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Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC: What Are the Key Differences?

Delta-8-THC-vs-Delta-9-THC
Written by Ofer Shoshani

The article compares Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC, explaining their differences in structure, effects, medical benefits, uses, and legal status.

Cannabis has been a popular substance for centuries, mainly for its psychoactive effects, but also for its medical benefits. Two of today’s most popular psychoactive cannabinoids found in cannabis are Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC. While they may sound similar, they have distinct differences in their chemical structure, psychoactive effects, medical benefits, and legality. Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC: what are the main differences between the two?

Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC:

I. Introduction

In recent years the popularity of both Cannabis and hemp have been growing steadily. Both plants contain a range of compounds known as cannabinoids, which have various effects on the body, both medical and recreational.

Two of the most well-known cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis are Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC. While Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid that is found in small amounts, Delta-9 THC, on the other hand, is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC have distinct differences in their chemical structure, psychoactive effects, medical benefits and legality, which we will explore in this article.

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II. What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid that occurs naturally both in hemp and in cannabis plants. However, it is a rare cannabinoid that could be found only in small amounts, usually less than 1% of the total cannabinoid content. Delta-8 THC is created when Delta-9 THC oxidizes, and it is also produced through a process called isomerization, which converts CBD into Delta-8 THC. As it is a rare cannabinoid, most of the Delta 8 we are using today, is hemp-derived, which really means, it was converted from CBD and remain legal, as a result of the farm bill loophole.

Delta-8 THC is known for its ability to induce a milder psychoactive effect than Delta-9 THC. It is believed to be less potent than Delta-9 THC and can provide a more relaxed, calm experience. It is also known for its potential medical benefits, including pain relief, reduced anxiety, and increased appetite.

III. What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, but also found in smaller numbers in hemp. It is responsible for the desirable euphoric “high” usually associated with using cannabis. As Delta-9 THC is naturally produced by the cannabis plant most of Delta 9 products found in the market today are not using synthetic cannabinoids. However, recently we have seen many Delta 9 products that are hemp-derived, which means that the have started their journey as CBD and converted into THC.

Delta 9 THC becomes psychoactive through a process called decarboxylation, which occurs when the cannabis is heated, such as when it is smoked or vaporized. This is another nice loophole, that allows THCA products to be legally sold, as they only converted to Delta 9 THC when heated. However, as you need to heat it inorder to use it, these legal safe products, are as potent as regular THC is…

Delta-9 THC is known for its potent psychoactive effects, which can include altered perception, increased heart rate, and impaired coordination. It is also associated with a range of potential medical benefits, including pain relief, reduced nausea, and increased appetite.

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IV. Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC

Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are two similar cannabinoids with some key differences in their chemical structure, psychoactive effects, legality, and medical benefits. However, when it comes to products, you can easily find both Delta 9 and Delta 8 coming in a variety of products, such as vapes, gummies, tinctures, edibles, disposables, carts, dabs, flower, capsules, etc.

Chemical structure

The main difference between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is in their chemical structure. Delta-8 THC has a double bond on the 8th carbon atom, while Delta-9 THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon atom. While it sounds like a small variation, as we can see below, this difference in the placement of the double bond results in some notable differences in their effects on the body.

Psychoactive effects

It is safe to claim that in most cases and for most people Delta-8 THC is less psychoactive than Delta-9 THC, meaning that it has a milder and more relaxing effect on the body. Delta-8 THC is often described as providing a more clear-headed and focused high, with less anxiety and paranoia than Delta-9 THC. Some users have also reported feeling more energetic and creative after using Delta-8 THC. However, as the variety of products in the market is evolving, it is now very common to find blended products, featuting many cannabinoids, which makes it harder to back-up such claims.

On the other hand, Delta-9 THC is more potent and can induce a more intense high, sometimes causing anxiety, paranoia, and even in very rare cases, hallucinations in some users. Delta-9 THC can also cause physical effects such as dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, and impaired coordination. For all trhat matters, when people discuss ‘Cannabis’ or ‘THC’ they usually refer to Delta-9 THC.

