Is it time to hail Delta-8 THC as the next big thing in the cannabinoid industry? Overlooked for years as Delta-9 THC got the credit for being the main psychoactive ingredient in everyone’s favorite flower, Delta-8 is stepping into the limelight as a legal alternative to federally-regulated marijuana. But does Delta-8 THC get you high? Let's smoke some and find out!
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are remarkably similar in their chemical structure. Nearly identical, in fact. The difference is that Delta-9 has a double bond on the ninth carbon chain, while Delta-8 has its double bond on the eighth carbon chain.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) affects the brain via an endocannabinoid system, which affects mood. THC has a similar structure to a chemical which is already produced naturally by your body- anandamide. This chemical is responsible for sending messages throughout the endocannabinoid system. THC's similarity to anandamide is what allows it to easily bond to your body's cannabinoid receptors. The slightly altered structure of Delta-8 doesn’t bond quite as well, resulting in a less potent effect than Delta-9.
Little medicinal research has been conducted on Delta-8 to date. However, a study published in 1995 details how Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC was used to treat the adverse effects of antineoplastic treatments on children diagnosed with various hematologic cancers. The study found that, when the patients were treated with either form of THC two hours before antineoplastic treatment (and every 6 hours thereafter), vomiting was eliminated and the side effects were negligible.
Where Do You Find It?
Delta-8 THC can be sold legally since it is a derivative of hemp, which must contain less than 0.3 percent of the federally-regulated Delta-9 THC. Personally, I came across it almost accidentally when I inquired about a good CBD vape oil at my local vape shop. The establishment's proprietor suggested I try a popular disposable pen. Thinking it was a just CBD oil, I took a hard pull.
I didn’t feel how harsh the vape was until I exhaled and ended up coughing quite a bit. I had consumed some hemp flower about 20 minutes before visiting the store and at that time I had not noticed any unusual effects as opposed to pure CBD. Thanking him for his suggestion, I left believing I had found a quality CBD vape.
Delta-8 THC Effects
Two days later, I tried it again, this time without the assistance of hemp flower. Two hits made me feel as though I had just smoked some traditional weed. I had expected CBD- relaxing but not really intoxicating. The sudden rush persuaded me to take a second look at the package. The label clearly declared it to be a Delta-8 product. On the back, it stated that the product contained hemp-derived THC, CBD and CBN (another variant of CBD), along with the legal amount (less than 0.3 percent) of Delta-9 THC.
Delta-8 is supposed to be less potent than Delta-9, right? Not the case here. I found that two hits of this particular vape pen were sufficient. A third pull was more than enough to feel it. The effect is virtually identical to traditional cannabis with one exception- a noticeable decrease in anxiety. In my experience, Delta-8 packs enough punch that if you wish to experiment with it, start slow and see how it affects you in contrast to Delta-9.
The fact that Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are so similar and yet just different enough leads me to believe that Delta-8 is here to stay. Even with the growing number of states deciding to legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis, it seems that Delta-8 may be more than a way of circumventing current state and federal red tape. Only time will tell.