What is Delta 8 THC?

From its effects to how it’s made, Delta 8 THC has become the most popular topic to talk about nowadays.

But, what is Delta 8 THC? To put it lightly, Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, or simply “Delta 8,” is an extracted cannabis cannabinoid. Creating Delta 8 is a simple yet unregulated process that many people do not understand.  

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What Delta 8 THC is 
  • How Delta 8 THC  is made
  • Which benefits Delta 8 THC provides 

Delta 8 THC – The Other Cannabinoid

Cannabis has trichomes, which are tiny hairs that grow on the surface of the plant. Trichomes give cannabis its signature layer of frost that growers look for when checking the quality of their garden.

This is because trichomes contain most of the chemical compounds that give marijuana its effects, primarily cannabinoids and terpenes.

What Is CBD Oil - delta 8 thc
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Terpenes are the aromatic oils found in marijuana and other plants. They’re mostly responsible for how the plant smells and tastes, but terpenes may be especially important in marijuana.

In fact, the entourage effect talks about the importance of synergy between the different chemical compounds in marijuana to produce a better high.

Speaking of getting high, cannabinoids are the umbrella term for a lot of THC found in marijuana, with the main psychoactive being Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

THC is the chemical mainly responsible for the high you get when smoking weed. In other words, THC comes in different forms, and Delta 8 is just one of those. So if someone asks, ‘does Delta 8 have THC?’ You can say ‘Delta 8 is a THC.’

The difference, though, is in quantity and extraction.

Delta 9 is easy to extract since it’s abundant in marijuana. Although Delta 8 is in marijuana as well, it’s only in very small quantities, making obtaining it from cannabis naturally inefficient.

However, with some technology, we can extract Delta 8 from CBD, which is another type of cannabinoid found in marijuana. However, it requires a lot more effort to do.

You can find CBD in some marijuana strains, but most industry-standard marijuana strains won’t have enough CBD to make it worth it.

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    As a result, many Delta 8 products come from hemp cannabis, which naturally has high levels of CBD.  This doesn’t mean marijuana strains are not viable for extracting Delta 8;  some strains, such as Harlequin, produce a CBD content of up to 15%.

    What are the benefits of Delta-8?

    Delta 8 is what many would consider the Goldilocks zone when it comes to getting high. It’s stronger than the mild effects of CBD, but it’s not as strong as Delta 9, which means you get fewer side effects.

    Like Goldilocks finding the right bed, the high is just right. 

    goldilocks zone delta 8 thc
    Image credits: NASA

    There’s a clear benefit to be had with using Delta 8. Here are some of those benefits:

    Stress Reduction

    Because it’s a THC, Delta 8 triggers your brain to release a considerable amount of dopamine – the ‘feel good’ hormone produced by the hypothalamus.

    This dopamine cycle is what alleviates stress in the body by giving you a pleasant high. Additionally, Delta 8 binds specifically to a type of receptor found throughout your body that helps regulate pain and anxiety, which in turn aids in reducing stress in the body.

    These effects are also present when toking marijuana but happen much stronger. With Delta 8, you avoid many of the side effects at the cost of a milder high.

    The milder effect is perfect for reducing stress while still maintaining full functionality for day-to-day tasks. There’s also less of a side effect once it wears off, unlike Delta 9.

    Digestive Benefits

    THC products stereotypically give you the munchies, and there is a lot of truth behind this.THC can help stimulate appetite.

    This is also true with Delta 8. A study from 2004 confirmed that when mice received low doses of Delta 8, it boosted their appetite, causing an increase in food consumption.

    Additionally, research in 1997 showed the use of Delta 8 THC  had a great effect on alleviating feelings of nausea with none of the negative side effects.

    This means that Delta 8 can help improve appetite, not only by stimulating it but also by removing any uncomfortable feelings such as nausea out of your system.

    Pain Relief

    Researches show that THC, Delta 8 in particular, binds to a certain receptor found throughout the body to help regulate the pain felt by some people.

    This analgesic property that researchers have discovered in Delta 8 is why many people have looked towards this particular THC for inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

    Although not the ideal solution against pain, as it only relieves it to a certain degree, it is an affordable alternative for some.

    There are also little to no side effects. If anything, Delta 8 has enough benefits that outweigh minor side effects.

    Outside of pain relief, research shows that Delta 8 has properties that can help control spasms and seizures.

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    Delta 8 vs Delta 9

    How it’s Different

    Extraction

    The main distinction between Delta 8 and Delta 9 is in quantity and extraction. Delta 9 is a major cannabinoid, which means cannabis has it in abundance. 

    Extracting it is fairly simple. It only takes a few materials to create THC tinctures, and most marijuana has enough for the process. 

    Delta 8, on the other hand, is a minor cannabinoid with only trace amounts of 0.1% or less in cannabis. It’s a lot harder to extract and isn’t very economical to do so. You can synthesize Delta 8 from CBD, but the process takes a lot more effort, might be dangerous for some, and isn’t any less expensive to do.

    Effects

    There is a reason why many cannabis companies go through a lot of trouble to find the best way to synthesize Delta 8 THC. It’s because they believe Delta 8 THC is the better alternative to Delta 9 THC.

    Effects are definitely one of the main differences between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC. Although both types of THC provide the same kind of high, some people believe that Delta 9 is twice as potent as Delta 8.

    But, more potent doesn’t always mean better to some people, especially considering the side effects after the high, which are more pronounced in Delta 9 than in Delta 8.

    This is why people look at Delta 8 as the milder alternative.

    It provides just the right amount of high that people are looking for but without the side effects that impair their ability to perform normally.

