May 05, 2021 8 min read

You’ve probably heard of CBD, but another hemp product has hit the scene that you may be less familiar with: Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, or D8 THC for short.

Like CBD, D8 is a hemp product that’s federally legal and ultra-accessible. Unlike CBD, Delta-8-THC has mild psychoactive properties that make it a popular choice for both therapeutic and recreational use.

If that little fact got your mind spinning with Delta-8 questions and possibilities, you’ll want to keep reading. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about D8, including how it’s made, how it's used, and where to find it.

Let’s go:

Table of Contents
What’s D8 THC?
What Does Delta-8 Do?
Does D8 THC Get You High?
Where Does Delta-8 Come From?
Is D8 THC Legal?
Types of D8 THC Products
Is Delta-8 Safe?
Where to Buy D8 THC
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • D8 THC is a natural, psychoactive cannabinoid that can be derived from legal hemp material.
  • It’s not synthetic, but it is usually made from CBD through a unique process called “isomerization.”
  • Delta-8 is still being researched, but it may have far reaching benefits that are similar to the benefits of traditional THC products.
  • You can buy Delta-8-THC online from any state where D8 is legal, so it’s far more accessible than Delta-9 products.

What’s D8 THC?

Delta-8-THC is a hemp derived cannabinoid that usually exists (in today's hemp market) as a "hemp isomer."

What's that mean?

Well, Delta-8-THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid just like CBD and Delta-9-THC, but it's usually found in concentrations of less than 1%. That makes it difficult to source.

So, the hemp industry took a different route—isomerization.

Delta-8-THC exists naturally as an isomer to CBD, meaning the two compounds have all of the same components, just arranged in a different order.

The isomerization process simply rearranges the molecule into its isomer. It doesn't add anything synthetic. It simply rearranges one molecule into another.

Through this method (which was originally patented by the Father of Cannabis himself) is used to convert CBD extract to Delta-8-THC material, which is then refined and used as a concentrate in various D8 THC products, like edibles and vaporizers.

Then, consumers seek out these products to experience Delta-8's unique effects

What Does Delta-8 Do?

A museum exhibit featuring a full-size model of the human endocannabinoid system, the bodily system that interacts with cannabinoids like D8 THC.

Similarly to CBD and other cannabinoids, Delta-8-THC interacts with the body via the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Experts believe that D8 is able to interact with both primary portions of the ECS, including:

  • CB1 Receptors, the main Endocannabinoid receptor found in the brain and Central Nervous System. This neuroreceptor is where Delta-9 binds, and is responsible for the heady, psychoactive effects of traditional THC products.
  • CB2 receptors, the primary Endocannabinoid receptor found in the immune system. This portion of the ECS spans through the tissues of the entire body and is partially responsible for regulating inflammation and pain.

For comparison, Delta-9-THC primarily binds to the CB1 receptor, while the minor cannabinoid CBN has a higher affinity to CB2 receptors.

Because Delta-8-THC can interact with both portions of the Endocannabinoid System, it’s believed to have far reaching therapeutic benefits. Although we’ve known about Delta-8 for decades, we still don’t know everything there is to know about it’s benefits. Here are some areas where Delta-8-THC’s benefits are currently being examined:

Neuroprotective Properties

One study from 1980 found that Delta-8 may help increase the production of Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for multiple cognitive functions and neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to grow and rearrange. Acetylcholine supplementation has been associated with improved brain function and reducing free radical damage that may damage cognition over time.

Appetite Stimulation

A study from 2004 found that small doses of Delta-8 may help induce appetite, which could make it useful. This effect is the reason that Delta-9-THC is an approved treatment for managing poor appetite due to chronic illnesses, autoimmune disorders, or eating disorders in many states with medical marijuana programs.

Nausea Management

One of the most prominent studies on Delta-8 suggests that it has powerful antiemetic properties, meaning it could help reduce nausea. Particularly, the study found Delta-8 to be 100% effective at reducing nausea in pediatric cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy.

Pain Reduction

Researchers believe that the benefits of Delta-8-THC for pain come from analgesic properties, but more research is needed. For now, experts believe that Delta-8 may help reduce pain in the same manner as Delta-9-THC, which is an approved treatment for chronic pain in many medicinally legal areas.

Anxiety Management

The National Cancer Institute acknowledges Delta-8 as an “anxiolytic” substance, meaning it could help manage anxiety. Many people report using Delta-8-THC for anxiety successfully, but we still need more research before it can be established as an anxiety treatment. Other hemp derived cannabinoids, like CBD and CBG, are thought to help with stress and mood, too.

Sleep Support

One study found that Delta-8 was able to induce sedation in cats, and could even increase the length of the REM sleep cycle, or the portion of sleep where you dream.

Many people have successfully experienced the benefits of Delta-8-THC for sleep, and other cannabinoids, like CBD and CBN, may have benefits for sleep alongside D8 THC.

Does D8 THC Get You High?

The primary question people have about D-8-THC is “Will it get you high?” and the answer may be what you want to hear.

Yes, Delta-8-THC is psychoactive, meaning it will get you high similarly to Delta-9. That’s because it interacts with the CB1 receptor in the brain.

In general, the mild psychoactivity is different from what you may expect from traditional THC products. It’s often described as “relaxing” and “euphoric,” and many people point out that D8 induces more of a “body high” than a “head high.” This could be caused by it’s interaction with the “immune system” portion of the Endocannabinoid System that spans throughout the entire body, which Delta-9-THC lacks.

Delta-8-THC’s psychoactive effects are still being researched, but one study suggests that it is around half as potent as Delta-9. This may be because around half of the Delta-8 you intake binds to CB2 receptors, so only half binds to the CB1 receptors responsible for inducing psychoactivity.

The effects you experience from Delta-8-THC will depend on various factors, like your THC tolerance and the way that the D8 THC product is made.

Where Does Delta-8 Come From?

Not all Delta-8 is made the same, and Delta-8-THC products can be naturally derived from two main sources: hemp or high-THC cannabis strains, also known as “marijuana.” Here’s the difference:

A close up of raw hemp material just before harvest. This material is used to make legal Delta-8-THC products in the U.S.

Cannabis-derived D8 THC

Delta-8-THC is naturally found in cannabis with a high Delta-8-THC content. That’s because Delta-8 is a product of Delta-9 degradation, meaning Delta-9 turns into Delta-8 as it is exposed to the elements.

However, this type of cannabis is classified as a Controlled Substance in the U.S., meaning Delta-8-THC products made from high-THC cannabis are also Controlled Substances.

In areas where cannabis is legal, you may be able to find these Delta-8 products in local dispensaries, but there’s one prominent drawback: they’re usually more expensive. That’s because legal cannabis products are usually subject to expensive regulations and increased taxes that all trickle down to the final price.

Hemp-derived D8 THC

Alternatively, D8 THC can be made from legal hemp-derived CBD, which is legal in the U.S. according to federal law. This kind of Delta-8-THC can be made legally in most states and purchased online from any legal area.

At the core, both types of Delta-8-THC work the same, but hemp-derived D8 THC is much more accessible across the nation thanks to updated hemp laws.

Is D8 THC Legal?

As we previously mentioned, Delta-8-THC is federally legal ONLY if it is derived from federally legal hemp material.

According to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp material that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC is legal. The bill carves out a legal space for all hemp derivatives, including cannabinoids, isomers, and other extracts provided they also contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC.

The new laws also make an exception for “hemp derived tetrahydrocannabinols” in the Controlled Substances Act. That means that any Delta-8-THC product made from legal hemp is not a controlled substance in the U.S. according to federal law.

As always, state laws vary. To find out if Delta-8-THC is legal in your home state, read “Where is Delta-8-THC Legal?

