What Is Delta 8 THC? Everything You Need To Know About This Cannabinoid

Illustration of a Woman Explaining About Delta 8 THC
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: October 28, 2021

When you hear people talking about THC, they usually mean the delta 9 version, which is the main intoxicating compound in cannabis plants.

But it’s not the only type of THC that the cannabis plant can make. In fact, there are several different analogs of delta 9 — one of them being delta 8 THC.

This newer, trendier cannabinoid is known for a milder psychoactive experience on top of providing many similar health benefits to its more potent cousin. Just like most cannabis products, delta 8 THC can be found in tinctures, gummies, vapes, and concentrates.

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the latest trend in the cannabis space.

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is an analog of the delta 9 compound.

These molecules are built similarly, but the arrangement of their atomic bonds is different, which also causes them to have different properties.

In recent months, delta 8 THC has made big headlines in the industry’s press as the “legal high.” It has also been dubbed “diet weed” and “cannabis light” due to less potent cognitive effects.

The strength of delta 8 THC is about half as high as the one of delta 9. The compound is also less likely to cause anxiety and paranoia — the two side effects of taking too high doses of a THC-rich weed strain.

Delta 8 THC comes in many forms, just like CBD and delta 9 THC. You can find it in vapes, tinctures, gummies, capsules, concentrates, distillates, and even pre-rolled joints.

The health benefits of delta 8 THC include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Deeper sleep
  • Lower pain and inflammation
  • Less nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated mood
  • Neuroprotective properties
  • Boost of appetite
  • Anti-cancer properties

What Does Delta 8 THC Feel Like?

Person Beside Hemp Plant in a Sunset Background

The effects of delta 8 THC are less trippy, more clear-headed, and lightweight compared to delta 9 THC. The effects aren’t as cerebral as with normal weed; the high rather focuses on the body rather than the head.

The strength of the cognitive effects provided by delta 8 THC is dose-dependent. Lower doses, such as 5 mg or 10 mg are mildly stimulating and help boost energy on top of enhancing focus and elevating mood. Those who take delta 8 THC in low amounts also report improved stress response and lower anxiety levels.

Higher doses — 10 mg to 30 mg — can trigger mild intoxication. Anything upwards is likely to induce sedation and make you feel drowsy. The high from delta 8 THC is often described as “bland” when taken alone. You feel the buzz but it gets you in no particular direction, which is why most users take it alongside CBD or other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Other possible ways of incorporating delta 8 THC into your daily routine is to mix it with tea or coffee to enhance focus, or with melatonin to boost sleep.

Highlights on the Effects of Delta 8 THC

  • You may feel elevated and mildly euphoric
  • The time may ‘slow down’ a bit
  • Your body may feel relaxed and tension-free
  • Lower doses provide a productive state of mind
  • Higher doses can have a tranquilizing effect
  • Chronic pain becomes easier to manage
  • You feel a sense of clearheadedness and peace

Best Delta 8 THC Vendors You Can Count On

1. Area 52 (Best Delta 8 Products Overall)

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Area 52 is a California-based company with a mission to provide organic plant-based extracts formulated to improve the user’s daily life with their cognitive benefits. These products are seriously top-shelf; Area 52 doesn’t cut corners in extraction and isomerization of delta 8 THC — without using aggressive solvents, heavy metal reagents, bleaches, or other hazardous chemicals.

They also test every batch of delta 8 THC distillate that comes out of its facility. This is the most important feature to look for in all delta 8 THC vendors to avoid buying mislabelled and contaminated products.

Products offered by Area 52:

  • Delta 8 THC Tinctures
  • Delta 8 THC Gummies
  • Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridges
  • Delta 8 THC Disposable Vape Pen

2. Finest Labs (Runner-Up)

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs is a relatively new name in the delta 8 THC market but has already become one of the most promising brands there. The company started out as a manufacturer of cannabis-derived terpenes, but since then, it has evolved and developed a special line of premium delta 8 THC extracts.

Finest Labs employs some of the best chemists and extraction specialists in the cannabis space and is already known for providing remarkable transparency and quality standards — with organic hemp sourced from local American farms and meticulous third-party testing in a certified laboratory.

Products offered by Finest Labs:

  • Delta 8 THC Tinctures
  • Delta 8 THC Gummies
  • Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridges

Is Delta 8 THC Safe?

