There are over 140 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, each with its own story. Many people have come to know THC simply as the one that gets you ‘high’. That isn’t necessarily an inaccurate description. But in reality, THC does actually much more than that. And as many people are discovering, there’s actually more than one kind of THC.
What’s the deal with THC (Delta-9 THC) and Delta-8 THC? Keep reading to find out!
What Is Delta-9 THC?
THC, more formally known as Delta-9 THC, is the cannabinoid believed to be responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis. It’s known to produce mind-altering effects as well as both cerebral and physical euphoria. Additionally, THC can produce a sense of sedation and relaxation alongside altered consciousness and perception.
It’s also believed that Delta-9 THC has numerous therapeutic benefits. As a result, is often used in the treatment of a range of different conditions. Its sedating and euphoric properties could make it useful in treating both physical and mental conditions. THC has also been found to induce sleep (insomnia), stimulate appetite (eating disorders), and even alleviate neuropathic pain.
As THC ages, it breaks down and degrades at a molecular level resulting in the natural production of new cannabinoids. One of the compounds that THC breaks down into is CBG, a cannabinoid that is believed to have therapeutic benefits of its own and that may boost the sedating and sleep-inducing effects of the remaining Delta-9 THC.
Another compound that Delta-9 THC degrades into is Delta-8 THC. This compound is very similar to its parent, but there are some important differences.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid that is an analog of Delta-9 THC. And like Delta-9, it’s believed to produce its own intoxicating and therapeutic effects.
As the likeness in their names kind of implies, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are very similar at a molecular level. The main difference between the two is that Delta-8 has a double-bond on the 8th chain, whereas Delta-9 has a double-bond on the 9th chain.
Due to that difference, Delta-8 also works differently in the body. When ingested, Delta-9 produces its effects by binding directly to CB1 and CB2 protein cell receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Delta-8 similarly binds to CB1 receptors but much more loosely, possibly explaining its weaker psychoactive activity.
Delta-8 doesn’t just exist as a byproduct of Delta-9 THC, it can also be found naturally in cannabis plants, but usually only in very tiny trace amounts. Some breeders have been working hard to develop strains that are richer in Delta-8. But for the time being, this compound can really only be obtained in larger amounts by altering Delta-9 THC and CBD in a lab. These cannabinoids are converted from one to another through a chemical reaction.
The Effects of Delta-8 THC
Delta-8 is often said to produce a more clear-headed and focused high than Delta-9, while also avoiding the anxiety and over-stimulation that Delta-9 can cause. It’s also been reported to produce a sedating and mildly euphoric body buzz that lasts about as long as an average high.
Delta-8 has also been suggested to have a number of therapeutic benefits. Like Delta-9, it’s believed to produce anti-inflammatory effects by binding to CB1 receptors. It’s also thought to have anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effects, possibly due to its more sedating and less stimulating nature. Additionally, Delta-8 has also been found to be useful in treating nausea and stopping vomiting.