As governments begin to loosen cannabis restrictions, Delta 8 THC is quickly becoming a popular option amongst cannabis users.
Unlike CBD, Delta 8 does elicit a high along with other mental and physical benefits.
The following review dives deep into all things Delta 8 THC including the science on how it works in your brain and body.
What Is Delta 8 THC
Delta- 8- tetra- hydro- cannabinol (Δ8-THC), aka Delta 8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabis compound.
Consumption of this compound instills a mild psychoactive effect leading to euphoria, happy high, sedation, symptomatic pain relief, feeling uplifted, and much more.1Graeme Griffin, Stephanie Williams, Mie Mie Aung, Raj K Razdan, Billy R Martin, and Mary E Abood, Separation of cannabinoid receptor affinity and efficacy in delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol side-chain analogues, Br J Pharmacol. 2001
Delta 8 THC offers its users a milder alternative to traditional Delta-9 THC found in most cannabis products.
Does Delta 8 THC Get You High
Delta 8 THC will undeniably get a person high, although not as much in comparison with the Delta 9 THC or from consuming common edibles, smoking joints, or taking dabs etc. The high from this product is much lighter and less psychoactive.
Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC
Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are both derived from hemp. Tetra- hydro- cannabinol (THC) is an identical chemical structural component shared by Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC. The only difference in their structural formulation is the placement of a double bond between carbon atoms. Both cannabinoids consist of an atomic carbon chain, but Delta 8 THC has the double bond on the eighth carbon atom, whereas Delta 9 has it on the ninth carbon atom.2PubChem NLM. 2020, delta8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, PubChem NLM. 2020
Both of these compounds are psychoactive cannabinoids and get you high. However, Delta 8 THC is less potent than Delta 9 THC in every manner.Delta 9 THC may cause undesirable effects for some users, which may include anxiety attacks, episodes of severe headaches and may even cause paranoia post-consumption, whereas Delta 8 THC offers a lighter, milder, smoother, and more energizing high.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD
The structural and functional properties of Delta 8 THC have more in common with Delta 9 THC than that of CBD. Both Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC bind to the organism’s endocannabinoid system, whereas CBD does not formulate a bond as readily to the organism’s endocannabinoid system. Hence, CBD is non-intoxicating and may offer therapeutic benefits for the user.
In short, if you’re looking to get high, Delta 8 THC is the answer. But if you’re looking for a non-psychoactive compound that delivers medicinal effects and symptomatic pain relief then CBD is the recommended product.
Is Delta 8 THC Harmful?
Unfortunately, Delta 8 is still a relatively new product and there are insufficient studies on humans detailing its adverse effects, tolerability of the compound, and product safety profile. It’s also not yet possible to predict the long-term effects of Delta 8 THC.
That being said, the vast majority of users say it is negative effects are similar to those of traditional delta 9 THC which are relatively mild and can differ on a case by case basis. In any case, due to the sheer lack of research on this compound users are cautioned to use at their own risk.
Delta 8 THC Legal Loophole
At present, Delta 8 exists in a legal gray area. As per the federal Drug Enforcement Administration proposed rule in the United States, Delta 8 THC is indirectly classified as a ‘Schedule I’ controlled substance, which makes it a federally illegal product. However, as of this writing this rule is not final.3Alice Mead, Legal and Regulatory Issues Governing Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products in the United States, Front Plant Sci. 2019
Delta 8 THC is generally extracted from hemp plants and not cannabis, hence, selling Delta 8 THC in many states is legal where cannabis is illegal.
I understand this can be confusing because theoretically hemp is also considered a cannabis plant. However, it is important to note that hemp contains only 0.3% THC or less. Whereas, generally cannabis plants contain 0.3% THC or more.
Hence, at least on paper as per the ‘2018 farm bill’ organic synthesis of Delta 8 THC from hemp plants is not against the legal federal system of the United States.4Zerrin Atakan, Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals,Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012
And for the consumers residing in the states where cannabis is not legal, Delta 8 THC can be the legal route to get that weed-high.
How Delta 8 THC works in the Brain
Delta 8 THC improves cholinergic mechanisms in all areas of the brain including, the cortex, hippocampus, midbrain, medulla-pons, and striatum. Delta 8 THC efficiently intensifies the neurotransmitter acetylcholine levels and boosts brain health.
Acetylcholine encourages arousal, cognition, memory, and neuroplasticity.
It may also promote cognitive functioning by supporting growth and regeneration at the cellular level. It is scientifically proven that Delta 8 THC may prevent the atrophy of brain cells by refining neurotransmitters throughout the central nervous system.5H L Tripathi, F J Vocci, D A Brase, W L Dewey, Effects of cannabinoids on levels of acetylcholine and choline and on turnover rate of acetylcholine in various regions of the mouse brain, Alcohol Drug Res. 1987
Delta 8 THC Benefits
- It helps with symptoms like pain, inflammation, mood swings, indigestion, or loss of appetite.
- In addition to relaxing the mind and body, it may also help with sleeping disturbances and insomnia.
- A few studies indicate that the Delta 8 THC may even help to sharpen focus, stay concentrated, and improve thinking. This compound may also help to increase levels of focus.
- Delta 8 THC is relatively weaker than Delta 9 THC.
- In contrast to Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC does not increase anxiety levels or cause paranoia. Delta 8 THC induces a euphoric, happy high, excitement and is a great product for symptomatic chronic pain relief.6Ayako Chan-Hosokawa, Loan Nguyen, Nicole Lattanzio, Wendy R Adams, Emergence of Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol in DUID Investigation Casework: Method Development, Validation and Application, Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2021
For the majority of regular or experienced users, Delta 8 THC may feel milder than Delta 9 THC. But if someone is new to cannabis, Delta 8 THC may have a strong effect. Hence, it is very subjective and depends mainly on the person’s experience and tolerance.7Ayat Zagzoog, Kawthar A. Mohamed, Hye Ji J. Kim, Eunhyun D. Kim, Connor S. Frank, Tallan Black, Pramodkumar D. Jadhav, Larry A. Holbrook & Robert B. Laprairie, In vitro and in vivo pharmacological activity of minor cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa, Scientific Reports. 2020
To get a sense of Delta 8 THC’s dosage it is imperative to understand its potency in comparison to Delta 9 THC. Delta 8 THC has almost half the strength of Delta 9 THC, hence, a 25mg Delta 8 product provides equivalent effects of a 10mg Delta 9 THC product.
Side effects of Delta 8 THC may be similar to those of Delta 9 THC because of their structural similarities. Common but mild side effects of this compound include headaches, red eyes, dry mouth, and hunger. Major undesirable effects of this compound include temporary memory loss or unnecessary worry.8H L Tripathi, F J Vocci, D A Brase, W L Dewey, Effects of cannabinoids on levels of acetylcholine and choline and on turnover rate of acetylcholine in various regions of the mouse brain, Alcohol Drug Res. 1987
It is important to note that this cannabinoid has not been studied extensively and more research is required on the effects it has on the consumer’s mind and body.9Arno Hazekamp, Renee L. Ruhaak, Delta8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, Comprehensive Natural Products II. 2010
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About the author:
Erik Levi, FNTP
Erik Levi is a co-founder of HolisticNootropics.com and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.
As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.
Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.
Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.
You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.