There are over 130 cannabinoids that can be present in the cannabis plant. Most of them, like CBD or CBN, don’t get you high.
When we think about intoxicating thc molecules (cannabinoids), most often, we think about THC—specifically delta 9 THC. But what about another form of THC like Delta-8? Does Delta-8 THC get you high too?
What Is Delta-8?
If you know anything about cannabis, then you likely know that THC is the compound known for producing the infamous marijuana high. However, you might not know that there are different forms of the cannabinoid.
For the most part, when someone references THC, they are referring to delta-9 THC. This is the standard-issue THC found in recreational marijuana. But recently, another cannabis compound incredibly similar in structure to Delta-9 THC has grown in popularity—Delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 is almost identical to Delta-9, except for one key difference, their chemical structures. Delta-9 THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon atom, while Delta-8’s double bond is located on the 8th carbon atom.
Will Smoking Delta-8 Get You High?
The short answer is yes: smoking Delta-8 weed will get you high.
Delta-8 interacts with the body's cb1 receptors in such a way that much more closely resembles THC than other cannabinoids like CBD. Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC directly bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system. Other cannabinoids, like CBD, don’t make a connection to these receptors that’s quite strong and instead just influence the way endocannabinoid receptors interact with other neurotransmitters. Scientists speculate that this difference is why THC (both Delta-8 and Delta-9) produces intoxicating effects and CBD doesn’t.
The Difference Between Delta-8 And Delta-9
Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC will get you high; however, their effects are quite different.
Some users describe Delta-8 as a more mild form of THC. While traditional marijuana often produces intense mental effects that can change users’ perception of time or drastically increase anxiety and paranoia, delta 8 seems to be a more mellow buzz. Many Delta-8 reviews report mild euphoric feelings, body sensations, and increased appetite similar to conventional Delta-9 THC, while remaining focused and clear-headed.
Since the Delta-8 side effects aren’t quite as cerebral as Delta-9, Delta-8 may be a great option for daytime recreational use or for patients using cannabis therapeutically who don’t want to feel as impaired.
Is Delta-8 Safe?
Delta-8 is almost always sold in extract form.
The cannabis plant produces only a very small amount of Delta-8 THC, so there aren’t Delta-8 hemp strains naturally rich in the cannabinoid. Instead, when you buy Delta-8 flower, what you’re really buying is a CBD flower that’s been infused with a Delta-8 concentrate.
As with any cannabis product, especially extracts, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a quality product. The compound Delta-8 itself is completely safe, but you’ll want to make sure that a third-party lab has adequately tested the product you’re purchasing for potency, mycotoxins, residual pesticides, and any other foreign material. Look for a certificate of analysis (COA) on the seller’s website that indicates their extracts have gone through the necessary rigorous testing.
Does Delta-8 THC Show Up On A Drug Test?
Drug tests can be a huge concern for many cannabis users who work in government or certain private-sector jobs. It’s important to note that just because Delta-8 may be legal in your state doesn’t mean that it won’t cause you to fail a drug test.
Drug tests don’t actually test for the presence of THC; they test for metabolites that the body creates after it’s been exposed to THC—specifically THC-COOH. Because both Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC will cause your body to produce THC-COOH, both compounds can cause you to fail a drug test.
Remember, if you are a heavy cannabis user, it can take up to six weeks for your body to naturally remove all of these metabolites.