Delta-8-THC has newfound popularity, but it isn’t actually that new at all. In fact, it’s been around for long enough for us to learn quite a bit about it’s mild psychoactive properties and therapeutic potential.
Here are the Delta-8-THC facts you need to know:
Let’s stop all that talk about Delta-8 being a “synthetic cannabinoid.” In reality, Delta-8-THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that can be found in wild hemp strains. It’s nothing like true “synthetic cannabinoids,” even when it’s converted from CBD (which we cover down below).
Synthetic cannabinoids contain no real plant material and often have intense and dangerous effects. Plus, synthetic cannabinoids are illegal, other than a small selection of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.
Delta-8 interacts with the Endocannabinoid System in the body in a similar manner to Delta-9, through the CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system. This interaction is what causes THC's psychoactive properties, so Delta-8-THC will "get you high" in all aspects of the phrase.
Unlike Delta-9 which mainly interacts with the portion of the Endocannabinoid System located in the brain, Delta-8-THC also has an affinity for the CB2 receptors located in the immune system throughout the body.
That means that only approximately half of the Delta-8 you consume is absorbed through the brain and nervous system, while the other half is absorbed by the same Endocannabinoid receptors that interact with CBG and CBN.
That means that while Delta-8-THC will cause psychoactive effects, it does so at about half the rate of Delta-9, which almost exclusively binds with the CB1 receptors in the brain. Delta-8's high is often described as a milder version of Delta-9's, with a heavier focus on body euphoria and less heady, cerebral effects. It's also commonly described as "less sedating" than the effects of Delta-9.
It's interaction with the immune system portion of the Endocannabinoid System may pave the way for some interesting therapeutic benefits.
In fact, Delta-8-THC was originally discovered in 1941 by Roger Adams, an American organic chemist and was fully synthesized in 1965 by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli researcher known as the "father of cannabis."
Soon after it's discovery, Adams and Mechoulam both led research efforts to help us understand Delta-8's psychoactive effects and various therapeutic properties, including benefits that may make it a more appropriate option for pediatric applications than Delta-9.
One of the most prominent studies on Delta-8-THC to date was led by Raphael Mechoulam concerning the use of Delta-8 for managing nausea in pediatric cancer patients. This study, which dates back to 1995, reveals that Delta-8-THC helped manage nausea in 100% of cases and could be given to children in larger, more effective quantities than traditional THC supplements without the same negative side effects.
Delta-8-THC's antiemetic properties remain at the forefront of it's list of therapeutic benefits and researchers are still looking into ways to utilize it for medical applications.
As a result of various research efforts over the last 80 years, we know quite a bit about Delta-8's therapeutic potential. Perhaps one of the most significant conclusions is that Delta-8-THC may function as an anxiolytic substance, meaning it may help manage anxiety.
More research is needed to help us understand how Delta-8-THC may be useful for managing anxiety and related conditions, but the National Cancer Institute defines delta-8-THC as “An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”
As we previously mentioned, Delta-8-THC was found to be more useful than Delta-9 in pediatric applications because it was less likely to cause negative side effects. Outside of the limited research available, there is also plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this claim.
Users report that Delta-8 may calm anxieties or paranoia, where Delta-9 may cause it. The milder psychoactive properties may be more manageable, and often more enjoyable, for those who are sensitive to Delta-9 products.
Delta-8-THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis and hemp plants, but only in low concentrations. In fact, Raphael Mechoulam was frequently criticized for his work in Delta-8-THC because it was rarely naturally available in the amounts necessary for therapeutic use.
In the early 2000’s, however, Mechoulam's research began to make more sense when he filed for a patent for a technique that converted CBD into Delta-8. Since CBD is readily available and is the most abundant cannabinoid found in legal hemp material, Delta-8-THC is much more accessible through this method.
The conversion method, called "isomerization," actually rearranges the CBD molecule into a Delta-8-THC molecule. Although Delta-8 is often called "synthetic" when it is sourced this way, that's not exactly accurate. Synthetic cannabinoids are usually made without any natural plant material at all.
Delta-8 is more accurately described as a "CBD isomer," or a molecule that contains all of the same parts as CBD, but in a different arrangement.
To learn more, read "How is Delta-8-THC Made?"
Delta-8-THC is naturally produced in the cannabis plant as Delta-9-THC degrades. That means that Delta-8-THC is created when Delta-9 is exposed to heat, sunlight, or oxygen. Delta-9 is actually pretty volatile, which is why it's often synthesized for use in pharmaceuticals.
Since Delta-8-THC is technically already a "degraded cannabinoid," it's not nearly as sensitive to light, heat, or air. That means that Delta-8 is incredibly shelf stable compared to Delta-9, which may prove useful for pharmaceutical applications in the future.
Delta-8-THC, when it is derived from hemp CBD, is legal in the U.S. thanks to updates made in the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill legalized all hemp material with less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, including hemp isomers, and removed hemp-derived tetrahydrocannabinols from the Controlled Substances Act.
Although legal at a federal level, state laws concerning Delta-8-THC vary. Delta-8 is legal in the majority of states, but some states haven’t cleared the way for Delta-8 sales within state lines. To learn more, check out “Where is Delta-8-THC Legal?”
This one may not come as a surprise, but it's definitely a convenience. Since Delta-8-THC is federally legal, you can order it online from any state where Delta-8 is legal.
That means that it may be accessible in areas where Delta-9-THC products are still out of reach.
In some cases, ordering Delta-8 online makes it more accessible than Delta-9 even in legal states where you need to purchase THC in person at a dispensary.
If these Delta-8-THC facts have piqued your interest, check out our Delta-8-THC collection (100% Farm Bill compliant and lab tested) to see a selection of Delta-8 edibles and vaporizers that you can order today. Read "How to Maximize Your Delta-8-THC Experience" to learn how to get started.
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