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4 Differences and benefits of Delta-8-THC

Khalil Holmes

by Khalil Holmes

Hemp Flowers Growing

Hemp is a flower that has grown naturally around the world for thousands of years. Hemp is packed with hundreds of compounds and contains over 100 different cannabinoids. THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is a better-known cannabinoid which is responsible for the high in cannabis, while delta-8-THC is very similar in structure, it reacts in several different ways to its namesake.

Delta-8-THC is one of the four most common cannabinoids found in cannabis Sativa. Although very similar to its psychoactive Delta-9-THC, it certainly does have some key differences, but first what is Delta-8-THC

Very similar to cannabidiol ( CBD ) Delta-8-THC is chemically different by only a couple of atomic bonds to Delta-9-THC. This is the reason why processors have found refining ways to convert CBD into Delta-8-THC. This cannabinoid only exists naturally in fractions of a percentage in the flower of cannabis Sativa, but still offers a potent high when consumed. As with many other compounds found in cannabis, there are many potential medical benefits of this cannabinoid. It may be used as an antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulator, analgesic, and also has neuroprotective properties.

1. Lower Psychotropic Potency

Although it also connects to CB1 receptors it is half as strong as delta-9-THC, thus lowering the potency psychotropic effects. This makes delta-8-THC very effective for both the recreational and medical markets.

2. It connects to both CB1 and CB2 receptors

Unlike THC which primarily binds with CB1 receptors in the brain and CBD which agitates the CB2 receptors in the immune system. Delta-9-THC connects to both receptors and works similarly as THC.

3. Delta-8 is legal

The 2018 Farm Bill clearly states that all cannabinoids, isomers, and derivatives found in hemp are legal provided that the final products contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.

4. You can convert CBD into Delta-8-THC

Because delta-8-THC is an analogue precursor THC and closely resembles CBD, companies can make this cannabinoid through extraction, isolation, conversion, and the refinement of dried hemp flower.

Delta-8 THC

  • Psychoactive
  • Low Concentrations in hemp
  • Used Medicinally and Recreationally
  • High Probability of Failing a Drug Test
  • Binds to CB1 Receptors and Relation to CB2 Receptors

Delta-9 THC

  • Psychoactive
  • High Concentrations in marijuana, low concentrations in hemp
  • Used Medicinally and Recreationally
  • High Probability of Failing a Drug Test
  • Binds to CB1 Receptors


  • Non-Psychoactive
  • Low Probability of Failing a Drug Test
  • Found in High Concentrations
  • Commonly Used Medicinally
  • Binds to CB1 Receptors

What are the effects of Delta-8-THC?

Because of its lower potency, meaning, less psychoactivity delta-8-THC provides fewer anxiety effects than delta-9-THC. Because the cannabinoids provide the same effects with lower potency, researchers are digging deep into studies surrounding this cannabinoid. 


Experts tend to agree that delta-8-THC provides a mild sedative effect without the mental euphoria. Meaning users may experience the soothing effects of traditional THC while staying focused on their jobs at hand.

Potential Benefits of Delta-8 THC

Antiemetic – A study completed in Jerusalem during 1995 saw a remarkable improvement in children suffering from nausea after cancer treatments. Interestingly the children did not experience any psychoactive effects. (1)

Appetite-Stimulator – A 2004 study conducted on mice showed improvement of appetite using a treatment of delta-8-THC. (2)

Pain relief – THC is well known for its pain-relieving effects. Delta-8-THC has the same effects, without the psychoactive cerebral effects.

Anxiolytic – Delta-8 can produce less potent effects than its counterpart, without the anxiety and paranoia-inducing effects of delta-9-THC.

Neuroprotectant – This may an exciting prospect for neural diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A 1987 study showed promising results in mice when treated with delta-8-THC, especially the increase in the level of acetylcholine produced in the brain. This neurotransmitter plays a key function in learning and memory abilities of humans. (3)

What Is the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC?

Everyone knows that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — THC for short — is the stuff that gets you high. It also has various medicinal benefits and works alongside CBD and the other cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant. However, there’s a new kid on the block called delta-8 THC, and it’s a close cousin of the THC that humans have been smoking for millennia. But what’s the real difference between delta-8 and delta-9 THC? Let’s take a look.

Extraction Differences

First up is how they’re created. Delta-8 benefits may be similar to delta-9 in the sense that they have similar effects, but they’re both extracted by much different means. On the one hand, delta-9 is easily extracted from the marijuana plant via numerous processes because it’s one of the most abundant compounds found within. 

On the other hand, delta-8 can’t easily be extracted from the plant because it’s found in such small quantities. Instead, delta-8 is created out of thin air by converting existing CBD found in hemp into delta-8 — something that’s possible with special solvents that can take that hemp and turn it into a sort of marijuana. As long as the concentration of the resulting compound has less than 0.3% delta-9 THC, it remains legal under the law, which is one of the major delta-8 benefits — it’s legal even in states that don’t have recreational cannabis laws on the books.

Effect Differences

Another one of the important delta-8 benefits is that it’s less potent than delta-9 THC on the order of about half. That means delta-8 carries less side effects such as anxiety, impaired cognition and the mental fog that’s commonly associated with delta-9 THC. Instead of feeling stoned, most users of delta-8 report feeling calm and clear with a renewed sense of focus and appreciation for being in the moment. Sure, you’ll feel “high,” but delta-8 comes with a more manageable high that can help you relax and unwind after, say, a tough day at the office. 

Delta-8 also works more slowly than delta-9 THC, and that means not going from 0 to 100 before you’ve had a chance to evaluate how you’re feeling. That can make for a better high with delta-8 over delta-9, and it’s also one of the major delta-8 benefits.


Stability and efficacy of this fairly new cannabinoid are very exciting indeed. Because the isolation and legal red tape surrounding this cannabinoid has been relaxed, we are sure to be hearing more about this cannabinoid in the future.


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