Delta 8 vs THC: An Informed Comparison of Cannabinoids

Delta 8 vs THC Comparison
Table of Contents

Delta 8 THC and regular THC (commonly known as Delta 9 THC) are two distinct compounds found in the cannabis plant. While they share some similarities, such as both being psychoactive and binding to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, they also have key differences in terms of potency, legality, and medical benefits. These distinctions have piqued the interest of both recreational users and the scientific community, as researchers look to better understand the nuances between these two cannabinoids.

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, new products containing Delta 8 are emerging, offering consumers an alternative to the more familiar Delta 9 THC. Many people find that Delta 8 provides a less intense and more manageable high compared to its counterpart, making it an appealing option for those seeking therapeutic benefits without overly potent psychoactivity. However, with its burgeoning popularity comes a range of controversies, questions about its legal status, and concerns regarding the safety and quality of Delta 8 products.

Key Takeaways

  • Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC share similarities but have distinct differences in potency, legality, and medical benefits.
  • New Delta 8 products are gaining popularity due to their less intense psychoactive effects, though controversies and regulatory concerns have arisen.
  • Ongoing research may provide further insights into the intricacies of Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC, potentially advancing their therapeutic applications.

Delta 8 and THC: Understanding the Basics

Chemical Structure

Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. They share a similar chemical structure, but they differ slightly in how the atoms are arranged. This small difference leads to distinct properties and effects when consumed.

Delta-8 THC is a lesser-known cannabinoid compared to Delta-9 THC. It is found in smaller concentrations in the cannabis plant, typically less than 1%. Delta-8 THC has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, which contributes to its unique qualities and lower psychoactive effects compared to Delta-9 THC.
Delta-9 THC, commonly referred to simply as THC, is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain, which results in its potent psychoactive effects. Delta-9 THC is the compound responsible for the “high” people experience when consuming cannabis products.


Cannabinoids are active compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant, which includes both marijuana and hemp varieties. They interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce different effects, from relaxation and pain relief to appetite stimulation and euphoria. There are over 100 known cannabinoids, including Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and cannabidiol (CBD).

  • Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant bred for its low THC content (less than 0.3%) and high CBD content. It is primarily grown for its fiber and seed production. Hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil, are legal in many countries due to their low THC content.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, particularly in hemp. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not produce a high. CBD has garnered significant attention for its potential therapeutic benefits, which include alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and helping with anxiety and sleep disorders.
  • The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system in the body that plays a role in regulating a variety of functions, including mood, pain, sleep, and appetite. Cannabinoids, such as Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and CBD, interact with the ECS to produce their unique effects.

Comparing Effects

Psychoactive Effects

Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are both cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant and have psychoactive effects. However, Delta-8 THC tends to produce a milder high compared to Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC can also provide a sense of relaxation and mild euphoria, but may not cause the same levels of intoxication or hallucinations as Delta-9 THC. According to a study, oral doses of 20 mg Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC were compared, revealing the distinctive psychoactive effects between the two cannabinoids.


It is essential to consider the safety profile of both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC. Research evidence regarding Delta-8 THC is limited, but findings from a scoping review suggest that more information is needed to understand the safety implications of Delta-8 THC fully. As for Delta-9 THC, it is generally considered safe when used responsibly, but may carry risks for individuals with a history of psychosis or other mental health concerns.

Side Effects

Both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC can cause side effects, but the severity and type of side effects might differ between the two cannabinoids. Delta-8 THC users have reported some adverse effects such as nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth. Delta-9 THC, on the other hand, may produce more significant side effects like anxiety, paranoia, and cognitive impairments when used in large quantities.

In summary, while both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC have psychoactive properties, Delta-8 tends to produce a milder high with less severe side effects. The safety profile of Delta-8 THC remains under-researched, and more information is needed to determine its long-term implications.

Medical Benefits and Applications

Marijuana Medical Card

Pain Relief

Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC both have potential pain-relieving properties. They are known to help in alleviating chronic pain and inflammation, making them potentially useful for patients with conditions such as arthritis or neuropathic pain. Some studies suggest that delta-8 THC might have a milder effect on pain compared to delta-9 THC, which could be an advantage for those looking for relief without strong psychoactive effects.

