Most cannabis and hemp enthusiasts are well familiar with the cannabinoid known as THC. Out of hundreds of different cannabinoids, it’s the most (in)famous one due to its potent psychoactive effects that leave the user feeling “high.”
So, what is Delta-8-THC exactly?
Although very similar to Delta-9, Delta-8 is a unique cannabinoid with its own chemical composition and properties. Only a few atomic bonds separate Delta-8 from Delta-9, which is more than enough for the two compounds to have quite different effects on the consumers.
Cannabinoids like Delta-9-THC, Delta-8-THC, and CBD work by binding with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for moderating functions and processes like appetite, sleep, mood, immune responses, and more and is activated when your body starts producing endocannabinoids (compounds very similar in structure to cannabinoids).
Delta-8 has somewhat of a preference for the CB1 receptors found in the spinal cord and the brain, and it creates a relatively weak bond with them, affecting your ECS only mildly.
The legal status of Delta-8 products can be somewhat hazy, depending on where you’re located and the cannabinoid extraction method.
However, before we go into the extraction processes that could be relevant for the legal status of Delta-8, it’s essential to get into the “legal jargon” of cannabis. In the eyes of the law, there is a specific distinction between marijuana and hemp. Scientifically speaking, they’re pretty much the same plant, but legally speaking, they’re entirely different.
The law defines marijuana as any plant that contains more than 0.3% of THC, and any such plant is illegal on a federal level. On the other hand, hemp is any plant in the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3% THC.
According to the 2018 Farm bill, all plants that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal on a federal level – that is, all plants that have less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC. Delta-8-THC isn’t relevant for determining the classification or legality of cannabis plants.
So, in essence, Delta-9-THC is illegal in all shapes and forms, but Delta-8 THC is not, at least not on a federal level when it’s properly extracted.
Delta-8 weed exists in both marijuana and hemp. When it’s extracted from the marijuana plant containing larger quantities of Delta-9-THC, Delta-8 is illegal. However, when extracted directly from the hemp plant with smaller amounts of Delta-9, Delta-8 is federally legal.
Still, “legal on a federal level” doesn’t necessarily mean “legal in your state.” Individual states still have a right to determine which cannabis products are and aren’t legal, and currently, 14 states consider Delta-8-THC illegal/restricted:
Additionally, Michigan, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama, North Dakota, and Illinois are refining their regulatory clarifications regarding the cannabinoid at the moment, so you might not be able to buy Delta-8 easily.
If you reside in any of these states, it’s critical to check your local laws regarding Delta-8 use before you order your Delta-8 products.
Considering its legal status, the fact that it’s extracted from the hemp plant, and the fact that it can be extracted from CBD itself, Delta-8 is often confused with CBD, and many even refer to it as Delta-8 CBD. However, there’s no such thing as CBD Delta-8. They’re two distinct cannabinoids with unique properties and effects.
Cannabidiol is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis (right after Delta-9-THC). It exists in virtually all cannabis plants and can easily be extracted from them.
It became renowned as a potent natural supplement that can affect your body and mind without having a psychoactive impact. It keeps you completely clear-headed, and in small amounts, it can even help you stay energized and focused, making it pretty much the exact opposite of Delta-9.
CBD is one of the main reasons why hemp was legalized back in 2018. With studies showing its potential therapeutic effects (especially in patients with Epilepsy), CBD was legalized for medicinal use, and FDA even approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine – Epidiolex.
Delta-8-THC, on the other hand, is a much closer cousin to Delta-9-THC than it is to CBD. Although studies suggest that it could have some of the same beneficial properties as CBD, it’s still tetrahydrocannabinol, making its effects more similar to Delta-9.
Delta-8-THC shows no visible signs of being present in cannabis products. Whether we’re talking about Delta-8 tinctures, flowers, edibles, or any type of product in between, there’ll be no difference between a Delta-8 infused product or CBD infused one, let’s say.
Even when we’re talking about edibles, CBD and Delta-8 gummies will look and taste pretty much the same. The flavorings added will give them a sweet, pleasant flavor, but you’ll taste the recognizable slightly earthy undertones.
The best way to ensure that you (don’t) get Delta-8-THC in your cannabis products is to buy from reputable sources. Whether you’re ordering your Delta-8 online or in brick-and-mortar dispensaries, look for vendors that do third-party lab testing and that specify the presence of Delta-8.
