hemp leaves on wooden background, seeds, cannabis oil extracts in jars.

With over 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis flower, we have only begun to scratch the surface of possibility. As we begin to explore the full potential of THC and CBD, new discoveries and uses continue to come to light.

Delta 8 THC was discovered in 1970, but it wasn’t until recently that it became a leading participant in the cannabis industry. Although it is available in several forms, Delta 8 oil stands out as the newest and most exciting trend.

What exactly is Delta 8 THC? How is it different from regular THC? What are the benefits of using Delta 8 oils? 

This guide will tell you everything you need to know. 

What is Delta 8?

Most people are familiar with CBD and THC as compounds found within the cannabis plant. Some even know their proper names: cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is there are different variations of these compounds. 

Delta 8 THC is a derivative of the hemp plant and a lesser-known cousin of Delta 9, the kind of THC that gets you “high.” Although Delta 8 is one of the four most common cannabinoids, in nature it only appears in trace amounts. 

To experience the full effects of this cannabinoid, it must first be distilled into a concentrated version. Some budtenders have managed to increase the concentration of Delta 8 within their plants through selective breeding, but distillation is still preferred and necessary for full potency. 

One of the ways to produce Delta 8 THC is by converting Delta 9 THC by exposing it to various temperatures and vacuum pressures. This is followed by the removal of residual impurities.

However, the more viable route is distilling Delta 8 directly from CBD in the hemp plant. This extraction method is superior to Delta 9 conversion because it results in the highest and purest yield of Delta 8 THC. 

Delta 8 vs Delta 9

Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are what science refers to as analogous compounds. In other words, they both perform similar functions but vary in structure. 

Function

Due to the location of the bonds within the Delta 8 and Delta 9 molecules, they interact differently with the endocannabinoid system. This intricate receptor network is responsible for regulating countless bodily functions. It plays a role in immune response, digestive health, stress, anxiety, metabolism, cardiovascular function, the skeletal muscular system, and nerve function. 

Due to its similarity to endocannabinoids produced by the body, THC has the ability to bind with receptor points. Delta 9 is known for its affinity for binging with CB1 receptors, which are common within the nervous system, whereas Delta 8 binds with both CB1 and CB2 receptor sites. 

Why Choose Delta 8?

Delta 8 and Delta 9 perform similar functions, but their effects on the user can be quite different. 

Many people find the high from Delta 9 THC too intense. Rather than relax and ease they experience heightened anxiety and sometimes paranoia. An initial bad experience with Delta 9 THC can lead people to forsake the substance for good. 

Fortunately, the high produced by Delta 8 THC is milder and less likely to inspire feelings of panic. This is because Delta 8 has two-thirds of the potency of Delta 9. Delta 8 also induces the high at a much slower rate, leading to a gradual and relaxed onset.

Delta 8 vs CBD

The main difference between Delta 8 THC and CBD is the latter has no psychoactive qualities.

CBD still binds with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Its benefits include decreased pain, anxiety, and stress. It is also a great aid for relaxation and sleep. However, it will not produce altered states of consciousness or intense hunger. 

For those who are regular CBD users but have been thinking of branching out, Delta 8 is a great way to habituate to the effects of other cannabinoids. 

Medical Benefits of Delta 8

According to The National Cancer Institute, Delta 8 THC has many practical health benefits, including “antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” 

Analgesic

Similar to CBD and THC, Delta 8 has been known to relieve pain and inflammation. This is because it binds with CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system to help regulate nervous system activity. It will also provide a nice relaxing high, reducing any physical tension contributing to the pain. 

Antiemetic 

This is one of the greatest known benefits of Delta 8 oil and other products. It has been used as an effective solution for nausea, including in patients undergoing intense or invasive medical treatments. In one study Delta 8 successfully prevented vomiting in children receiving chemotherapy.  

It has also been suggested that Delta 8 THC is suitable for relieving nausea related to hangovers. It should be noted that any evidence supporting this claim is purely anecdotal. 

Anxiolytic

Delta 8 THC shows promise when it comes to reducing stress and feelings of anxiety. Unlike Delta 9, which often provokes anxiety and sometimes paranoia, Delta 8 provides a calm high, with increases focus and clarity.   

Appetite Stimulant 

Similar to its psychoactive cousin, Delta 8 oils are known to increase appetite. However, its use will not result in the overbearing and insatiable hunger known as “the munchies.” 

Neuroprotective

Neuroprotective compounds have the ability to protect nerve cells against degeneration and damage. They can also provide relief in patients experiencing impaired function due to specific diseases and disorders.

A study with treatment-resistant epilepsy found that patients were less likely to experience seizures when receiving cannabis-based treatments. Although more tests are required to discover the true potential of Delta 8, current results look promising.  

Delta 8 Oil 

One of the most popular methods of use for this cannabinoid is Delta 8 oil. 

Unlike Delta 9 oil which often has an amber appearance, Delta 8 oil is remarkably clear. In fact, to some, its translucency almost seems unnatural. 