No study has yet found cannabinoids to have any direct toxic effects on humans — the same applies to delta 8 THC.

The main concern about delta 8 is its mildly intoxicating effects. High doses of this compound may increase your risk of accidental harm when operating a vehicle or operating any machinery that requires sobriety from the users. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t use delta 8 THC before partaking in such activities.

Some studies have also found that THC and its analogs elevate blood pressure and heart rate; despite being acute, these effects may make it unsafe to consume, especially if you’re having cardiovascular problems.

Possible Side Effects of Delta 8 THC

  • Increased awareness of senses
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Trouble falling asleep (high doses)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety and paranoia (very rare)

Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

In theory, delta 8 THC is legal on the federal level thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. But, the actual legal status of d8 products remains in a bit of a legal grey area.

No federal agency has explicitly prohibited delta 8 THC — but current manufacturing methods leave enough space for interpretation of its legality.

Key Points on the Legality of Delta 8 THC:

  • Delta 9 is clearly banned as an illegal substance under federal regulations. That being said, individual states can regulate THC and cannabis products on their own. Currently, delta 8 THC is legal in 16 states for recreational use.
  • Delta 8 THC is federally legal, but some states have banned the sale of delta 8 THC products.
  • Delta 8 THC is usually extracted from hemp, which is legal in all 50 states provided that it contains no more than 0.3% of THC. Hemp-derived products are legal in all 50 states.
  • Delta 8 THC is made by converting CBD into delta 9 and then into delta 9.
  • Synthetic extraction of THC is considered illegal, which may or may not affect the legal status of delta 8 THC products that use chemical processes on their way to converting delta 9 into delta 8 THC.

President Trump signed the amended Farm Bill in 2018, which legalized hemp and its derivatives in all 50 states as long as they contain less than 0.3% of delta 9 THC per dry mass.

Any product with a THC content higher than that figure is considered marijuana and federally illegal, although — as mentioned — individual states can have their own laws regarding marijuana.

However, none of these laws mentions delta 9 THC.

Hemp-derived delta 8 THC products remain in compliance with the guidelines outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, so they should be legal in all 50 states.

But, similarly to marijuana laws, individual states may refuse to fully accept the federal regulations — establishing their own rules.

To date, 14 states have passed bills that have specifically banned delta 8 THC, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Utah.

D8 Dosage: How Much Delta 8 THC Should You Take?

The potency of delta 8 THC is considered about half as high as delta 9 THC. The regular intoxicating dose of delta 8 THC is estimated at 5–30 mg per serving.

The typical dosage range of delta 8 THC is between 10 mg and 60 mg. Most people feel moderately intoxicated after taking 20, 25, or 30 mg doses.

Amounts between 1–5 mg are good for lightweight users and microdosers.

Several factors can affect the strength of your dose, including your weight, metabolism, the expected potency of effects, and your tolerance to delta 8 THC. The more regularly you take it, the more you’ll need to use it at once to achieve the desired results.

Delta 8 THC Dosage for Different Weight Groups

Weight Mild Effects Regular Effects Strong Effects
80 lbs (35 kg) 5 mg 10 mg 20 mg
100 lbs (45 kg) 6.5 mg 13 mg 25 mg
120 lbs (55 kg) 7.5 mg 15 mg 30 mg
140 lbs (65 kg) 9 mg 18 mg 36 mg
160 lbs (72 kg) 10 mg 20 mg 40 mg
180 lbs (82 kg) 12 mg 24 mg 45 mg
200 lbs (90 kg) 13 mg 26 mg 50 mg
220 lbs (100 kg) 14 mg 28 mg 56 mg
240 lbs (108 kg) 15 mg 30 mg 60 mg
260 lbs (118 kg) 17 mg 33 mg 65 mg

Can You Build Tolerance to Delta 8 THC?

Yes, just as you can build a tolerance to any medications and supplements out there. When you take a particular substance for, say, weeks or months, it will require you to take more to achieve the same effect.

Your body builds tolerance to both delta 8 and delta 9 THC. However, this phenomenon is yet to be concluded in CBD, as some CBD users report something as “reversed tolerance,” where they need less CBD oil to get the same results over time.

The bad news is that tolerance to delta 8 THC builds up faster than it does with delta 9 THC. After taking d8 products for about one month, you can expect your tolerance to increase significantly.

On the other hand, it takes about a week or two of cessation to bring your tolerance back to normal levels.

