Delta 8 THC Beginner’s Guide: Is it Better Than Delta 9?

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Most people associate THC with delta 9 THC — the cannabinoid that gets them high when they smoke, vape, or eat weed.

However, delta 9 is just one form of THC that cannabis can produce.

In this article, we’ll cover the ins and outs of using delta 8 THC, a cannabinoid that has been recently put into the spotlight thanks to its legal status and a smoother experience compared to delta 9 THC.

The milder version of delta 9 comes in tinctures, vapes, concentrates, gummies, and distillates.

Continue reading to get familiar with one of the most intriguing cannabinoids in the wellness industry.

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC stands for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol.

It’s an analog of the standard delta 9 version.

All types of THC have a similar molecular structure, but the difference in the arrangement of their atomic bonds makes delta 8 THC different from its more trippy cousin.

Delta 8 THC is about twice less potent than delta 9 THC. It is also less likely to trigger anxiety and paranoia — the two reasons why some people choose to avoid high-THC cannabis.

Delta 8 THC is infused into similar formats to CBD and delta 9 THC — you can find it in tinctures, edibles, concentrates, vapes, and raw distillate.

Delta 8 THC offers a few potential health benefits, such as:

  • Reduction of anxiety and stress
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduction of inflammation and pain
  • Mood-enhancing properties
  • Neuroprotection
  • Appetite boost
  • Potential aid as a supportive cancer treatment
  • Preventive agent for nausea and vomiting

Does Delta 8 THC Get You High?

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Delta 8 THC feels like a milder version of delta 9 THC — that’s why people label it as “cannabis light” or “diet weed.”. Not only are the psychoactive effects less pronounced, but they’re also more focused on the body rather than the mind.

The way delta 8 THC will make you feel depends on the amount you use. Lower doses, such as 5 or 10 mg can bring mild stimulation and is good for people who want to take delta 8 THC for stress and anxiety in the morning.

Higher doses like 10 or 30 mg can produce a moderate high, providing balanced effects.

Any dose upwards of 40 mg can result in a boost of euphoria, giggly mood, and a slightly lazy vibe. When people get high off of delta 8 THC, the effects are bland when they take delta 8 THC alone. That’s why many users combine delta 8 THC with other cannabinoids and terpenes to produce the whole-plant synergy also known as the entourage effect.

You can also add a few drops of delta 8 THC into your morning tea or coffee to enhance focus, or with melatonin for a good night’s sleep.

What Delta 8 THC Feels Like

  • Slightly euphoric
  • Giggly
  • Relaxing
  • Productive (lower doses)
  • Sleepy (higher doses)
  • Free of tension

Is Delta 8 THC Safe?

Delta 8 has a good safety profile. No study has reported any severe or life-threatening effects.

The main problem with delta 8 THC product isn’t the active ingredient itself. It’s the lack of third-party testing and the presence of contaminants in many products that are easily available on the market.

Coming back to delta 8, the mildly intoxicating effects may cause sedation and euphoria in higher doses on top of impairment of motor functions. You should never drive a vehicle after consuming delta 8 THC.

Some studies also indicate that delta 8 THC substance may raise blood pressure, which may be a risk factor for people with cardiovascular diseases — especially in the smoked and vaped form.

You should also avoid taking delta 8 THC with prescription medications for cholesterol, blood thinners, diabetes medications, benzodiazepines, opioid drugs, and alcohol.

Possible Side Effects of Delta 8 THC

  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Problems falling asleep (high doses)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Warped perception of time
  • Anxiety and paranoia (very rare)
  • Difficulty concentrating

Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

Delta 8 THC is theoretically legal on a federal level because it meets the conditions set out by the 2018 Farm Bill. The new law legalized hemp and its derivatives — including delta 8 — by removing the plant from the list of controlled substances.

Aside from the DEA, which has recently issued a negative statement on the legality of delta 8 THC products, no federal agency has officially banned delta 8 THC.

Here are the most important highlights on the legality of THC and its analogs.

  • Delta 9 THC is illegal on a federal level. However, individual states have the right to regulate it within their own jurisdiction. 15 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use so far.
  • Delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level, but some states have banned it.
  • Delta 8 THC is usually produced from hemp, so it’s legal in all 50 states because it contains less than 0.3% of delta 9 THC.
  • Delta 8 THC is made by converting CBD into delta 9 THC, and then synthesizing delta 8 from it.
  • Synthetic extraction of THC is illegal. However, all cannabis extracts, including delta 8 THC distillates, are extracted in a natural way.

