Cannabis is a unique plant, and we really have only scratched the surface on what it is made of and what all it can do.
We know that cannabis is made up of more than 100 different compounds called cannabinoids. But of these over 100 compounds, we really only know a lot about its two most prominent: THC and CBD.
Recently, however, another compound has been emerging as a popular one, and science is slowly starting to look into exactly how it works and how we can harness its potential. The name of this compound? Delta-8.
What Is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. If the last part of the name looks familiar, it should! Delta-8 and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are similar, but delta-9 is more commonly known as just THC. Though they both have the “THC” in their names, in this article, THC will refer to delta-9 only.
This compound can be extracted from either hemp or cannabis and is known for giving similar effects to THC. But many people are starting to look for delta-8 products because while they offer similar effects to THC, delta-8 is not as potent as THC is.
So, what’s responsible for the different strengths of effects of these similar compounds? Science is still looking into it. But we do know that delta-8 and THC differ in the way they react with our receptors and in their molecular makeup.
THC and delta-8 both have a double bond in their chain of carbon atoms. THC’s double bond is located on the ninth carbon (hence the delta-9 name), while delta-8’s double bond is—you guessed it—on the eighth carbon.
Just as you can find THC products on the market, such as THC oil and THC capsules, more and more delta-8 specific products are popping up, too. And many manufacturers are working to increase the production of this specific compound. Let’s see why.
5 Benefits of Delta-8
You may be wondering why all the fuss over this specific compound? Here are five benefits delta-8 offers those who use it.
- It is less potent than THC. THC is known for producing the high effect people associate with cannabis use. But for some, THC can be too strong, making taking cannabis difficult or even scary. Because delta-8 is less potent, it can appeal to many people who want the effects of THC but in a lower dose.
- It is legal…even when THC isn’t. Delta-8 exists in a bit of a gray zone when it comes to legality. As some countries, provinces, and territories restrict the amount of THC people can use, delta-8 often skirts around these restrictions since it can be extracted from hemp plants. This is especially true in the United States, where hemp is legal federally, but cannabis isn’t.
- Delta-8 offers uplifting effects. Though it is important to remember that everyone will react to delta-8 differently, for the most part, people enjoy the effects it offers. Delta-8 is known for providing feelings such as euphoria and general happiness. Users can get the high THC has to offer but without the worry of getting too high.
- Delta-8 helps you relax. One reason many people use cannabis is to relax. Delta-8 has been said to help provide users with ultimate relaxation—without worrying about experiencing the paranoia and increased stress THC can sometimes bring with it.
- It may help relieve pain. Some delta-8 users and early studies have shown that when applied topically, delta-8 can help relieve pain for some people. More research is needed to learn more about this potential benefit of delta-8.
Finding Delta-8 and Other Options
Delta-8 is a fairly new product, and some people may have a hard time finding delta-8 cannabis products. And if you do find them, they may be a bit on the pricey side. But if you do happen to find delta-8 on an online dispensary, be sure to read the label and look for a certificate of analysis to ensure it contains what it says it does.
Though delta-8 is known to be weaker than THC, you never really know how your body will react to it. The first time you use delta-8, you should still start with a lower dose to see what effects it provides you. Then, slowly up your dosage as you feel comfortable.
If you struggle to find delta-8 products in your area, there are other options. You can always just use very small amounts of cannabis with THC, or you can try out CBD products.
CBD is the second most prominent compound in cannabis. It is known for offering much of the same effects (relaxation, etc.) as THC but does not get users high. That is one reason there are so many CBD products out there.
So, if trying cannabis is a little scary for you and you can’t find delta-8 products, CBD is an excellent alternative. You’ll get some of the effects cannabis has to offer, but none of the high.
Delta-8: Final Thoughts
Delta-8 is perhaps the newest cannabis product on the market today. One of the more than 100 compounds that make up a cannabis plant, delta-8 is a cousin to the more well-known compound, THC.
Though THC and delta-8 are very similar, delta-8 is known for being less potent than THC is. For many people, the less strong effects are a big benefit, allowing them to try cannabis without worrying about taking too much THC.
Even though delta-8 is known for being less powerful than THC, you never know how your body will react to a new substance. That’s why you should still start with a smaller amount the first time you use delta-8. You can always take more as you go.
Because delta-8 is new and very in-demand, finding these products can be challenging. If your dispensary is out or doesn’t yet carry them, you may consider trying CBD products. These don’t get users high at all, so they aren’t quite the same, but some may find it preferable to using THC.