    Availability

    Access to Delta 9 and Delta 8 differ based on where you live. Some places have large amounts of Delta 8, while others favor Delta 9. Even in places where Delta 8 is popular, the quality may be poor, or it may not even be cannabis due to a lack of regulation.

    In some places, you’ll find Delta 8 THC carts, but you have no way of knowing what’s in them. In general, unlike Delta 9, high-quality Delta 8 THC can be difficult to find.

    Smelling Strong Marijuana
    Smelling Strong Marijuana

    How it’s Similar

    Comes from Cannabis

    Given that both are types of THC, it’s natural that both Delta 8 and Delta 9 are in cannabis. However, Delta 8 is a minor cannabinoid. This means it’s only in trace amounts along with the other types of THC.

    Causes a high

    Both Delta 9 THC and Delta 8 THC get you high – Delta 9 being substantially more potent than Delta 8. Outside of potency, though, both types of THC provide the same effect. They will also leave you with the same side effects once it’s out of your system.

    First-time Delta 8 users will find that this THC stays in their system longer than Delta 9. Some reported cases claim that the THC was in their system for as long as 30 days.

    However, as your body gets used to Delta 8, it won’t stay in your system for more than two days, which is shorter than Delta 9, which generally lingers for at least five days.

    Similar Side Effects

    Delta 8 and Delta 9 will leave you feeling groggy once the high dies down. Afterward, you’ll feel so drowsy that you may even take a nap. These initial effects, commonly seen in Delta 9, are just as pronounced in Delta 8.

    Additionally, Delta 8 THC also shares some side effects from Delta 9 THC, such as:

    • Dry mouth
    • Red eyes
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Slowed reaction times
    • Memory loss
    • Difficulty with coordination
    • Anxiety

    You will still feel the same side effects, whether you try Delta 8 through some vape pen cartridges or eat some Delta 8 gummies.

    Although you probably won’t notice these side effects as much in Delta 8, if you are particularly sensitive, you may want to take the necessary precautions when using either Delta 8 or Delta 9. 

    Growing Strong Marijuana
    Growing Strong Marijuana

    How is Delta 8 Made

    Unfortunately, Delta 8 THC doesn’t grow on hemp or marijuana. Sure, there is naturally occurring Delta 8 THC in both plants, but only in minimal amounts.

    You can’t harvest this cannabinoid, but you can synthesize it from another cannabinoid – CBD.

    The process of CBD to Delta 8 THC deals with a lot of inorganic chemistry. In order to synthesize Delta 8 THC, you’ll have to use various chemicals, some of which are harmful and toxic.

    Some of the best-known methods provide excellent examples of this because they use some kind of inorganic solvent to dissolve CBD as the first part of synthesizing Delta 8. There’ are also multiple ways to do it (which should be concerning). 

    The four possible ways to make Delta 8 THC include the Roguelab and RockSteady Modified methods, both of which are anonymous submissions to an online forum.

    There’s also the WKU Consulting Method and the Zwackelmann Method based on a discussion from a chemistry forum. 

    The process is complicated and dangerous, which is why we don’t recommend home growers to try and make Delta 8 THC even though they could.

    Not only is it potentially harmful, but if the synthesized Delta 8 THC still has trace amounts of the inorganic compounds used to extract it from CBD, it could also be dangerous for human consumption.

    Seriously, stick to hydroponic growing if you want to do something complicated. 

    Whenever you use chemicals on anything that goes into your body, you have to be careful.

    This is especially true with Delta 8, which comes in items you consume, such as tinctures, gummies, and vape cartridges.

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      Is Delta 8 Safe?

      Delta 8 THC has been around for quite some time, yet we still don’t know much about how it affects the body. While it’s true that Delta 8 THC provides a milder, clearer high compared to Delta 9, reports about its side effects are mixed.

      Some say that the side effects of Delta 8 are similar to Delta 9 but milder. Others say Delta 8 has little to no side effects at all. Still, there are reports that Delta 8 has caused vomiting and dizziness. 

      The root of these mixed accounts on the effects of Delta 8 could be because the THC is in a variety of products. You will not find pure Delta 8 THC.

      You’ll find Delta 8 THC in vape pens, in gummies, or as a tincture. And it seems that consumption of Delta 8, either in gummies or tinctures, is more likely to cause adverse side effects than vaping.

      This is why those new to Delta 8 products, especially those who specifically wanted something milder, should proceed with caution when trying Delta 8.

      Essentially treat Delta 8 with the same thought and consideration as you would any THC product you purchase “from a friend.”

      Should you try Delta 8? It’s hard to say.

      I like my THC strong, and I prefer to grow my own cannabis. I’m sure I have enough marijuana to make some, but I like to keep things simple in my lab. However, if you’ve tried it and enjoyed it, leave a comment below. 

      In the meanwhile, I’m going to plant a hemp plant next to a strong hybrid to see if I can produce the perfect blend of natural almost Delta 8. 

      Related Relevant Questions

      Is Delta-8 THC synthetic?

      Yes, it is! All of the Delta 8 THC that you’ll purchase, regardless of what product it may be, is synthetic. This is because Delta-8 is difficult to extract naturally in both cannabis and hemp.

      How much Delta-8 THC is actually in the cannabis plant? 

      An average cannabis plant has a Delta-8 THC content of 0.15% or even less than that.

      How does Delta 8 differ from CBD or CBN?

      There’s not much difference between Delta 8, CBD, or CBN. They all share the same benefits of improving bodily function, such as appetite. Additionally, they also help with pain relief. The key difference is that Delta 8 will get you high. CBD and CBN don’t. 

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      Robert Bergman

      Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing lead him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]

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