What Is Delta-8 THC?

by Brad P
What is Delta 8 THC? Emjay's Guide offers answers. Photo by Wunder.

A Crash Course on Delta-8 THC

If you’re looking for a more balanced buzz that doesn’t leave you feeling groggy or anxious, a product with Delta-8 THC might be exactly what you’re looking for. But, what exactly is Delta-8 THC?

Turns out, cannabis is an incredibly complex plant that’s made up of over 100 known cannabinoids, and that’s just what we’ve been able to isolate so far. The most popular and abundant compounds in cannabis plants are Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive compound) and CBD, but cannabis is also composed of many other so-called minor cannabinoids, including CBG, CBN, THCV and, of course, Delta-8-THC.

The Basics of Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC is an analog of Delta-9 THC, which means that they have a slightly different molecular structure, but serve the same function for the plant (and the people consuming it). Basically, Delta-8 THC is a less psychoactive version of traditional Delta-9 THC, thanks to a slightly different molecular makeup. 

Delta-8 THC is also known as a degraded form of THC, and it isn’t directly produced by cannabinoid-synthesizing enzymes within the plant. In less science-y terms, when Delta-9 THC is stored for a period of time, it degrades into Delta-8 THC. 

Since Delta-8 THC occurs in lower concentrations,commercial growers and extractors use selective breeding and molecular isolation to harvest it in higher quantities to infuse edibles and create concentrates and distillates.

How is Delta-8 THC Different from Delta-9 THC?

Scientifically speaking, the main difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 comes down to the location of a specific bond between two of the atoms that make up each THC molecule. “Delta-8 has the double bond on the 8th carbon in the chain, while Delta-9 has the double bond on the 9th carbon in the chain,” explains Christian Peterson, the co-founder and COO of Wunder, a cannabis beverage company based in San Francisco. Wunder is helping champion the Delta-8 THC industry with their line of Delta-8-infused products that mix Delta-8, Delta-9 and CBD, but more on that later.

Wunder20 Drink

So, science is fun, but what does all this mean for my high? The buzz on the street is that Delta-8 THC is a little over half as potent as Delta-9 THC and that it provides a smoother, milder and less anxiety-inducing high that is only mildly sedative and way more functional than the traditional high you get from Delta-9 THC.

How does Delta-8 THC Interact with your Endocannabinoid System?

Delta-8-THC binds to our CB1 receptors, just like Delta-9 THC, but thanks to the slightly different molecular structure, the binding process is just a little different. Since our CB1 receptors are responsible for processing most of the psychotropic effects of THC, we believe that this slight difference in the binding process is what is responsible for the wonderfully clear-headed high, reduced anxiety, and greater ability to concentrate that users typically associate with Delta-8 THC. In a nutshell, thanks to this binding process and its unique molecular structure, Delta-8 THC impacts our receptors and neural pathways in a different way than traditional Delta-9 THC, which results in a one of a kind high.

What does Science Say about Delta-8 THC?

While scientists are still doing their thing in regards to Delta-8 THC, the initial reports seem very positive. In a 1995 study by Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, Delta-8 THC was administered to children with cancer. These children had been treated with different drugs and chemotherapy for eight months prior to treatment with Delta-8 THC. The Delta-8 THC treatments started two hours before each session of chemo and continued every six hours for 24 hours. With this treatment, vomiting was completely prevented with little to no negative side-effects.

In another report, published through MedGen, researchers linked Delta-8 THC to anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, and pain relief benefits, among other effects. They also found evidence that Delta-8 THC could stimulate your appetite, has less psychotropic potency and could actually protect our brain cells thanks to its neuroprotective effects.

What are the Benefits of Delta-8 THC?

While Delta-8 THC products are still relatively new to the market, they are well-respected for their ability to deliver CBD-like benefits with a different type of high than typical THC.

Most people who have used Delta-8 THC products report a more clear-headed high, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without feeling out of control, sluggish, or unmotivated.

Here are a few of the most notable benefits linked to Delta 8-THC so far:

  • Stimulates appetite
  • Helps with pain and inflammation
  • Eliminates nausea in cancer patients
  • Provides a clearer-headed high compared to ordinary THC
  • Provides CBD-like benefits in terms of anxiety, pain, and inflammation
  • Provides a focused high without paranoia, even at high doses

Can You Combine Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC?

So, now that we know how great Delta-8 THC is, the question on smokers minds everywhere is, can we combine it with traditional THC? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, thanks to the entourage effect, we actually recommend it. 

What’s the entourage effect?

The entourage or ensemble effect is the idea that cannabis works best when consuming the full spectrum of cannabinoids at once. Basically, instead of isolating a specific cannabinoid – like THC or CBD – you can enjoy more powerful effects by taking all the cannabinoids at once. Although what we know about the entourage effect so far is based on Delta-9 THC, it seems likely that this same principle applies to Delta-8 THC. Which means that combining Delta-8 THC with Delta-9 THC and CBD should give a smooth, balanced and relaxing high.

Can I Get Products with Delta-8 THC Delivered?

Absolutely. Our favorite product containing Delta-8 THC is definitely this line of cannabis-infused sparkling beverages from the company we mentioned earlier, Wunder. Each beverage contains 2mg of Delta-8 THC, 2mg of Delta-9 THC and 4mg of CBD. Not only do they provide a smooth and mellow high, they’ve also got amazing flavors like Grapefruit Hibiscus, Blood Orange Bliss, Lemon Ginger and Watermelon Wave. But don’t just take our word for it, get some delivered to your door today and see for yourself!

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