If you’re new to Delta-8 oil, don’t worry. The truth is you want it to look that way.

The oil’s clarity is actually one of the best indicators of quality. As we can learn here, oil with chemical impurities or residues will often appear tinted in color. It will lack the same transparency as pure, high-quality Delta 8 THC oil. 

Use Delta 8 Oil Topically

Delta 8 oil can be used in much the same way as CBD oils, with the added benefit of a pleasant buzz. 

Since THC is absorbed through your skin, Delta 8 oil can be applied topically. Massage a few drops into sore muscles to relieve tension and cramping. It’s great for daily aches as well as persistent pain caused by injuries or preexisting conditions. 

Suffering from a bothersome headache or migraine? Rub a drop of Delta 8 oil into your temples to ease the pain. 

Ingest Delta 8 Oil

Similar to the way you would use tinctures, Delta 8 oil is safe for consumption. If you’re not a fan of the taste you can mask the flavor by adding it to your favorite food or drink. 

Infuse your baked goods, pasta sauce, or even your salad dressing. The possibilities are limitless, just make sure you don’t go overboard. 

Delta 8 has a lower psychotropic potency than Delta 9, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get you high, especially if you ingest too much of it. If you’re new to making your own cannabis-infused foods, be sure to check out a few recipes and suggested dosages first. 

Diluted Uses of Delta 8 Oil

If you prefer experiencing Delta 8 in a more diluted form you can also use a diffuser along with your favorite essential oils. You might not experience the effects as strongly as you would with a vape pen, but you’ll still reap the benefits of relaxation. 

Another way to enjoy your Delta 8 oil is but adding some to a hot bath. Allow your body to absorb the THC while you soak away your worries. 

Other Ways to Use Delta 8

If oils just really aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to reap the benefits of Delta 8 THC. 

Vape

Vape cartridges are one of the most common ways to experience Delta 8 THC. They are available in lots of different flavors to tantalize your tastebuds. Your experience will vary depending on the associated terpenes and CDB strain.

Some blends are geared towards rest and relaxation. While others enhance focus, creativity, and energy levels. Be sure to ask your local dispensary about which cartridge is best for your desired results.

Edibles 

If you’re not big on the taste of cannabis, gummies are the way to go. These great Delta 8-infused edibles are a quick and easy way to get some THC into your system. They are perfect for using on the go or if you want to be discrete. 

Dabbing

Dabbing involves burning highly concentrated forms of cannabinoids, such as wax, and inhaling the smoke. It can be a bit strange if you’ve never tried it and is really only recommended to those who are experienced dabbers. 

Tinctures

This is the most fast-acting and intense method of experiencing Delta 8. Placing a drop under your tongue allows the THC to get absorbed into your bloodstream quickly and efficiently. Tinctures are also a great way to infuse homemade food with Delta-8 THC. 

Is Delta 8 Legal?

Because Delta 8 THC is a hemp product it falls under the jurisdiction of the 2018 Farm Bill. This piece of legislation states that the hemp plant and any parts of the plant including “derivatives,” “extracts,” and “cannabinoids” are not viewed as controlled substances. Thus proclaiming Delta 8 as a legal alternative to Delta 9 THC.

There are currently no specific regulations regarding Delta 8 THC, however certain states have rules regarding the smoking of hemp. It might be possible to use Delta 8 in other forms, such as Delta 8 oil, but it is always a good idea to check local laws before making a purchase.

States, where smokeable hemp is restricted or banned, include Hawaii, Utah, Kentucky, Idaho, Nebraska, and Delaware, along with several others.

It is important to note that using Delta 8 oil or other products could still cause you to fail a drug test. This is because current tests are not able to differentiate between the various types of THC. Wherever you use any form of THC please make sure to do so safely and responsibly. 

Where Can You Buy Delta 8 Oil?

Delta 8 oil is available for purchase at your local dispensary or through any trusted online dispensary. Because it contains less than .3% Delta 9 THC it is not considered a controlled substance. Therefore no special license, such as a medical marijuana card, is required.

Depending on where you live, some states have regulations requiring consumers to be 21 years of age or older. For this reason, online dispensaries might restrict orders to customers over 21, even in states where earlier use is permitted. 

Potential Side Effects of Delta 8

As with any product, there are chances that you may experience an undesired reaction.

Most studies on Delta 8 have been performed on animals, which do not always have the same responses as seen in humans. One example of this is in a comparative analysis on the effects of Delta 8 on heart rate in humans and animals. 

Although there are lots of proven health benefits, the bottom line is that additional research is still necessary to understand the full impact of Delta 8 on the human body. 

The Future of Delta 8

Delta 8 THC has established itself as a viable alternative to its highly psychoactive cousin, Delta 9. Whether you’re new to the cannabis world, or a veteran THC user, Delta 8 oils are a great way to experience a new kind of high.

It’s also an excellent option for those without a medical marijuana card who wish to enjoy the benefits of legal cannabis options. 

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