What is Delta-8 THC?

You may have heard of the different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD, CBN, THC… but, what is delta-8 THC

In most cases, when people mention THC, they’re referring to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Nevertheless, the cannabis plant also contains another cannabinoid by the name Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-8 THC. 

This cannabinoid is found in small traces in the hemp and cannabis plants, and it has similar effects to its brother Delta-9 THC.

Both the THC cannabinoids contain the psychoactive properties that make you feel:

  • Euphoric
  • Happy
  • Sedated
  • Relieved

These similarities occur due to the chemical structures of both THC cannabinoids. The main difference is that Delta-8 THC tends to have milder effects. 

Delta-8 vs Delta-9

As mentioned above, Delta-8 and Delta-9 are very similar. Not only in name, but in chemical structure as well. However, there’s one minor difference that has a strong impact on Delta-8’s effects.

It’s important to understand that both Delta-8 and Delta-9 interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), just like CBD does.

The two THC cannabinoids have a double bound in their chemical structures, which is believed to cause the psychoactive effects they’re famous for.

The main difference between these two cannabinoids is that the double bond is not on the same place:

  • Delta-8 THC: has the double bond on the 8th carbon
  • Delta-9 THC: the double bond in on the 9th carbon

Now, it’s easy to understand the difference in the names due to the placement of the double bond. It’s also suggested that this difference is what makes the effects of delta-8 THC less strong than its counterpart.

Since this is a fairly new product on the market, there is still a lack of scientific research on how delta-8 THC interacts with the body as well as its true potential.

Delta-8 vs CBD

Although both delta-8 THC and CBD are cannabinoids, they have very different properties. While CBD interacts directly with the ECS’s receptors, delta-8 THC interaction with the system is more similar to that of delta-9 THC.

Moreover, CBD is known for being a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, and the same can’t be said about delta-8 THC, even though it’s not as strong as delta-9.

Those who are looking to benefit from the potential effects of cannabinoids without getting high might give preference to CBD. Many pieces of scientific evidence suggest CBD may help with:

  • Pain management
  • Sleep disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • And more

On the other hand, while delta-8 THC might get you feeling “high”, some studies also suggest it might be helpful in certain situations:

  • One study suggests that it reduces nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment drugs
  • Another study conducted on rats with cancer suggests that delta-8 THC may slow tumor growth and increase survival time
  • It may have similar effects to CBD when it comes to reducing seizures
  • One particular study in an animal model indicates that delta-8 THC may increase appetite, which might be helpful in the management of eating disorders

Effects of Delta-8

As explained before, delta-8 THC has very similar effects to delta-9 THC. As such, it’s very important that if you experiment with this cannabinoid that you start slowly.

The effects will be milder than those experienced with delta-9 THC, but you’ll still feel “high”, and will likely experience the following side effects:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry eyes

When inhaled, through smoke or vaping, delta-8 THC acts quickly and you’ll likely feel its effects within 30 minutes. It’s also possible to find delta-8 THC tinctures that you can ingest sublingually.

Other popular products that contain delta-8 THC are edibles, such as cookies or gummies. Just like it happens with CBD, the effects might take a bit longer to be felt when you ingest the cannabinoid orally.

There is also some anecdotal evidence from previous users that indicate that delta-8’s effects cause less anxiety and feelings of paranoia when compared with delta-9 THC.

In case you feel any negative side effects, please contact your doctor immediately.

Is Delta-8 legal in the USA?

Well, the legislation surrounding delta-8 THC is a bit blurred. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp products that contain less than 0.3% of delta-9 THC. This means that all CBD products that are legal within the States can’t contain more than that maximum amount of delta-9 THC. 

The blurred line appears when there isn’t any mention of delta-8 THC in the bill. This happens because delta-8 doesn’t naturally occur in high amounts in hemp plants. What some companies are doing is growing and processing large amounts of hemp plants, and extracting the trace amounts of delta-8 THC from all these different plants, and mixing it to have higher amounts of delta-8 THC.

But while this means that, according to the 2018 Farm Bill, any hemp-based product with less than 0.3% of delta-9 THC are legal, including those with higher percentages of delta-8 THC, some states have banned them.

Some of the states where delta-8 THC is restricted include:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Kentucky
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Vermont

With this in mind, we highly recommend that you always consult your local legislation before purchasing any products with delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 in Canada: Should the US follow its footsteps?

Canada’s Cannabis Act, also known as Bill C-45, came into place in 2018 and legalized all cannabis products. This means that not only is CBD and Delta-8 THC legal, but also all other cannabinoid-based products.

While this might seem like a dream come true to all cannabis lovers, this Act also regulates how these products are produced, sold, distributed, and consumed. As such, anyone who purchases cannabis in Canada, from licensed entities, knows that they’re buying high-quality and safe products.

Some states in the US have passed similar laws, however, there’s still a long way to go until the country is on the same page when it comes to cannabis in general, and delta-8 THC in particular.

We’ll keep an eye open for any further developments on this topic and will update this article accordingly.


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Yosefa Avraham, Dikla Ben-Shushan, Aviva Breuer, Olga Zolotarev, Avital Okon, Nir Fink, Vered Katz, Elliot M Berry, Very low doses of delta 8-THC increase food consumption and alter neurotransmitter levels following weight loss, Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 2004


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Government of Canada, Cannabis Act, Justice Laws Website, act current 2021-10-07




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