Currently, you won’t buy delta 8 THC in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

Best Delta 8 THC Vendors: Top Brands You Can Trust

1. Area52: Most Potent Delta 8 Products

Area52 makes premium delta 8 THC based on a pure distillate. The company provides plant-based products for health-conscious consumers who want to improve their quality of life on a physical and mental level. These extracts are made from organic ingredients that are gently extracted without harsh acids. The products are also free of any organic solvents, heavy metals, and pesticides — all proven by batch-specific certificates of analysis.

Products offered by Area 52:

2. Finest Labs: Runner-Up

Finest Labs is a relatively new name in the delta 8 space, but they have already coined themselves a reputation of a solid and trustworthy manufacturer. This company is a good choice for lightweight users or those who benefit from lower doses of delta 8 THC. The concentration of delta 8 in the company’s products doesn’t exceed 500 mg. Similar to Area52, these products are made from organic hemp and rigorously tested by a third-party laboratory on different stages of production.

Products offered by Finest Labs:

3. Delta 8 Pro

Delta 8 Pro is a veteran company that has been making cannabinoid-based products since 2008. They offer the broadest selection of products of all companies listed in this ranking, from tinctures to edibles, concentrates, and even delta 8 THC moon rocks. That being said, there’s no mention of where the company gets its hemp from. Plus, there are no cruelty-free or vegan products in the company’s line up. On the other hand, they are one of the most affordable companies out there.

Products offered by Delta 8 Pro

  • Delta 8 THC tincture
  • Delta 8 THC vape carts (Sold Out)

Health Benefits of Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC offers similar benefits to delta 9 THC by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system, which is the major regulatory network in the body. The way delta 8 THC engages with the ECS can help regulate nausea and vomiting, relieve stress, boost appetite, and reduce pain and inflammation.

Delta 8 THC for Anxiety

One study has found that delta 8 THC had less harmful psychoactive effects than delta 9 THC, suggesting that it can be an effective tool for the management of anxiety disorders. However, more research is needed to further prove these benefits on a larger group of test subjects.

Delta 8 THC for Low Appetite

A study that investigated the impact of delta 8 and delta 9 THC on the appetite of mice found that the mice treated with delta 8 THC experienced a stronger increase of appetite than after taking delta 9 THC.

Delta 8 THC for Pain

One study has tested subjects with nerve pain; they were treated with delta 9 THC daily for 7 months. At the end of the study, more than 90% of the patients reported their pain levels were considerably reduced. That being said, no study has yet investigated the effects of delta 8 THC on pain in humans. But considering that delta 8 is twice less potent, it could produce similar results in higher doses.

Delta 8 THC for Nausea

High-THC products are generally considered safe and effective for ailments like nausea and vomiting. According to studies, delta 9 THC can significantly reduce nausea — but doers delta 8 THC produce the same effects? For now, there haven’t been any studies on the antiemetic properties of delta 8 THC, but many anecdotal reports claim the effects are almost the same as the ones offered by delta 9.

Delta 8 THC for Neuroprotection

Several studies have found that delta 8 THC can act as a neuroprotectant. In simple terms, delta 8 THC can protect neurons in the brain from damage, potentially preventing degeneration that leads to conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The protective mechanism of delta 8 THC results from its interaction with the two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.

How to Consume Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC is available in the same forms as CBD extracts. You can find it in tinctures, edibles, vapes, concentrates, and pure distillate. 

Here’s a brief overview of each product type:

1. Delta 8 THC Tinctures

Delta 8 THC tinctures contain a d8 distillate infused into a carrier base such as food-grade oils or vegetable glycerin. They are taken under the tongue and thus help the user avoid the first-pass metabolism in the liver.

You just measure out your dose, take it under the tongue, and hold it there for about 60 seconds.

Delta 8 THC tinctures are available in different potencies, from 300 mg to 3000 mg of delta 8 THC per bottle. Some variations contain flavorings to make the product more appealing.

2. Delta 8 THC Gummies

Gummies are the most popular category of delta 8 THC products. You can choose from different shapes, sizes, flavors, and concentrations. Gummies usually contain between 10–40 mg of delta 8 THC per piece. They act slower than tinctures, usually producing their effects within 2 hours from ingestion.

3. Delta 8 THC Vapes

Vaping is the fastest and most effective way to deliver delta 8 THC to your system. The effects are noticeable within minutes after inhalation, lasting 3 to 4 hours. 

