Delta 8 THC VS Delta-9-THC?

While most people are familiar with cannabinoids such as CBD and Delta-9-THC, very few people know about minor cannabinoids such as Delta-8-THC.

It’s common to find people discussing the benefits or effects of cannabis as if it consists of only one chemical compound.

However, thanks to research, we know that cannabis consists of different chemical components, including more than 100 cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. 

When you inhale a cannabis flower, the effects you experience are a team effort of all these chemical compounds. This is referred to as the entourage effect, where these chemical compounds work hand in hand to enhance the effects of each other.

What is more interesting, however, is the fact that when you isolate them, each of these compounds affects the human body differently.

In fact, some of these compounds are treated differently, even by the law. Case in point, while CBD is legal in all 50-US states, THC remains federally illegal and only legal in a few US states.

In this article, we will look at Delta-8-THC, what it is, and how it’s different from its sister cannabinoid and other cannabinoids.

Delta-8-THC: A Milder Version Of Delta-9-THC?

To understand what kind of cannabinoid this is, let’s briefly look at how cannabinoids are synthesized;

Cannabinoids such as CBD and these two cannabinoids are produced by natural chemical reactions such as isomerisation, oxidation, and decarboxylation. These processes involve enzymes such as CBCA synthase, THCA synthase, and CBDA synthase.

In our previous article, we talked about CBGA and how it’s the mother of all cannabinoids. Well, these enzymes help convert CBGA into these acidic forms of cannabinoids.

What Is Delta-8-THC?

When you hear people talking about THC and how it made them feel high over the weekend, they are most likely referring to Delta-9-THC, which is the main form of THC existing naturally in the cannabis plant.

So what is Delta-8-THC?

Sorry, but a short chemistry lesson is necessary here;

Do you notice the term ‘delta’ in both words? It refers to a double bond. 

Remember organic chemistry, and how matter contains chains of carbon atoms?

Both cannabinoids contain double bonds; the only difference is where the double bonds are located.

While Delta-9-THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon, Delta-8-THC has a double bond on the 8th carbon in the chain. 

Why does the location of a double bond matter?

Double bonds will have more electrons than single bonds, meaning these two cannabinoids may impact the endocannabinoid system differently.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Delta-8-THC is an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with anxiolytic, antiemetic, analgesic, appetite-stimulating, and neuroprotective qualities.

How May Delta-8-THC Work With The Endocannabinoid System?

For those in the dark, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a unique cell-signaling system. And it regulates the body’s internal environment (read: maintain homeostasis).

Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are thought to interact with this system, hence the effects you experience after consuming cannabis.

However, different cannabinoids bind differently to the endocannabinoid receptors. This is the reason why, for instance, THC will get you high while CBD won’t.

So how may Delta-8-THC work with the endocannabinoid system?

This cannabinoid is thought to bind to the CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system. It may also have an affinity for CB2 receptors. However, there is no enough evidence yet to confirm this.

Is Delta-8- THC The Same As Delta-9-THC?

As mentioned earlier, a few atomic bonds make Delta-8-THC different from Delta-9-THC.

A subtle difference, but may mean heaven and hearth on how cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system.

The first is also thought to be more stable as compared to the latter. It is also said to have a longer shelf life- both desirable features in a medical compound.

Delta-9-THC, on the other hand, easily oxidizes to Delta-8-THC or Cannabinol (CBN).

Just like that, it binds to CB1 receptors. However, experts believe that due to the altered molecular structure (location of the double bond), the affinity for CB receptors may be different.

This may explain why Delta-8-THC also has less psychoactive potency as compared to its analog delta-9-THC.

This cannabinoid also appears to offer a clearer high, increased ability to focus, and reduced anxiety symptoms. 

Also, while Delta-9-THC is the main form of Tetrahydrocannabinol in the cannabis plant, only a trace amount of Delta-8-THC exists naturally in the cannabis plant. This could be the reason you’re hearing about it for the first time just now.

However, this may change as some companies already realize the importance of esoteric cannabinoids for their unique effects or benefits.

Some of these companies include Oleum Extracts- a cannabis extraction company based in Washington. This said company is producing an AquaTek Delta-8 THC distillate.

How To Use Delta-8-THC

Now comes the hard task; sourcing it.

It’s impossible to get a high Delta-8-THC cannabis strain. This is because the cannabinoid only exists in trace amounts in the cannabis plant.

However, due to advances in technology, cannabis companies are continuously producing products with lesser-known cannabinoids such as this one.

One of the best ways to consume this strain is by vaping or ingesting it (sublingual application)

Like any other cannabinoid, you will experience faster results if you take this one sublingually or by inhaling it.

Although you can get Delta-8-THC-infused edibles, experts think that it’s converted into Delta-11-THC when processed through the digestive system. The same thing happens to Delta-9-THC when you ingest it, so there’s no unique benefit or gain to ingesting Delta-8-THC.

If you’re interested in trying this or any other cannabinoid, really, you should talk with your doctor first as they will be able to guide you on the best way to take it as well as the appropriate dosage. 

Is It Possible To Isolate It At Home?

At the moment, it is not possible to extract your own Delta-8-THC at home even if you were theoretically able to set your vape pen to release a range of cannabinoids and terpenes at a given temperature.

This is mainly because it exists in minimal amounts in the cannabis plant.

Although selective breeding might in the future achieve strains with high Delta-8-THC contents, you might still need specialized extraction techniques, molecular isolation, and fractional distillation to obtain a significant amount of these kinds of rare cannabinoids.

After understanding what it is, your next question might be, is this cannabinoid even legal?

Although this information can’t be used as legal advice, especially because laws regulating the cannabis sector keeps on changing, the 2018 hemp bill made all hemp derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids federally legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC.

This may mean that being a cannabinoid, a hemp derivative with less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, Delta-8-THC is legal.

However, it’s important that you check with your specific state. This is because the laws regulating the hemp sector differ across state lines.

This article should be used for educational purposes only. For medical or legal advice, please talk with a professional.

If you have any questions or need any clarification, please contact us today.

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