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Not all THC is Equal - Delta-9 vs Delta-8 THC

Not all THC is Equal - Delta-9 vs Delta-8 THC

Posted by Julie Helmer, CBD Business Strategist and Consultant on Jul 2nd 2020

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Not all THC is Equal - Delta-9 vs Delta 8 THC

Everyone who is not living in a cave has heard of Delta-9 THC. It is the psychoactive compound present in cannabis that has had the most attention in recent years in addition to the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD. The cannabis plant, including hemp, has over 124 cannabinoids and only a handful have really been studied and marketed. Let’s take a closer look at Delta-9 THC and its close cousin,  Delta-8 THC and learn how they differ.

Until all cannabinoids are thoroughly studied, we know currently that Delta-9-THC and Delta-8-THC are the only compounds in the marijuana plant that produce all the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Because Delta-9-THC is much more abundant than Delta-8-THC, the psychoactivity of cannabis has been attributed largely to Delta-9 THC.

But now Delta-8 is being discovered as an alternative to Delta-9 since it produces a less intense, gentle, enjoyable and manageable high. As far as the endocannabinoid system, Delta-9 THC only activates the CB1 receptor whereas, Delta-8 THC activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. When both receptors are involved there is an associated physical state known as homeostasis, the body’s natural resting state, when it is not in a fight or fight mode. This is the same effect CBD has on the body.

As far as benefits of Delta-8, they are considerably different than those of Delta-9. In studies dating back to 1974 when cannabinoids were being studied by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, he found that Delta-8 is an enormously powerful immune system activator and eliminated nausea in patients who were ill from cancer medications and chemotherapy treatments. Additionally, it was shown in 1995 during a study done in Israel to shrink tumors.

Delta 8 THC Patents in the US

Also, in US Patents the following is stated:

"Δ8-THC, for the most part, produces similar psychometric effects as does Δ9-THC, but is generally considered to be 50% less potent"

[Δ8-THC] "has been shown in some cases to be 3-10 times less potent"

"Δ8-THC has also been shown to be more (200%) effective an anti-emetic than Δ9-THC"

What is more, some research suggests that Delta 8 potentially helps people produce a neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine, which is responsible for memory, cognition, arousal, and neuroplasticity.

Due to the less sever psychoactive effects, Delta-8 can treat a wider range of cancer patients since it’s better at combatting a lack of appetite than Delta-9. And some cancer patients don’t use Delta-9 due to the panic they feel when the take it. Delta-8 has fewer discomforting side effects so it can treat a wider range of cancer patients. When CBD is added to Delta-8 it diminishes the psychotropic affects even more, so you get the benefits of Delta-8 along with CBD with little to no high.

Another positive about Delta-8 THC is that it is legal in any state that marijuana and hemp derived CBD is legal medically or recreationally. Delta-8 falls into a kind of regulatory gray area since it can be obtained from both the hemp and marijuana plants and can be converted from CBD which has zero Delta-9 THC present. If there are traces of Delta-9 THC present, it needs to be below the federally regulated level of 0.3%.

As a result, extractors and manufacturers have begun to isolate this cannabinoid and convert CBD derived from hemp into Delta-8 and are adding to many products including  Delta 8 Gummies, Delta 8 Vape Pens and selling Delta 8 Distillate. 

Delta 8 THC - Introduction

The cannabis plant, including hemp, has over 120 cannabinoids but only a handful have really been studied and marketed. Let’s take a closer look at Delta-9 THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and its close cousin Delta-8 THC, and learn how they differ.

Delta 9 THC is the psychoactive compound present in cannabis that has had the most attention in recent years. However, over the last couple of years consumers have turned their eyes to Delta 8 THC due to it's unique properties.

The Difference Between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC

delta 8 thc

So - what's the difference between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC?

There are 3 differences: There are the differences on a molecular level, differences in availability and there are the differences when it comes to experiencing the highs.

  • Molecular: On a molecular level Delta 9 THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain whereas Delta 8 THC has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain. Despite this being a seemingly small difference, it yields big results.
  • Availability: Delta 8 THC is less abundant than Delta 9 THC in the marijuana / cannabis plant - only with recent technological advances have we been able to isolate Delta 8 THC for it to be publicly available.
  • Experience: Delta 8 THC has been shown to give a similar "high" to Delta 9 THC but with less severe side-effects. The high produced by Delta 8 THC (in comparison to Delta 9 THC - which is the most common THC) is described as "less intense, gentle, enjoyable and manageable".  On a more practical level, the highs from Delta 8 THC are found to have less functionality-impairing effects.

Where to buy Delta 8 THC & Cannabis Products

Unfortunately, you probably will not find  Delta 8 products at your local dispensary (as of the time we're writing this article). However, Fresh Bros has been able to take the hemp plant and isolate Delta 8 THC to create several products that include:

Delta 8 Gummies (vegan delta 8 infused gummies)

Delta 8 Vape Pens

Delta 8 Distillate 

In addition to delta 8 products,  Fresh Bros has a whole suite of hemp products that you can check out here.

If you're interested in purchasing Delta 8 THC products in bulk, make sure to reach out to  Fresh Bros directly here.

Delta 8 Distillate - How Delta 8 Products are Made

Delta 8 THC Freshbros

Delta 8 THC distillate is made by allowing the cannabis / marijuana flower to go through the distillation process.

