With recreational use becoming legalized in a growing number of states, many people are learning that cannabis can take a variety of forms. Like any other botanical, the hemp plant contains a broad spectrum of variations and experiences within it. One of the most important distinctions when choosing products made from hemp is understanding Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC.
Many edibles, extracts and other consumables may tout having one or the other without providing any additional context for the uninitiated. So, what is the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9, beyond the name? What follows is a brief primer to help bring you up to speed.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Like Delta-9, Delta-8 is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is found in marijuana. This psychoactive compound bonds with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, creating feelings of euphoria and relaxation that typically come with cannabis use. There are more than 120 cannabinoids that occur in the hemp plant, with Delta-8 and Delta-9 being only two of these. Although both are known for creating the “high” that many recreational weed users are looking for, Delta-8 offers a different experience from Delta-9. It is also found in much smaller quantities in nature.
What Is Delta-9 THC?
Delta-9 is the most abundant form of THC in the cannabis plant, as well as the most studied by researchers. This is due to the often-severe intoxicating effects it can create in the brain. In addition to feelings of giddiness and relaxation, Delta-9 can also be responsible for some of the more-adverse effects, such as impaired motor skills, anxiety and confusion.
How Do They Differ?
- Experience: The most significant factor when comparing Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 is how intense their effects can be on the user. Delta-9 has been known to trigger intense feelings of paranoia and nervousness when taken in larger amounts, and it can leave users feeling foggy and impaired. Delta-8, on the other hand, offers a gentler experience that most users say helps them relax without impacting their coordination or ability to think clearly.
- Speed: In terms of how long they take to begin producing the desired effect, Delta-8 generally is a smoother ride than Delta-9. Delta-9 can start working almost immediately, but Delta-8 tends to come on much slower and more gradually.
- Extraction: Because it is found in greater amounts naturally, Delta-9 has traditionally been used more frequently in cannabis-based products. However, techniques to synthesize Delta-8 from CBD have become common throughout the industry. This means it is now possible to make edibles, vape cartridges and other items using Delta-8.
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