What is Delta-8?


The similarities between the two cannabinoids lie in their chemical structures and names. The scientific name of THC is Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-9 THC or just Delta-9. Delta-8 is the abbreviation for Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-8-THC. Delta-8-THC can cause effects similar to regular Delta-9-THC – but they are much less potent.

Delta-8 and Delta-9 are both forms of THC. Generally, when people refer to THC they are talking about delta-9 THC. (When we use the term “THC” with no modifier in this article, we are referring to delta-9 THC.)

Currently, the legality of Delta-8 is unclear. It can be obtained from either hemp or cannabis. The 2018 Agriculture Act allows hemp to be legally grown and used for extractions across the United States, making Delta-8 legal in states where Delta-9-THC is illegal – sometimes.

Almost all of the Delta-8-THC currently on the market is made from hemp-derived CBD, which at least in theory makes it part of the federal chain of origin.

People in states where THC is illegal are craving cannabis products and are now looking for Delta-8 because it may be legal in their state even though it is less effective than regular THC. Many extractors are ramping up Delta-8 production to meet this new demand and shipping them across the United States.


A list of the major cannabinoids in cannabis and their effects

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC: What’s the Difference?

Delta-8, like Delta-9 (regular THC), binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system, which makes you feel high. Chemically, Delta-8 and Delta-9 are similar in that both have a double bond in their structures. It is believed that this double bond is what creates the intoxicating effects that make you feel high.

The two THCs differ chemically in the placement of the double bond. Both cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms, but Delta-8 has the double bond on the eighth carbon while Delta-9 has it on the ninth.

Delta-8 binds to the endocannabinoid system in a slightly different way because of the location of its double bond. It is believed that this makes Delta-8 much less potent than regular THC. However, more research needs to be done about Delta-8 and how it interacts with the body.

Will Delta-8 get you high?

Delta-8 will get you high, albeit not as high as ordinary Delta-9 THC. For those who live in states where cannabis is illegal, Delta-8 can be a legal way to experience some THC-like effects from cannabis.

Some consumers may even prefer cannabis products that are not as potent as ordinary THC, even if they can legally obtain THC products. THC can have negative effects in some people, causing anxiety or paranoia. Delta-8 may offer a softer, milder high.

Effects of Delta-8

Delta-8 users report many of the same effects as THC, such as: B. mild euphoria, happiness, uplifting feelings, and relief of some symptoms such as pain, although the compound is much less effective. Delta-8 can also help with insomnia.

Side effects can be similar to those of THC, including dry mouth, red eyes, nibbles, short-term memory, paranoia, or anxiety. It is important to note that Delta-8 has not been extensively studied and more research is needed into its effects on the mind and body.

Delta-8 versus CBD

Delta-8 bears more similarities to THC (Delta-9) than CBD, both in its chemical structure and because it gets you high. Delta-8 THC binds to the body’s own endocannabinoid system more like Delta-9 THC. CBD does not bind to the endocannabinoid system as easily, making it non-intoxicating, although CBD can offer medicinal benefits to the consumer.

If you’re looking for effects that are similar to THC but with decreased potency, Delta-8 might be for you. If you’re looking for relief from certain symptoms and don’t want to get intoxicated, consider trying a CBD product.


The Complete Guide to CBD (Cannabidiol)

How to dose Delta-8

For most people, especially moderate or experienced users, Delta-8 will feel much weaker than regular THC. If you are new to cannabis, Delta-8 can affect you a lot – it depends on your body chemistry.

To get a feel for the effectiveness of Delta-8 compared to THC, Delta-8 edible manufacturers typically measure and dose their gums at more than twice the strength of THC gums:

THC gums often come in 10 mg gums – people can use half a gum or a full gum for a dose, either 5 mg or a full 10 mg. Delta-8 gums often come in 25 mg gums – so half of them would be 12.5 mg and a solid gum is 25 mg.

When making these standard gums, manufacturers calculate that Delta-8 is less than half the strength of regular THC, so a 25mg Delta-8 gum might be the same as a 10mg THC gum.

