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Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC: Which Cannabinoid is Which?

CBD has quickly become one of the most popular trends in today’s health and wellness market, and with good reasoning: CBD’s properties may provide a multitude of health benefits. As more research is conducted and published on hemp and the cannabinoids that it produces, attention is gradually accumulating around minor cannabinoids, such as Delta-8 THC (Δ8-THC), and major cannabinoids, such as Delta-9 THC (Δ9-THC) and CBD.


Seeing the word “THC” on a hemp-derived product label tends to enact a “run for the hills” response from apprehensive buyers that are CBD-curious. If this sounds familiar, do not fret! A CBD product containing a cannabinoid or two with the word THC in it does not mean it will induce an intense high!


Cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC and THCa are far less intoxicating than the well-renowned THC, and will not induce a high at the quantity it’d be present at.


Despite how similar these two cannabinoids sound, Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are quite different in how they affect you and your body, and may be used for different purposes and benefits.


As of 08/21/2020, the DEA took their position on Delta-8 THC, and it wasn’t in the favor of the CBD industry. Delta-8 has fallen into a “legal gray area” as of August 21st, and is deemed illegal to sell at a retail level. A lot of hemp-industry companies are fuming and retaliating this recent change to Delta-8’s legal status, some companies going as far as to press lawsuits against the DEA. To get more information about the recent legal changes involving Delta-8 THC, click here


Seabedee recognizes the importance of distinguishing these two cannabinoids, and is here to tell you everything you need to know about Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC. Stay tuned for an inside look into Δ9-THC and Δ8-THC, and how these cannabinoids are different from one another.

Delta-8 THC (Δ8-THC)

Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta-8 THC, is a minor cannabinoid that’s having a major come-up in the hemp and CBD industry. Why? We’re going to tell you all about that. But first let’s start with the basics.


Delta-8 THC is known to be a oxidized form of THC, and it appears in miniscule concentrations in the hemp plant. This means that if a CBD product contains high quantities of Delta-8 THC, then the farming practice was meticulously done an influx of Delta-8 (which may cross legal boundaries, as of 08/21/2020).


Unlike CBD, which is said to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors found in our endocannabinoid system, and unlike Delta-9 THC, which binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, Delta-8 THC binds to only the CB1 receptor, however it is said to also have an effect on the CB2 receptor (we just don’t know what exactly). 


This particular interaction that  Delta-8 THC has with the ENS receptors causes a relaxed psychoactive effect that is said to be far less intense than the high produced by Delta-9 THC. For this reason, many people have found Delta-8 THC to be attractive for it’s calming effect that permits a minimal and functionable high experience. 


In addition, the Delta-8 cannabinoid offers promise in the therapeutic and medicinal realm. One study found Delta-8 may offer cancer-fighting properties, anti-tumor properties, and strengthening properties to the immune system. Furthermore, Delta-8 THC is recognized by NCBI for its calming, anti-nausea, antiemetic, appetite-stimulating, and neuroprotective properties.

Delta-9 THC (Δ9-THC)

Delta-9 THC is the THC that most of us are familiar with. It induces psychotropic effects that cause users to experience a substantial high. Hemp-derived CBD always has a THC content of 0.3% or less, which is why there is no high effect from using whole plant CBD. 


Delta-9 THC is structurally very similar to Delta-8 THC: Although both have double-bonds on their molecular chain, Delta-9 has it on the ninth carbon chain, while Delta-8 has it on the 8th.


Another key difference between Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC is that Delta-9 is less stable, meaning it is easily oxidized into CBN or Delta-8 THC. Delta-8, on the other hand, is stable and doesn’t oxidize into CBD (in fact, Delta-8 is said to prolong shelf life). 


Delta-9 THC is used medicinally for pain management, glaucoma, muscle spasticity, nausea, insomnia, and for some, anxiety.


Federally, Delta-9 THC is not considered to be legal, however it is federally legal if it is hemp-derived and it’s dry weight content does not exceed 0.3%. Delta-9 THC derived from marijuana is not federally legal, however it is legalized in several states medicinally and some even recreationally, like her in California. 

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