What’s the Difference Between Delta 8 and Delta 9?

by Staff

The cannabis plant has over 100 identified cannabinoids. All of these cannabinoids have different effects and uses, making the cannabis plant one of the most complex plant systems.

One cannabinoid that has been popular lately is Delta-8 THC. There are many things to consider when comparing Delta 8 and Delta 9.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC differs on a chemical level from Delta 9 by only a few atomic bonds. Like the cannabinoid Delta 9, Delta 8 has psychoactive properties, meaning it affects the way your brain works and gives you the “high” that many cannabis users talk about.

Some people who use Delta 8 report experiencing a smoother high without the paranoia or anxiety that sometimes occurs when using Delta 9. Although Delta 8 is psychoactive, it does not affect the mind as much as Delta 9, so some people prefer to consume it.

Interestingly, Delta 9 can actually degrade to Delta 8, if not stored properly. As Delta 9 begins to age and grow old, the double bond in the atom moves to the eighth carbon, which turns it into a Delta 9 compound.

Pros and cons of Delta 8 THC

There are many pros when it comes to Delta 8 THC consumption:

  • Stress relief;
  • Relieves anxiety;
  • “Calm” high;
  • Relieves nausea;
  • Natural pain reliever.

There are also a few downsides to being aware of when it comes to consuming Delta 8 THC:

  • Difficult to isolate and create;
  • Not legal in all states;
  • Higher in price;
  • As you can see, there are definitely more pros than cons to using Delta 8 THC.

What is a Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 THC is the part of the cannabis plant that gets you high, it’s the main psychoactive ingredient. In the 2018 Farm Bill, this is the only rule that makes your plant legal or illegal. If your plant contains more than 3% Delta 9 THC cannabinoid, the plant is considered a marijuana plant and is illegal at the federal level.

This intoxicating cannabinoid can cause mind-altering effects, but it also has many benefits.

Pros and cons of Delta 9 THC

Delta 9 THC has been used in human history as far back as 5,000 years ago. Advertised for its healing properties, Delta 9 THC has many pros:

  • Treats many conditions/diseases;
  • Stimulates appetite;
  • Stress reliever;
  • Relieves nausea;
  • Pain reliever.

Delta 9 is federally illegal, so there must be at least a few downsides, right? Here are some downsides to Delta 9 THC cannabinoid:

  • Alters your state of mind;
  • Can cause paranoia;
  • Old and outdated stigma against the plant.

It’s true that Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC have many of the same properties, but each suits different people for different reasons. That’s why it’s important to only buy Delta 9 from reputable companies like Joy Organics and CBDfx.

Strength and Effects

One of the most notable differences is in their contrasting potencies. Although Delta-8 and Delta-9 bind to the CB1 receptor, these compounds have different mechanisms of action. This is because their different molecular structure results in a different binding to the CB1 receptor. The CB1 receptor is responsible for mediating most of the psychotropic effects of THC. The fact that Delta-8 has weaker binding to such receptors means that it is about half as intoxicating as Delta-9. Possible benefits may include a calmer and more manageable high. In addition, Delta-8 tends to bind to CB2 receptors present in the immune system and digestive tract. This may explain why Delta-8 appears to have significantly better antiemetic effects than Delta-9.

Side effects

Both cannabinoids can cause negative side effects. We still know relatively little about Delta-8-THC. However, a study published in 1976 showed that Delta-8 and Delta-9 caused an increase in blood pressure in animals. This was because it temporarily narrowed blood vessels. Subsequently, the animals had a slower heart rate and a drop in blood pressure. Excessive intake of Delta-9 can lead to side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and even hallucinations. Since Delta-8 is less effective, there is less chance of these problems occurring.

Concentration in plants

Breeders are constantly finding new ways to grow cannabis plants with a high THC content. It is common to find strains with more than 25% THC, most of which are converted to Delta-9-THC. In contrast, most dried marijuana flowers contain less than 1% Delta-8-THC. Companies require the use of sophisticated equipment to properly extract Delta-8.


In the Delta 8 and Delta 9 debate, both cannabinoids are indeed found in cannabis and hemp plants. However, Delta 8 is relatively small compared to Delta 9, and it is about half as weak. People who want to use cannabinoids to treat various symptoms turn to Delta-8 because it provides less intoxication. Currently, Delta-8 from cannabis is technically illegal, although no one is 100 percent sure. Let’s hope the law becomes clear so the manufacturers of Delta-8 know their position.

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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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