Mental Health

Delta-8 THC has been reported to help with anxiety and depression due to its calming and mood-enhancing effects. In contrast, delta-9 THC may sometimes exacerbate anxiety in some individuals. Delta-8 THC could be an alternative option for those seeking relief from anxiety symptoms while minimizing the potentially overwhelming effects of delta-9 THC.

In addition to anxiety, both delta-8 and delta-9 THC may offer benefits for other mental health disorders, such as PTSD or insomnia. These cannabinoids can help patients achieve better sleep and manage feelings of nausea or vomiting, which might be linked to certain mental health disorders or treatments like chemotherapy.

Remember that it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any cannabinoids like delta-8 or delta-9 THC for medical purposes.

Legality and Regulations

Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are two different compounds found in cannabis. The legality of these compounds is a complex issue, with distinctions made at both federal and state levels.

Federal Laws

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp derived products containing less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC are considered legal under federal law. Delta-8 THC, which is often derived from hemp, has gained popularity due to this legal loophole. However, the legality of Delta-8 THC remains unclear, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any products containing Delta-8 THC for sale or use.

Compound Federal Legality
Delta-9 THC Illegal, except for hemp-based products
Delta-8 THC Unclear, dependent on source and regulation

It should be noted that any product derived from marijuana (cannabis with over 0.3% Delta-9 THC) remains illegal under federal law.

State Laws

State laws regarding Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC vary greatly across the United States. While some states have legalized recreational and medical use of cannabis, others have restricted or prohibited the use of these compounds. Here are some examples:

  • California: Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are legal for recreational and medical use.
  • Texas: Delta-8 THC can be legally sold and possessed, while Delta-9 THC remains illegal for recreational use.
  • New York: Delta-8 THC is legal but regulated, while Delta-9 THC is legal for medical use only.
  • Florida: Delta-8 THC is legal and unregulated, while Delta-9 THC is legal for medical use only.

Always check your state’s regulations regarding the use and possession of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC, as these laws are subject to change.

It is important to understand the legality and regulations of Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC, both at the federal and state levels, as they can affect access, usage, and potential consequences related to these compounds.

Delta 8 Products

Delta 8 THC is a relatively new and popular alternative to traditional Delta 9 THC found in marijuana. This compound is known for its milder effects, making it an attractive option for those seeking a smoother experience. This section focuses on the various types of Delta 8 products available, including edibles, tinctures, and flowers.


Delta 8 edibles are a popular choice for those looking for a convenient and long-lasting experience. There is a wide variety of options, catering to different tastes and preferences:

shruumz gummies rainbow 1pk front foil min
  • Gummies: These can be found in various flavors and potencies, often providing a consistent and measured dose of Delta 8 THC.
  • Chocolate: Delta 8 infused chocolate bars provide another tasty option for those looking to consume their THC discreetly.
  • Cookies and Candies: For those with a sweet tooth, Delta 8 infused cookies and candies are readily available online.

It’s worth noting that many edibles are also vegan, providing options for those with dietary restrictions. Prices for Delta 8 edibles may vary depending on the product type and potency.


Delta 8 tinctures are another popular product category, offering an easy and versatile way to consume Delta 8 THC. These liquid extracts can be added to food, beverages, or taken sublingually (under the tongue) for quick absorption.

3Chi 300mg Delta 8 Tincture

Tinctures can be found in various concentrations, making it easy for users to customize their dosage. Prices for Delta 8 tinctures will vary depending on factors such as potency and brand reputation.



Delta 8 flowers are cannabis or hemp flowers that have been infused with Delta 8 THC. These products cater particularly to individuals who prefer consuming cannabis via combustion or vaporization.

DazeD8 Delta Blenz Flower for sale

Delta 8 flowers allow users to enjoy the familiar experience of smoking or vaping while still benefiting from the milder effects of Delta 8 THC. As with other Delta 8 products, prices for flowers can vary depending on factors like the strain and quality of the product.

Risks and Controversies

Safety Concerns

Delta-8 THC has gained popularity due to its seemingly less potent effects compared to its more well-known counterpart, Delta-9 THC. However, there remain significant safety concerns associated with its use. One potential issue is an increased risk of adverse events, like memory impairment and anxiety, due to the high potency of cannabis products containing Delta-8 THC.

