As weed legalization keeps on moving forward across the United States, we’re gaining a broader understanding of this controversial plant and its effects on the human body. Today, we know at least 113 different chemical compounds — aka cannabinoids — in the average cannabis plant. The most studied so far are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The latter is the psychoactive component responsible for giving you the “high” feeling you already know and love. Contrary to popular belief, there’s not only one type of THC under the sun. The one you hear the most about in the mainstream cannabis culture is actually called delta9 THC. However, there’s a new cannabinoid in town with its own particular effects for you to explore: delta8 THC.
What Exactly Is Delta8 THC?
Delta8 THC is one of the many shapes of tetrahydrocannabinol. It is much rarer than its more common counterpart, as the cannabis plant produces limited amounts of it. Yet, it can be extracted through special breeding and processing techniques.
The 8 in its moniker stands for the placement of one of its chemical bonds. It holds a double bond on the 8th carbon chain. On the other hand, delta9 THC holds it on the 9th. The resulting difference in molecular shape between both compounds makes them interact differently with our endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
The Effects of Delta8 THC
Both delta9 THC and delta8 THC are good for reducing nausea, inducing appetite, and reducing pain. It produces relaxation, improves focus, and boosts energy levels. Yet, delta8 THC has a lower psychoactive potency when smoked or vaped. Since it takes the delta9 TCH’s effects down a notch, it’s often referred to as “Weed Light.” Delta8 THC’s lower intoxicating power also means its adverse effects are milder, making it the perfect solution for inexperienced recreational and medical users.
Consuming delta8 THC via edibles, however, is a different story. It can produce intoxicating effects with the same strength as delta9 THC. This happens because, when processed by the liver, both compounds turn into 11-hydroxy-THC. When taking delta8 THC edibles for the first time, it’s highly recommended to take things slow. Consuming too much could cause an uncomfortable high.
The therapeutic potential of the Cannabinoid
Some research suggests that delta8 THC is more stable than delta9 THC. The latter oxidizes easily, turning into cannabinol (CBN). Delta8 THC, on the flip side, doesn’t oxidize in the same way. This characteristic makes it more suitable for medical use, as it’ll increase the shelf life of many cannabis therapeutic products. Some of the most common medical benefits are:
- Regulating anxiety
- Fighting nausea
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Stimulating appetite
Scientists and researchers are optimistic about what they’ve found on this lesser-known compound so far. However, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of its effects on the human body.
There’s still a lot to learn about delta8 THC and what it can bring to the table for recreational and medical users. Its effects are very different depending on the administering method. Smoked it provides its users with a much-needed middle ground between cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. Yet, the smart thing to do is proceed with caution when introducing this new cannabinoid compound in your routine.