By now, you’ve likely heard of cannabidiol (CBD) and its sister phytocannabinoid, THC. It’s time for CBD and THC to step aside, though. A new phytocannabinoid is stepping into the spotlight: delta-8 THC.
Though similar to delta-9 THC (the phytocannabinoid that gets you high), delta-8 has unique qualities, too. More people are recognizing the benefits of trying delta-8 THC as well. In fact, CBD companies are beginning to lose their market share as delta-8 products become more popular.
What exactly is delta-8 THC? What delta-8 laws do you need to know before trying it for the first time?
Will delta-8 THC get you high?
Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know before trying this phytocannabinoid for the first time.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about delta-8 today!
What is Delta-8 THC?
Before we dive into everything you need to know about delta-8 THC, let’s review the basics.
Researchers and scientists are still learning all they can about the cannabis plant. They’re still uncovering different phytocannabinoids and their potential benefits. These chemical compounds are capable of interacting with receptors throughout the human body.
Phytocannabinoids are therefore able to cause physical effects, like pain relief, and mental effects, like paranoia. Every phytocannabinoid causes its own list of effects, though.
Cannabis plants contain nearly 550 different chemical substances. They also contain over 100 phytocannabinoids.
The most commonly known phytocannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC, or simply “THC”) and CBD. CBD is best known for the therapeutic benefits it can cause. For example, CBD might help you sleep or relieve pain symptoms.
THC, on the other hand, is best known for its psychoactive effects. THC might get you high or cause hallucinations.
It’s important to know that everyone reacts to phytocannabinoids differently. Remain realistic and open-minded before trying CBD or other phytocannabinoids for the first time.
Delta-8 THC is one of the four most common phytocannabinoids found in cannabis flowers. It’s molecularly similar to delta-9 THC. The biggest chemical difference between them is a few atomic bonds.
That brings us to the question that’s likely on your mind: what exactly is delta-8?
Delta-8 THC is often called the degraded form of THC. However, it’s not directly produced by the enzymes in cannabis plants that synthesize cannabinoids. Instead, THC remains stored over a period of time.
In that time, it’s able to degrade into delta-8 THC.
The “8” in the name refers to the placement of a chemical bond. Delta-8 is only one step over from delta-9.
Delta-8 vs. Delta-9
Before you start researching delta-8 THC companies, it’s important to consider whether you want to try delta-8 or delta-9.
Both phytocannabinoids can potentially:
- Stimulate appetite
- Reduce nausea
- Relieve pain symptoms
Remember, everyone reacts a little differently, though. These two phytocannabinoids have different psychotropic potencies, too.
If you’ve never tried delta-9 THC before, you might not want to rush into it. Many people are considering trying delta-8 first.
Why? Namely, delta-8 products have a lower potency than delta-9 products. A lower potency means you could experience less intense effects.
Most people are worried about trying delta-9 THC because it might cause brain fog, disorientation, anxiety, and paranoia. Delta-8, on the other hand, might not cause these effects. The effects of delta-8 THC are less intense, making it ideal for first-time users.
Remember, the main difference between these two phytocannabinoids is a chemical bond placement. They both have a double bond with their molecular chain. Delta-8 has a bond on the eighth chain.
Delta-9, on the other hand, has a bond on the ninth carbon chain.
The difference in placement can determine how endocannabinoid receptors bind and interact with molecules.
You should also know that delta-9 is less stable between the two. Sometimes, delta-9 can become oxidized. This process allows it to form into another phytocannabinoid, cannabinol (CBN).
When delta-9 undergoes the oxidation process, it could become delta-8 as well.
Delta-8 is more stable. You can’t oxidize delta-8 THC to create cannabinol.
Their strength sets them apart, too. Scientists believe delta-8 is half as strong as delta-9.
Both phytocannabinoids can bond with the CB1 receptors in the body (more on this below). However, the two have a different affinity for CB1 receptors. In most cases, CB1 mediates THC’s psychotropic effects.
The difference between the two phytocannabinoids could allow delta-8 to produce anxiety relief. It could interact with neural pathways differently, too. However, scientists are still researching the full range of effects delta-8 can have on the body.
The Entourage Effect
Before trying phytocannabinoids like delta-8 or CBD for the first time, consider the type of product you choose. There are usually three main options:
An isolate only contains one phytocannabinoid, like delta-8. You’ll only experience the effects of delta-8 THC alone as a result.
Broad-spectrum products, on the other hand, contain other:
- Cannabis compounds
- Phytocannabinoids (including CBD, CBN, and others)
Broad-spectrum products don’t contain THC. These products are ideal if you’re worried about THC appearing on a blood test.
The third type of product is full-spectrum. Full-spectrum products contain all the compounds found in broad-spectrum products. They also contain THC.
Trying full-spectrum products could produce the entourage effect. The entourage effect indicates that you might experience a heightened effect by taking a combination of phytocannabinoids together.
Before trying delta-8 THC for the first time, you might want to consider its potential effects. Remember, everyone responds to phytocannabinoids differently. The reaction you experience can differ based on:
- The type of product you purchase
- The potency of the product
- Your age
- Your weight
- Any medical conditions you currently have
One of the main reasons people want to try delta-8 THC and other phytocannabinoids is to relieve pain. Delta-8 might help ease excessive inflammation in your body. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to pain and injury.
Too much inflammation can lead to serious health conditions, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Arthritis and joint diseases
You could experience symptoms like pain and fatigue as well.