Furthermore, the long-term risks of Delta-8 THC have not been well studied. Potential health hazards, such as lung and heart-related problems, could arise from its regular consumption. It is essential for users to consider potential safety risks and consult with a healthcare professional before using Delta-8 THC products.

Synthetics and Contaminants

Another area of concern is the presence of synthetic cannabinoids and contaminants in Delta-8 THC products. The conversion process of Delta-9 THC to Delta-8 THC involves the use of chemicals, putting users at risk for future problems if not done correctly. This raises public health concerns over the safety of these products.

Additionally, lack of proper regulation and oversight in the manufacturing process could lead to product contamination with harmful substances, further exacerbating health risks. Users should be cautious when selecting Delta-8 THC products and choose reputable brands that conduct third-party lab testing for quality and purity.

In summary, while Delta-8 THC might offer some benefits over Delta-9 THC, it is essential to consider the potential safety concerns, risks related to synthetics, and contaminants. As with any substance, it’s crucial to get informed, exercise caution, and seek guidance from healthcare professionals before using Delta-8 THC products.

Drug Testing and Delta 8

Delta 8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 8 or Δ8-THC) is an isomer of the more well-known Delta 9-THC, which is the primary psychoactive component found in marijuana. Both of these compounds are present in cannabis plants, but in different concentrations. Delta 8 has gained popularity due to its reported milder psychoactive effects, but there is still a concern with drug testing when it comes to this compound.

When undergoing a drug test, the primary concern is whether Δ8-THC will produce a positive result. Many drug tests are designed to detect the presence of Δ9-THC and its primary metabolite, 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-THC (THC-COOH). However, it is essential to understand that Δ8-THC can also be metabolized into similar compounds, which may trigger a positive result on a drug test.

A lady conducting a drug test

A study from Sweden revealed the presence of Δ8-THC-COOH in urine drug testing. This finding suggests that individuals who have used Δ8-THC products may test positive for Δ9-THC on some drug screenings. Additionally, another article mentions that Δ8-THC-containing products should be avoided if a drug test is imminent, as they can potentially trigger positive results for Δ9-THC.

The potential for false-positive results in drug tests poses challenges for both individuals and testing laboratories. Current immunoassay-based detection methods may not differentiate between Δ8-THC and Δ9-THC, and confirmatory tests may be required to provide accurate results. One study showed that Δ8-THC can result in a positive drug test for carboxy-Δ9-THC glucuronide on confirmatory testing.

In summary, it is crucial to be aware of the potential implications of using Δ8-THC products when facing an upcoming drug test. While Δ8-THC is distinct from its isomer Δ9-THC, it can still result in a positive drug test, potentially causing complications for individual users and testing laboratories alike.

Future of Delta 8 and THC Research

Delta 8 THC has garnered attention due to its reported milder effects compared to Delta 9 THC. As a minor cannabinoid, understanding Delta 8’s unique properties and potential benefits is crucial. Research has been scarce, but new studies are attempting to fill the knowledge gap, setting the stage for future advancements in THC research.

Investigations on Delta 8 THC interactions with CB1 receptors may shed light on how it differs from Delta 9 THC, a more well-known and widely-studied compound. Since both cannabinoids exhibit psychoactive properties, comparing their effects on CB1 receptors could deepen our understanding of their individual characteristics and potential therapeutic applications.

In terms of adverse effects, studies often report dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness in Delta 9 THC users. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that Delta 8 THC might have a milder side effect profile. Further research is needed to confirm these observations and determine the extent to which Delta 8 THC might be a safer alternative for some users.

Moreover, exploring the properties of Delta 8 THC may lay the groundwork for researching other minor cannabinoids such as Delta 10. As scientists gain more insight into the cannabis plant’s complex cannabinoid profile, potential medical applications could emerge, enabling the range of cannabinoid-based therapies to expand.

With the growing buzz around Delta 8 THC, more large-scale, nationally representative studies should be conducted to establish the prevalence of its use, associated risks, and potential benefits. As policymakers grapple with the rapid emergence of novel cannabinoid products, accurate and comprehensive research will be essential for informed decision-making.

