For the uninitiated, trying to figure out what the difference is between Delta 8 THC (Delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, to give it its full name) and Delta 9 can feel like a slightly confusing exercise. Or at the very least, like a trip down memory lane to science class.
Proponents of the two will often describe Delta 8 in loose terms, as a less potent hit of the chemical compound that produces the effect of feeling high. ‘Diet Weed’ if you will.
And while that gets you part of the way there, if you’re here reading this, you’re probably looking for a little more to work with. Let us try and help.
Delta 8 vs. Delta 9
It’s not just a similar name. Both Delta 8 and Delta 9 also have similar molecular structures and are both extracted from the Sativa strain of the cannabis plant family, so it’s not surprising that they are often confused.
Both substances are forms of THC – the active component in weed that makes you feel high. While Delta 9 occurs naturally in cannabis plants in large amounts (the primary ‘isomer’) – Delta 8, while also natural, is present at a much lower rate – typically less than 3% of the cannabinoids found.
Cannabinoids are the ‘psychoactive’ compounds found in the cannabis plant – the stuff that impacts your nervous system and ultimately creates the sensation of being high. There are 113 known cannabinoids – CBD (cannabidiol) is another you are likely familiar with. Similarly natural, but even less potent than THC compounds.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
While the compounds of the two substances differ in terms of their effect, they are also extracted in different ways. Marijuana contains high levels of Delta 9 (and lower levels of Delta 8) and in many states is still outright illegal. Hemp plants also contain the two THC compounds but usually, at much lower levels – Hemp needs to contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 in order to be considered legal.
In terms of legality, Delta 8 differs from Delta 9 in that there are no real rules on the amount of Delta 8 a plant can contain before it’s considered a ‘drug’. Because Delta 8 occurs at such a low rate in most plants, lawmakers didn’t even consider legislating it (though we are starting to see signs of ‘the man’ waking up there) – and as a result, Delta 8 is today widely sold and enjoyed legally across many parts of the United States.
Hemp plants themselves tend to be grown outdoors in natural conditions, while marijuana is usually more highly cultivated indoors and under lights (think your typical weed farm). This has led some to see hemp as the more organic alternative, and when farmed correctly, they tend to avoid pesticides and chemicals. If you’re looking for a natural hit – hemp-derived Delta 8 is your best bet.
The Different Highs
Delta 8 is typically described as being about half as effective as Delta 9 in terms of inducing the feeling of high in the body. While it works in a similar way, the intensity and impact of the compound are quite simply less pronounced and will typically produce a longer and slower impact in terms of how you feel.
While the ‘high’ itself – once it hits – is pretty comparable in many ways to Delta 9 – Delta 8 is known to have typically lighter effects overall, and that includes in terms of the more negative side-effects associated with marijuana use. Feelings such as paranoia, mental fog or sluggishness, and anxiety are typically not seen to be associated with Delta 8 in the same way as its slightly stronger cousin.
While dosage will ultimately impact the overall effect – many users of Delta 8 have reported that the benefits – a sense of lightness, relaxation, in some cases the ability to concentrate more or a sense of clarity – are more noticeable, hence the rise in popularity of Delta 8 as a reliable weed variant. A last note, many have also recommended Delta 8 as a sleep aid (with a similar relaxing effect to CBD) – as there is also less grogginess associated with its consumption.
While ultimately a personal choice, there are a number of good reasons to consider trying Delta 8 as a more relaxed high. The simple fact of it being legal in the State of Georgia, might be enough alone for those looking for a buzz without any question of legality ‘harshing your mellow’.
You can explore our full range of Delta 8 products over at ATL Dispensary, and don’t hesitate to reach out if there are any unanswered questions we can help you with.