Again, it should be noted that very little research has been done on Delta-8. We don’t know much about how powerful its effects are and how it affects the body. As with any cannabis product, the chemical profile of cannabis, your body’s chemistry, your tolerance level, your set and attitude, and the amount you ingest all affect your feelings.

It is always recommended that you take a little first and then wait for the effects to set in before taking any more. The method of consumption affects how quickly you feel these effects. If you vape Delta-8, you should feel the effects within ten minutes or less. If you ingest foods, wait at least an hour or two before ingesting any more.


Food Dosage Chart: How Strong Is Your Cannabis Infused Edible?

Delta-8 is currently in a legal gray area.

Currently, only a few state laws specifically regulate Delta-8-THC. Most state laws relating to marijuana or cannabis use language that covers marijuana, cannabis, THC, CBD, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. There are 11 states where Delta-8 is illegal under state law. (See the list below under “Can I get Delta-8 in the mail?”)

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has indirectly classified Delta-8 THC as a Schedule I controlled substance in a proposed rule, which would make it illegal nationwide. This rule is not final.

Delta-8 THC is commonly obtained from hemp rather than cannabis, which is why it is currently sold in many states where cannabis is illegal. More specifically, almost all of the Delta-8-THC currently on the market is derived from CBD, which is obtained from nationally legal hemp.

This can be a bit confusing as hemp is technically a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. However, when we speak of “cannabis” we usually refer to cannabis plants with a THC content of 0.3% or more.


Leafly’s Guide to Legalizing Marijuana

The 2018 Farm Act, a federal law passed by Congress, legalized hemp in the United States. This act defines hemp as: “All derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent.” This language makes Delta-8 legal as it does not contain Delta-9 THC.

However, some states have chosen not to include this specific language of the Agriculture Act in their own state laws, making Delta-8 illegal in certain states. Delta-8 manufacturers and retailers only sell to states whose laws reflect the language of the farm bill. Even then, some manufacturers may only sell to certain states based on their own interpretation of a state’s laws.

In addition, in August 2020 the DEA published an Interim Final Rule (IFR), a document designed to update and confirm the differences between hemp and cannabis. That tentative rule was “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances,” which would make Delta-8 illegal because it is a tetrahydrocannabinol that is extracted or synthetically derived.

So whether it’s the language of the Farm Bill, which bans plants with more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, or the new IFR language, which bans all tetrahydrocannabinols, will determine the fate of Delta-8. The DEA’s IFR can be reviewed until October 2021, until then the federal legality of Delta-8 remains unclear.

Can I get Delta-8 in the mail?

You can get Delta-8 in the mail depending on which state you live in. Delta-8 is not legal in all states, and various manufacturers may choose not to ship to certain states due to its murky legality. Be sure to check a manufacturer’s website to see if they ship to your state. Surprisingly, states with legal adult cannabis laws don’t always allow Delta-8.

As a rule, manufacturers ship Delta-8 to all states except this:

AlaskaArizonaArkansasColoradoDelawareIdahoIowaMississippiMontanaRhode IslandUtah

How is Delta-8 made?

Delta-8 is found in traces in cannabis and hemp plants. Because hemp can be grown legally and more readily available across the United States, the cannabinoid is often extracted from it.

Commonly, CBD is extracted from hemp and refined into an isolate, and then CBD isolate is synthesized into Delta-8. As such, Delta-8 requires more processing and is more expensive to manufacture than CBD, but these increased production costs are offset by the high demand for Delta-8.

How to Find Good, Safe Delta-8

Since Delta-8 is relatively new to the market, it can be difficult to find products that are what you need that actually contain Delta-8. When purchasing Delta-8 products, check a manufacturer’s website to see if they have information on how they source and manufacture their products.

Good quality, tested products usually have a QR code or batch number on the packaging that you can use to look up the test results on the manufacturer’s website. Stay away from products that have not been tested or have questionable test results as you will not know if they contain Delta-8 at all and may contain potentially harmful substances.

Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, enabling people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals share years of experience in every corner of the market, from growth and retail to science and medicine to data and technology.

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Beth Edmonds