Delta-8-THC is commonly considered to be a delta-9-THC analog, which means that it is only marginally different from its most common cannabinoid relative. However a handful of chemical bonds that vary between delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC make a significant difference, and delta-8 is quickly gaining popularity due to its unique benefits and effects.
In most Cannabis sativa strains, delta-8-THC is expressed only when delta-9-THC is also present and, compared to delta-9-THC, delta-8 is expressed only in very small amounts in cannabis flowers. As a result, studies using delta-8-THC and isolating this cannabinoid for use in consumer goods have historically been challenging, even though scientists have known about the presence of delta-8 since the 1940s.
Recently, however, developments in cannabis extraction technology have made it easier to obtain vast amounts of delta-8-THC for study or sale. Regardless of the fact that very few studies have been done to date on the effects and benefits of delta-8-THC, enough cannabis users have sought this cannabinoid to provide a plethora of anecdotal proof of its usefulness. In conjunction with the small amount of delta-8 research that has been done, we are beginning to get a reasonably good picture of what this cannabinoid is and what it can do.
At present, delta-8-THC is available in the form of distillate and insulated concentrates and is also widely used in finished consumer goods such as capsules and delta-8 vape products. As research on this cannabinoid accelerates and becomes even more popular among consumers, it is likely that delta-8-THC hemp flower products will also appear on the market.
Delta-8 vs. CBD
While delta-8-THC is very structurally similar to delta-9-THC, it bears almost no resemblance to CBD, the second most common cannabinoid after traditional THC. CBD does not seem to have any affinity to CB1 and CB2 neuroreceptors, which are the most abundant cannabinoid receptors in the brain, unlike delta-9 and delta-8 THC. Instead, CBD may also function as an antagonist to cannabinoid receptors, which means that the effects of delta-8 and delta-9 THC can be reduced or improved.
That’s not to say that delta-8 THC and CBD are totally different. Like CBD, delta-8-THC tends to have a soothing, calming effect that is slightly less intoxicating than the effects of delta-9-THC. This is predicted because while somewhat different, both delta-9-THC and CBD tend to have some overlapping effects.
Delta-8-THC and CBD can never be considered to be very close, however, as one of these cannabinoids is intoxicating and the other is not. While the intoxicating effects of delta-8-THC tend to be slightly less powerful than those of delta-9-THC, CBD is not known to be intoxicating, making these two cannabinoids inherently distinct.
What are the side effects of delta-8 THC?
The side effects of delta-8-THC as observed by the researchers were very negligible. Particularly when compared to some of the most popular pharmaceutical alternatives. Much further research is still needed, but delta-8-THC appears to possess many of the beneficial properties of cannabis, with slightly less adverse effects compared to delta-9-THC.
It’s still a form of THC, however. Any cannabis product with high THC levels known as a psychoactive compound, should always be used with caution. Although delta-8-THC is said to be less psychoactive, online users have stated that it is possible to overdo it. Start slow and low and test your tolerance. Just because you’re getting less high doesn’t mean you’re not getting high at all. One last thing to remember is that delta-8-THC can also cause redness in the eyes, particularly at higher doses.
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