Delta 8 THC Benefits: What Made It So Popular

Illustration of a woman holding delta 8 products
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: September 9, 2021

THC is by far the most recognizable molecule in cannabis plants. As scientists are diving deeper into cannabis science, new analogs of THC are being discovered.

One of the hottest topics in the industry right now is delta 8 THC — a milder, less intoxicating version of delta 9 THC that you can find in most cannabis strains.

Delta 8 THC is like a middle ground between CBD and delta 9 THC. It does get you high but not over the edge; on top of that, it offers several health benefits typical of cannabinoids, such as relief from pain, nausea, inflammation, loss of appetite, and depression.

Today, we’re going to have a detailed overview of these benefits.

But first, let’s focus on the effects of delta 8 THC and how it interacts with the brain and body.

What Does Delta 8 THC Feel Like?

It’s self-explanatory that you’re wondering, “what is delta 8 THC supposed to make me feel?”

In essence, it’s just a milder version of delta 9 THC. It’s important to stress that everybody is different, so your experiences may not be the same as the ones of your friend. However, there are some effects that most THC users can relate to.

If you’ve never tried any cannabis product, there’s one easy word to describe the effects of delta 8 THC — mellow.

The high provided by delta 8 THC is remarkably relaxing, putting the user in a calm state. These effects are dose-dependent; lower doses tend to enhance mood and boost energy levels, while higher doses can be sedating and relieve pain.

Long story short, you may feel the following effects:

  • A floaty feeling as if you were weightless
  • Improved focus with higher energy levels
  • A chill and mellow vibe, but without a brain fog
  • Boost of appetite
  • Intense relaxation

Now, let’s compare the cognitive effects of delta 8 THC vs. delta 9 THC.

Learn more: What is Delta 8 THC?

The High of Delta 8 THC vs. Delta 9 THC

The typical side effects reported by delta 9 THC users are anxiety and paranoia; they occur at very high doses and can be easily triggered in reactive users.

Delta 8 THC is completely different in this facet. While it can induce intoxication, you won’t feel out of control. No matter the intensity of your high, you can still feel in control of the situation.

Many people also find that delta 8 THC doesn’t get them sleepy unless taken in very high doses. The high stimulates relaxation, but it doesn’t get you glued to the couch.

Delta 8 THC is also unlikely to make your heart race.

What Are the Benefits of Delta 8 THC?

top view image of hemp buds on a container and other pieces scattered on the wooden table

As reported by the National Cancer Institute, delta 8 THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body. These receptors constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the major regulatory network that helps keep us in homeostasis — a fancy lingo for complete balance throughout the body.

The affinity with CB1 and CB2 receptors causes delta 8 THC to have similar health benefits to delta 9 THC and CBD. You can also use these cannabinoids in different ratios to achieve specific effects as part of the entourage effect.

But speaking of delta 8 alone, let’s take a look at how you can use it to improve your daily life.

1. Smoother Psychoactive Experience

Recreational cannabis users rarely use CBD because it doesn’t get them high. Some people, however, are very reactive to delta 9 THC from marijuana, meaning they easily get anxious at high doses.

If you’re the type that doesn’t enjoy the intense high that can make you experience anxiety and paranoia, delta 8 THC is a safer bet. Its potency has been measured at around 50–70% of the strength of delta 9 THC. Many delta 8 users claim the high from this cannabinoid is less edgy and allows them to remain focused and relaxed.

2. Appetite Boost

While delta 9 THC leads to stronger cognitive effects, delta 8 THC seems to be more effective at boosting appetite. Scientists believe that the appetite stimulation from delta 8 can be twice as strong as that induced by delta 9 THC.

If you like using cannabis for the munchies, then you’re going to have a great time with delta 8 THC, as a single dose can significantly increase your appetite.

These properties make delta 8 THC a potential aid for people struggling with low appetite and eating disorders.

3. Neuroprotection

One of the main reasons scientists have recently started to explore the benefits of delta 8 THC is how it acts on the brain.

Delta 8 THC has remarkable neuroprotective properties. It can inhibit the release of adenylyl cyclase and regulate potassium and calcium channels in the central nervous system. These actions can lead to better brain health.