Legality

The legality of Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is a complex and constantly evolving issue. As a result of the 2018 farm bill, Delta-8 THC is legal at the federal level, but some states have banned it, while others have not yet made a decision. In contrast, Delta-9 THC remains illegal under federal law, but has been legalized for medical or recreational use in some states. All that said, a new Farm Bill loophole allows hemp-derived Delta-9 THC to be sold ‘legally’…

As a result, in the US, the legality of Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is largely determined by the source of the compounds and not by its psychoactive abilities. This might be change soom, in 2023 Farm Bill, coming sometime this year.

As we have seen, Delta-8 THC can be derived from hemp or cannabis, while Delta-9 THC is mainly found in cannabis, but also can derived from hemp. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived products were legalized at the federal level, as long as they contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by dry weight. This includes Delta-8 THC, which can be extracted from hemp. This opening has allowed a whole new market of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC which legality is constantly under quiestioning. However, this market is booming now so anyone can get any products they want, as long as it is coming from hemp…

This means that Delta-8 THC, and in some cases, Delta-9 THC products that are derived from hemp and meet the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill are legal at the federal level. However, some states have tried to ban it on a state level, while others have not yet made a decision on its legality. It is important to note that until 2023 Farm Bill will address these matters, the legality of THC at the state level can vary widely, and consumers should always check their state’s laws before purchasing or using Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC products.

Delta-8-THC-vs-Delta-9-THC - Legality
Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC – Legality

Ignoring the Delta 9 loophole, Delta-9 THC remains illegal under federal law, although several states have legalized it for medical or recreational use. However, it is still illegal to possess, sell or use Delta-9 THC products at the federal level, regardless of whether they are used for medical or recreational purposes. As discussed earlier, this is only true unless it is hemp-derived, or unless the new farm bill will decide to make some clear order here.

It is important to note that the legality of Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is a complex issue, and it is important for consumers to do their own research and understand the laws in their state before purchasing or using these products. Good luck with that…

Medical benefits

Like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC has shown potential in the treatment of various medical conditions. Some studies have suggested that Delta-8 THC may have antiemetic, analgesic, and anxiolytic effects, making it a potential treatment for nausea, pain, and anxiety. Additionally, Delta-8 THC has been found to stimulate appetite and can be used to combat the loss of appetite and weight loss associated with some medical conditions.

As the medical benfits of using cannabis is a huge field of study, we will devote a seperate article to it. However, when all debates are gone one thing remains true, which is the question is it good for you or not… My personal opinion is that if Delta-9 THC or Delta-8 THC have clear medical benefits (or even medicinal benefits) for you, this should be your decision whether or not to use it. However, under current regulations, nost people in the world are still denied this right and this is sad, especially when everyone see the huge medical benefits this plant is bringing us. Just be responsible when using it and act with caution.

As we can see in the article below, even Israel, the homeland of medical cannabis program, is now trying to restrict the access of medical cannabis to new patients.

Updates to Israel’s Medical Cannabis Program: Reduced THC Levels for New Patients

V. Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC: Which is Right for You?

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After comparing and contrasting Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC, you may be wondering which one is right for you. The answer depends on your individual needs and preferences.

If you are looking for a milder psychoactive effect and don’t want to experience the anxiety or paranoia associated with high doses of Delta-9 THC, products with low to medium levels Delta-8 THC may be a better option. Delta-8 THC has been reported to have a more relaxing and calming effect than Delta-9 THC, while still providing the euphoria and pain relief associated with cannabis use. It also has less of a “couch-lock” effect, meaning that it is less likely to make you feel lethargic or sedated.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a stronger psychoactive effect, or if you have a high tolerance to cannabis and want a more potent product, Delta-9 THC may be a better choice. Delta-9 THC is more widely available and has been studied more extensively than Delta-8 THC, which means that there is more information available about its effects and potential benefits.

It’s worth noting that the assumptions above are not written in stone and that today’s products are usually high-potency blends, so either you try for yourself to find what is right for you, or you look into the labels and start following how each compound and terpenes is affecting you. If you plan to use it for medical and not for recreational, it might be a smart move to consult a medical proffessional, as this is your health after all.

