April 05, 2021 4 min read

Delta-8-THC is the newest hemp industry craze, but it's actually been around for decades, and researchers were investigating it's potential medical applications as early as the 1960's. But that doesn't mean Delta-8's effects and usage are common knowledge—yet.

So, what is Delta-8-THC like? And should you try it?

Here, we'll break it down in terms of effects, usage, benefits, and safety concerns to help you decide.

Table of Contents
Delta-8-THC Effects
How is Delta-8-THC Used
Delta-8’s Potential Benefits
Drawbacks of Delta-8-THC
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8 is a mild psychoactive cannabinoid that is legal in the U.S.
  • It does get you high, but the effects aren’t as strong or sedating as traditional THC.
  • These mild effects may offer a few potential benefits, and Delta-8 pairs well with other cannabinoids as part of a natural wellness routine.
  • We’re still learning about Delta-8, but it’s thought to be just as safe as Delta-9 products as long as you buy it from a reputable brand.

Delta-8-THC Effects

When people ask "what is Delta-8-THC like?", they usually want to know whether it will get you high and what the psychoactive experience feels like. It probably comes as no surprise that the psychoactive effects are the main selling point for Delta-8 products, and many people assume it will be similar to the traditional THC products they're familiar with.

A life-size model showing the human endocannabinoid system, the bodily system that interacts with Delta-8.

In essence, they are, and Delta-8-THC will get you high, but the effects are different than what you may expect.

Delta-8-THC's mild psychoactive effects are thought to be about half as potent as Delta-9-THC's.

Plus, Delta-8-THC interacts with both portions of the Endocannabinoid system—the part that affects the brain and the part that affects the immune system, which lies deep in the tissues of the entire body.

For comparison, Delta-9 primarily interacts with just the Endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, which is how it creates a psychoactive response. Since Delta-8-THC has dual-interactions, it incites a similar psychoactive response in the brain but also some euphoric body responses.

Delta-8's effects are often described as euphoric and relaxing, moderately uplifting, with a "tingling" or "floating" body sensation. Most significantly, the effects are much milder than Delta-9's, and are therefore thought to be less likely to cause negative reactions, like the anxiety and paranoia that some people experience when using THC products.

How Delta-8-THC is Used

The way that Delta-8-THC affects you is impacted by the way you use it. Specifically, some products take effect faster and hit harder, while others are more consistent and reliable.

Delta-8-THC can be vaped, dabbed, or smoked. All of these methods involve concentrated Delta-8 doses that take effect quickly, usually in a matter of minutes. The effects from Delta-8-THC when it is inhaled can last anywhere from 3-5 hours.

Delta-8-THC edibles (including Softgels or Tinctures) take longer to take effect, up to two hours. The effects come on gradually and can last 6 hours or more.

There's no one best dosing method, rather it is a matter of preference. For some, the hard-hitting, fast acting effects from vaporizers is preferable, while others rely on the consistent effects from edibles, especially when using Delta-8-THC for it's therapeutic benefits.

Delta-8's Potential Benefits

Researchers have been working to uncover Delta’s potential benefits since the minor cannabinoid was discovered nearly a century ago. Much of the evidence available involves animal trials or a limited number of participants, so most of the existing research is considered preliminary.

Still, there are a few things that we know to be true about Delta-8-THC and how it functions similarly to Delta-9. In fact, the National Cancer Institute defines delta-8-THC as “an analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”

That means that Delta-8-THC may be beneficial for managing pain, nausea, anxiety, and more. It could also have potential for managing neurodegenerative conditions and appetite loss due to chronic conditions.

In general, most people enjoy Delta-8’s ability to induce relaxation and reduce stress and choose the cannabinoid to help manage anxiety, pain, and sleep concerns.

Drawbacks of Delta-8-THC

We can't accurately answer "What is Delta-8-THC like?" without covering its potential downfalls. Primarily, that we don't really know much about it's downfalls at all.

A hemp plan growing in a field, the legal source of Delta-8-THC products.

Experts often agree that Delta-8-THC has a safety profile similar to Delta-9's. After all, the two compounds are only one carbon bond apart. Still, we don't have a lot of research regarding Delta-8-THC's effects.

For now, we know that the primary drawback is that some people are still too sensitive to THC, even when using a milder product like Delta-8. In this case, a person may respond better and experience similar (non-psychoactive) benefits from a CBD product instead.

In general, Delta-8-THC is thought to be mild and have fewer drawbacks than traditional THC products. One study found that Delta-8-THC could be used to more effectively manage nausea in pediatric cancer patients because it didn’t cause adverse effects even at increased dosages.

Most people have a positive experience with Delta-8, especially when using responsible dosing strategies, like starting with small to moderate doses.

Resources

1.”An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7776837/

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