Humans have used the cannabis sativa plant medicinally, recreationally, and industrially for thousands of years, and yet, we’re still just beginning to understand its chemical structure.
There are over 100 unique cannabinoids we’ve identified so far that all can contribute partially to cannabis’s psychoactive effects. You’ve probably heard of THC and CBD, and maybe even some of the minor cannabinoids that have recently grown in popularity like CBN or CBG, but what about delta 8 THC?
What Is Delta 8 THC?
To best understand delta 8, it helps to compare it to the more familiar and structurally similar cannabinoid THC. When most people talk about THC, they just use the abbreviation. However, THC’s full name is delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Right off the bat, you can see the similarities in the two names. That’s because there’s only one slight chemical difference between the two compounds, and it has to do with the location of a double bond. With regular old delta 9 THC, the double bond is found on the ninth carbon atom in the carbon chain. With delta 8 THC, that double bond is located on the eighth carbon.
How much difference can the placement of one covalent bond really make? Turns out, quite a big one when it comes to cb1 receptors.
Delta 8 vs Delta 9—What’s The Difference?
Delta 9’s biggest claim to fame is its intoxicating effects, so will delta-8 THC get you high as well?
Delta 8 THC does, in fact, produce similar psychoactive effects to THC, albeit they are often described as milder. Users tend to find that delta 8 THC provides a much more clear-headed buzz than traditional delta 9. Like THC, consuming delta 8 can induce feelings of euphoria, happiness, and body/muscle relaxation. Anecdotally, users of delta 8 report that some of delta 9’s more cerebral effects, such as shifts in perception of time, fogginess, and short-term memory loss, are either not present or greatly diminished when using delta 8. For this reason, some people with an active lifestyle prefer delta 8 to delta 9 since they can experience a calming body high while still being able to function mentally.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
Delta 8 falls into a somewhat nebulous legal category. The 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp, specifically defines hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC by dry weight. Since the bill specifically refers to delta 9 THC, some have interpreted it to mean that delta 8 THC is now federally legal.
However, the legality of delta 8 varies from state to state. Currently, 11 states have banned the cannabinoid outright: Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska, Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, and Colorado.
It’s worth noting that delta 8 has been banned in some states where delta 9 THC is legal for recreational use, like Colorado and Alaska.
What Forms Does Delta 8 Take?
The cannabis plant doesn’t naturally produce very high quantities of delta 8 THC, so for that reason, you won’t find cannabis buds teeming with delta 8 the same way you do with delta 9. If you see delta-8 thc flowers being advertised, what you’re really seeing is a kind of delta 8 CBD amalgam. Cultivators will take CBD flower and infuse it with a delta 8 extract to create buds with the cannabinoid present.
Since delta 8 is an extract, the cannabinoid can be infused into any other cannabis product that uses extracts as a base. For example, delta 8 gummies, capsules, and other edibles are extremely popular on the market today.
For those looking for an option with better bioavailability and faster onset time, try searching for a delta 8 cart. These handy disposable delta 8 thc vape cartridges should fit any 510 battery and make for a convenient way to experience delta 8 THC.
Where Is Delta 8 Available?
Delta 8 THC is primarily sold online. A simple google search should turn up plenty of results, but make sure to do your research and find a vendor that has adequate third-party lab tests to make sure you get a quality product. Unfortunately, if you live in one of the 11 states where delta 8 THC has been banned, you may find it challenging to access the compound; as many delta 8 extractors and manufacturers won’t ship to these states.