Delta 8 THC Products

Hemp Field

Scientists have been investigating the effects of delta 8 THC since the 70s, but only in recent months, the cannabinoid has received so much attention from the hemp industry. This mostly happened thanks to advancements in extraction technologies, which now make it possible for manufacturers to extract delta 8 THC from hemp plants.

Products sourced from marijuana — strains that have high levels of delta 9 THC — aren’t a good fit for everyone. Many people who are sensitive to its intoxicating effects find the high too heavy, especially when it comes to cerebral effects. Some users may experience anxiety and paranoia on top of confusion and dizziness.

These are the most common reasons why some cannabis aficionados choose to avoid high-THC products.

The sudden emergence of the delta 8 THC market has provided the answer to their prayers.

Delta 8 THC products are available in similar categories to all cannabis goods — including tinctures, edibles, vapes, concentrates, capsules, and more.

Here we break down the 5 most common delta 8 formats.

1. Delta 8 THC Tinctures

For most people, cannabis tinctures equal CBD oil — the hemp-derived extract used by people who want to reap the benefits from cannabis but without getting high.

Delta 8 THC is available in the same convenient form. The advantages of this format include precise dosing, high bioavailability, fast onset, and a relatively long duration of effects.

Delta 8 tinctures are made by infusing delta 8 THC distillate into a carrier oil (and optionally a blend of terpenes and other cannabinoids) to distribute the extract evenly throughout the bottle.

Taking delta 8 THC tinctures is easy. You just squeeze out the desired amount of the oil and take it under your tongue; from there, the oil will absorb through the mucous membrane in your mouth, avoiding the first-pass metabolism in the liver.

If you want to get the right dose of delta 8 THC, figuring out the potency of your tincture will help you big time. Simply divide the total amount of delta 8 THC by the amount of milliliters and you’ll know how much of the active compound is in each milliliter (one serving).

For example, if your tincture has 1200 mg of delta 8 THC in a 30 mL bottle, one milliliter will carry exactly 40 mg of d8.

2. Delta 8 THC Gummies

Edibles are another common group of delta 8 THC products. The most popular form of delta 8 THC edibles is gummies. Similar to CBD gummies, they feature a hemp extract combined with a delicious gummy base that is sweetened with juices, concentrates and organic cane sugar. Delta 8 THC gummies contain a fixed dose per serving — usually between 10 mg and 40 mg — making it a great choice if you’re looking for consistent and easy dosing. Just make sure you don’t munch on too many gummies to avoid accidentally getting too buzzed.

3. Delta 8 THC Vapes

Vaporization offers the fastest and most effective way to experience the effects of delta 8 THC. The inhaled compound enters your body through the lungs, so its effects are almost instantaneous. Another advantage of vaping is that it doesn’t lead to combustion; instead, it slowly heats the delta 8 THC liquid so that it releases cannabinoid-rich vapor.

There are three main types of delta 8 THC vapes, including:

  • Delta 8 THC Vape Pens – disposable vape pens are prefilled with delta 8 THC liquid in a small pen-sized unit. It is inhaled through the mouthpiece; sensors are designed to automatically detect the user’s lips and turn on the heating chamber.
  • Delta 8 THC Cartridges – a vape cartridge contains an e-liquid formula. People use these cartridges with reusable vaporizers; they are available in different potencies and flavors. Once emptied, you can unscrew it from your vape’s battery and throw it into the bin.
  • Delta 8 THC E-liquid – an e-liquid contains a combination of delta 8 THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. Once heated, they release a thick white vapor; the experience is different from smoking because it doesn’t hit your throat and lungs so much. Nevertheless, it’s important to watch out for synthetic additives in these formulas, as they can be dangerous for your health.

Learn more: Best Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridges

4. Delta 8 THC Concentrates

If a manufacturer aims for extracting raw delta 8 THC extracts, they can skip the purification part and use the delta 8 THC isomer right after conversion. The initial extraction process leaves a potent extract with around 65% of delta 8 THC. There’s also a small percentage of CBD (around 5%), trace amounts of other cannabinoids, and terpenes.

Delta 8 THC concentrates can be either vaporized or smoked (dabbed). They’re also the bone of contention among legislators. For example, the DEA has recently announced that synthetically extracted analogs of THC are illegal under federal law.

That being said, they didn’t specify what “synthetic extraction” means. Some people interpret it as delta 8 concentrates, which need to be chemically converted from delta 9 THC.

