If you’ve heard of delta-8, you’re already ahead of the curve with what’s happening in the realm of THC. As it becomes more and more popular, you may be curious what all the hype is about. What exactly is delta-8 and how is it different from other cannabinoids? Knowing all of this, why would we invest so much of our time and energy into presenting you with a dynamic product collection such as Eighty Six?
WHAT CANNABINOIDS ARE IN CANNABIS PLANTS?
For starters, we refer to cannabis plants as both marijuana plants and hemp. So let’s start at a very high level with the basics. Cannabinoids are the naturally-occurring compounds that are found in both plants. There are over 100 different cannabinoids, each with its respective, unique properties. Despite the huge offering of cannabinoids, there are only two that are psychoactive.
The most popular and well-known of these cannabinoids is delta-9 THC. It’s the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and when you think of getting “high,” you are most likely referring to a product that contains delta-9 THC. The only other compound that is psychoactive is delta-8 THC, which is much newer and starting to gain a lot of traction.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES AND DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN DELTA-8 AND DELTA-9?
The molecular structure of Delta-8 THC
The molecular structure of Delta-9 THC
Now that we understand that delta-8 and delta-9 are both psychoactive cannabinoids, let’s break down where they are alike and how they are different. From the standpoint of getting “high,” both types of THC bind to the B1 receptor in our endocannabinoid system. Form a chemical standpoint, both types of of THC also have a double-bond on their carbon chains.
The two key differences that are arguably minor are: where the double-bond is located at a chemical level, and the intensity of binding to the CB1 receptors. Delta-8 THC has a double-bound on the eighth carbon chain, while delta-9 THC has it on the ninth. This ight seem like scientific jumbo, but this subtle difference is enough to create distinctions in how each type of THC is received by our bodies.
Although both bind to the same receptor in our endocannabinoid system, delta-9 binds roughly three times better than that of delta-8. The intensity of the binding with delta-9, makes delta-9 far more potent compared to delta-8, and also increases the intensity of the psychoactive properties. A double-edged sword, the increased intensity of delta-9 can create a stronger “high” but also trigger negative side effects such as paranoia, worry, and sluggishness. These symptoms are not prevalent with delta-8.
WHY IS DELTA-8 THE ATTRACTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO DELTA-9?
While delta-8 and delta-9 are very similar and both have psychoactive properties, we’ve already established one key difference. Delta-9, which is the type of of THC most consumers are familiar with, comes with the possibility of negative side effects.
AVOID POTENTIAL NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS WITH STANDARD DELTA-9 CANNABIS
While it is different for everyone, the potential for a “bad trip” is one of the least attractive qualities about getting high. Whether it is the worry and dread, or the sluggishness and feeling of exhaustion, these negative symptoms can create a poor experience. Although this is a downside that many avid THC users are willing to overlook, it is something that can be avoided by utilizing delta-8 THC instead.
Unlike the high from standard delta-9 cannabis, the high from delta-8 THC is less intense, but still offers an enjoyable psychoactive experience. Users of delta-8 report a more uplifting high, compared to delta-9, and feeling energized and clear-headed. It has been described as a high that you are more in control of – the same surge of calm associated with being stoned, without those negative effects.
DELTA-8 THC IS FEDERALLY LEGAL
If you’re surprised to hear that delta-8 is federally legal, that’s because it’s a relatively new development. Although delta-8 has been around for a few years, the 2018 Farm Bill made it legally unclear whether it was still part of the Controlled Substances Act. However, just this past August (2020), the DEA released an addendum that exempts the delta-8 cannabinoid as long as it is derived from hemp.
What does this mean? It essentially mean that hemp-derived delta-8 THC is perfectly legal, although there are further limitations in certain states. Why is this a noteworthy point? Well, the August 2020 addendum, more or less, creates an official loophole for people to get high, legally – although, that probably wasn’t their intention.
DELTA-8 IS AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE ONLINE WITHOUT THE NEED OF A DISPENSARY
As we just discussed, delta-8 is federally legal. Because the Farm Bill was focused on delta-9 THC, delta-8 is under the radar for the time being. From a legal standpoint, this makes delta-8 a much better option to getting your high than standard delta-9 THC. As an added advantage to that fact, this also make it much more accessible than standard cannabis. Why? This is because you can easily purchase delta-8 THC online, without being restricted to dispensaries and physical locations.
DELTA-8 IS A PREMIUM PRODUCT AND HARDER TO COME BY
Although both delta-8 and delta-9 are naturally found in cannabis plants, the quantities are vastly different. Delta-9 is found in abundance – a large reason why it has been the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis products for so long. Comparatively, delta-8 exists only in small quantities. This makes it harder to come by, and logically a premium ingredient.
Because it exists naturally in such small amounts, other cannabinoids are actually utilized to produce delta-8 THC. In fact, both CBD and delta-9 are used as “starters” to produce delta-8 through various means. The most common method for converting CBD and delta-9 to delta-8 is through heat, but they can also be converted through solvents, altered pH environments (particularly ones high in acidity), and catalysts.
Additionally, because delta-8 is newer to the scene, there is a smaller supply to begin with. There are not many brands that produce delta-8 specific products, increasing the value and demand for delta-8 THC even more. Combined with the various other benefits, it is no wonder that this is considered the premium, luxury version of standard delta-9 THC.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In the cannabis sativa plant, there are over 100 compounds but only two that are psychoactive. Between delta-8 and delta-9, the one that has been on the market the longest and is most well-known by THC users is delta-9.
If you are familiar with cannabis culture, you may recognize that part of getting stoned is the possibility of unwanted side effects. Although this has become a widely accepted tradeoff, the potential for feelings of paranoia, worry, and lethargy are one of the less appealing traits of using cannabis products.
On the other hand, the lesser known “little sibling” of standard delta-9 THC, is delta-8. Delta-8 has minor differences at the chemical level when compared to delta-9, but attractive benefits. It is less potent and binds less intensely to the receptors in our endocannabinoid system. The result is a smoother high that comes without said negative side effects.
Beyond the physiological benefits, delta-8 is also federally legal thanks to the DEA’s latest addendum to the 2018 Farm Bill. Although some states have additional limitations, the addendum exempts hemp-derived delta-8 THC from the Controlled Substances Act.
The subsequent perk of being federally legal is the accessibility of delta-8 THC. Unlike delta-9 THC which needs to be purchased via a dispensary, delta-8 is available to purchase directly online. All of these factors, combined with the fact that delta-8 is in short supply, makes it a luxury alternative to the standard cannabis products.
With limited supple and limited suppliers, choosing delta-8 over other cannabinoids is very much treating yourself to a delicacy.