The latest buzz in the cannabis world, Delta 8 THC, has everyone wondering exactly what it is, how it is different from Delta 9 THC, and what the high from Delta 8 feels like, and what the side effects are. If you know anything about marijuana, you know that it can get you high. Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, often just referred to as Delta 9 THC, is the compound in marijuana responsible for that high.
THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Cannabis can be either marijuana or hemp, depending on the THC concentration in the plant. By law, hemp is required to contain no more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, can have Delta 9 THC concentrations exceeding 30%. The most well-known hemp product is cannabidiol (CBD), but a lesser-known cannabinoid can be derived from hemp. In this instance, that cannabinoid is Delta 8 THC.
Meet Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is a newer, trendier cannabinoid that has some of the same psychoactive or psychotropic effects of Delta 9, but in a slightly different way. But calling it new is not exactly accurate. Early research on Delta 9 THC discovered the existence of Delta 8, but it has often been overshadowed by Delta 9.
How Does Delta 8 THC Compare to Traditional Marijuana (Delta 9 THC)?
Delta 8 is a cannabinoid much like Delta 9, both of which are naturally expressed in the cannabis plant. The difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 is their chemical structures. In fact, the structure of all forms of THC are similar, but the way their atoms are arranged makes them different in some key areas.
Although Delta 8 and Delta 9 have some similar properties, such as increasing appetite, soothing pain, and reducing nausea, they also have some interesting differences. Delta 8 THC exhibits lower psychotropic potency than Delta 9 THC, produces a milder high, and offers none of the panic and paranoia that often happens with Delta 9 THC.
Is Delta 8 Legal?
Delta 8 THC is getting a lot of attention, particularly in states where marijuana is not legal in some form or fashion. It is often referred to as cannabis light, diet weed, or "legalish" THC. How is all this possible? Mainly due to the 2018 Farm Bill that defined legal hemp as “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 delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”1
Will Delta 8 Get You High?
The strength of Delta 8 is approximately half that of Delta 9, which means the high is milder. It is also much less likely to cause paranoia, anxiety, and couch lock, some of the main effects people complain about when using Delta 9 THC.
Reported Delta 8 Effects
- Deep feelings of relaxation and reduced stress
- Elevated mood and mild euphoria
- Time feels like it is standing still
- Feeling energized, motivated, and productive
- Pain becomes more manageable
- A sense of calm and clear-headedness
What Do Delta 8 THC Effects Feel Like?
If you are new to Delta 8 effects, you may wonder what it feels like. Most people report that when using Delta 8, they feel calmer, more clear-headed, and less psychoactive than when taking Delta 9 THC. The effects are much less obvious and tend to be felt in the body rather than the mind.
The exact strength and effects you feel will depend on the amount of Delta 8 you consume. Smaller amounts (less than 10mg) are slightly energizing and help improve focus and productivity and are popular with people who use Delta 8 to relieve anxiety and reduce stress. Larger amounts (10-30mg) may cause a mild high or feeling of intoxication.
Despite limited research, headway has been made in efforts to discover the potential of Delta-8 THC. A lot of this information has been in the form of users reporting personal experiences and a range of preclinical studies. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, Delta 8 relieves nausea and anxiety, increases appetite, and has neuroprotective properties. Many users report that it promotes better sleep.
Potential Health Benefits of Delta 8 THC:
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Promotes better rest
- May relieve pain and inflammation
- Reduces nausea and vomiting
- May elevate mood
- Offers neuroprotective benefits
- Increases appetite
For anyone who is interested in the health benefits of traditional marijuana, but put off by the negative side effects, Delta 8 is an appealing alternative. Many people report using Delta 8 for its health benefits including people who are:
- Undergoing cancer treatments to prevent vomiting
- High-performing athletes looking to boost recovery
- Seeking alternatives to addictive opioids for pain management
- Looking to get better sleep
Many others may benefit from the reported health and wellness benefits and milder psychoactive effects of Delta 8.
Because Delta 8 is widely available in gummy form, you can ingest it without any risk of harm to your lungs.
Is Delta 8 THC Safe?
It is possible to use Delta 8 safely if you do your research on where to purchase safe products. You should, however, be aware of some potential concerns. Delta 8 is relatively new, and the market is unregulated.
Due to the lack of oversight, disreputable companies may offer products that contain harmful byproducts, quantities of Delta 8 that exceed the legal limit, or even quantities of illegal Delta 9 THC, none of which are listed on the label. Random tests of Delta 8 THC products have demonstrated that these bad practices are a serious concern and a threat to public health.
The FDA has even issued a statement expressing their concerns about the public health risks of some practices within the Delta 8 industry. They can also manufacture their Delta 8 in unsanitary conditions or facilities that are not licensed by the FDA. Random tests of Delta 8 THC products on the market have shown that many products on the market are not pure Delta 8 THC. This form of THC is often made through a synthetic process that results in reaction by-products, and many companies do not take steps to remove them. No one knows how these impurities and contaminants will affect users.
It is possible to purchase safe, premium Delta 8 THC from companies that take steps to provide pure Delta 8 in quantities within the legal limit. To find high-quality Delta 8, buy products from companies that:
- Test every batch of product through an independent lab
- Make the certificates of analysis from third-party lab testing easily accessible
- Have quality control measures in place to remove harmful by-products
- Use hemp grown in the USA
- Remove unwanted THC to comply with federal law
- Manufacture their product in FDA-registered facilities
- Provide clear directions for safe use
- Do not make false claims about Delta 8 (doesn’t get you high, you can safely operate a car after consuming it, etc.)
Considering how widely available Delta 8 is, it may be tempting to make an impulse buy when you see it as a gas station or convenience store, but that is not a good idea given the number of unsafe Delta 8 products on the market.
Additionally, you must consume safe amounts of Delta 8 THC. In high quantities, Delta 8 may give you adverse effects not unlike what users of Delta 9 THC experience.
How Much Delta 8 THC Should I Take?
When you first use Delta 8, take half the suggested dosage, and wait the recommended time to see what kind of effects you experience. Gradually increase your dose until you achieve the desired effects.
Keep in mind that every person has unique body chemistry, and the effects can vary between individuals. Factors like your metabolism and tolerance level can impact how you experience Delta 8.
Will I Experience Any Negative Side Effects?
Regardless of the delivery method you choose, be aware that if you take high doses of Delta 8, you may experience side effects like what users of Delta 9 experience: memory loss, anxiety, paranoia, slowed reaction times, trouble with coordination, dry mouth, rapid heart rate, and red eyes.
If you purchase Delta 8 from a company that does not engage in third-party lab testing, it is difficult to say what kind of negative side effects you may experience. That’s because you have no way of knowing what is in it. The process by which Delta 8 is made can result in harmful by-products and impurities, and if the product is manufactured by a company that does not take any steps to remove these contaminants, it can be dangerous. Since nothing is known about the health effects of these impurities, it is impossible to say what kind of negative side effects you will experience. For safe use of Delta 8, only purchase products from companies that do third-party lab testing and post the certificates of analysis on their website.
Will I Test Positive for THC?
It is worth noting that drug tests are unable to distinguish between different types of THC, and using Delta 8 products can result in failed drug tests.
Difference between Edibles and Vapes
Delta 8 products can be found in many forms, including vapes and gummies. Here's what to expect with each.
Delta 8 THC Vape
Vaping is an excellent delivery method for Delta 8 THC since it delivers the cannabinoid directly to your bloodstream, thus bypassing the digestive system. This makes it the fastest way to get the Delta 8 high. And since vapes usually include CBD, you also experience the entourage effect.
The entourage effect occurs when more than one compound from the hemp plant is used, increasing the benefits of all compounds.
- More control over amount used so you can go at your own pace
- Easily carry in your pocket and discreetly take a puff when you need to
- Available in many different flavors
If you are new to Delta 8 or new to vaping, take it slow and begin with a few puffs. Wait about 15 or so minutes to see how you feel. If needed, take a few puffs until you get the results you want. The effects peak at about 30-90 minutes and can last up to 5 hours.
Delta 8 THC Disposable Vapes
Purchasing a vape can be intimidating to people who are new to it. If you want the convenience of vaping without the learning curve, a disposable vape can be a great option. Just like regular vapes that use cartridges, they provide a quick way to experience the effects of Delta 8.
People like that disposable vapes offer a convenient way to vape and have more control over how much Delta 8 they ingest.
- Maintenance-free vape
- Lightweight and portable for discreet use
- Ready for immediate use
Exercise the same care with disposable vapes that you would with other vapes. New users should start out with a few puffs and wait 15 minutes or more to see how it affects them. Peak effects occur after about 30-90 minutes and may last up to 5 hours.
Delta 8 THC Gummies
There are also plenty of reasons why gummies are a great delivery method for Delta 8. They are popular because of their convenience and the many flavors available. For people who don't care for vaping, they are a great way to get the effects of Delta 8 THC.
- Convenient and easy to carry, even more discreet than vapes
- Effects of Delta 8 last longer than with vaping, but take longer to kick in
- Often a more potent method of delivery
If you've never tried Delta 8 gummies, start with a small dose, about ½ a gummy. As with vaping, wait for the effects to kick in. However, since the Delta 8 edibles go through the digestive tract, it can take 30 minutes to about 2 hours to feel peak effects. The effects can last a long as eight hours, depending on your metabolism and the amount consumed.
Why Choose Delta 8 THC?
If you're looking for a buzz, Delta 8 can be a more appealing option than other hemp products. People who have tried Delta 8 report its calming and relaxing properties, and the lack of paranoia that comes with Delta 9 THC. Many people state that it is the perfect balance between Delta 9 and CBD.
 7 U.S.C. § 1639o(1)