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News > Delta-8 THC vs. Delta 9-THC: 5 Key Differences

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta 9-THC: 5 Key Differences

Wed, Apr 07, 2021 | Reading Time: 4 minutes

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta 9-THC: 5 Key Differences

The hemp plant might be most famous for its CBD content, but in reality it contains hundreds of active compounds

Same with cannabis — it might be best known for THC, but that’s far from the whole picture.  Actually, hemp and cannabis have a lot in common. Two of the biggest things? The cannabinoids delta-8 and delta-9 THC. 

In this short article we’ll be taking an in-depth look at 5 key differences between delta-8 and delta-9. Here’s the list:

  • Difference #1: delta-8 is less psychoactive
  • Difference #2: delta-8 is easier to dose
  • Difference #3: delta-8 is less studied
  • Difference #4: delta-8 is more legal
  • Difference #5: delta-9 is more common
  • Where to find delta-9 THC products

Difference #1: delta-8 is less psychoactive

Delta-8 THC’s structure is only slightly different than delta-9’s, but this little structural tweak makes all the difference. It allows delta-8 to bind to more receptors than other cannabinoids!

CBD binds primarily to CB2 receptors in the muscles and vital organs, THC binds primarily to CB1 receptors in the brain and other parts of the immune system...but delta-8 THC binds to both receptor sites. [1]

This means delta-8’s mental effects fall somewhere between CBD and THC’s. It’s psychoactive and uplifting, but not unmanageably so. 

Here’s some more info, courtesy of the National Cancer Institute:

“An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. [...]This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than [delta-9-THC]. [2]

Difference #2: delta-8 is easier to dose

Since delta-8 THC is milder than ‘regular’ THC, it has fewer side effects. Some experts call it “THC lite.” [3] The anxiousness sometimes seen with high doses of delta-9 THC just doesn’t seem to apply here. You can take delta-8 and still stay fully functioning — no weird vibes included.  

And that makes delta-8 dosing super easy. Just as with CBD, you can dose delta-8 by feel and gradually work your way up. 

Difference #3: delta-8 is less studied

Delta-8 and delta-9 THC were both discovered in the 1940s, [4][5] but since then the research looking into each of them has taken decidedly different paths. 

Delta-9 got more attention, largely because it was more common in the cannabis plant and therefore more readily available for study. A PubMed search of both terms reveals roughly 30 times more search results for delta-9 than for delta-8.

In recent years, however, things have shifted. Delta-8 is finally being acknowledged for the powerhouse that it is!

Difference #4: delta-8 is more legal

Delta-8 THC is much more readily available than delta-9.

Why? Because of a legal loophole. Delta-9 THC is the only hemp-derived cannabinoid that can’t isn’t legal — hemp’s delta-9 concentration has to be under .3% in order for it to be classified as ‘hemp.’

Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is completely legal in any quantity if it’s sourced right. Hemp-derived delta-8 can be produced and sold freely. 

Here’s the technical reason for delta-8’s legality, according to one top law firm: [6]

“[...] Hemp-derived delta-8 THC isomerized from CBD might fall into the category of a ‘semisynthetic’ but the DEA rule does not touch on those, and because the 2018 Farm Bill included hemp derivatives within the definition of hemp, it appears, perhaps unintentionally, to be deemed hemp and not a controlled substance.” 

Difference #5: delta-9 is more common

Even though delta-8 THC is more legal than delta-9 is, delta-9 still out produces its sibling since it’s grown in states where cannabis is legal. It’s pretty straightforward to grow a cannabis plant that contains up to 20-30% ‘regular’ THC — which is exactly what happens in these pro-cannabis states.  

Delta-8, on the other hand, doesn’t make up more than a few percentage points of a hemp or cannabis plant’s cannabinoids. It requires intensive extraction and/or isomerization techniques to produce in high volumes. [7]

Where to find delta-9 THC products

Finding delta-9 THC products is actually pretty easy! There are two major routes you can take: source high-THC products from a trusted cannabis dispensary, or obtain trace amounts of delta-9 through full spectrum CBD products. 

For a perfect example of the second option, look no further than our Daily Buzz Gummies. They’re packed with 50 milligrams of CBD and 5 milligrams of THC each. 

The result of this cannabinoid combo? A mild, mellow, and uplifting afterglow.  And plenty of full-body balance, of course.

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