Every week it seems like someone is talking about the latest or newest cannabinoid to hit the market. This week it seems to be Delta-8-THC, which is different than other cannabinoids on the market. By now you’ve probably heard people talking about or had friends or family trying cannabidiol or CBD as it is more commonly referred to. Heck, you may have even heard about other cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant like CBG, CBN, or CBC. These all have their own unique makeup and wellness properties. The hemp plant has at least 116 cannabinoids in the plant so we are just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of discoveries with potential health benefits.
Have you heard, though, about the latest cannabinoid many are talking about called Delta-8-THC? You may ask what is Delta-8-THC and how does it differ from what many of us think about when we here the term THC, which is actually usually referring to something called Delta-9-THC. Well let’s first look at what Delta-9-THC is to help understand what Delta-8-THC is.
What is Delta-9-THC?
THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is by far the most well-known of the cannabinoids. It is a cannabinoid molecule in marijuana (cannabis) that’s long been recognized as the main psychoactive ingredient—that is, the substance that causes people who use marijuana to feel high. Delta-9-THC is capable of inducing a variety of sensory and psychological effects, including mild reverie, euphoria, increased sensory awareness, and some therapeutic benefits. Historically, cannabis has been cultivated for its euphoric and therapeutic effects, which are largely attributed to the THC molecule.
How Does Delta-9-THC Work?
Delta-9-THC works by attaching to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, which are found throughout the brain and nervous system. Delta-9-THC can be detected in the body much longer than most other drug compounds (up to 20 hours after ingestion), although the psychoactive effects only last for a few hours.
Delta-9-THC is also stored in body fat and organs for three to four weeks. Hair follicle testing may identify Delta-9-THC after even longer periods of time, around 90 days. Urine testing is often used but has been found to be an unreliable method of detection.
THC is used recreationally, but it also has a number of medicinal uses as well. Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, but research on its use to alleviate and treat illness is still relatively recent.
WHAT IS DELTA-8-THC?
Delta-8-THC is one of the 100+ cannabinoids in cannabis. Processors extract and concentrate it since it only exists naturally in only small percentages within the cannabis flower. Like other cannabinoids, it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system – specifically the CB1 receptor of the nervous system – to bring on its psychotropic effects. Despite the difference in the natural quantities of Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC in cannabis, when concentrated, they interact with the nervous system similarly.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DELTA-8 AND DELTA-9-THC?
Here’s a quick chemistry lesson to help explain the two cannabinoids. The delta part of the name refers to the double bond the molecule has, so both Delta-8 and Delta-9 contain double bonds, the difference is where that double bond is located. Organic chemistry deals with carbon atoms – a lot of carbon atoms, chains of them – and the respective “8” and “9” in the names of these cannabinoids refer to the location of that double (Delta) bond in the chain. Delta-9 has a double bond on the 9th carbon in the chain, Delta-8 on the 8th. So, what this really boils down to is that a double bond is going to have more electrons than single carbon bonds and will interact differently with the endocannabinoid system. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but when we’re talking about subatomic particles, the location of that double bond can be very significant.
How Does Delta-8-THC Make You Feel?
Delta-8-THC it has less psychoactive potency than Delta-9-THC. This means that it offers a more clear-minded experience with less anxiety. Unlike Delta-9-THC, which in some strains can be found in percentages as high as 25%, delta-8 THC is found in very low amounts in cannabis. Usually this only makes up about 0.01% of the plant. Still, when isolated in a pure delta-8 THC extract, the cannabinoid has some important medicinal effects.
What is Delta-8-THC Used For?
Delta-8-THC has many potential therapeutic benefits. Like other cannabinoids the research is just really beginning on how it may help with various conditions and ailments. But here’s a list of some of the ailments that Delta-8-THC may help:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasticity
- Poor appetite
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Reducing opioid use
- Symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS
Is Delta-8-THC Legal?
Delta-8-THC is federally legal and legal in most states in the USA thanks to H.R. 2: The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.
The 2018 Farm Bill specifically made all derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids in hemp legal, provided the final product has less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC. Delta-8-THC is an isomer of CBD, a derivative of hemp and CBD, a cannabinoid found in hemp, and is ultimately contained in extracts with less than 0.3% Delta- 9-THC.
Here’s what the 2018 Farm Bill specifically says about hemp and Delta-9-THC:
“HEMP.—The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Now that we’ve had a chance to look at Delta-8 a little more the final question is who may benefit from these products specifically. The answer is that it is a long a varied list. It can benefit those who haven’t found the relief they are looking for from a traditional CBD regimen. It can also help medical cannabis patients who have a low tolerance for Delta-9-THC. Those suffering from a lack of appetite may find relief from this cannabinoid. A person suffering from anxiety or a TBI may be another candidate for Delta-8. A person struggling with a low libido may find help from this molecule. Women suffering from menstrual cramps may receive relief. And, those of us that have ever had a hangover may find this cannabinoid helpful. So, you see that the list of people and conditions helped is long and this is just scratching the surface.
Like every other cannabinoid, it is always important to remember to purchase your products from a reliable source. The company should have labs for the product and you should check the overall reputation of the business first before purchasing to help ensure that you are actually getting what you paid for.