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Delta-8 THC: Discover This New Cannabinoid from Cannabis

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What is Delta-8 THC? Discover This New Cannabinoid from Cannabis

 

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicinal and recreational purposes, but there are still new products emerging today. Thanks to the growing popularity of CBD, cannabis as a whole is gaining more attention from the public eye, and the stigma around it is breaking down – slowly but surely.

 

Most people confuse the term ‘cannabis’ with the term ‘cannabinoids,’ which are some of the chemicals found in the cannabis plant. Different cannabinoids have different physical and mental effects, but people tend to believe that all cannabis products have the same influence on our bodies. This idea couldn’t be farther from the truth.

 

The four most common cannabinoids that have been studied are cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiol (CBD), delta-9-THC, and delta-8-THC. The first two compounds have little to no psychoactive properties, while the latter two very much do. Delta-9-THC is the widely accepted psychoactive compound of cannabis, while it’s close cousin, delta-8-THC, has only recently stepped into the spotlight. Not many people know it even exists!

 

So…What is Delta-8-THC?

Since there are over 100 cannabinoids found in any given cannabis plant, they are categorized into primary and secondary cannabinoids. The primary cannabinoids tend to be the ones that have a high presence in cannabis and therefore are easy to study. In contrast, secondary cannabinoids are found in trace amounts and are more mysterious for that reason.

 

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-8-THC, is a byproduct from when delta-9-THC becomes oxidized. This means two things: 1) though delta-9 is a primary cannabinoid and delta-8 is secondary, the two compounds are very similar in molecular structure, and 2) there is a low percentage (less than 0.1%) of naturally-occurring delta-8 in a cannabis plant! Processors have to extract what little they can and concentrate it, while they can find an abundance of its delta-9 counterpart. Since it has been growing in popularity, commercial growers have learned to use molecular isolation and breeding practices to help gather increased quantities of delta-8.

 

Are there Differences Between Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC?

Without breaking out the chemistry textbooks, here goes: as I mentioned before, delta-8 and delta-9 have similar molecular structures. They both have a double bond, but the double bond of delta-8 is located on the 8th carbon chain of atoms within the delta-8 molecule. The double bond of delta-9 is – you guessed it – on the 9th carbon atom of delta-9 molecules.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what does that really MEAN? I hear ya, just stick with me! These double bonds are important because they interact with your body differently than a single bond would. And the location of that double bond also affects how your body responds!

 

Delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC both bond to the CB1 receptor, the receptor that is referees the psychotropic effects of THC on your body. However, delta-8 has a higher affinity for the receptor, meaning that it’s more “drawn” to the receptor rather than stumbling upon it like delta-9 would.

 

Here’s what this all boils down to – delta-8’s higher affinity for the CB1 receptor, combined with the location of the double bond, brings you more clarity and focus, and a high with less anxiety than you would get with delta-9-THC. There is also speculation that delta-8 also interacts with other neural pathways and receptors in your brain differently, and it is about half as potent as delta-9 when it comes to psychotropic effects. And because delta-8 can’t oxidize or break down any further (since it’s an oxidized version of delta-9), it has a longer shelf life!

 

Is Delta-8-THC Used for Medicinal Purposes?

Short answer: yes! Because it is more shelf-stable and doesn’t have strong psychotropic effects, delta-8-THC is highly desirable as a medicinal compound. In 1995, a study was conducted by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, where delta-8-THC was administered to eight children being treated for hematologic cancers. The children were 3 to 13 years old and had received chemo treatments combined with other drugs for eight months leading up to the study. They all experienced vomiting because of the chemo, so Dr. Mechoulam decided to test the effects of delta-8 as an anti-nausea treatment.

 

Once the study began, and they received delta-8-THC with their chemotherapy treatments, every single child stopped vomiting during and after their chemo sessions! Dr. Mechoulam reported negligible side effects and suggested that delta-8 be used as an inexpensive yet effective treatment for vomiting and nausea in pediatric cancer patients.

 

Since the 1995 study, delta-8-THC has also been used to relieve pain, ease anxiety, and stimulate appetites. Science has slowly begun to embrace this compound much like it has embraced (and dare I say, encouraged?) the use of CBD to treat similar symptoms. This correlation between the two begs the question – are delta-8 and CBD more similar than delta-8 and delta-9?

 

What’s the Difference Between Delta-8-THC and CBD?

While these two compounds have been used to treat similar symptoms, they are fundamentally different.

 

Because CBD is a primary compound and has been studied in-depth, it has an edge on delta-8 when it comes to reputability. While there are studies about delta-8 and its effects, they haven’t been peer-reviewed and therefore lack credibility in the scientific community. On the other hand, CBD is widely accepted as a nonaddictive wellness product and is easily accessible because of it.

 

I mentioned earlier that CBD does not have any psychoactive properties at all, while delta-8 has some psychoactive properties that will get you high – not the same high as delta-9 would give you, but definitely more than CBD. The key takeaway is that both CBD and delta-8 can treat anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep problems, but delta-8 will give you a mild high as well.

 

Final Thoughts on Delta-8-THC

While delta-8 has the potential to be a great medicinal compound, it’s also worth trying at a recreational level, too! With limited psychoactive effects, delta-8-THC is much more tolerable for some, and can even help fight off nausea, anxiety, and some pain. But don’t just take my word for it – give it a try and benefit from our NEW DELTA-8-THC PRODUCT!

Azriel Adelberg
About Azriel Adelberg

MSc Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley An Israeli born organic chemist and PROUD University of California, Berkeley graduate.

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