The Truth About Delta-8-THC – Is it safe?

May 26, 2021 | Cannabis 101, Cannabis Therapy, Must Knows About Cannabis

It seems every day we learn something new about weed. One day, it’s something new about legalities. Another day, it’s something new about safety. But today, it’s the discovery of an entirely new cannabinoid.

Delta 8 THC is trending now more than ever, for its unique effects and differences from the THC we already know, and love, Delta 9.

What is THC Delta 8, will Delta-8 THC get you high, and how does it differ from Delta-9? We’ve got those answers and more in our ultimate guide on the latest cannabinoid to hit the block.

What is Delta-8 THC?

While cannabis is notorious for containing the cannabinoids, THC, and CBD – the plant actually produces around 144 cannabinoids that we know of. This helps explain why it’s possible to still be uncovering minor cannabinoids, and learning about them individually. Delta-8 THC is just one of these cannabinoids that’s now growing in popularity for its one-of-a-kind effects.

Scientifically, Delta-8 THC shares a molecular structure with THC but has a few distinct differences in shape. Both cannabinoids have what’s known as a ‘double bond’ that’s believed to be the source of ‘intoxicating’ effects. The difference is the placement of that double bond molecularly. Delta-8’s double bond is positioned on the eighth carbon, while Delta-9’s double bond is found on its ninth carbon.

Each cannabinoid’s individual molecule structure determines how it connects with our endocannabinoid system, and what it can influence, or interact with. This structural difference is the reason why one THC (and all cannabinoids) can differ in effects from another.

Where does Delta-8 THC come from?

Now that you know more about what Delta-8 THC is, you can guess where the compound comes from. It’s a naturally occurring minor cannabinoid in hemp and marijuana plants, but in far less percentages content-wise in comparison to the majors like Delta-9 THC and CBD.

Early research has proven that THC Delta-8 is a degraded form of THC Delta-9. Meaning, if plants grow past their point of maturity, or when buds cure, Delta-9 can transform into Delta-8.

The rise of popularity also coincides with the rise in CBD products on the market today. Once processors began extracting CBD and isolating THC for THC-free goods, THC Delta 8 became a profitable and ‘legal-ish’ byproduct.

Since the cannabinoid comes from the process to legally produce CBD, it’s technically overseen by the 2018 Farm Bill. Whose laws specifically allow any plant byproducts to be sold, with the only exception being THC Delta-9.

When anyone asks, ‘how is Delta 8 THC legal’ this is why. Many manufacturers are interpreting this singular exception to mean THC Delta 8 is ‘technically’ legal for sale as a natural byproduct of the CBD extraction process.

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9: What’s the difference?

Many who regularly consume Delta 8 THC will tell you it’s like a ‘lite’ version of the Delta 9 THC, we’re used to. So, will Delta-8 THC get you high? The short answer is yes – but in a milder, less potent manner than THC Delta 9. For instance, the effects of Delta 8 THC below might sound familiar:

  • Euphoria
  • Uplifted moods
  • Mild pain relief
  • Relaxation for insomnia

While you won’t be experiencing anything new or groundbreaking with Delta 8 THC, the cannabinoid is becoming quite popular with those who are sensitive to THC’s intensity, and for those seeking cannabis’ therapeutic effects without an overwhelming high. Users report that THC Delta 8 delivers similar benefits but with more of a clear-headed focus than Delta 9, and with less induced anxiety.

Experts are citing that Delta 8’s interaction with CB1 receptors could be to thank for the minor cannabinoid’s less intoxicating effects. Since CB1 is responsible for facilitating the psychotropic effects of cannabis, and we know Delta 8 can bind to it just like Delta 9.

But again because they have different molecular structures, the connection with the receptor differs – hence THC Delta 8’s similar effects, with lessened intensity.

How to Safely And Legally Use Delta-8 THC

You may ask yourself – is delta 8 THC safe to consume?

Because the Delta 8 THC legal status is caught in a gray area, you’ll want to proceed with some caution on safely consuming products you find. That’s also because one highly debated part of the 2018 Farm Bill is its lack of regulation and required testing for goods to hit the market.

TIP: To ensure what you’re consuming is actually Delta 8 THC, make sure the brand you’re purchasing from provides third-party lab testing results.

As for legalities, there’s some degree of risk for those consuming THC Delta 8 in states where cannabis isn’t legal for adult-use, or medically. Even though, when asking how much THC is in Delta 8, when referencing Delta-9 THC, the answer is – technically, none.

In the end, while certain lawyers say the 2018 Farm Bill is on ‘their side’ of proving Delta-8 THC to be legal for consumption and possession – you could always find yourself caught in ongoing court cases, to prove it.

Keeping Up With The Deltas

Although it may be tough to keep up with the fast-paced nature of new discoveries in cannabis – with each new thing we learn, the better we can customize our use. Like those ‘canna-curious’ consumers, who may now feel Delta 8 THC effects are better suited for them.

Regardless, staying in tune with the latest and greatest research, news, and trends will keep you ahead of the game, in crafting and mastering your conscious cannabis consumption.

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Courtney Trzos</a>

Courtney Trzos

To Courtney, it’s always 420 somewhere… After attending Michigan State University and working in communications for over 10 years, she took her passion for cannabis, professionally. In 2017, Courtney began freelancing as a writer for cannabis brands across the globe, promoting the therapeutic and recreational use of the plant, while helping her partner cultivate crops full-time, and learning more about the industry from a seed-to-sale perspective. Get in touch with her and follow her journey at