Delta 8 THC vapes are available in different formats, such as:

  • Delta 8 THC Vape Pens – disposable vape pens that contain delta 8 THC distillate mixed with cannabis-derived terpenes. They are discrete, convenient, and easy to use; you just need to wrap your lips around the mouthpiece and start inhaling to turn on the device. Once used, they can be thrown into trash.
  • Delta 8 THC Cartridges – delta 8 carts are filled with a d8 E-liquid. People attach them to their vape tank’s threading, which are reusable; the tank itself can be thrown into a trash bin when emptied.
  • Delta 8 THC E-liquids – delta 8 THC E-liquid is made from a blend of delta 8 THC distillate, vegetable glycerin, and propylene glycol. Once heated, they will release a thick cloud of vapor. The experience is easier on the throat and lungs than smoking concentrates due to operating on lower temperatures.

4. Delta 8 THC Concentrates

Delta 8 THC concentrates are thick, resinous and highly concentrated forms of this cannabinoid. They are produced by extracting THC from cannabis and converting it into the delta 8 isomer. However, the process isn’t the most efficient because the final product contains up to 65% of delta 8 THC. There’s also a small percentage of other cannabinoids and terpenes.

What’s the Difference Between Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC?

In this section, we break down the differences between delta 8 and delta 9 THC — highlighting the pros and cons of both.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Delta 8 THC is less anxious than delta 9 THC
  • Delta 8 THC producers stronger appetite stimulation
  • The high from delta 8 is more clear-headed
  • Delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level
  • Delta 8 THC is more durable than delta 9 (it has a longer shelf life)
  • Extracting delta 8 THC is less efficient than making delta 9 THC products.
  • Delta 8 THC is about half as potent as delta 9 THC

Earlier in the article, we mentioned a subtle difference that draws a line between some effects of delta 8 and delta 9 THC.

The difference lies in the arrangement of their atomic bonds.

For delta 8 THC, the bond is at the 8th carbon chain, while for delta 9 THC, this bond is at the 9th chain.

Both cannabinoids act as the agonists of cannabinoid receptors, meaning they activate them to produce psychoactive effects. However, the above difference makes delta 8 THC about half as potent as delta 9 — so you need to take about twice as much of it to experience the same intensity of effects.

There are also a few other advantages of choosing delta 8 over delta 9 THC. For example, delta 8 is less trippy and anxious in high doses, so it’s very unlikely that it will cause you to feel paranoid. 

That being said, you can still experience dry mouth, dry eyes, fatigue, and impairment of motor functions. You shouldn’t operate any heavy machinery or drive vehicles after delta 8 THC.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Comparison Chart

Delta 8 THC Delta 9 THC
Intoxication Mild-Moderate Moderate-High
Price $$ $
Concentration in Cannabis Less than 1% Up to 30%
Receptors CB1 & CB2 CB1 & CB2
Typical Dose 10–40 mg 5–20 mg
Effects on Appetite Strong Stimulant Moderate Stimulant
Potential to Trigger Anxiety Unlikely Very Likely
Legal Status  Legal-Grey Area (allowed in most states) Illegal

 

Can You Fail a Drug Test Using Delta 8 THC?

The chemical makeup of delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC is strikingly similar. Workplace drug tests aren’t designed to distinguish between these two analogs; they just look for THC and its metabolites, so long story short — yes, taking delta 8 THC can result in a false positive result for regular THC. It’s best to abstain from using the cannabinoid if you know of an upcoming drug test at work.

How to Buy Delta 8 THC Products

Until the federal government legalizes or, at least, decriminalizes all forms of cannabis for recreational use, the market will remain largely unregulated. There are many great brands and products out there that help to achieve certain quality standards in the industry, but the current state of the market is alarming, to say the least. There are a lot of poor-quality, impure delta 8 THC extracts in local smoke shops and vape stores, so you need to run meticulous research on your potential vendors.

