Delta-8 is the most popular THC alternative available thanks to how close its effects are to traditional delta-9 THC. Like ordinary cannabis-derived THC, delta-8 THC is known for its euphoric and pain-relieving properties. However, it’s just a tad less potent. Here’s a complete guide to delta-8 THC. 

What is delta-8 THC? 

Delta-8 THC is a chemical compound that can be found in trace amounts in hemp plants. It offers a lot of the same effects as delta-9 THC— the kind found in cannabis known for its intoxicating effects. However, their chemical structures are different by one bond. For this reason, it has a harder time binding to our endocannabinoid systems which causes it to feel less intense than THC. 

While delta-8 THC is found in small amounts in hemp plants, it’s more economically viable to synthesize it from CBD using a series of chemical reactions. Basically, CBD is extracted from hemp plants. It’s then refined into an isolate, after which it undergoes a series of chemical reactions to synthesize the pure CBD isolate into delta-8 THC. But that said, even though it’s synthesized from CBD, it’s nearly identical to THC.

With nearly identical chemical compositions, delta-8 and delta-9 THC share similar effects. Just like regular THC, delta-8 bonds to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and causes a high along with several physiological and therapeutic effects. If you’re looking for something milder than THC but with similar effects, you’ll probably enjoy delta-8 THC. 

How are delta-8 and delta-9 THC different

Here we’re going to break down a little science. As we mentioned, the only real difference between delta-8 and delta-9 THC is their chemical composition and how that difference makes them feel different from one another. 

Delta-9 THC has a double bond on its ninth carbon chain, which is where it gets the nine in its name. Delta-8 on the other hand has a double bond on its eighth carbon chain instead. This small difference makes it harder for the ECS to process delta-8, which is why delta-8 feels milder than delta-9. 

What is delta-8 THC? — The Hemptender

Delta-8 THC concentrates by The Hemptender

Will delta-8 THC get you high? 

It sure will! Delta-8 THC gets you high in the same way as delta-9, though because of the positioning of its double bond, it’s harder for the ECS to process it. This leads to less potent effects that have given delta-8 THC the nickname “diet weed”. 

People use delta-8 in place of other THC alternatives because it’s a great way to experience the effects of cannabis in places where cannabis is still illegal. Alternatively, many people use it therapeutically in place of delta-9 THC because it offers less intense effects. For example, delta-9 THC is known for causing anxiety and paranoia in some people, but delta-8 is a more clearheaded and milder high. 

What are some of the effects of delta-8? 

Delta-8 THC feels a lot like THC, though it feels much less intense. In most people, it causes the same sense of euphoria and pain relief as standard THC. It may be used for insomnia, lack of appetite, nausea, pain, depression, sour moods, and stress relief. That said, it offers practically all the same effects, but it feels less potent. 

Like standard THC, delta-8 may cause drowsiness, dry eyes, a case of the munchies, and cottonmouth. In high doses, it may still cause anxiety, paranoia, and short-term memory loss. Just keep in mind that delta-8 THC isn’t studied nearly as much as delta-9 THC, so more research is still needed to accurately portray the range of its effects, uses, and long-term effects on the mind and body. 

Is delta-8 THC legal? 

Delta-8 THC is in a legal gray area right now. As it stands, several states have banned delta-8 THC for its similarities to delta-9 THC, which is a Schedule I substance. However, since delta-8 THC is a hemp-derived substance and not a cannabis-derived substance, it’s technically legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. As long as a hemp extract or product contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC, it’s legal. However, as mentioned, in many states where cannabis is still illegal, delta-8 has been banned too

Is delta-8 safe? 

Generally speaking, delta-8 THC is just as safe as delta-9 THC. It’s processed within the body the same way and generally received well with little to no lasting side effects. However, the delta-8 market itself is a tricky mistress. Practically speaking, it’s difficult to say if delta-8 THC is pure. Delta-8 THC isn’t regulated anywhere near as well as delta-9 THC, so there’s a possibility of buying untested, and unsafe products. 

Always purchase delta-8 THC from reputable companies who offer third-party lab test results on their labels and their website to rule out dangerous impurities. You should also take care to purchase from companies that have lab-tested hemp sourced from reputable farms. 

Delta-8 THC by The Hemptender

Delta-8 edibles by The Hemptender

Where to buy safe, legal delta-8 THC 

It’s up to you to weigh the risks and benefits of THC alternatives like delta-8 THC. You should also make sure that delta-8 is legal in your state to ensure you can’t get in trouble for having it. Never buy delta-8 from companies willing to ship their products to a state where it’s illegal, and beware of internet scams claiming free trials or dangerously low prices. This typically means that the product didn’t undergo testing and may be unsafe. 

You should only purchase delta-8 THC from companies that offer accurate dosing information, accurate sourcing information, and proudly offer their lab-test results on their website — like The Hemptender. If you’re ready to try delta-8 THC for yourself, check out our line of delta-8 topicals, tinctures, concentrates, edibles, hemp flowers, and pre-rolls right here.