What is the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 CBD?

by Kat Austin March 15, 2023 6 min read

What is the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 CBD? - Vida Optima™

Delta-9 CBD, also known as hemp derived Delta-9, is making a pretty big fuss, similarly to Delta-8 products when they first hit the market. But what's all this fuss about? What's the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 CBD, and how is this new hemp cannabinoid addition shaking up the market?

Although Delta-8 and hemp Delta-9 do have some similarities, like being psychoactive and federally legal, they have quite a few distinctions between them. For one, Delta-9 is notoriously more potent. They also are subject to different regulations, and hemp Delta-9 may be more difficult to find.

We won't leave it at that, though. Follow us as we dive into the true differences between Delta-8 and Delta-9 derived from hemp, including details on where to get both.

Table of Contents
What is Delta-9 CBD?
Delta-8 vs Hemp Delta-9
Product Types
Where to Buy Hemp THC Products

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-9 CBD, otherwise known as hemp-derived Delta-9, is a legal, potent psychoactive product made from hemp.
  • Delta-8 is also legal and psychoactive, but not as potent.
  • Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 made from hemp are accessible online from most U.S. states.

Hemp flower grown indoors that is used in CBD and hemp-derived Delta-9 production

What is Delta-9 CBD?

First, let us clear up some confusion. The term “Delta-9 CBD” is an incorrect term used to describe federally legal Delta-9 products that are made from hemp. This term comes from a simple confusion where many consumers relate hemp only to CBD.

The same incorrect terminology is used to explain Delta-8 (like in the term “CBD Delta-8” ). However, when Delta 8 is made, CBD is an actual part of the process. This process, known as isomerization, allows cannabinoid techs to convert CBD to Delta 8 and other legal THC isomers. This is the reason that some people incorrectly refer to Delta-8 as a synthetic cannabinoid.

That is not the process used to make hemp-derived Delta-9 products, and therefore the term “CBD Delta-9” is improper.

The more correct way to describe it would be “hemp-derived Delta-9” or “hemp-Delta-9,” meaning Delta-9 that is extracted from legal hemp material and can be classified as a legal hemp product.

If you're familiar with hemp, you may know that it's required to have less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight according to federal laws. So, you're probably asking: How is hemp-derived Delta-9 even possible? The answer is simple–math.

How is Hemp-Derived Delta-9 Legal?

Hemp products are allowed to contain up to 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight. For hemp flower, which has a low density, that means that a single gram of flower can contain only 3 mg of Delta-9-THC.

However, there are no laws against extracting this Delta-9 from hemp. In fact, it's a part of the process used to extract CBD. First all of the cannabinoids in hemp are extracted. Then CBD is isolated from that extract material, leaving Delta-9 and other cannabinoids behind, usually as a waste product.

That waste extract, lovingly referred to as “mother liquor,” can also be refined to create a hemp derived Delta-9-THC concentrate. Then, that concentrate can be added to products with a high enough density and dry weight to allow for a suitable potency threshold.

In other words, Delta-9 extracted from hemp can be added to edibles. In order to maintain hemp regulations, those edibles must still stay below the legal Delta-9 threshold of 0.3% by dry weight. That means that a 1 gummy can contain 3 mg of Delta-9-THC, while a 3 gummy (about the size of your average gummy bear) can contain up to 9 mg of THC. Larger edibles can contain more THC, all the way up to the massive doses that can be pumped into brownies and baked goods.

You get the point - Delta-9-THC derived from hemp is just regular Delta-9-THC that occurs naturally in cannabis. The primary difference is that it's subject to certain potency regulations, whereas Delta-8 is not.

Delta 8, on the other hand, he's not subject to any potency regulations. That means that a 1 gummy could contain 10 or even 15 mg of Delta 8 extract–however much a manufacturer can reasonably fit in a one gram gummy without it losing its viability as a gummy. Some Delta-8-THC products are highly potent.

