THC 8 vs. THC 9: Learn The Difference
Cannabis products are more popular than ever before, but they are no longer categorized under a single definition. For example, CBD products largely come from hemp plants. Cannabidiol, the scientific name for CBD, is also federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. Unfortunately, other cannabis products aren't so lucky.
Delta-9-THC, better known as "THC", is often used as a catalyst for intoxication. Because of this, federal legality classifies the delta-9-THC compound as a Schedule I compound, the highest degree of illegality.
But another form of THC has entered the market en masse, sparking interest in advocacy groups to consumers alike: Delta-8-THC, also known as THC 8 or delta-8. And when comparing THC 8 vs. THC 9, that single-digit change makes all the difference in the world. In general, delta-8 is less potent than delta-9-THC but still acts upon some of the same endocannabinoid receptors. As such, delta-8 products are mildly intoxicating (emphasis on mild). However, when comparing delta-8-THC vs. delta-9-THC, we reach some interesting conclusions.
What to Know About Delta-8 Production, Federal Legality & More
Before we can compare and contrast delta-8-THC vs. delta-9-THC, we must learn more about THC 8 in general. From a consumer's standpoint, this is a new compound. It's vital to understand the ins and outs of new cannabis products before diving headfirst into consumption.
Israeli organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam—known as the "Father of Modern Cannabis"—and his laboratory first chemically synthesized delta-8-THC in 1964. Believe it or not, Israel has led the charge in cannabis research for over the last half-century. However, delta-8 products would not become commercially available in the United States until after 2018.
The 2018 Farm Bill: Creating Federal Legality for THC 8?
We all know that the federal government does not like THC. While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production, sale, possession, and consumption of non-intoxicating CBD products (like CBD oil), it did virtually nothing for delta-9-THC legality.
But what if the 2018 Farm Bill "accidentally" legalized delta-8 products, a much less potent form of THC? It all comes down to delta-8 production.
The 2018 Farm Bill didn't just legalize CBD products. Instead, this legislation legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, responsible for a variety of cannabis products containing CBD, CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids. Industrial hemp even contains about 0.3% THC by dry weight, meaning all cannabis products are legal if they contain no more than 0.3% THC.
But it doesn't matter if we're comparing THC 8 vs. THC 9, THC 8 vs. CBD, or beyond: delta-8-THC experiences different federal legality than any known cannabinoid. In fact, proponents of THC 8 argue that, through legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp, the US government legalized delta-8 as well.
THC 8 molecules can be extracted directly from hemp plants, including industrial hemp plants, now legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. The Bill also states CBD products may contain no more than 0.3% THC but never states the maximum allotted amount of delta-8-THC, specifically. This loophole has allowed brands to offer delta-8 products using the same legislation that legalized CBD products.
When comparing THC 8 vs. THC 9, the first two differences you'll likely notice are differences in intoxication and federal legality. But delta-8 isn't entirely unlike other cannabinoids, either. Like all cannabis products, THC 8 is not without its controversies. Opponents of delta-8 argue that manufacturers aren't selling natural delta-8 products. Instead, they're shoveling out synthetic delta-8-THC because it can be easily manufactured from natural CBD molecules. All forms of synthetic cannabis are federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, making synthetic delta-8 100% illegal. Regulators in Colorado even banned delta-8 products from licensed cannabis dispensaries, arguing it is too difficult to weed out the synthetic varieties.
Because of this delta-8 production controversy, we advise all THC 8 users to purchase delta-8 products from trusted brands. We also strongly suggest that all users of cannabis products—CBD, delta-8, and THC alike—verify the Certificates of Analysis (COAs) on all of their products. COAs are received from third-party laboratories that do not profit from the cannabis industry; they are the true mark of quality in the largely unregulated cannabis industry!
Final Notes on THC 8 vs. THC 9
We've discussed the intoxication, federal legality, and controversies surrounding delta-8-THC vs. delta-9-THC. However, we have yet to talk about the therapeutic benefits of these cannabinoids and how they contrast to one another.
THC 8 is known for a variety of therapeutic properties. This cannabinoid can:
- Reduce nausea
- Fight pain
- Offer anti-inflammatory potential
- Boost cognitive performance
- Boost appetite
On the other hand, THC 9 offers similar potential benefits but with a much higher intoxication threshold. As such, many regular THC users do not associate a boost in cognitive performance with THC ingestion. This is not to say that THC users cannot experience cognitive enhancements like increased creativity, but those benefits are often overshadowed by intoxication. With delta-8, however, intoxication is mild, allowing users to experience more therapeutic potential.
Delta-8, like THC 9, also has some minor side effects to be aware of. Everyone is different, but general side effects you may experience include:
- Drowsiness of sleepiness
- Slow heart rate
- Reduced blood pressure
Which Form of THC is Right for You?
There are many cannabinoids out there, each accompanied by a variety of cannabis products like oil tinctures, edibles, vapes, and more. So when it comes to delta-8-THC vs. delta-9-THC, which form of THC is right for you?
We are all unique. Our minds and bodies react differently to compounds. What works for one individual might not work for you, and what works for you might not work for the next person, and so on.
The first question you should answer: how do you feel about possibly intoxicating side effects? If your answer is a strict, "Not going to happen", then we'd suggest avoiding both delta-9 and delta-8 entirely. If you do not mind mildly intoxicating side effects (think: one cocktail), then delta-8 offers a powerful yet manageable cannabinoid option. Just be sure that your delta-8 products derive from all-natural hemp plants (like all delta-8 products found at CBD Choice!) as to avoid illegal and synthetic THC 8 compounds.
You can also opt for proven CBD products– cannabis products without any risk of intoxication. As per the 2018 Farm Bill, all CBD products found on our site contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. On top of that, we offer a previously unseen variety of THC-free CBD products, as well as a number of products infused with CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids.