Cannabinoids play a tremendous role in the world of cannabis. The discovery of the two major cannabinoids, THC and CBD, has contributed to many breakthroughs in several sectors including, medicine, fitness, and wellness products.
While these two cannabinoids are slowly penetrating several segments, we have yet another powerful cannabinoid from the plant to join the list of potent compounds that can induce promising benefits.
What Is Delta-8?
When we mention THC, we often refer to one of the many variants of this compound, Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol. As we dig deeper into cannabis chemistry, we understand that there are, in fact, several variants of this compound that exhibit different properties to that of Delta-9 THC. Some of these variants are THCV, THCA, and Delta-8.
Here we will discuss Delta-8 THC, which has recently captivated the science community with several impeccable properties. We will also explore in detail how the effects of delta-8-THC are different from cannabidiol or CBD.
Where Does Delta-8 Come From?
Compared to the major cannabinoids CBD and Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 constitutes only a small fraction of the cannabis extracts. Therefore the compound is often human-made from Delta-9 through a process called isolation. Companies use thin-film distillation methods to isolate the molecule from cannabis extracts. In many cases, the Delta-8 distillate may also contain traces of Delta-9 THC.
Delta-8 Is Slightly Different From Delta-9
The pretext of Delta added to THC indicates the presence of a double bond in the chemical structure of the cannabinoids. The difference between Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC is, in fact, the placement of the double bond in the molecule.
While in Delta-9 THC, the double bond occurs on the 9th carbon atom of the THC molecule, the double bond occurs at the 8th carbon atom position in Delta-8. Although this might seem like a minute difference, at the subatomic level, the double bond location directly affects the properties of the compounds.
The two cannabinoids exhibit specific similar properties. While Delta-8 THC is not as potent as its sister cannabinoids, it can induce a comfortable high. The euphoric feeling caused is slightly less intense compared to delta-9 THC, but users tend to experience an energy boost and enhanced focus. It also significantly reduces the mind-altering effects of Delta-9, which indicates that the high will be more comfortable and calmer.
Similarly, Delta-8 also triggers appetite, but without making the person extremely hungry. It creates a mild sedative effect and a full-body high, but with much lower intensity. The reason behind this lower intensity of effects is that Delta-8 is much more stable than Delta-9. It can thus be a more feasible treatment for a variety of ailments compared to the latter.
Is It Different From CBD?
The comparison between CBD and Delta -8 THC is an inevitable exercise for cannabis enthusiasts. The past few years have seen tremendous growth in the CBD market. Compared to CBD, Delta-8 is a very new compound that is still under the microscope. These two cannabinoids are chemically divergent. Their interaction with the endocannabinoid system is also significantly different. While the former predominantly binds at CB1 receptors to naturally elevate the body’s endocannabinoids, the latter interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
One of the fundamental reasons behind CBD’s popularity is the non-psychoactive properties of cannabidiol compared to Delta-9 THC. This particular property favored its applications in medicine, especially to treat mental health ailments such as anxiety, depression, PTSD. But unlike CBD, Delta-8 THC exhibits psychoactive property that causes a high. Therefore, the compound might find applications for both medicinal as well as recreational purposes
Delta-8 is much closer to Delta- 9 in terms of interaction with the endocannabinoid system. The former can induce powerful health benefits with a lower intensity of psychoactive effects compared to the latter. It indicates that the compound might find applications in medicine as a treatment for insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, and depression.
Can We Combine CBD and Delta-8 THC?
Just like Delta-9 THC, combining CBD with Delta-8 can elevate the entourage effect of cannabis. Also, CBD can reduce the intensity of THC’s psychoactive properties while boosting favorable properties such as anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory to allow users to enjoy the impeccable health benefits of cannabis extracts without any discomfort.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
The legalities around Delta-8 THC is quite confusing. The Farm Bill 2018 threw light on the legal status of hemp cultivation and hemp-derived products. According to the law, all derivatives, cannabinoids, and isomers derived from hemp are legal, provided that the said product contains less than 0.3% THC concentration. But the THC mentioned above refers to Delta-9 THC and not Delta -8.
The Drug Enforcement Administration rule issued about Delta-8 THC states that any synthetically prepared drug is illegal. Most of the Delta-8 THC available today is synthetically derived from CBD rich hemp. It makes the legality of the former compound a grey area.
Remember that the legality of Delta-8 changes from state to state. Therefore refer to your local laws before purchasing any infused or concentrated product.
Delta-8 is comparatively a new cannabinoid that requires more research to help us understand its true capabilities. Like the other cannabinoids, it also has specific pros and cons that you should consider before using it. While each of these cannabinoids exhibits unique and powerful properties, you can choose the ones that suit your requirement to enjoy the best benefits of cannabis.