Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is by far one of the most famous cannabinoids present in cannabis, but do you know about Delta 8 THC?

There are well over 100 cannabinoids present in the glorious green ganja plant. THC is just one of the most prevalent because it produces the stereotypical ‘stoner high’ due to its psychoactive effects. You are likely also familiar with its non-psychoactive counterpart, CBD.

That said, what if we told you that Delta 9 THC isn’t even the only type of THC? What if we said that it’s not even the only type of THC that produces psychoactive effects?

While it may not be the most popular cannabinoid associated with Mary Jane, Delta 8 THC is special in its own right. 

Although it shares similarities with its sibling cannabinoid, several key differences set these two apart.

Today, we will be breaking down the middle child of THC, Delta 8 THC, defining what it is, how it’s made, how it differs from Delta 9 THC and reasons to give it a try!

What is Delta 8 THC?

 what is Delta 8 THC

As we said, contrary to what you might think, there are multiple kinds of THC present in weed. Exposing these compounds to different elements – aka different ingestion methods – will produce a variation of the cannabinoid.

Are you confused? Don’t worry. We’ll go slow.

For example, take edibles. Eating edibles produces an entirely different form of THC than smoking regular flower does. This variation is known as 11 Hydroxy Metabolite. This difference occurs because the way we consume weed directly influences the type and concentration of cannabinoids produced within our bodies.

Smoking cannabis allows these cannabinoids to make their way through our lungs. From the lungs, they through the bloodstream to the brain and then finally to the rest of the body.

Alternatively, eating edibles means that the cannabinoids are absorbed directly by the blood, which carries them to the liver before distributing them to the rest of the body. It is also further metabolized by the digestive system.

When you metabolize THC, it is converted to 11 Hydroxy THC or 11 Hydroxy Metabolite, which produces a significantly more intense experience. This conversion is why edibles are typically more potent than smoking a regular joint.

One of the first indicators that set Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC apart is obvious – the number. The 8 in Delta 8 THC represents the chemical bond placement, one step over from where it sits in Delta 9 THC.

In other words, a particular chemical bond appears on the eighth carbon instead of the ninth. It shares many similarities to THC through being an antiemetic (combats nausea), anxiolytic (reduces anxiety), analgesic (pain reliever) and appetite-stimulator. Both also possess neuroprotective properties.

However, there are crucial elements that distinguish these two cannabinoids.

How is Delta8-THC Made?

A jar of Delta-8-THC distillate. (Courtesy of Oleum)

Extracting Delta8-THC from weed to create a potent product to produce noticeable effects is not a simple task. However, it’s not entirely impossible, either!

Some commercial producers implement selective breeding methods for higher Delta 8 THC concentrations.  Methods such as distillation and molecular isolation create cannabis concentrates with high levels of Delta 8 THC.

Other producers are utilizing a method known as “thin-film distillation.” This process uses cultivated cannabis flower and trim. With this approach, manufacturers utilize vacuums, temperature manipulation and other complex equipment to convert Delta 9 THC to Delta 8 THC.

This technique allows producers to purify and isolate the specific cannabinoids by removing solvents, impurities, and other undesirable elements to produce a potent and refined final product.

The ratios present in Delta 8 THC products are entirely dependent on the ratios present in the starting plant material of the specific cannabis strain being processed.

What is the Difference Between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC?

delta 8 thc vs delta 9 thc

First and foremost, cannabis and hemp plants grow minimal Delta 8 THC, making it rarer than its Delta 9 THC counterpart. Delta 8 THC can be obtained from either type of plant using unique breeding, extraction and processing techniques.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, depending on your intentions, Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol, while sharing multiple similar abilities to its sibling cannabinoid, produces far less psychotropic and psychoactive potency than Delta 9 THC.

In other words, think of it as the Diet Coke of THC. It’s still good and produces similar effects to the original, but with less intensity and toned down effects. In this way, it can still produce euphoric effects with medicinal benefits such as anti-nausea, pain relief, and appetite stimulation.

It will also produce some psychoactive effects, just not to the same degree. So, even the most seasoned toker will feel noticeable effects, albeit to a lesser extent. 

However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The toned-down effects also mean that the potential negative side effects of weed are also lessened. 

Suppose you are sensitive to THC or a novice blazer. In that case, this could be an excellent alternative to feel the healing and fun recreational effects without being susceptible to adverse effects such as anxiety, paranoia or green out.

Delta 8 THC is more commonly associated with feelings of clear-headedness and energizing effects, which poses a promising option for patients looking to receive the healing benefits of THC while still being functional and clear-thinking throughout the day.

While Delta 8 THC’s direct effects have not been studied extensively, the evidence we do have is promising! 

For example, according to the US National Cancer Institute, Delta 8 THC is helpful for treatment due to its ability to stimulate appetite, curb nausea, relieve pain, and its neuroprotective properties.

Delta 8 THC – Is it Worth Trying?

Depending on your intentions when it comes to the wonderful world of weed, as well as your independent tolerance level, Delta 8 THC could pose an excellent compromise between the healing properties of THC without the potentially adverse psychoactive effects.

Suppose you have a lower THC tolerance or are a beginner blazer. In that case, regular Delta 9 THC’s effects could be too intense or overwhelming to enjoy fully, bringing about feelings of anxiety and paranoia instead.

This fact is especially true when it comes to ingesting THC edibles and other methods such as smoking vs vaping.

In this sense, Delta 8 THC offers a method of enjoying some of Delta 9 THC’s effects without diving headfirst into a full-blown psychoactive high.

So, if you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of THC but are a bit nervous that it may be too intense for you, Delta 8 THC is a less potent stepping stone. Even if you are a seasoned toker, Delta 8 THC poses an ideal compromise between feeling the familiar benefits of THC, albeit in a dulled down capacity.

However, this could be beneficial in providing a boost of energy and euphoria while still being functional enough to get things done throughout the day.

If you’re looking to reap the health benefits of Delta 9 THC, including pain relief, appetite stimulation, and anti-nausea, without the full-blown psychoactive experience, we would highly recommend Delta 8 THC.

Happy blazing!

Herb Approach News is the media division of the cannabis health company Herb Approach. Through this medium, we are determined in providing insight on everything cannabis related, from news to commentary, from tips to guides on practical consumption, a whole lot more. Have a question? Email us at [email protected]