In conclusion, the future of Delta 8 THC and other minor cannabinoid research holds promise for revealing novel therapeutic applications and providing a more complete understanding of the cannabis plant.


Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8-THC) and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Although they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two compounds. These differences impact their potential risks, manufacturing processes, and intoxicating effects on users.

Delta-8-THC is known to produce less intoxicating effects compared to THC. Some users report that Delta-8 provides a more clear-headed experience, reducing the likelihood of panic and paranoia often associated with THC consumption. This characteristic can make Delta-8 a more appealing option for individuals who are sensitive to THC’s stronger psychoactive effects.

However, it is important to consider the potential risks when using Delta-8-THC. The compound is still a psychoactive substance, and users should approach it with caution, particularly those who have not used cannabis products before or have a low tolerance. While Delta-8 might decrease feelings of paranoia compared to THC, some users still report side effects such as red eyes, anxiety, and drowsiness.

Both Delta-8-THC and THC are subject to different regulatory and manufacturing standards. Delta-8-THC is often manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) whereas THC originates from the cannabis plant. This difference in manufacturing processes may result in varying levels of quality and safety. Consumers should research and choose reputable companies when purchasing either compound.

In summary, Delta-8-THC and THC have distinct qualities that differentiate them in terms of intoxicating effects, tolerance, and potential risks. While Delta-8-THC offers some potential advantages such as milder psychoactive effects and less likelihood of anxiety-inducing side effects, it is crucial for users to stay informed about the potential risks associated with this compound and make educated decisions regarding its use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between delta-8 and delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are isomers of each other, which means they have the same molecular formula but a different arrangement of atoms. Delta-8 THC is found in smaller concentrations in the cannabis plant compared to delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Delta-8 THC is often produced by converting CBD or delta-9 THC through a chemical process.

How do the psychoactive effects of delta-8 THC compare to traditional THC?

Delta-8 THC is known to produce mildly psychoactive effects compared to delta-9 THC. Users of delta-8 THC have reported a lighter, more clear-headed high with less anxiety and paranoia. However, the individual experiences may vary depending on the person and product. Research also suggests that delta-8 THC may be equally effective for desired purposes of cannabis use and lower in side effects compared to delta-9 THC.

The legality of delta-8 THC products varies across states and depends on the source of the compound. If delta-8 THC is derived from hemp as defined by the 2018 Farm Bill, which contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC, it is considered legal on a federal level. However, some states have specific regulations surrounding delta-8 THC, so it’s essential to check your state’s legal status before purchasing or using delta-8 THC products.

Can using delta-8 THC lead to a failed drug test?

Yes, using delta-8 THC can potentially lead to a failed drug test. Most drug tests screen for the presence of THC metabolites, and since delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC share similar chemical structures, they may both trigger a positive result. If you are subject to drug testing, it is best to avoid using delta-8 THC products until further clarification on detection methods is available.

What are common side effects of delta-8 THC compared to regular THC?

The side effects of delta-8 THC are generally considered milder than those of delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC users often report fewer instances of anxiety, paranoia, and dry mouth. However, it’s important to note that individual reactions may vary, and side effects can be subjective. In an FDA Adverse Event Reporting System study, adverse effects with delta-8 THC use were characterized, which helps give an understanding of the potential risks involved with its use.

Are delta-8 gummies as potent as regular THC edibles?

Delta-8 gummies can vary in potency depending on the specific product, manufacturer, and dosage. The potency of delta-8 THC gummies compared to regular THC edibles depends on the concentration of delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC in each product. It is important to start with a low dose and adjust slowly to find the optimal dosage for your individual needs, as the effects of delta-8 THC gummies may be milder but still potent in some cases.


Jennifer Williams
Jennifer Williams
In my early twenties, I had everything in the palm of my hand. I was a journalist, published author, and was passionate about cannabis. Quickly realizing that the cannabis industry wasn't going to take off the way I wanted it to, I decided I needed a change.After some soul searching and self-reflection, I realized that all of my passions were centered on wellness. CBD is an incredible healing tool with scientific research backing its effectiveness in alleviating anxiety and promoting restorative sleep. With CBD becoming a more mainstream topic every day (not just among the medical community), it seemed like this was something that could be well worth pursuing!