Delta-8 THC is marketed as “diet weed” or “cannabis light” due to its milder psychoactive effects.
It also comes with several remarkable health benefits, such as relief from pain, inflammation, nausea, loss of appetite, or stress and anxiety.
Many cannabis users claim delta-8 THC is safer than marijuana because it doesn’t get them anxious and paranoid in doses similar to delta-9 THC.
However, like all substances out there — natural or synthetic — delta-8 THC comes with possible side effects.
Not everyone will experience them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Consult your doctor before using delta-8 THC if you have any concerns. But before you do, read this article to learn about the 13 common side effects of delta-8.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol — a psychoactive cannabinoid that comes as a byproduct of delta-9 THC’s degradation.
On a molecular level, both cannabinoids look strikingly similar. But their chemical structure is different — and so are their safety profile and side effects.
Delta-8 THC is about 50% as potent as delta-9 THC. It creates a less intense psychoactive buzz that relaxes the body and eases the mind. Depending on your delta-8 product’s formula, the effects may lean toward energizing or sedating (1).
Is Delta-8 Safe?
According to the World Health Organization, cannabis is a “relatively safe drug” whose side effects aren’t clinically important.
Since delta-8 THC is less potent than delta-9, it’s only reasonable to assume that delta-8 itself is even safer.
But like I said, the side effects of delta-8 THC are real, and the faster you become aware of them, the better for your experience.
Delta-8 Side Effects: 14 Common Adverse Reactions to Delta-8 THC Products
Compared to delta-9 THC, delta-8 is an under-researched cannabinoid. However, because it shares so many similar qualities with delta-9, it’s likely that it causes some of the same side effects.
The most common adverse reactions to delta-8 THC include:
1. Dry Mouth
Delta-8 THC can trigger the “cottonmouth” effect, just like delta-9 THC. This side effect is the same across all cannabinoids because these compounds interact with the cannabinoid receptors located in the salivary glands — decreasing the production of saliva (2).
It’s a good idea to keep yourself well-hydrated before, during, and after using delta-8 products.
2. Red Eyes
This side effect is typical of all THC isomers. When delta-8 enters the bloodstream, it dilates the capillaries in your eyes, improving blood flow and reducing intraocular pressure. THC also comes with neuroprotective properties, helping to protect the nerves in the eye against damage (3).
However, this effect is far from desired when you need to socialize with people. Folks will start asking questions about why you have red eyes, which can create unnecessary discomfort — especially if your buddies aren’t cannabis fans.
Fortunately, you can reduce this side effect by taking some regular eyedrops or using lower doses of delta-8 in your routine.
3. Increased Appetite
Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC go hand in hand when it comes to munchies. Both cannabinoids activate the CB1 receptors in the brain, increasing the levels of ghrelin — the hunger hormone (4).
When you take delta-8 THC, your senses also sharpen, especially the sense of smell. Your smell plays an important role in how you perceive flavors, making you more receptive to certain notes.
Not to mention that the sweet flavor becomes more vivid, increasing your pleasure from eating desserts.
4. Impaired Motor Skills
One of the side effects of high doses of delta-8 THC is impaired coordination and problems with motor skills. That’s because it activates the brain areas that control movement. Never enter a vehicle or operate machinery under the influence of delta-8.
5. Nausea and Vomiting
Delta-8 THC can trigger nausea and vomiting in sensitive users. Your chances of experiencing this side effect increase proportionately to the delta-8 dose. If you get nauseous after taking psychoactive cannabinoids, it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Overstimulating the CB1 receptors in your brain may cause hand tremors (5). If you have this side effect, reduce your dose of delta-8 — or switch to non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, or CBC.
7. Changes in Mood or Perception
Delta-8 THC activates the brain areas that are responsible for regulating cognition and emotion processing. Low and moderate doses can elevate your mood and make you feel as if time is passing slower than usual. However, when you breach your sensitivity to THC, this may ‘unlock’ its biphasic nature, aggravating anxiety and inducing feelings of paranoia and unease.
8. Short-term Memory Impairment
Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC affect the hippocampus — a brain region involved in emotions, learning, mood, and memory. Microdosing delta-8 can enhance your focus and overall cognitive performance. However, when you get too high, your short-term memory will become selective and you might not be able to record everything.
9. Slowed Reaction Time
Delta-8’s impact on the brain areas that regulate movement may also cause slowed reaction time at high doses. If you’re a driver or work on heavy machinery, it’s important to be aware of this side effect and give yourself enough time to sober up before you get behind the wheel.
Despite being dubbed the “diet weed,” delta-8 THC can still cause hallucinations if you go overboard. These visual sensations can be unpleasant, especially if you struggle with hidden fears or consume delta-8 THC under stressful conditions. Always start with low doses to see how your mind reacts to the psychoactive effects of delta-8.
Another common side effect of delta-8 THC is confusion caused by activating the hippocampus.
Delta-8 THC can also interact with other medications because it affects the CYP450 system of liver enzymes that metabolize most drugs.
Always consult a doctor if you take any medications and are considering adding delta-8 THC to your routine. The side effects stemming from these interactions can be more dangerous than the side effects of delta-8 alone.