And speaking of testing, it’s also critical to know that Delta-8 can be detected in drug tests. If you’re in a school or company that does random drug testing and you’ve used Delta-8 carts, gummies, tinctures, or the like in the past three months, you will most likely fail the test. And it doesn’t even matter if you’re in a state where Delta-8 is allowed.
The thing is, most standard drug tests that use urine, hair, or saliva samples don’t test for the presence of Delta-8 vs. Delta-9. Instead, they test for the presence of THC metabolites – molecules that your body produces when it metabolizes THC.
Whether you use Delta-8 products or Delta-9 ones, and whether you inhale or ingest them, your body will produce the same types of metabolites when it comes into contact with THC. So, the test will show no difference between the tetrahydrocannabinol-s; it will only show that you’ve used them.
That’s why it doesn’t matter if Delta-8 products are allowed in your state. Delta-9-THC is still a schedule 1 drug, and if your drug test shows THC metabolites, you’ll fail the test.
If you need cannabis products for medicinal reasons and are afraid of failing a drug test, you might want to give CBD isolates a try. CBD is legalized in the US, and it doesn’t show on drug tests since they’re not screening for it.
Scientifically speaking, Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC are incredibly alike as they share a similar molecular structure. Additionally, both have a chemical double bond (where there are four bonding electrons between atoms), with the only real difference between them being the placement of the said bond.
In Delta-9, the bond is on the ninth carbon chain, hence the “9” in its name. In Delta-8, that bond is on the eighth chain, hence the “8”. Although it doesn’t seem like the simple bond placement could make much of a difference in Delta-8 vs. Delta-9‘s effects, it does.
As previously mentioned, cannabinoids work by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS. The placement of the double bond in Delta-9 allows it to bind with both receptors strongly. Bonding with CB2 allows D-9 to induce feelings of relaxation and sedation, while bonding with CB1 leads to you feeling “high” after using it.
The placement of the double bond in Delta-8-THC allows it to only create a weak bond with ECS receptors, meaning its effects on your body and mind are significantly mellower.
Another difference between Delta-9 and Delta-8 is their molecular stability. D-9 is less stable, easily oxidating to transform into CBN (cannabinol) or even Delta-8-THC. Delta-8 is more stable, not prone to oxidation, meaning its shelf-life is much longer. This stability could also make D-8 more desirable for medicinal purposes.
One of the main similarities between Delta-9 and Delta-8 is that they can both get you high, albeit the high you experience will be different. It all boils down to the strength of the bond between THC molecules and CB1 receptors.
Delta-9 creates a strong bond and produces a feeling of extreme high that’s often accompanied by feelings of anxiety and paranoia. It also acts as quite a potent sedative, making you feel drowsy and disassociated.
On the other hand, Delta-8 creates a weak bond with CB1 receptors, so the high you feel after using it should be much milder.
D-8 hasn’t been studied to the extent of D-9 or even CBD. Still, both clinical studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that Delta-8 produces a gentler high, allowing you to remain largely clear-headed and focused, even after using higher doses of Delta-8 weed.
The most significant benefit of a D-8 high is that increased feelings of anxiety and paranoia rarely accompany it.
With all this in mind, it’s critical to understand that even a mild high is still a high. Using Delta-8 products will slow down your reaction time and reflexes, even if it doesn’t fully intoxicate you. So, be cautious when using D-8, treat it as any other THC product, and avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking your D-8 dose.
D-8 products come in all shapes and sizes, and you can easily find:
But before you buy Delta-8 products, you should be aware that different methods of consumption can have different effects on your body and mind.
Ingesting edibles like Delta-8 gummies will delay their effects. Since D-8 will have to pass through your digestive system and be metabolized by your liver, where it gets converted into 11-hydroxy-THC, you might have to wait up to 90 minutes to start feeling the effects. And even then, they’ll only peak after two or three hours.
Since both Delta-9 and Delta-8 convert into 11-hydroxy-THC in the liver, the effects of D-8 edibles could be very similar to those of D-9 edibles, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and take only a tiny amount at a time.
When using a Delta-8 cartridge, the cannabinoid doesn’t have to go through the liver, so it’s not converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. Inhaling Delta-8 vape juice leads it straight into your lungs, where it has a direct path to the bloodstream. The effects will hit much faster, so you should feel a slight buzz within 10 minutes to half an hour.
Alternatively, you could also buy Delta-8 tinctures, which usually display their effects the fastest.
Although we need more research to conclusively prove the safety of Delta-8 use, there’s no reason to believe it could be harmful with daily use if dosed correctly. No severe side effects have been reported with Delta-8 use, and even with heavier doses, most users only report dry mouth, slight nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.
Still, everyone reacts to D-8 differently, so it’s critical to be careful. How you respond to even the best Delta-8 cartridge depends on your age, gender, metabolism, nutrition, any underlying health conditions, genetics, and more. While most users report feeling well and clear-headed with daily use, you might feel uncomfortable if you take a dose that’s not appropriate for you.
If you want to ensure the safety of your Delta-8 products, the most important thing is to get them from reliable sources. Always research the vendors, examine their reviews, and see user testimonials – they’re the best quality indicators.
And avoid buying products that are too cheap. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. D-8 needs to be carefully extracted and tested by third parties, which takes time and money, so the end product has a different price. Most reputable vendors will have similar pricing for their Delta-8 products, so make sure to compare the prices to see what average you can expect. Some vendors will have Delta-8 for sale during seasonal discounts, and you can expect lower prices from reliable dispensaries from time to time.
Learning how to dose Delta-8 is critical, but it can take some trial and error. As mentioned, everyone responds to D-8 differently. Whereas some users get a clear-headed high, others might feel slightly more intoxicated after a single draw of the Delta-8 vape juice. So, err on the side of caution and start with the lightest dose, even if you have plenty of experience with D-9 or even CBD.
As a general rule of thumb, starting with about 20mg of Delta-8 should be the best option. Give the cannabinoid plenty of time to act, and wait at least six hours before taking another dose to avoid accumulating effects. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day after taking the first dose.
If you feel like 20mg isn’t enough, slowly increase the dose by 5mg over the week. Continue doing this until you’ve found the perfect dosage for you, then stick to it. If a dose works, there’s no reason to increase it just to see whether more is better.
Still, there’s no reason to worry if you take a higher dose accidentally. Delta-8 is generally considered to be safe, and there’s no risk of overdosing. You’ll likely just feel uncomfortable if you take more D-8 than you need, and you might experience nausea, fatigue, and dryness of the mouth.
If you’re still worried about your Delta-8 dosage, consult your doctor. They’ll help you figure out whether D-8 is the right choice for you and whether you’re taking the best amount suited to your needs.
With all the hype around D-8, I decided to give this cannabinoid a try myself. I’ve been an avid CBD user for well over a year since I suffer from anxiety, and after learning that Delta-8-THC doesn’t induce anxiety or panic attacks, I figured why not give it a shot.
I didn’t need to look far for Delta-8 carts near me since Plain Jane does quick deliveries, so I had my vape juice with me in a couple of days. I decided to wait a while and have my first draw on the weekend to stay on the safe side if there were any side effects.
I took a few draws of Delta-8 vape juice and was surprised by the intense mango flavor. In the first few minutes, I didn’t feel anything special, but by the 15-minute mark, I could sense D-8 taking effect.
Since I’m a daily CBD user, I’m very familiar with what it’s like to vape CBD, and this was a very similar experience for me. I started feeling very alert and energized, genuinely ready to take on anything. I think the peak effects came in about 40 minutes later as I started feeling an ever-so-slight high that didn’t diminish my concentration at all.
The only side effect I noticed was dry mouth, so I tried to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. My anxiety symptoms, which often hit me at midday, were completely absent, and I felt excellent. That was my experience with Delta-8-THC.
However, keep in mind that that’s just my experience. You might feel differently after using D-8.
Delta-8 is present in small amounts in almost all cannabis plants, and it can easily be extracted from them. However, since it makes up only about 1% of all cannabinoids present in hemp, most vendors synthesize it from CBD.
Primarily, they refine CBD into a pure isolate, then process it into Delta-8. From there, they infuse Delta-8 into cartridges, tinctures, edibles, and other Delta-8 products.
The number of Google searches for “Delta-8 near me” have skyrocketed in the past year as everyone’s wondering about this excellent cannabis product that gives you a legal high.
Unfortunately, not all CBD vendors will carry Delta-8 products, so it’s in your best interest to find Delta-8 online.
Plain Jane carries a wide variety of Delta-8 products, including Delta-8 flowers, cigarettes, blunts, Delta-8 tinctures, and the best Delta-8 cartridges. Browse through our selection and find the product that suits you best.
How you should use our Delta-8 products depends entirely on the type of product you buy. Take a look:
Blunts, pre-rolled joints, and cigarettes only need to be lit up and inhaled.
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