming a more prominent compound in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid is Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabidiol or Delta-8 THC.
Is Delta-8 legal? Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill made it legal to buy, sell, and use hemp products across the United States, provided they only contain trace amounts of Delta-9 THC.
While researchers are working to better understand the cannabis plant, strides have been made to reduce the stigma. People across the United States are using Delta-8 in various forms for its medical benefits and euphoric feeling. It is often described as an in-between CBD and marijuana.
You may be asking yourself how Delta-8 is different from marijuana, how it affects the body, and why people are using it. Here is a guide to help you get to know this up-and-coming cannabinoid.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is one of many cannabinoids, an isomer of CBD and a derivative of hemp.
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are hundreds of different compounds in the cannabis plant and are divided into terpenes and cannabinoids.
Terpenes are an organic compound that provides aroma and flavor in cannabis and a variety of other plants. They are responsible for the aroma and flavors of cannabis.
"Terpenes may play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis. Some terpenes might promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others potentially promote focus and acuity," Leafly reports.
When THC is discussed, the Delta-9 cannabinoid is typically being referenced and is the main psychoactive compound in the plant that creates the high feeling. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta-9 THC are among the most common cannabinoids.
CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant and by itself does not cause a high feeling. CBD has become increasingly popular for its benefits to a wide variety of health issues. Harvard Medical School reports CBD is most commonly used to address anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and has shown to reduce the number of seizures in children.
Delta-8 is often described as a feeling that sits between CBD and Delta-9 THC. It can provide a smooth euphoric feeling, while some say it does not come with any anxiety or paranoia that can sometimes occur with marijuana.
How can Delta-8 affect the body?
The National Cancer Institute defines Delta-8 as:
“An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. [Delta-8 THC] binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, located in the central nervous system…This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
To put it more simply, Delta-8 binds to the CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system. Those receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Why do we care about the ECS? To begin, everyone has one. The ECS is a cell-signaling system in everyone’s body.
Endocannabinoids, or the EC in ECS, are molecules made by your body. Your body produces them as needed to help keep internal functions running smoothly. CB1 and CB2 are the two main receptors. They are found throughout your body.
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system. While experts are still working to understand the ECS, they have found it plays a role in regulating functions and processes such as sleep, mood, appetite, and memory according to Healthline.
Other processes researchers have linked to the ECS include metabolism, chronic pain, inflammation, learning, motor control, muscle formation, and stress.
When Delta-8 binds to the CB1 receptors, it does so differently than Delta-9 THC. This is due to the location of a chemical bond in their molecular chain. The “8” stands for the placement of a chemical bond, which is on the eighth carbon chain, instead of the ninth like Delta-9.
Because of the bond’s placement, Delta-8 does not bind to the ECS as well, Gabriella Gobbi, a professor at McGill University's Department of Psychology stated in an interview with Inverse.
How does Delta-8 feel?
Delta-8 not only differs from Delta-9 on a molecular level but on an experience level as well. Most people who have used Delta-8 THC describe the feeling as more mellow and whimsical. Users also tend to be more clear-headed. Some people have also reported they do not experience the same anxiety or paranoia that can come with marijuana.
Keep in mind the effects vary from person to person and depend on the profile of the cannabinoid.
Delta-8 produces a euphoric feeling that falls between CBD and Delta-9. Other new and experienced users have experienced feeling energized, relaxed, sleepy and saw an increase in focus without the intensity of marijuana.
Because it produces milder effects, users are more likely to be productive, feel clear-headed, or feel as if they’ve had too much.
While feeling less stressed is a benefit, users also ingest the cannabinoid for medical reasons such as chronic pain, anxiety, and nausea according to the cannabis platform Weedmaps.
Researchers are still working to learn more about the medical benefits of Delta-8. In 2018, the FDA approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine. Epidiolex, which contains CBD, is used for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome. This is also the first FDA-approved drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.
One insight we have on Delta-8 is from a study performed in 1995 on eight pediatric cancer patients over two years. The study found that no vomiting occurs when patients ingested Delta-8 THC before and for 24 hours after cancer treatment.
Delta-8 includes all the benefits of CBD but its milder effects make it a great option for those beginning to explore the world of CBD and hemp products. People who have experience with CBD and THC have said they do feel the effects of Delta-8. It produces a euphoric feeling that falls between CBD and marijuana.
Who knew there was so much behind this cannabinoid on the rise, but, how do you get a good quality product? What are the forms it comes in? There are various ways people are consuming Delta-8. Local shops and online sites are providing Delta-8 vapes, flowers, tinctures, capsules, and concentrates.
What are the ways to consume Delta-8?
There are different ways to consume Delta-8 THC. Many local stores and online sites offer information about the different types. It’s always good to read product descriptions and ask questions if you have them.
You might be asking yourself, what is the best form of Delta-8 for me? Retailers may offer different strains including Sativa, Indica, and hybrids. The type of Delta-8 strain plays a role in the effects you receive. Choosing the right product depends on your desired effect. It’s important to remember that everybody is different so the effects can differ as well.
When using a Sativa strain, the effects provide an uplifting and euphoric feeling. It also promotes energy and alertness. This makes a Sativa strain a good option to use during the day.
The effects of Indica strain are felt more in the body and less in the brain. Indica strains promote relaxation and help stimulate your appetite. It is used for its sedative-like characteristics by promoting sleep, which makes it great to use at night time.
Hybrids are two strains crossed together to create a whole new strain. Crossing the strains brings the best traits of each strain in one. Many hybrids are used today and are often a combination of Sativa and Indica strains.
One of the most common ways to consume Delta-8 is using a vape cartridge. Individual vape cartridges are sold in a variety of flavors. Users often feel the effects sooner when using a vape cartridge. Don’t forget your battery! A battery is also required to use the vape cartridges. Batteries are often sold along with Delta-8 vape cartridges.
If you are looking for something to smoke, don’t worry, Delta-8 also comes in an infused hemp flower. This can be a great option for someone looking for more immediate relief as well as for those who prefer traditional smoking.
What if inhaling Delta-8 is not right for you? Don’t sweat it. It also comes in tinctures, gummies, capsules, and concentrates.
Much like a CBD tincture, Delta-8 tinctures contain hemp extract that is made into an oil. The convenient dropper allows you to monitor your dosage and easily drop the desired amount under the tongue until it dissolves.
Delta-8 gummies and edibles are among the most commonly used forms of consuming the cannabinoid. Gummies offer the same benefits as the other forms with an added fruity flavor. Capsules are a great alternative because they offer the same effects but in an easy capsule form.
Delta-8 THC is great for people with and without previous experience. It provides a gentle, euphoric, toned-down feeling with all the benefits of CBD. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, this article is a great first step. Continue to look into what retailers such as Delta-8 World are offering and ask questions.