Medical marijuana background with cannabis leaves and THC hand written on dark board

Recently a new compound has been trending in the cannabis industry. The rise in popularity of Delta-8 opened new discussions in the industry around the importance of potency and the properties of various compounds. But what exactly is Delta-8?

Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has been recently gaining popularity due to its similarities to delta-9 THC. This cannabis compound causes the feeling of being high and can lead to euphoria, happiness, symptom relief, sedation, and much more. A majority of cannabis strains contain high levels of THC.

What Links THC to Delta-8?

The link between the two cannabinoids lies in both their chemical structure and their names. THC is known scientifically as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9 THC, or just delta-9, while Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8 THC. Chemically, both compounds have a double bond in their structure. Both are forms of THC, although in common usage when people discuss THC, they refer to delta-9 THC. (In this article, when the term “THC” is used without a modifier, it refers to delta-9 THC.)

What are the Differences: Delta-8 vs. Delta-9

Like regular THC (delta-9), delta-8 binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system and creates a feeling of being high. The double bond found in the structure of both compounds is the attribute thought to produce the intoxicating effects that cause users to feel high.

Despite all the similarities mentioned above, the compounds differ in the placement of the double bond. Both THCs contain a chain of carbon atoms, but in delta-9, the double bond is found on the ninth carbon, whereas in delta-8, it is located in the eighth.

This causes delta-8 to attach to the endocannabinoid system slightly differently and is likely the reason that delta-8’s effects are far less potent than those of delta-9. However, delta-8 is still primarily an unknown, and more research needs to be done on the compound and its effects on the body.

What Are Delta-8’s Effects?

Delta-8 has remarkably similar effects to THC, including mild euphoria, increased happiness, uplifting feelings, and relief from certain symptoms such as pain, although to a far less powerful degree. Delta-8 has also reportedly helped decrease insomnia.

Adverse side effects are often similar to THC’s, such as red eyes, dry mouth, short-term memory, increased appetite (the munchies), paranoia, or anxiety. However, due to the lack of research, it is impossible to state conclusively what potential effects it may have on the body and mind.

Is it Legal?

The current legal status of delta-8 remains unclear. The compound can be extracted from both hemp and cannabis. Under the 2018 farm bill, hemp can legally be grown and used for extractions throughout the United States, meaning that delta-8 is legal in states that have legalized delta-9 THC- generally.

Almost all the delta-8 THC available on the market today is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD, making it technically an extraction from a legal point of origin. This has led those in states where THC remains illegal and craving cannabis products to view delta-8 as a viable solution.

Despite not being as potent as regular THC, it often passes legal muster. Due to this growing demand, many hemp-based extractors are increasing delta-8 production and shipping their products throughout the U.S.