Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC – Similarities & Differences
Jul 5, 2023 | Save On Cannabis
Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: A Comparison of Effects and Benefits
Many hemp users prefer CBD over THC because of the lack of buzz. But what if there was a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that gave great benefits without getting you really stoned? There is, and it’s legally available to most potential users. Yes, really!
Delta 8 offers the same relief as the THC in marijuana but has much milder psychotropic effects. So, you can dose with it and feel relief. But it likely won’t couchlock you or make your head feel fuzzy.
Less potency yet full-strength cannabis relief sounds too good to be true. Yet, for several years now, this milder alternative has grown increasingly popular.
Maybe you’ve heard about this minor cannabinoid and weren’t sure if it was right for you. That’s a personal choice, so we’re going to give you the info you need to assess whether you want to give it a try.
We’ll explain what exactly delta 8 is and does. Then we’ll compare the effects with the more well-known d9 cannabinoid. Finally, we’ll explain how to dose with this kinder, gentler THC option.
Armed with this info, you will be able to shop this hemp derivative with complete confidence.
What’s Delta 8 All About?
Delta 8 THC is naturally found in hemp plants. And, chemically, it is very similar to delta 9. The main contrast between the two cannabinoids is molecular. Delta 8 is double-bonded on the eighth carbon atom, while the other THC connects on the ninth carbon. That’s it.
Because of this minor variance in chemical structure, it has different effects. Those we’ll discuss shortly. But before delving into the effects, let’s look into what THC does for the plant itself. And we’ll explain how the d8 form is processed for production.
Both forms of the chemical THC evolved as a defense mechanism for the cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol has anti-microbial and insect-repellent properties. So, it helps protect the plant from pathogens and herbivores.
It is also believed that it plays a part in the reproductive processes of hemp. Resinous trichomes cover the plant’s flowers. These seem to attract certain pollinators while deterring others. THC calls the right bugs and birds to pollinate the plant. For instance, bees and hummingbirds are important pollinators for hemp.
Additionally, THC acts as a sunblock for the plant. So, it protects it from excessive ultraviolet radiation. THC absorbs UV light, shielding sensitive plant tissues from sun damage.
And how much of the milder molecule is present?
D8 THC is typically produced in cannabis in very small
amounts. However, it can also be derived from cannabidiol (CBD) through a process called isomerization. What happens is that CBD undergoes a chemical reaction to convert it into delta 8 THC.
The conversion process involves using various chemicals, catalysts, and specific laboratory conditions. It is a potentially hazardous process. One common method involves using solvents. Ethanol or hydrochloric acid can be used to extract CBD from hemp. The CBD extract is then further refined and purified chemically. The final result is the milder THC variety used in commercial product production.
So, now that you know what it is, we want to examine what it can do for people. And we’ll compare and contrast it to delta 9.
How Do Delta 8 and Delta 9 Compare?
There are some similarities between the two forms of tetrahydrocannabinol. They are alike in a couple of different ways:
- Both have some psychoactive effects. In other words, they can affect the central nervous system. This produces euphoria or a “high” when consumed. That’s the buzz.
- Both could also show up on a work-mandated drug test. Good to know if you are subject to those.
- As mentioned above, both have nearly identical molecular structures. They only differ in the placement of one double bond on the carbon chain. So, it’s a very tiny variance.
- When it comes to benefits, there are many similarities. Both varieties:
- have analgesic properties that help alleviate pain.
- can reduce inflammation.
- are known to increase appetite – in other words, they give you the “munchies.”
- reduce nausea and vomiting. This is potentially beneficial for chemotherapy patients. Their treatments are known to upset the stomach.
- have been studied for their potential neuroprotective properties. They may help the brain fend off deterioration from conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. 
- are used by some PTSD patients to aid relaxation and stress reduction. 
Okay, then what distinguishes delta 8 and delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol? There are several factors:
- They have significantly different levels of potency. Delta 9 THC is far more potent than delta 8 when it comes to psychoactive effects. The former has only a brief, mild high. The latter is known for its heady buzz.
- The legal status of d8 and d9 THC varies, depending on location. Delta-9 THC is still classified as a controlled substance Federally. Thus, its possession and consumption may be subject to legal restrictions. In some instances, medical marijuana is legal if you qualify for a card. In other jurisdictions, it is available recreationally.
- Delta 8 THC comes from hemp and has a much milder buzz.Currently, it is not heavily regulated in most locations throughout the United States.
- Delta 9 THC is typically found in higher concentrations in cannabis plants naturally. Because d8 is present in much smaller quantities, it must be chemically isolated. D8 THC is often refined from CBD for use in hemp-based products.
Now you can see how these two substances are alike and yet unique. What about dosing with delta 8? Does it differ from using the more powerful THC?
Dosing with Delta 8
Whenever trying a new supplement, it’s best to go slow at first and see how it affects you. Hemp products are no different.
Finding your sweet spot when dosing can vary depending on several factors. Your own individual tolerance, desired effects, and product potency play a part.
So, start with a small dose and gradually increase as needed to find your optimal dosage. A reasonable starter level would be around 5-10mg. Once you have consumed, allow a couple of hours to assess the effects before taking more.
Pay attention to how your body responds to the initial dose. If the desired effects aren’t realized, you can increase the amount in small increments. 5-10mg at a time is a good approach to avoid overdoing it.
Please note that this article is not written by Save On Cannabis and was offered as an article from a partner for promotional purposes.
 Study on the neuroprotective properties of THC: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5966482/
 Research on THC’s potential benefits for Alzheimer’s disease: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30933331/
 Study on the potential neuroprotective effects of THC in Parkinson’s disease: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25252936/
 Research on the use of THC for PTSD symptom relief: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22736575/
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