The distillation process and the science that goes with it is proprietary knowledge, but the end result is that we're able to isolate different components of the cannabis / marijuana plant depending on what we're producing. There are distillation processes for different cannabinoids, oils, and forms of THC.

Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

The end product of the distillation process is the most potent and pure form of Delta 8 THC that can be legally acquired.

Cannabis Distillation - What Manufacturers Do With It

Once we have delta 8 distillate, we're then able to offer consumers a wide array of cannabis products from something such as a vape cartridge, to terpenes, tinctures, an oil, or the distillate itself. While many of our clients are end user consumers, other clients also include dispensaries who want to provide their customers with quality delta 8 products.

Delta 8 THC in the Endocannabinoid System

Delta-8 is being discovered as an alternative to Delta-9 since it produces a less intense, gentle, enjoyable and manageable high. As far as the endocannabinoid system, Delta-9 THC only activates the CB1 receptor whereas, Delta-8 THC activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The activation of both receptors is why many believe Delta 8 THC has more benefits than Delta 9 THC.

Delta 8 THC - Notable Research, Benefits, and Effects

  • Nausea: As far as therapeutic benefits of Delta-8, they are considerably different than those of Delta-9. In studies dating back to 1974 when cannabinoids were being studied by Professor Raphael Mechoulam 1, the studies found that Delta-8 is a powerful immune system activator and eliminated nausea in patients who were ill from cancer medications and chemotherapy treatments. Because of this, some people prefer Delta 8 THC to help with nausea and lack of appetite.
  • Cancer: It was shown in a 1995 study by Aya Abrahamov 2 that Delta 8 THC shrunk cancer tumors. 
  • Brain Function: Research has also shown that Delta 8 THC improves brain function 3. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that effects memory, cognition, arousal, and neuroplasticity (neuroplasticity is your brains ability to adapt and learn new things). Studies found that Delta 8 THC increases the neurotransmitter acetylecholine in the brain, with different forms of THC increasing acetylcholine in different areas.
  • Anxiety and Pain: Several of Delta 9's benefits overlap with Delta 8. In a double blind clinical trial study, research found that THC "significantly" relieved pain and reduced anxiety 4.

The Future of Delta 8 THC

Due to the less sever psychoactive effects, Delta-8 can treat a wider range of cancer patients since it’s better at combating a lack of appetite than Delta-9. And some cancer patients don’t use Delta-9 due to the panic they feel when the take it. Delta-8 has fewer discomforting side effects so it can treat a wider range of cancer patients. When CBD is added to Delta-8 it diminishes the psychotropic affects even more, so you get the benefits of Delta-8 along with CBD with little to no high.

Legality of Delta 8

Another positive about Delta-8 THC is that it is legal in any state that marijuana and hemp derived CBD is legal medically or recreationally. Delta-8 THC falls into a kind of regulatory gray area since it can be obtained from both the hemp and marijuana plants and can be converted from CBD which has zero Delta-9 THC present. If there are traces of Delta-9 THC present, it needs to be below the federally regulated level of 0.3%.

As a result, extractors and manufacturers have begun to isolate this cannabinoid and convert CBD into Delta-8 and are adding to many products since it features some special effects not seen with other cannabinoids.

Moving forward, we expect to see Delta 8 THC take the spotlight for recreational users as it gives many of the health and experience benefits but without the impairing effects of Delta 9 THC.

We're also expecting traditional cannabis or marijuana products (brownies, gummies, vape, oil, dab, and more) to become available infused with Delta 8 where science permits.

For More Legal Information on Delta 8, Click Here

Delta 8 THC in United States Patents

 US Patents the following is stated:

* *Note: The "Δ" symbol is pronounced "delta".

" Δ8-THC, for the most part, produces similar psychometric effects as does Δ9-THC, but is generally considered to be 50% less potent"

" [Δ8-THC] "has been shown in some cases to be 3-10 times less potent"

" Δ8-THC has also been shown to be more (200%) effective an anti-emetic than Δ9-THC"

Further Delta 8 THC Research

Cannabis research has recently been legalized in specific states. Because of this, new research on cannabis is proliferate. The effects derived from the plant are amazing and people want to know if there are other benefits or side effects that we don't know about yet.

If you've enjoyed this article, please consider reading  our other blog posts.

Delta 8 Research Citations

Here are Fresh Bros, we use science to back up any claims and to help consumers make informed and educated decisions. Below are science or medical research related to cannabis that we referenced in this article.

1: Pertwee, Roger G. “Cannabinoid pharmacology: the first 66 years.” British journal of pharmacology vol. 147 Suppl 1,Suppl 1 (2006): S163-71. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706406

2: Abrahamov A, Abrahamov A, Mechoulam R. An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology. Life Sci. 1995;56(23-24):2097-2102. doi:10.1016/0024-3205(95)00194-b

3: Tripathi, H & Vocci, Frank & Brase, DA & Dewey, William. (1987). Effects of cannabinoids on levels of acetylcholine and choline and on turnover rate of acetylcholine in various regions of the mouse brain. Alcohol and drug research. 7. 525-32. 

4: Noyes R Jr, Brunk SF, Baram DA, Canter A. Analgesic effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. J Clin Pharmacol. 1975;15(2-3):139-143. doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.1975.tb02348.x

Keywords

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