What Is Delta-8 THC? Everything You Need to Know

by Staff
delta 8 thc everything you need to know

Did you know that hemp and cannabis products aren’t just limited to THC and CBD? There are numerous hemp derivatives out there for you to try, and one, in particular, is taking the market by storm.

A cannabinoid called delta 8 is increasingly popular and for good reason. We’re going to take a look at delta 8 THC in this article, giving you some insight into what it is, how it works in the body, and how it might be able to benefit you.

Let’s take a look at this new and exciting hemp derivative.

Understanding Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC might sound like some newfangled branding name for an unexciting product. You might be surprised to find out, though, that the standard THC that we all know is actually called delta-9-THC.

It’s referred to simply as “THC” only because it’s the most prominent cannabinoid in marijuana. To get a good understanding of delta 8, we have to look at how cannabis and hemp operate are composed and what they do when they’re introduced to the body.

Cannabinoid Basics

Cannabis and hemp are composed of roughly one hundred chemical compounds called cannabinoids. These are compounds that are distinct to the cannabis plant and interact seamlessly with the receptors in our bodies.

While some plants have cannabinoids in higher amounts than others, a naturally growing hemp or cannabis plant is certain to have more than your basic THC and CBD.

That said, CBD and THC are the two dominant active cannabinoids in cannabis, which is why we know so much about them. The other 98, though, provide similar effects when they’re introduced to the body, but not much research has been done on most of them.

The legality of cannabis and hemp can be tricky, so it’s tough for the industry to move forward on the research of different compounds, even if they might pose huge medicinal benefits.

Delta 8 THC is a compound that has a structure that is very similar to delta 9 THC. The differences it does have, though, make a difference in the effect it produces.

The way that cannabinoids affect the body depends on how they interact with the endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is a network embedded in the receptors present throughout the body. Our nervous systems stretch throughout the entirety of our bodies, branching up into each stretch of skin, all the way down to the matter in our hearts.

Everything routes back into the spine and neck, then all the way back to the brain where the information is interpreted. The nuts and bolts of the nervous system are neurons, which are equipped with little receptors.

Those receptors take in different neurotransmitters and chemical compounds produce different reactions. When a compound is received by the receptor, it creates a message that prompts the brain to produce hormones, signal pain, sends immune responses, and more.

delta 8 thc

Photo by Len Mora on Unsplash

The endocannabinoid system is embedded in that system. Two receptors in our neurons, CB1 and CB2, are responsible for dealing with cannabinoids and the production of various hormones throughout the body.

The extent of the endocannabinoid system’s importance is not yet understood. We discovered it recently, but we do know that it’s important for immune response, pain signaling, neurotransmitter function, appetite, and sleep.

Another piece of the puzzle that’s well-understood is how a few of the primary cannabinoids interact with the system.

Let’s break down those relationships in a simple way.

CB Receptors and Common Cannabinoids

As we mentioned, the two dominant receptors in the endocannabinoid system are CB1 and CB2.

It’s believed that CB1 receptors are wired to interact with areas of the brain more than areas of the body. In particular, CB1 pathways involve the frontal cortex as well as the amygdala.

CB2 is directed more toward issues in the body. Immune response, for example, is a big factor in the role of CB2 receptors. Delta-9-THC binds with CB1 receptors.

This is why THC produces strong psychoactive effects on humans. THC binds to the CB1 receptors and results in the increased production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. The result is a unique state of mind, with effects depending mind and mental state of the user.

CBD is known to engage more with CB2 receptors. This leads to the physical benefits that so many people use CBD for. Anti-inflammation, pain relief, and decreased anxiety are just a few of the benefits that people report.

Delta-8-THC engages with CB2 receptors as well. The interesting thing is that it’s extremely close to THC in nature, but it operates in different areas of the body than normal THC does.

This makes for an unusual high that might be exactly what some users are looking for.

Do You Get Anxious or Paranoid on Cannabis?

An issue that a lot of people have with feeling a little strange while they’re using THC. Part of the point is to feel different than you normally would, but some individuals experience racing thoughts and anxiety while high.

It’s hard to pinpoint why some people feel this way and others don’t. There are numerous factors that come into play like existing anxiety, the situation, a person’s chemical makeup, and the strain of cannabis in question.

Another big piece is the fact that CB1 receptors have such a strong impact on the amygdala. The amygdala is what commands your anxiety, feelings of fear, and ultimately paranoia.

People who experience some mental illnesses might have slight abnormalities in the amygdala which cause it to produce rapid or unusual thoughts. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, for example, is due in part to intrusive thoughts prompted by the amygdala.

When you introduce a new substance that amplifies or decreases activity in that area of the brain, you might experience some things that other people don’t. This makes it difficult for a lot of people to consume cannabis without feeling entirely out of place.