This primary difference, of course, only affects the manufacturing process, and doesn't even begin to explain all the differences between the two. Let's break it down:

Delta-8 vs Hemp Delta-9

Potency and Effects

The first primary difference that's especially important for consumers to consider is that there's a massive potency difference between Delta-8 and hemp derived Delta-9. As you may know, Delta-8 is infamously reported to be about half as potent as traditional Delta-9 products. The same applies to hemp Delta-9 products.

Delta-8 may also produce effects that are frequently described as more mild and relaxing than what you will experience from Delta-9. Delta-9, on the other hand, is highly potent, meaning smaller doses may produce significant cognitive and body effects.

Make no mistake–both Delta-8 and Delta-9 will get you high, but Delta-9, including varieties derived from hemp, will do it twice as fast and with twice the vigor.

Product Types

When you begin to consider the types of products available for both Delta-8 and hemp Delta-9 products, you’ll see that there’s a huge difference between the two. Why? Because of the dry weight rule.

Beverages, tinctures, and many other liquid products don’t have a dry weight, and therefore the “0.3% by dry weight” rule is irrelevant.

Other products may have a dry weight, but don’t have enough density to meet the dosing needs of hemp delta-9 consumers. For instance, hemp flower is not very dense, and a half-gram or so is a normal amount to roll and smoke as a joint or pack into a bowl. A half gram can only legally contain up to 1.5 milligrams of Delta-9, which is not nearly enough to feel its effects when smoked.

So, for Delta-8, you can find beverages, tinctures, flower, edibles–all sorts of dosing methods and product types. For hemp Delta-9, you’re going to be mostly limited to edibles, like gummies, candies, or baked goods.


Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 are legal hemp products when made from legal hemp material. Both can, of course, be made from marijuana, which would render them illegal except in certain states when bought at state-licensed dispensaries.

However, just because hemp Delta-9 and hemp Delta-8 are federally legal does not mean that they are legal in all states.

When federal hemp laws changed to make hemp legal in 2018, many states simply created laws to align with federal laws. Some, however, placed more strict regulations on certain products. For instance, Georgia banned edible products entirely, while other states may have bans on smokable forms of hemp.

As hemp-derived THC products have become more popular, other states have put forth new laws to ban psychoactive products, even when derived from hemp. Some have specifically banned Delta-8, while some states (like Kansas) may have a total THC ban, including on trace amounts of THC in CBD products (meaning only CBD isolate is legal.).

The catch it–these laws are changing all the time. You have to familiarize yourself with your local state laws to know for sure whether hemp-derived Delta-9 and Delta-8 are legal for you. You can read “Where is Delta-8 Legal?” to learn more.


Although the cost of these types of products vary greatly by brand, they are often sold at very similar price points. In some cases, hemp-derived Delta-9 may be slightly more expensive simply because the Delta-9 content in hemp is very limited. Because Delta08 is converted from CBD, which is readily available in large amounts, Delta-9 is simply harder and more costly to produce.

However, the price range for hemp THC products vary so greatly from brand to brand, it’s very difficult to put a number on this figure.


Assessing the accessibility of each of these cannabinoid products is really a shakedown of their legality and cost. In many cases, Delta-8 is a bit more accessible, just because it’s more well-known, more frequently produced, and probably a bit less expensive. However, they both are limited by similar parameters when it comes to state laws.

What it boils down to is this–one or the other may be more or less accessible in any given area, but both are generally more accessible than traditional cannabis THC products. Unlike marijuana products that need to be purchased in a state-licensed dispensary, hemp-derived THC products can be bought discreetly online and shipped right to your door, from almost anywhere in the country.

Where to Buy Hemp Delta-8 and Delta-9

If you're sold on trying either of these legal psychoactive cannabinoids, you can check out our hemp THC collection to order online today. We offer a variety of hemp THC vaporizers and edibles. All of our products are third-party tested and 100% Farm Bill compliant, meaning they are legal in the U.S.

Vida Optima Elev8 Collection

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