What is Delta-8 THC?
When learning about cannabis, you’ve definitely heard about THC. THC is short for Tetrayhydrocannabidiol and it is one of the main psychoactive chemical compounds found within the marijuana plant. This, plus CBD (or cannabidiol), are two of the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis, but there are so many more that we’re just beginning to learn about.
Delta-8 THC is one of those cannabinoids.
Though it sounds incredibly similar to its more familiar THC counterpart, Delta-8 THC is a compound that does produce its own unique properties that deserve recognition.
Delta-8 THC in the Body
When consumed, Delta-8 THC breaks down within the bloodstream and subsequently binds to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Delta-8 binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, helping to provide effects in both the brain and body. With receptors found all throughout the nervous system and in the brain, Delta-8’s ability to bind to both of these receptors creates for comprehensive effects felt from head to toe. However, despite even acting almost identically to Delta-9, Delta-8 THC still exhibits characteristics that help cannabis scientists fully understand how these two differ.
Differences Between Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC
Primarily, Delta-9 THC is known for its strong psychoactive compounds when activated. Delta-8 THC demonstrates similar psychoactive characteristics, only it is not nearly as strong. It is still an intoxicating compound, though its mind-altering properties are just lessened when directly compared to Delta-9.
It is also worth mentioning that this compound is not found in very high levels within cannabis. Delta-8 THC is not nearly as present as Delta-9, and typically only naturally exists in levels that are less than a fraction of a percent. Delta-9, on the other hand, can have percentages ranging anywhere from 5% to 90% depending on the product.
Though Delta-8 is less psychoactive, scientists are finding that is a much more stable compound than its more intoxicating counterpart. Compared to Delta-9, Delta-8 appears to have a much longer shelf-life and is significantly easier to extract and prepare for consumption. With typical Delta-9, over time, the cannabinoid can degrade and oxidize, effectively turning into cannabinol and becoming non-psychoactive. Delta-8, however, is so much more stable that it doesn’t appear to oxidize at all. Even the oldest cannabis appears to have active levels of Delta-8, still waiting to be consumed. With it being easier to make (and even less expensive), Delta-8 is quickly piquing the interests of many within the cannabis industry.
Delta-8 THC is proving to be quite versatile in terms of medicinal properties and potential benefits. We all know that your typical THC is great for providing euphoric, blissful emotions, and giggly effects. Well, Delta-8 goes far beyond just making you feel a bit happier.
Studies have shown that Delta-8 THC can exhibit properties similar to an anti-nausea, helping to suppress vomiting and other digestive issues. When isolated and consumed, a 1995 study found that Delta-8 was effective in combating nausea due to cancer treatments.
There is also strong evidence that Delta-8 THC is an efficacious analgesic. Analgesics are medications that help relieve pain and inflammation, and the Delta-8 exhibits properties quite similar. Both when disgested and when applied topically, this cannabinoid showed serious inflammation reduction in several animal studies. While we will still have to know more about how this correlates to the human body, it sure is promising.
Getting the munchies after smoking is common, but Delta-8 THC is also known specifically for its ability to stimulate the appetite. Appetite stimulation, along with the cannabinoid’s antiemetic properties, can be transformative for those with digestive complications, eating disorders, or side effects from chemotherapy.
Once again, all of this is a bit premature, as the cannabis industry has not yet been able to conduct enough human studies or long-term trials to reach concrete conclusions. However, all of Delta-8’s potential medical effects are extremely evident, and, over time, these benefits will only become more accessible.
As we mentioned, most of the studies that have been conducted surrounding Delta-8 have been animal-based. During these studies, some animals have been found to experience a rise and then drop in blood pressure, consequently resulting in a lower heart rate. While this has yet to be demonstrated in humans, it does pose questions and further need for more research towards Delta-8. Other than that, we’re currently unaware of Delta-8’s potential side effects, and more studies are necessary to see risks.
When it comes to consumption, you’re likely only to find Delta-8 THC in concentrate form. When in flower, percentages are so low they’re practically nonexistent, so companies have been rigorously learning how to extract this cannabinoid and isolate it entirely. Other companies may choose to combine their Delta-8 with other cannabinoids like Delta-9 or CBD to create a more comprehensive, potent experience.
If you do get your hands on some Delta-8 concentrate, consume with caution. Begin with only a small amount to see how your body reacts before moving forward. As a cannabinoid we simply don’t know much about it, consumption comes entirely at your own risk.
All in all, Delta-8 THC is proving to be quite an interesting contender in the world of cannabinoids. With so many people loving the benefits of cannabis but not always loving how high it gets them, this gently psychoactive compound may prove to be the perfect middle-ground for various consumers.
As of now, we just have to wait and see what the future holds for Delta-8 THC. With more research will come more answers, and with more answers will come more products and more celebration. Out of the over 100 hundred cannabinoids that cannabis contains, Delta-8 THC is turning out to be one of the most interesting of them all.
NOTE: These statements have not been verified by the FDA. Delta8 is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease!