What are Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC?
Hemp and cannabis plants contain many active ingredients. Usually, the focus is on two specific natural compounds: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). (We have another post talking more about CBD, so if you haven't checked it out yet, click here to read more What is CBD and What You Need to Know).
THC: BRIEF REVIEW
It is essential to understand what THC is before getting into the Delta-8 and Delta-9 THCs. THC stands for "tetrahydrocannabinol" and is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. That's what gives people the famous "high" that everyone talks about.
The THC we hear the most about is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9). Another cannabinoid has gained popularity and is being studied for its therapeutic properties: Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC).
DELTA-8 THC & DELTA-9 THC
Chemically, Delta-8 is very similar to Delta-9, but it has a slight difference in the molecular structure. We know it seems irrelevant, but even the smallest change can lead to unique experiences.
The two THCs are chemically different in the placement of the two carbon atom's double bonds. Both cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms, but Delta-8 has the double bond on the 8th chain, while Delta-9 has it on the 9th chain; hence the names, Delta-8 and Delta-9.
Are you secretly wishing you paid more attention to the chemistry class? We hear you!
So let us show you where the double bonds are: they are the lines you see parallel to the sides of the pentagons.
[image from http://www.ethnoherbalist.com/delta-8-cannabinoid/]
Thus, Delta-8 binds to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in a slightly different way due to the location of its double bond. This is what makes Delta-8 less potent than Delta-9.
WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC indeed share many of the same properties, but each is suitable for different people for different reasons.
Most users claim they feel less paranoia or anxiety when consuming Delta-8 THC. In addition, Delta-8 is a minor cannabinoid and is reported to provide a much easier experience, so you will need more milligrams to feel "high" compared to Delta-9, which already occurs in large amounts naturally in the plant.
Again, they are both psychoactive, so read and follow the package's instructions. Always start with ¼ or ½ of the suggested serving size to allow yourself to test the best amount for your body - each body will respond differently. Above all, we always recommend consulting with your doctor before making any medical decisions.
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