Delta 8 can also increase the levels of choline and acetylcholine, which might prove helpful in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Last but not least, delta 8 forms new neurons (neurogenesis), which results in improved cognitive functioning.

4. Better Sleep

Delta 8 THC induces a more mellow high than the one experienced by delta 9 users. The effects are very similar but less potent, including stress relief, euphoria, uplifting effects, and sedation. These effects are helpful for people who have insomnia.

5. Digestive Support

Delta 8 THC can be used to control nausea and vomiting. It can be as effective in doing so as delta 9 THC. The challenge that has prevented the wider use of delta 9 THC in treating nausea comes from its stronger psychoactive nature.

Delta 8 THC has similar antiemetic properties, but it has a lower anxiety and paranoia incidence. Researchers believe that delta 8 THC can be an effective adjunctive treatment for the side effects of conventional cancer therapies due to these effects.

6. Relaxation

The National Cancer Institute has found that delta 8 THC exerts anxiolytic effects. In simple words, it can help you ease stress and relax without exaggerating anxiety, as is the case with delta 9 THC in reactive users.

Delta 8 THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain; these receptors play a key role in modulating the psychoactive experience of cannabis. Delta 8 has a lesser affinity with CB1 receptors, hence its effectiveness at easing anxiety and stress.

Like CBD and other cannabinoids, delta 8 THC can ease muscle tension and help your body unwind. However, it doesn’t make you feel lethargic, so you can still do your daily duties while enjoying them to the fullest.

7. Pain Relief

Many people are choosing delta 8 THC over other cannabinoids for pain relief. According to the research performed on the topical application of delta 8 THC, it can relieve chronic pain. Chronic pain and inflammation are common in neuropathy, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

The research on THC proves that it relieves chronic pain. THC offers anti-inflammatory properties and regulates the neurons and hormones that are engaged in pain transmission. When you take THC, your perception of pain changes.

Since delta 8 THC has similar properties to delta 9 THC — except for the intensity of the high — it’s within reason to assume that it, too, can make the pain more manageable.

How to Use Delta 8 THC

a man taking delta 8 thc oil from a bottle using a dropper

Once you decide to give delta 8 THC a try, remember to start low and go slow by taking 5–10 mg and waiting to see how it makes you feel.

Delta 8 has a delayed onset compared to delta 9 THC; depending on how you consume delta 8 THC, it can take anywhere between 1–3 hours to kick in. Make sure that you wait for long enough before taking another dose to avoid the side effects.

Moderate and experienced users of delta 9 THC can take about 25–40 mg of delta 8 and use lower amounts for microdosing. A 24 mg delta 8 gummies are the equivalent of 10 mg of delta 9 THC in weed gummies.

Even if you’re an experienced cannabis user, the setting, tolerance, and body chemistry can influence your experience. Sometimes, you may need less to achieve the same effect, while at other times, you’ll need to up your dosage — especially when your tolerance to delta 8 THC increases.

Learn more: How Much Delta 8 THC Should You Take?

Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

Perhaps one of the best benefits of delta 8 THC is that it’s federally legal. Despite certain states banning the cannabinoid and other forms of THC, you can still buy it online and have it delivered to your door.

That’s because hemp-derived delta 8 THC contains 0.3% of delta 9 THC (or less). Under the 2018 Farm Bill, all hemp products that meet this criterion are legal federal level.

In states where marijuana is legal for recreational use, you can purchase marijuana-derived delta 8 THC extracts.

Summarizing the Benefits of Delta 8 THC

The benefits of delta 8 THC and its milder psychoactive profile have made it an appealing alternative for those who don’t cope well with the trippy effects of THC.

Delta 8 THC is about half as potent as delta 9; it carries a lower risk of anxiety and paranoia, and you can use it to address a wide range of health problems.

Not only is delta 8 THC a potent relaxant that can relieve stress, but it can also improve your focus and sleep patterns, ease pain, reduce anxiety, boost appetite, and relieve nausea and vomiting.

Recent studies also point to delta 8 THC as a potential neuroprotectant that can prevent and treat neurodegenerative disorders.

Best of all, delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level (at least for now), so you can enjoy its benefits even if your state doesn’t approve the recreational use of marijuana.

Did you try delta 8 THC? Do you like the benefits that it offers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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