Relieving inflammation throughout your body might offer pain relief. It could reduce your risk of these health conditions, too.
People also try delta-8 THC for its anxiety-easing qualities. You could feel calmer. You might experience a relaxed, focused high as well.
Like delta-9 THC, delta-8 might help relieve your nausea. This makes it ideal for patients undergoing cancer treatment. One of the common side effects of chemotherapy is nausea.
Taking delta-8 might also help stimulate their appetite.
However, there are side effects of delta-8 THC to consider. For example, it could potentially cause changes in blood flow.
Scientists are still learning more about the potential side effects and benefits of using delta-8.
Unraveling Your ECS
In order to fully understand how phytocannabinoids affect the body, it helps to understand your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
We all have an endocannabinoid system, whether or not you’ve tried phytocannabinoids before. The ECS was named with cannabinoids in mind. In fact, the ECS was named after cannabis, which was discovered first.
“Endogenous” refers to a substance produced by your body naturally. “Cannabinoid” refers to cannabis. The name endocannabinoid refers to cannabis-like molecules found in the human body.
Phytocannabinoids like delta-8 wouldn’t have an impact on us if we didn’t have the ECS.
What exactly does the ECS do?
It’s responsible for keeping our bodies in a state of balance, or homeostasis. Some people also refer to homeostasis as the Goldilocks effect. If there’s something wrong, such as pain or injury, the ECS kicks in to make everything “just right.”
For example, the ECS could use inflammation to help you heal from an injury. It can respond to internal factors like bacteria, too.
The ECS does far more than that, though. It also plays a role in:
- Motor control
- Chronic pain
- Appetite and digestion
- Learning and memory
- Muscle formation
- Liver function
- Immune system responses
- Skin and nerve function
- Cardiovascular system function
- Reproductive system function
- Bone remodeling and growth
In some cases, however, the ECS can go overboard. Remember, excess inflammation can have a negative impact on your health. Usually, inflammation repairs damaged cells or removes germs from the body.
Too much, however, can lead to autoimmune disorders and other issues. Using phytocannabinoids like CBD or delta-8 might help regulate inflammation levels.
How It Works
In order to understand how cannabis affects the ECS, it helps to understand how the ECS works.
The ECS is comprised of three major components:
There are two main endocannabinoids: AEA and 2-AG. They’re located on cell membranes. Your body creates endocannabinoids on-demand, as-needed.
Endocannabinoids are responsible for ensuring internal functions run smoothly. If something goes wrong, your body will produce endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids operate similarly to phytocannabinoids.
Receptors are located throughout the body. They bind with endocannabinoids and signal them to take action.
There are two main receptors.
The CB1 receptors are located throughout your central nervous system. CB2 receptors are usually found in the peripheral nervous system. Endocannabinoids can bind with either, depending on the task they need to complete.
For example, CB1 receptors might bind with endocannabinoids in the spinal nerve to ease the pain.
If your body is experiencing inflammation, it might bind with CB2 receptors in your immune cells.
The third component of your ECS is enzymes. Enzymes break down endocannabinoids once their job is complete. There are two main enzymes.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down the AEA endocannabinoids. Monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down 2-AG endocannabinoids.
Without enzymes, your ECS might go overboard.
Cannabis and the ECS
THC can bind with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. This allows it to affect both the bind and body.
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t bind with receptors. Scientists believe CBD stops enzymes from breaking down endocannabinoids. This would allow CBD to have prolonged therapeutic effects on the body, like pain relief.
Delta-8, on the other hand, can bind with CB1 receptors. These receptors are located primarily in the brain. However, it can bind with CB2 receptors as well.
Scientists don’t yet fully understand how delta-8 affects CB2 receptors.
Its ability to bind with CB1 receptors can cause:
- Decreased nausea
- Reduced pain
However, there’s still a lot for us to learn about delta-8 THC.
Commonly Asked Questions
How is delta-8 THC created?
Delta-8 is made using a fractional distillation process. Manufacturers can convert delta-9 into delta-8 using vacuums and temperature variations. This process also allows them to remove residual impurities from the product.
Before purchasing delta-8 products for the first time, make sure to look for a certificate of analysis (COA). The COA will indicate there aren’t heavy metals or pesticides in the product.
Will delta-8 THC get you high?
Yes, you can feel high after using delta-8 products. However, your reaction can vary based on your weight and age. Remember, people tend to react differently.
You won’t experience as intense of a high as you would using delta-9 THC, though. Delta-8 only has 70% of THC’s potency.
What about delta-8 THC legality concerns? Is it legal to buy?
Yes, delta-8 is legal to purchase in most states. Make sure there’s less than 0.3% THC in the product, though. Only products with less than 0.3% are legal to purchase.
Make sure to check your state laws, too. Some companies won’t ship products to areas where laws conflict with the 2018 Farm Bill. You can check out this article to learn more.
Is it expensive? Prices have increased 18% year-over-year. Compare prices to find a product that suits your budget.
Will delta-8 show up on a drug test? It depends on the test. In most cases, yes.
Delta-8 metabolites might trigger test results if a test is looking for delta-9 metabolites.
If you’re worried about delta-8 showing up on a drug test, consider trying CBD instead.
Defining Delta-8 THC: Everything You Need to Know Before Trying It
To recap, what is delta-8 THC? It’s the degraded form of delta-9 THC. You can try delta-8 first if you’re concerned delta-9 will produce intense side effects.
Make sure to find a manufacturer or supplier you can trust.
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