Just when you thought you knew everything about CBD we have a new cannabinoid to introduce you to!
To put it simply, Delta 8 THC is a type of psychoactive cannabinoid that causes mellow and clear-headed symptoms in many cannabis users. Like many of the 100+ chemical compounds found in cannabis, its effects are difficult to pinpoint, but recent research has shown that it has promise for certain conditions.
So why is this important? To answer this, we need to look back at the USDA 2018 Farm Bill, which stated that cannabis needed to contain under 0.3% THC to be legal. However, this only applied to one specific type of THC.
The version of THC that has gained notoriety as “The High Causer” is a compound called Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, or Δ9-THC. Δ9 is the specific variant most people are referring to when they simply say “THC” and is what differentiates hemp from marijuana on a legal level thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
“The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Types of THC
While the Farm Bill only gives a limit on Delta 9, hemp contains a few versions of THC, including Delta 8, THCA, and THCV. Each version brings unique effects to the table
THCA exists in the stems, leaves, and flowers of the cannabis plant. It is the only type of THC that has no psychoactive or mind-altering properties. It is the source of the other 3 types of THC. This process is stimulated by applying heat and light to THCA. Sunlight and natural aging can cause the conversion of small amounts of THCA to their counterparts.
THCV is another byproduct of THCA breakdown. While it is similar to Delta 9 THC, it has some distinct differences. One significant difference between THCV and its better-known cannabinoid cousin: It actually functions as an appetite suppressant instead of making you hungry. It can, in fact, even limit the actions of Delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is not as potent as its sister cannabinoid, but it does still produce a high. The euphoric feeling produced tends to be less intense than what might be experienced with Delta 9 THC, and you may experience a more clear-headed and energetic result. Utilizing CBD with Delta 8 THC will further decrease any mind-altering effects experienced by the user.
Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 THC, or what is commonly referred to as THC, is the main psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. Found in both male and female cannabis plants, the concentration is much higher in female plants. It is interesting to note that while THC is in its raw form (THCA), it has no mind-altering properties. This only happens as decarboxylation occurs and heat alters the original molecule into one that can bind with the cannabinoid receptors in our body, located in the endocannabinoid system, to produce that euphoric feeling known as a “high.”
How is Delta 8 different from Delta 9 THC?
Remember much from your last chemistry class? Don’t worry, we won’t get into the weeds too much. But it’s important to be able to visualize some basic chemistry to be able to understand how Delta 8 THC works. So here we go!
In chemistry terms, the delta part of the name refers to the double bond, so both Delta-8 and Delta 9 contain double bonds, the difference is where that double bond is located.
Organic chemistry deals with carbon atoms – a lot of carbon atoms, chains of them – and the respective “8” and “9” in the names of these cannabinoids refer to the location of that double (Delta) bond in the chain.
Delta 9 has a double bond on the 9th carbon in the chain, Delta 8 on the 8th. So, what this really boils down to is that a double bond is going to have more electrons than single carbon bonds and will interact differently with the endocannabinoid system. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but when we’re talking about subatomic particles, the location of that double bond can be very significant.
What are the potential benefits?
A range of preclinical and clinical studies are uncovering some of the unique properties and therapeutic potential of Delta8THC.
Pain and Anti-Inflammatory Effects
A 2018 preclinical study published in “Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research” found that Delta 8 THC may help to diminish pain and inflammation in corneal injury in mice. The research found that Delta 8 THC, applied topically, assisted in pain reduction, and reduced inflammation through its effects on the CB1 receptors.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, delta-8-THC displays anxiety-reducing qualities similar to Delta 9 THC. While there is currently little clinical literature investigating its anti-anxiety potential, anecdotal reports claim that the consumption of Delta 8 THC results in a very calm, focused high, without the anxiety that can sometimes accompany Delta 9 THC.
The nausea fighting potential of Delta 8 THC was reported in a 1995 study published in “Life Sciences.” The study followed eight pediatric cancer patients over two years and found that no vomiting occurred when patients ingested Delta 8 THC before and for 24 hours after cancer treatment. The study reported very few side effects.
Delta 8 THC may also help to stimulate the appetite. Research conducted on mice and published in a 2004 edition of “Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior” found that a low dose of Delta 8 THC administered to mice over 50 days resulted in a 22% increase in food intake compared with controls. The research also reported that Delta 8 THC increased food intake significantly more than Delta 9 THC, which is a reputed appetite stimulant.
What does Delta 8 THC feel like?
Opposite to CBD, Delta 8 will produce psychoactive effects. Users will feel a sensation similar to that of Delta 9, however the effects will be much more mild and will not typically carry side effects such as anxiety or paranoia. Delta 8 will not produce the loss of focus that is characteristic of Delta 9.
Many users will find that Delta 8 THC makes them feel more uplifted and motivated. If you have never experienced any form of THC directly, you may want to start small to gauge how it affects you.