What is Delta-8?

Posted on October 29 2020

Becoming informed about hemp’s different compounds (as well as their respective properties) can help you find the best hemp products for your wellness needs. Alas, random online searches can often lead to misinformation or confusion, especially given some of the abstract jargon used in the hemp industry.

So, what exactly is Delta-8, and how can it benefit you? This brief guide defines Delta-8 and explains how this specific cannabinoid works with the endocannabinoid system.

So, what is Delta-8 exactly? 

Just like CBD is a shortened name for Cannabidiol, “Delta-8” is a nickname for Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol. As a naturally-occurring compound in the hemp plant, Delta-8 is a beneficial cannabinoid that can support improved wellness for both body and mind.

As special molecules inside hemp, CBD and Delta-8 share nearly identical atomic structures, only arranged differently. Because CBD is often more abundant than Delta-8, CBD is sometimes restructured to become Delta-8. In other words, Delta-8 can be synthesized from high-quality CBD.  When we talk about Delta-8, we are referring to a specific cannabinoid that can be derived from naturally-occurring CBD. 

What is the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9?  

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol is the commonly-known “THC”  molecule in cannabis plants. As the chief  psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, Delta-9 THC is a federally controlled substance, while Delta-8 THC is not. Both cannabinoids share identical chemical profiles, with one significant difference: While Delta-8 and Delta-9 molecules both share a double bond between carbon atoms, Delta-8’s double bond links the 8th and 9th carbon atoms, and Delta-9 links the ninth and tenth carbon atoms. Thus, the primary distance between Delta-8 and Delta-9 is how they interact with the endocannabinoid system. From a user perspective, Delta-8 tends to be a lighter and less-intense experience than Delta-9. 

What is the Endocannabinoid System, and how does it work?

Think of the endocannabinoid system as the body’s personal internet, with a web of various cell receptors that can bind and react when specific cannabinoids are introduced. This elaborate system of cell receptors is endogenous, meaning it’s a natural part of the human body. CB1 receptors read signals for the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found in the body, with links to other biological networks like the immune system.

The endocannabinoid system helps regulate many different natural processes in the brain and body. For example, the endocannabinoid system helps modulate things like memory, mood, appetite, as well as our response to things like stress and pain. The unique interactions of certain cannabis products with the endocannabinoid system can lead to terrific benefits and improved physical and mental wellness.

What are the benefits of Delta-8?

Taking any product with Delta-8 activates the endocannabinoid system, meaning the effects can be both mental and physical. It’s also important to remember that everybody is different, with varying factors that can affect their experience with Delta-8.

In general, users of Delta-8 reported feeling mellow and relaxed, with a sense of lightness that can help in coping with everyday stress. Amid the noise and weight of life, Delta-8 can encourage a strong sense of calm, without feeling tired or drained. In fact, Delta-8 users have often reported feeling energized and uplifted, with a lasting sense of contentment. Likewise, some users find increased clarity and a stronger focus at work, which makes Delta-8 a great product for daytime use by anyone seeking help concentrating.

The psychoactive effects of Delta-8 tend to be much less intense than Delta-9, so that Delta-8 users may find themselves less stressed, while overall, they feel more motivated. The wonderful clear-headedness brought on by Delta-8 is attractive to those with busy careers, or anyone juggling many demands from different directions. With a more balanced feeling, Delta-8 produces less of a traditional “high”, while “removing the fog” from the humdrum routine of work and home life. In this way, Delta-8 can be a great boost to one’s mental welfare.

Delta-8 can also promote full-body relaxation, reducing any tightness or soreness in the muscles.  Some find Delta-8 is truly rejuvenating, with a greater sense of wholeness with a tingly warm energy. Others find that Delta-8 can stimulate the appetite and that over time, it helps regulate a more even-keeled diet.

Side Effects of Delta-8?

Delta-8 shows very few side effects, which is why many users prefer Delta-8 THC over the better-known Delta-9 THC. Studies show that Delta-8 THC has fewer potential negative effects than THC, with a reduced chance of sedation, paranoia, plain dizziness, or growing worried.

Is Delta-8 Legal?

Yes, Delta-8 is legal in the United States of America. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp federally legal, with the important distinction that any plants grown and harvested by farmers contain less 0.3 percent THC. While “hemp” and “marijuana” are technically both cannabis plants, hemp is legally defined as cannabis plants that contain the federally-legal limit of 0.3 percent THC. 

Because Delta-8 is derived from naturally-occurring hemp, Delta-8 is legal. Since the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, only a handful of states have outlawed Delta-8, specifically.  

What Delta-8 Products are Best for Me?

Delta-8 gummies are a popular product as they are tasty, come in assorted flavors, and are easy to measure for an exact amount. This is useful for knowing the amount that works best for you, and for those with a higher tolerance from other hemp-based products. Tincture and oils are also useful, along with capsules or vape cartridges.   

The best way to explore the benefits of Delta-8 is to start with a small amount and see how it affects you. Remember that everybody is different, and that different products may react differently depending on the amount and method of ingestion. If you are trying to understand how any new product might benefit you, then consider taking a short break from using any other cannabinoids before trying Delta-8.

Delta-8 THC: What to Remember

Delta-8 THC is NOT the same as Delta-9 THC, which is a controlled substance. Due to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalizes hemp-derived products, Delta-8 is legal, unless otherwise specified in your state.

CBD, Delta-8, and Delta-9 are separate cannabinoids, which share similar chemical make-ups but with unique molecular structures. They also have different effects on the human body and mind. Delta-8 tends to offer a milder, more-focused experience for the user than Delta-9 THC.

Delta-8 comes in many forms, be it oils and tinctures, vape cartridges, or gummies. The way you experience Delta-8 is affected by which product you use, along with your own personal biochemistry.

Overall, Delta-8 can benefit one’s mental and physical well-being, be it reducing the effects of stress, improving mental clarity and focus, and encouraging an all-around sense of calm and tranquility.