What Is Delta 8 THC?

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 has become arguably the hottest new 2020 product in the hemp industry. Delta-8 THC is an analogue of the commonly known Delta-9 THC that differs slightly in its chemical composition and psychoactive effects. It is a cannabinoid naturally found in cannabis plants at lower levels than Delta-9 THC and CBD. Like most major cannabinoids, this special hemp and cannabis compound is derived from CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid) once Delta-9 THC is created through decarboxylation and is oxidized, Delta-8 THC is then created.

A more scientific understanding is that Delta-8 is an isomer, meaning it is a combination of two cannabinoids using isomerization. Most cannabinoids can be manipulated in structure by changing where bonds connect using this method. Even though Delta-8 THC is formed naturally in the hemp and cannabis plant, an exceedingly small trace is made per plant. Chemists use synthesis to solve this problem. It shares special enhanced qualities of two of the most famous cannabinoids today, THC and CBD.

How Could Delta-8 THC Benefit Me?

With over 100 cannabinoids, how does the Delta-8 THC cannabinoid differ in benefitting the end user? Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a unique and very individualized cannabinoid; however, although there have been some studies on Delta 8, the effects and potential medical and therapeutic benefits could vary from person to person. Generally, Delta-8 THC is found to produce similar effects of Delta-9 THC without common side effects like anxiety and paranoia, which are often reported with Delta-9 THC. This was originally studied and used on rats as a potential cancer treatment in the 1970’s. Not until 1995, was it administered to pediatric cancer patients. Slow progress on researching the benefits Delta-8 is being made, but even past studies could show prosperous advantages.

Delta-8 reportedly suppresses anxiety based on user experience. It could potentially be an anxiolytic agent, meaning it inhibits anxiety. The psychoactive effects of Delta-8 THC are reported by users to be both uplifting and alert, yet relaxing and tranquil. Many customers report a strong and body-relaxing impact from this cannabinoid.

Delta-9 THC in general has shown no effect on athletic performance based on ten published studies in 2017. Due to their similarities, a comparable conclusion can be made with Delta-8 THC. What can be suggested because of what is known about THC’s psychoactive effects is that it could be a possible aid or “push through” for strenuous activity. A similar example can be found in what is often called a “runner’s high.” A runner's high interacts with CB1 receptor, just like Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC, and incorporating either cannabinoid may boost this phenomenon. 

Appetite improvement has also been a positive observation. A research on mice in 2004 affirms these outcomes. Many disorders cause a loss of appetite and Delta-8 THC has been shown to potentially improve appetite to aid this problem. 

Further research, testing, and studies must be conducted to know more about the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of Delta-8 THC and to verify past testing results. For example, one government led study made in 1974 was conducted to ascertain whether Delta-8 THC was detrimental to the immune system of mice that showed a positive effect on cancer patients when used. Clinical studies have spent a large deal of time focusing on Delta-9 THC, and even more recently, CBD; however, researchers have not largely focused on Delta-8 THC or these past discoveries and cannot claim to be a cancer curing or improving treatment like medical marijuana. 

In a study conducted in 1995 from Shaare Zedek Hospital, Bikur Holim Hospital, and the Hebrew University located in Jerusalem, Delta-8 THC was administered to children with cancer.  An Israeli chemist and professor by the name of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, first found Delta-9 THC and with that discovery, came Delta-8. The creators of this study noted that at the same time this research had been occuring, a recorded 480 successful treatments of cancer with Delta-8 THC were made. Another advantage was that the cannabinoid alleviated vomiting in many of the study participants. Nausea and vomiting is a frequent indication of numerous ailments and a negative effect of many distinct treatments, such as chemotherapy with cancer. Delta-8 may very well be an antiemetic agent, or vomit preventer. 

In a report, by the National Cancer Institute, Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC and CBD were shown to have the potential ability to stop tumor development. Animal studies from 2006 imply that Delta-8-THC, Delta-9-THC, and even cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells.

Where Did Delta 8 Come From?

While it is not as particularly abundant in the hemp or cannabis plant as CBD, there is evidence to suggest this cannabinoid could soon be the next Delta-9 in scope. Delta-8 is based on the discovery of Delta-9, by famous Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam. Dr. Mechoulam’s breakthrough led to the discovery of over 100 cannabinoids, Delta-8 being one. His research, experimentation, and reconduced studies have expanded our knowledge greatly on the behavior of these cannabinoids. Studies on it’s initial behavior have been taken in intervals since the 1970’s and are in the process of new discoverable uses. There are still many mysteries surrounding this lesser known cannabinoid, but is most known to have a far less psychotropic potency than Delta-9, but more safe and beneficial. 

What is the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 and Delta-9 share a very similar molecular structure, but one slight variance differentiates the two. There are single and double bonds in the world of molecular chemistry and the placement of these bonds are important in differentiating various compounds. Delta-8 and Delta-9 have double bonds in a similar, but not identical place. They are not extremely different from each other in the way they behave, but obvious differences are distinguished within their effects. Both are psychoactive compounds that bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system that are involved in altering mood, behavior, perception, etc., but their strength level differs. In general Delta-8 is considered to be more mild than Delta-9. 

How is Delta 8 THC Made?

Like other cannabinoids found in the hemp and cannabis plant, Delta-8 THC is synthesised from cannabigerolic acid or CBGA. Frequently called the "cannabis' stem cell,” CBGA is the parent molecule responsible for generating many different cannabinoids such as THCA. When the hemp or cannabis crops are harvested and subjected to heat or UV light, the THCA they feature is decarboxylated, shedding a CO2 molecule and creating Delta-9 THC which is then converted to Delta-8 THC by oxidation. Although Delta-8 THC is developed in concentrations less than 0.1% in CBD hemp flowers, it can still be extracted to a viscous, translucent distillate. Because of the naturally low levels of cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC, they are often made plentiful and available through chemical and molecular isolation as previously described.

Is Delta 8 THC Safe to Use?

The safety of THC is a large topic of discussion in and of itself. Though the potential medicinal benefits are promising, Delta-9 has its perks and its downsides. It is commonly associated with its intoxicating effects. Despite the stereotypes and concerns surrounding Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC is considered to be a relatively safe hemp and cannabis product. Many hemp based products have been brought into light in 2020 with Delta-8 THC being the latest. Vaping cartridges, tinctures, and gummies are just a few popular Delta-8 based products available on the market today. 

Will Delta 8 THC Get Me High?

Delta-8 is less potent than Delta-9, but it does have its own psychoactive effects that produce a “high.” It is most often described as a “clear high” from users because, unlike Delta-9, users report that they feel in control and in focus while also feeling Delta-8’s pleasant “high.” Side effects of Delta-9 THC are often negative and unwanted whether it be extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or nausea. According to user testimonies, Delta-8 may not give an individual the unpleasant side effects Delta-9 gives.

It’s captivating how one small cannabinoid can have such a gripping effect. Offering similar psychoactive effects in a more manageable potency - and in a federally legal status - Delta-8’s benefits will likely attract consumers and producers of all sorts, both for recreational, medicinal, and therapeutic benefits.