CBD products almost never have this effect, while THC products do.

Delta-8-THC might be a good solution to this issue if you’re a person who has anxiety while using cannabis, though.

The High of Delta 8

A lot of people refer to delta 8 as “THC light” or something of that nature. Another good nickname is “weed’s little brother.”

It’s not as powerful as delta 9 is, yet it still produces a lot of the benefits that you look for when using cannabis medicinally. The psychoactive quality of delta 8 isn’t nearly as significant, but it still produces a hint of the high that THC provides.

At the same time, it helps with appetite, immune system response, nausea and vomiting, and pain relief. Those effects are present in equal measure, while the difficult mental effects aren’t quite as strong.

Think of it like the brief moment of clarity you get when you use THC, just before all of the thinking and anxiety kicks in (if you’re someone that has cannabis-induced anxiety).

One potential reason for this is the fact that delta 8 doesn’t operate on the same receptors as THC does. This could lead the substance to produce light psychoactive effects while taking on some of the benefits that CBD is traditionally known for.

So, if you’re a person who used to enjoy cannabis but can’t quite get past the mental effects, it might be a good option for you. It’s also good if you’re easing your way into cannabis use.

Those who have been prescribed cannabis might not feel entirely comfortable using it right off of the bat.

Delta 8 is an Anxiolytic

What in the world is an anxiolytic?

It’s anything that can be used to effectively reduce anxiety. To earn that mouthful of a name though, the substance has to operate on the areas of the body and brain that contribute to anxiety.

Other drugs that fall into this class are Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan. Don’t get too worried about those comparisons, though, because those drugs are extremely heavy hitters that are entirely different from delta 8.

The drugs listed above are opioids and can lead to addiction, overdose, and a number of other nasty side effects.

So, if you’re looking for an effective way to curb your anxiety, you can give delta 8 a try without worrying if it’s going to hit you too hard.

Varieties Available

Delta-8-THC is present very minimally in cannabis. While it’s produced naturally, it also comes as a result of cannabis that has been sitting for a while.

Over time, delta-9-THC degrades into delta-8. As a result of its rarity, it’s hard to get a lot of concentrated delta-8-THC. The most common method is to extract and synthesize cannabis to get the delta 8 out of it.

Follow the link for all you need to know about delta-8 production and extraction.

Just because the product has to be extracted and synthesized, though, doesn’t mean that there’s just one concentrated product available. You can choose from Sativas, Indicas, and hybrids if you want to.

Most of the options that you have will be in the form of liquid that needs to be vaporized. It may take some time for professionals to engineer cannabis plants to contain only delta-8-THC in place of delta-9.

The point is that there are a variety of options for you to explore if you don’t like the first delta 8 product that you try.

Is Delta 8 Legal?

Another advantage to those of you that live in states where cannabis is illegal is that delta 8 is legal in most cases.

We say most cases because it has to have a delta-9-THC content of less than 0.3 percent to be federally legal. Other than that, though, the federal government sees delta 8 as legal because it’s a hemp derivative and doesn’t contain illegal levels of delta-9.

If you’re purchasing pens, though, make sure that the THC levels are under the legal limit, because stores in states that have legalized might sell different blends.

According to the federal government, hemp derivatives like CBD are legal when they don’t have more than 0.3 percent. This opens things up a lot and makes it easy for you to buy the products you need.

Trying THC Products Out

If you’re new to the process of trying out cannabis or hemp derivatives, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Try to start out in a comfortable environment with very few factors that are outside of your control. Your house on a day off from work, for example, is a great place to start.

You never know how a product will affect you, especially if you’re using THC of any kind for the first time. Stressful events could be a little overwhelming and difficult to manage.

For example, your roommates come home and are extremely loud or your boss calls you and tells you you’re late for work. These are situations that would otherwise be easy to handle but can be hard if you’re having a strange reaction to the THC.

Delta 8 is commonly used as a product that incorporates into your life. It’s a light and easy alternative to THC when you’re used to it. Getting to know the ropes on your own or with a trusted friend, though, is important.

If you’re not interested in the high, however light, the best alternative is CBD. CBD operates on many of the same areas as delta 8 and has shown to be beneficial for a number of issues including anxiety.

There’s a lot more to learn about hemp products as well as their derivatives. New products and information are popping up all of the time, expanding what we know about cannabis and its byproducts.

In many cases, that new information leads us to medical improvements, greater awareness of cannabis, and the gradual legalization of this wonderful plant.

Interested in Learning More?

If you think that delta 8 THC might be a good option for you, we’re here to put you in touch with more insight into how it works. You can never know enough when you’re exploring new medicines.

Explore our site for more ideas on delta 8, delta 9, cannabis, CBD, and a whole lot more.

Photo by Christina Winter on Unsplash

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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