Concentrates are relatively inexpensive when you take into account the cost per mg of delta 8 THC.

5. Delta 8 THC Flower

Delta 8 THC flowers are another common format. But contrary to what their name suggests, these aren’t actual delta 8 buds. These are CBD flowers from hemp that are sprayed with delta 8 THC distillate to provide the user with a light buzz on top of the relaxing and calming properties of CBD. These products have become popular because they evoke the entourage effect — a set of synergistic effects achieved by all cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis; this synergy makes the effect profile of cannabis extracts more “complete” and therapeutically appealing. You can get them as whole buds in glass jars or as pre-rolled joints.

Learn more: Best Ways to Consume Delta 8 Products

What’s the Difference Between Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC?

Pros Cons
  • Delta 8 THC is less likely to get you anxious or paranoid
  • Delta 8 THC has a longer shelf life than normal THC
  • Delta 8 THC is federally legal
  • The high from delta 8 THC is more clear-headed
  • Delta 8 THC isn’t as abundant in cannabis plants, which makes it difficult to extract
  • Delta 8 THC is about twice less potent than delta 9 THC.

As an analog of delta 9 THC, delta 8 has an almost identical chemical structure. The main difference is in the arrangement of their atomic bonds — which gives them slightly different properties.

Delta 8 THC has an extra bond at the 8th carbon chain, whereas delta 9 THC has this bond at the 9th chain.

This minor difference causes it to have a lower affinity to CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors, making it also less potent compared to delta 9 THC.

Nevertheless, delta 8 THC also has a few advantages over its stronger cousin. The first, and the most obvious one, is the legality. As mentioned earlier, delta 8 THC is legal on a federal level, while delta 9 is strictly regulated by the authorities. It also comes with fewer side effects that are less pronounced; it’s difficult to get the same level of edginess and anxiety as with normal weed.

Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC: Comparing the Effects

Delta 8 THC Delta 9 THC
Intoxication Mild-Moderate Moderate-High
Price $$ $
Concentration in Cannabis Less than 1% Up to 30%
Receptors CB1 & CB2 CB1 & CB2
Typical Dose 10–40 mg 5–20 mg
Effects on Appetite Moderate Stimulant Strong Stimulant
Potential to Trigger Anxiety Unlikely Very Likely
Legal Status Legal-Grey Area (allowed in most states) Illegal

Where to Buy Delta 8 THC?

Several factors drive the boom on delta 8 THC. The main reason why people are turning to delta 8 products from normal weed is the lower incidence of anxiety and paranoia. Delta 8 THC offers most of the same benefits when it comes to easing pain, inflammation, nausea, and vomiting — but without the trippy side effects of its stronger cousin.

If you’re looking for a good starting point for your delta 8 ventures, we recommend finding a trustworthy online store. Reputable online brands use organic hemp in their products, test each batch in a third-party laboratory, and are transparent about their operations. Buying delta 8 THC online gives you more opportunities for researching your potential vendors, from reading user reviews to running through the brand’s social media, etc.

Not to mention a better choice of products. Online shopping lets you compare different formats, potencies, and formulations in the comfort of your home.

You can also count on better prices since online stores can cut out the middleman. Online delta 8 brands often offer regular discounts, gift cards, and reward programs so that users can save more money on their favorite products.

Key Takeaways on Using Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC is a novel discovery in the commercial space, although scientists have been exploring its benefits since the 70s. Thanks to recent technological breakthroughs in extraction methods, manufacturers can now extract significant quantities of delta 8 THC from hemp plants — making these products federally legal.

There’s a lot of controversy behind delta 8 THC’s manufacturing process. Some agencies like the DEA consider delta 8 THC products illegal because they involve “synthetic extraction.” However, the definition of synthetic extraction includes isolating synthetic ingredients using lab equipment, which isn’t the case for hemp-derived delta 8.

Delta 8 THC has many forms, from tinctures to vapes, edibles, concentrates, and pre-rolled infused joints. You can find them locally and online, but if you’re looking for the best deals on this cannabinoid — online is the way to go considering the aforementioned perks.

For a quick recommendation, you can check products from Area 52 and Finest Labs. Both companies make their products according to the highest quality standards, including organic hemp, environment-friendly extraction, and rigorous lab testing.

Have you already tried delta 8 THC? What do you think about this new trend? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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