Delta-8 THC: Sources, Legality, and Uses

Updated: Jun 11

Both the illicit and legal cannabis markets love their jargon. With words like “sour diesel” and “cannabidiol” fitting in the same sentence, it’s easy to get lost in any conversation about the plant. And if you thought the cannabis industry’s lingo couldn’t be any more complicated, then we’d like to introduce you to Delta-8 THC. 

At the time of this writing, Delta-8 THC is the hottest molecule in the cannabis world. Billed as a milder version of Delta-9 THC (the cannabinoid that produces marijuana’s famous psychotropic effects) Delta-8 found a market in people who wanted benefits of THC, without getting “too high.” Like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 is frequently used to address pain, nausea, stress, appetite, and mood regulation. Delta-8 has already been used in clinical trials, namely a study where it completely prevented vomiting in chemotherapy patients.  

In terms of anatomic structure and molecular pathways,  Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are nearly identical. However, when consumed, Delta-8 is reportedly about half as strong as Delta-9. This means ingesting Delta-8 THC can limit common negative side effects associated with a marijuana high (i.e., racing heart, anxiety, paranoia). This is good news for people looking to boost their health regimen with THC while avoiding the possibility of a “bad trip.”

Another significant difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC regards molecular stability over time. Delta-9 converts to CBN (cannabinol), a non-high-inducing cannabinoid, with exposure to oxygen, light, and natural aging. Whereas Delta-8 is shelf-stable and does not degrade over time.