Whatever you do start low and grow slow, be responsible and use it with caution. Also. last but not least, have fun, as it is cannabis after all…

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VI. Everything might change with the 2023 Farm Bill

The 2023 Farm Bill is currently being constructed, and it is expected to bring changes to the legal status of hemp. A farm bill is an omnibus law that addresses a wide range of agricultural and food programs, and it is renewed every five years. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, and the Domestic Hemp Production Program established hemp as an agricultural crop that can be eligible for USDA farm programs if it complies with USDA regulations. However, the 2018 bill did not legalize CBD for internal and medical uses, or synthetics like THC-O, which no longer fit the legal definition of hemp.

The industry has taken advantage of this confusion and created other products, such as delta-8 THC, HHC, and hemp-derived Delta-9 THC. As the new farm bill is constructed, it is expected that new policies will be put in place to clarify the legal status of hemp, including CBD and other cannabinoids, and to address any other issues created by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC - Farm Bill
Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC – Farm Bill

Once we will see what is the new legality of hemp-derived psychoactive products, we will see what products are going to be legally available in 2024.

VII. Hemp vs Cannabis

As we have seen, the legality of these psychoactive products is mostly determined by the source of the compounds and not by its psychoactive abilities. As both products can be made from either cannabis or hemp, it might help to stop and see the key differences between the two.

Hemp and cannabis are two varieties of the Cannabis plant, but they differ in their chemical composition, physical characteristics, and uses. The main differences between hemp and cannabis are:

  1. Chemical Composition: Hemp and cannabis contain different levels of the cannabinoids THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), which are the two main active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. Hemp contains very low levels of THC, which farmers are trying to be less than 0.3%, while cannabis can contain much higher levels of THC, up to 30% or more. CBD levels can also differ between the two plants.
  2. Physical Characteristics: Hemp and cannabis also have different physical characteristics. Hemp plants are tall, narrow, and have fewer branches, while cannabis plants are shorter and bushier with more branches and leaves. Hemp also has thinner leaves and can grow in a wider range of climates than cannabis.
  3. Uses: Hemp and cannabis have different uses. Hemp was always grown for industrial purposes such as making paper, textiles, and building materials, as well as for its seeds, which are used in food and beauty products. Hemp is an amazing plant with many potential uses, such as Hemp plastic for example, with over 50,000 when last counted. CBD can also be extracted from hemp and used for medicinal purposes. Cannabis, on the other hand, is primarily grown for its psychoactive effects and is used for recreational and medicinal purposes.

In summary, the main differences between hemp and cannabis are their chemical composition, physical characteristics, and uses. Hemp contains very low levels of THC and is often grown for industrial purposes, while cannabis contains higher levels of THC and is used for its psychoactive effects.

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are two different cannabinoids with distinct chemical structures, uses, medical benefts and psychoactive effects. While Delta-8 THC is a newer and less studied compound, it has been usually reported to have a milder psychoactive effect than Delta-9 THC and may be a good option for those who are looking for a more relaxing and less potent cannabis experience. Delta-9 THC, on the other hand, is the more widely known and widely used compound, and has been studied more extensively for its potential medical benefits.

It’s important to note that both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC can have side effects, and their use should be approached with caution. As with any cannabis product, it’s important to ‘start low and grow slow’ to find the right level of effect. That way you wll also avoid from wating medicine… It’s also important to purchase products from reputable sources and to ensure that they have been third-party tested for purity and potency.

Ultimately, the choice between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC depends on your individual needs and preferences. By understanding the differences between these two compounds, you can make an informed decision and choose the product that is right for you.

IX. Keep Yourself Informed

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2 Comments

  • I’ve noticed here for a while the absence of CBD flower ect. Surely study’s have not stopped now that Thca flower ect is now being sold countrywide? One would come to figure that by now there’d be super strain CBD strain’s for what aills you. That would be if not then dang near phsycoactive? and where’s the deal’s on CBD? Maybe I’m just behide the time’s but the study of CBD was the one that brought about drivitives that are better than delta 9(THCa) could ever be mendcenily and catching a buzz ever be.

    • Good point, we will place CBD in our watch list, and also find some good deals on both CBD products and CBD flower.

About the author

Ofer Shoshani

Ofer Shoshani is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Cannadelics.