According to a recent article by LA Weekly, here are some important parameters to look for when buying delta 8 THC near you and online:

  • The source of delta 8 THC – delta 8 can be extracted from hemp and marijuana. The only federally legal products are made from hemp, but mass-produced hemp can yield poor-quality extracts due to contamination with heavy metals and other toxins such as pesticides or synthetic growth boosters. The best delta 8 THC comes from organically grown hemp.
  • Extraction method – CO2 extraction produces pure products with consistent potency throughout the batches. Since hemp-derived delta 8 THC is synthesized from CBD, it’s important that the cannabinoid is gently extracted without extra heat or solvents to prevent it from degrading.
  • Third-party testing – companies that offer delta 8 THC should test their products in independent laboratories for potency and purity to ensure the product is safe. These laboratories look for the amount of delta 8 THC; they also analyze the whole cannabinoid and terpene profile, and search for potential contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, zinc bromide, or zinc chloride. Each product batch should come with an up-to-date certificate of analysis.
  • User reviews – reputable brands have a lot of positive reviews on third-party websites. If there are no mentions of the company anywhere, or it has many negative reviews, it’s best to look somewhere else for high-quality delta 8 THC products.

Where to Buy Delta 8 THC: Near Me vs Online

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The lack of anxious side effects, as well as its legal status, has created a booming market for delta 8 THC. You can find it virtually anywhere these days, from dispensaries to vape shops to head shops and even gas stations. 

That being said, if you like the idea of the light buzz created by delta 8 THC, online stores are the place to go. There are several reasons why we prefer to shop for delta 8 online.

First, you can run better research on your potential vendors. From reading third-party lab reports to going through the company’s website and reaching out to experts on social media platforms — you can scan them roots to branches.

Buying delta 8 THC online is also more convenient. Comparing different products and brands doesn’t require you to leave your house anymore. You can do it in the comfort of your home and choose the best product for your needs without being pushed by salesmen.

Last but not least, online stores offer better prices because they can cut out the middleman. Customers can take advantage of discounts, coupon codes, and reward programs to save on their favorite products or try new types of delta 8 for less.

How Much Delta 8 THC Should I Take?

The strength of delta 8 THC is considered twice as low as delta 9. Doses between 5–30 mg at a time can induce mild psychoactive effects. The general dosage range is around 10–60 mg. The closer to the upper limit, the more pronounced the intoxication.

For microdosing, it’s best to start with doses between 1–5 mg.

Your effective dosage will depend on parameters like the product’s potency, your weight, metabolism, and tolerance to delta 8 THC. Regular use will result in a faster tolerance buildup and the need to increase the dosage in order to experience the same intensity of effects.

Dosing THC for Specific Effects (for Different Weight Groups)

Weight Mild Effects Moderate Effects Heavy Effects
80 lbs (35 kg) 5 mg 10 mg 20 mg
100 lbs (45 kg) 6.5 mg 13 mg 25 mg
120 lbs (55 kg) 7.5 mg 15 mg 30 mg
140 lbs (65 kg) 9 mg 18 mg 36 mg
160 lbs (72 kg) 10 mg 20 mg 40 mg
180 lbs (82 kg) 12 mg 24 mg 45 mg
200 lbs (90 kg) 13 mg 26 mg 50 mg
220 lbs (100 kg) 14 mg 28 mg 56 mg
240 lbs (108 kg) 15 mg 30 mg 60 mg
260 lbs (118 kg) 17 mg  33 mg 65 mg

Can You Build Tolerance to Delta 8 THC?

Yes, it’s possible to build a tolerance to delta 8 THC.

Tolerance occurs when you need to take a higher dose of this particular substance to experience the same type of effects. You can build a tolerance to delta 8 THC in a similar way you build it to delta 9.

The bad news is that tolerance to delta 8 THC raises twice as fast despite lower potency. If you want to prevent a tolerance buildup, it’s best to keep your use in moderation, taking lower doses or using delta 8 every other day. 2 weeks of “fasting” on delta 8 THC should curb your tolerance to the previous level.

Final Thoughts on Delta 8 THC and Its Future in the Cannabis Space?

Delta 8 THC has been around with us for over 40 years, but until recently, it remained underground and reserved exclusively for researchers.

But with the recent scientific breakthroughs, commercial manufacturers have become able to extract significant amounts of delta 8 THC using hemp or marijuana plants.

This, in turn, has created a boom on delta 8 THC, attracting attention of recreational and medical cannabis users thanks to its smoother high and similar health benefits to delta 9 THC.

Although the research is in its infancy, current evidence suggests that delta 8 THC can be used to relieve pain, inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting — on top of boosting appetite and protecting cells in the brain against damage.

As more time and money are fueled into the studies on the effects of delta 8 THC, it may soon become the third most-desired cannabinoid in the cannabis space.

The reviews and statements published here are those of the sponsor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or views of Observer. Delta 8 THC Beginner’s Guide: Is it Better Than Delta 9?