Although very rare, anxiety may occur in some people, especially those who are new to THC. As mentioned earlier, THC has a biphasic nature, meaning that low and high doses create opposite effects.
If you’re prone to anxiety, it’s best to avoid delta-8 products — or combine them with balancing cannabinoids like CBD or CBC.
13. Reduced Blood Pressure
Delta-8 THC can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. This side effect can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. If you naturally have low blood pressure, delta-8 THC may not be the right pick for you. If you decide to try it, use a low dose and see how your body responds. Make sure not to stand up too quickly after taking delta-8.
14. Loss of Consciousness
That’s a bit of an extreme side effect, but since some people tend to use psychoactive cannabinoids irresponsibly, I feel obliged to mention it.
When you take high enough a dose, your blood sugar levels will drop. This may cause you to feel weak, faint, fatigued, and in the most serious case — loss of consciousness.
This side effect of delta-8 is known as “greening out.”
What Are Some of the Other Possible Side Effects of Delta-8?
Aside from the above side effects and the aforementioned interactions between delta-8 THC and drugs, you need to remember that the delta-8 THC space is loosely regulated. Because of that, there are no manufacturing or lab-testing standards that would make it easier for users to pick a safe product.
According to the latest data from New York, around 40% of THC products seized from illegal cannabis dispensaries were contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, mold, solvents, and harmful bacteria like E. coli or salmonella.
Long-term exposure to these toxins may cause serious harm to your health by damaging your immune and nervous systems.
Always ask for batch-specific reports from a third-party laboratory. The certificates of analysis (CoAs) should include the potency and purity of the product.
If your vendor doesn’t provide them on request, it’s a red flag.
Who Shouldn’t Take Delta-8 THC?
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid delta-8 THC products. The side effects of taking THC during pregnancy and breastfeeding may cause low birth weight, premature birth, low weight, and potential developmental issues for the child.
Does Delta-8 THC Make You Feel High?
Yes, delta-8 THC can absolutely get you high — but the buzz won’t be as intense as with delta-9 from marijuana.
It provides a distinctive sense of relief and calmness to those who use it. Some people prefer delta-8 THC because it makes them feel light as a feather, as though somebody shook the burden off their shoulders.
You’ll also experience the typical effects of THC, such as euphoria, increased appetite, relief from physical discomfort and tension, and enhanced focus and motivation.
However, as with any psychoactive cannabinoid, the effects of delta-8 THC can vary between individuals.
That’s why I always recommend starting low and slowly increasing the dose to find your optimal range.
Related: What Does Delta 8 High Feel Like?
What Does the FDA Say About the Side Effects of Delta-8?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn’t as optimistic about the side effects of delta-8 as cannabis users.
According to the FDA, delta-8 THC products:
- Haven’t been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use
- Are marketed in ways that put public health at risk
- May cause dangerous side effects from contamination
- Often involve the use of potentially harmful chemicals to create the levels of delta-8 THC that creates the desired effects
Always purchase your delta-8 products from reputable brands that provide a decent level of transparency and test their products for potential contaminants in third-party laboratories.
Common Delta-8 Products
Delta-8 THC is available in various forms, most of which are identical to CBD and other cannabis products.
Here are the most common formats:
Oils & Tinctures
Delta-8 THC oils (or tinctures) are taken under the tongue, just like CBD oil. They offer precise dosing and relatively high bioavailability. You need to hold them in your mouth for up to 60 seconds to maximize their absorption.[Best Delta-8 THC Oils & Tinctures]
Delta-8 THC edibles are more potent than other forms because the THC transforms into 11-hydroxy-THC — a psychedelic metabolite that increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.
When you take delta-8 edibles, the best way to avoid side effects is to start with a small dose and see how your body reacts after the said time.
Vaping ensures the highest bioavailability and the fastest-acting effects. Delta-8 THC distillate is usually infused into vape carts that fit in standard 510 battery threading in vape pens. To use a vape pen, hold your lips over the mouthpiece and inhale the vapor for 2-3 seconds. Then, slowly exhale it and wait for up to 5 minutes before you take another puff.[Best Delta-8 Vape Cartridges]
Delta-8 pre-rolls are made with CBD hemp flower that has been infused with delta-8 THC distillate. They are rolled into joints and smoked like a normal doobie. The added benefit of delta-8 pre-rolls is the presence of CBD, which balances out the psychoactive effects and reduces the risk of adverse reactions.[Best Delta-8 THC Pre-rolls & Cigarettes]
Summarizing the Side Effects of Delta-8 THC
While delta-8 products offer plenty of potential health benefits, it’s important to keep your use in moderation to avoid the side effects.
Some of the most common reactions to delta-8 THC include dry mouth, red eyes, dizziness, confusion, and problems with concentration. If you take a high dose, you may experience anxiety and paranoia, although these side effects are less common than with delta-9 THC.
If you experience any of these side effects, start by reducing your delta-8 dose to calibrate it with your tolerance and sensitivity to THC.
People react differently to delta-8 products, and the truth is that delta-8 THC is not for everyone.
Always talk to your doctor before trying delta-8 THC, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medications that could interact with cannabinoids.