Hemp-derived products are taking the stage of the wellness market, and CBD is no longer the only cannabinoid grabbing wellness enthusiasts’ attention. Delta 8 THC, a less psychoactive hemp-derived variant of THC, has emerged on the scene, and now it’s widely available in different forms like oils, edibles, softgels, and vape products. Do you wonder if it is better than the famous CBD and how to choose what’s best for you? Here is everything you need to know.
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Cannabinoids like CBD and Delta 8 THC are popular primarily because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a crucial role in many bodily processes, including pain, memory, and homeostasis.
Cannabis-derived cannabinoids like CBD and THC, due to their similarity with endocannabinoids, can interact with ECS receptors in the brain and immune system, resulting in various outcomes and setting the stage for the pharmaceutical cannabinoid industry. However, although it might be the case in the future, CBD and Delta 8 THC are not drugs, and the only FDA-approved prescription CBD drug is Epidipolex.
Today, people use medical marijuana to treat various diseases. It is legal in 38 states. Medical marijuana is a type of cannabis Sativa plant with high amounts of psychoactive cannabinoid – Delta 9 THC. Delta 8 THC is its younger, lesser-known sibling, with lower psychoactivity than Delta 9 THC and derives from a federally legal hemp plant.
What is Delta 8 THC?
THC is a famous psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s high, but there are different THC variations. Until now, We knew only about Delta 9 THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, because it’s one of the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis. Its analog Delta 8 THC is a rarer cannabinoid that reaches only 1% in mature hemp, which was not enough for manufacturers to extract its usable amounts. Thanks to advanced extraction and conversion methods, extractors can now convert CBD extract to Delta 8 THC using isomerization. The process has allowed for the Delta 8 THC market to emerge. Delta 8 THC is almost identical to Delta 9 THC, only it has a double bond 8th carbon chain, unlike Delta 9, which has it on the 9th chain.
|Delta 8 THC||Delta 9 THC|
Beyond their chemical structure, there are two other primary differences between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC: their source and the effects they produce.
Delta 8 THC is hemp-derivative, while Delta 9 THC reaches high amounts in marijuana and only a trace amount in hemp.
Most importantly, Delta-8-THC is less psychoactive than Delta 9THC in marijuana, producing milder symptoms without common side effects of marijuana.
Delta 8 THC vs. CBD
Although these two cannabinoids coincide in their source, they differ in many ways. For example, Delta 8 THC, unlike CBD, is rare in hemp, so manufacturers use CBD extract to convert its molecules to Delta 8 THC. Besides, CBD is non-psychoactive, while Delta 8 THC is. Another difference is their legality. Even though both cannabinoids are hemp-derived, and technically they are federally legal with 0.3% Delta 9 THC, some states have banned Delta 8 THC products even when hemp-derived due to its psychoactive nature. Some argue it’s a synthetic cannabinoid, but as it naturally occurs in hemp, it doesn’t qualify as synthetic, regardless of the production method.
The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and its derivatives with a limited THC amount of 0.3% legal for purchase and consumption. Unless states have explicitly included Delta 8 THC in law and made it illegal, Delta 8 THC is technically legal on a federal level. It’s always best to check local laws and see if the state you live in has criminalized Delta 8 THC to avoid any trouble.
Another difference is that Delta 8 THC, like Delta 9 THC binds to and interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors providing euphoric feelings. CBD doesn’t bind to these receptors but indirectly affects them without causing a psychoactive experience.
Delta 8 THC vs. CBD How to Choose?
Now that consumers can choose between two hemp-derived cannabinoids, a new debate has come up – which one is the best to choose?
Whether CBD or Delta 8 THC is the best choice depends on your goals and needs. When you wish to experience a mild high, then Delta 8 THC is the way to go, but if searching for a non-psychoactive experience, CBD is a better choice. If you want to try them both, you can safely use them simultaneously. According to the famous Entourage Effect theory, cannabis compounds work better as a group than alone, so you might drive better results.