Types of D8 THC Products

In areas where Delta-8 is legal, manufacturers are taking advantage of the versatility of Delta-8 extracts. There’s a huge variety of products currently available, and new, innovative Delta-8 dosing styles are hitting the shelves every day.

A person holding a Delta-8-THC tincture dropped filled with a precisely measured D8 dose.

There are, of course, some tried and true products that you’ll find wherever you look. Some of the most popular D8 THC product types include:

Gummies

D8 THC gummies are exactly what they sound like—chewy treats that are strategically doses with a pre-measured amount of Delta-8. Gummies take a while to kick in (about 1.5 hours) but they pack a punch and offer long lasting effects.

Candies

D8 THC candy is similar to gummies in that the doses are usually pre-measured, but these individually wrapped doses offer next-level convenience.

Plus, hard candies and other doses that are designed to melt in your mouth may offer the benefits of sublingual dosing. That means they are absorbed through the mouth in order to bypass digestion and may take effect more quickly than traditional edibles.

Tinctures

D8 THC Tinctures aren’t always the most popular dosing form, but they do offer some unique benefits. For instance, tinctures can be precisely measured each time, which means you can increase or decrease your dose in small increments as needed. That’s a huge plus for new users who are still getting the hang of their dosing routine.

Tinctures also offer the benefits of sublingual delivery, so they may take effect quickly (in about 30 minutes) and last for 3 hours or more.

Vaporizers

D8 THC vaporizers are always in high demand because they offer the benefits of incremental dosing and immediate effects. That’s right! Delta-8 vapes take effects almost immediately in about 5 minutes) and you can slowly stack doses until you reach the desired effects.

Concentrates

Dabbing Delta-8 isn’t uncommon, and it’s an efficient way to use D8 at high doses. You’ll need special equipment to use Delta-8 concentrates, so many people opt for vaporizers instead.

Is Delta-8 Safe?

With all the different formulations and hemp regulations out there, it's important to ask—Is D8 THC safe? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. Actually, Delta-8-THC safety is relative.

That means that the safety of a particular product depends on various factors, like how it’s made or where it comes from. Other safety complications may come from combining Delta-8 with other substances, like medications or alcohol.

In general, Delta-8-THC is thought to be as safe as traditional THC products when it is made from high-quality industrial hemp and free of contaminants and solvents.

That means you have to be careful when you buy D8 THC products online or in stores. Thoroughly evaluate the products and the hemp brand to check their hemp source and look for third-party test results. These results will help you determine if the product label is accurate, which is important when determining the best starting dose for your new products.

To learn more about safety, read “Delta-8-THC Risks.”

Where to Buy D8 THC?

If you live in a legal area, you can likely find Delta-8-THC products in stores near you, but there may be some benefits to buying Delta-8 online. When you buy D8 THC online, you can more thoroughly assess the brand’s background, the product’s ingredients, and the third-party test results needed to prove label accuracy.

At Vida Optima, all of our products are 100% Farm Bill compliant. We use only high-quality U.S. grown hemp and GMP compliant manufacturing practices to provide pure, potent Delta-8 gummies, vaporizers, and more. Check out our full Delta-8-THC collection (and look for third-party test results on every product page!)

Resources

  1. “Reduction of hippocampal acetylcholine turnover in rats treated with (-)-delta 8-tetrahydrocannabinol and its 1',2'-dimethyl-heptyl homolog” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6249445/
  2. “Acetylcholine Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, and Types” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/acetylcholine-supplement
  3. “Very low doses of delta 8-THC increase food consumption and alter neurotransmitter levels following weight loss” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15099912/
  4. “An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7776837/
  5. “Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol” https://ncit.nci.nih.gov/ncitbrowser/ConceptReport.jsp?dictionary=NCI_Thesaurus&ns=NCI_Thesaurus&code=C61312
  6. “The effects of delta8-THC on the EEG, reticular multiple unit activity and sleep of cats” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4358207/
  7. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485

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