Delta 8, or Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. This isomer of the more commonly known Delta 9 THC has many similar qualities.
Because Delta 8 is essentially the same molecular formula as Delta 9, it shares many of the same properties, such as antiemetic, anxiolytic, orexigenic, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.
Simply put: Yes, Delta 8 can get you high.
Well, besides the fact the Delta 8 is legal, whereas Delta 9 is illegal, the difference between the two comes down to minute chemistry differences.
As mentioned above, both are isomers of THC, but their chemical bonds differ slightly- Delta 8 THC has a double bond on the eighth carbon chain, while Delta 9 THC has the same double bond on the ninth carbon chain.
Image: Molecular structure of Delta 8 VS Delta 9
What does that chemical bond mean? Basically, that double bond impacts the potency.
The effects of Delta 8 have been found to be slightly less potent than Delta 9. However, research on this is limited, and depends mainly on the reported experiences of users.
Delta 8 is a derivative of hemp. In fact, there are over 100 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Some common ones include CBD, CBG, and CBN.
In late 2018, the Farm Bill was passed that federally legalized all Hemp products which contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC (the illegal one).
As research and experimentation continued, farmers were able to increase the concentration of Delta 8 from the legalized hemp, while reducing the amount of the illegal Delta9. This results in a Hemp extract oil that is anywhere from 90%-98% pure Delta 8 THC, while keeping the Delta 9 THC percentage at essentially 0%.
Not as much is known about Delta 8 THC and the effects on users, since it is newer to market. And as many sellers promote Delta 8 as the “legal drug that gets you high”, the federal government may increase restrictions on the recently legalized growing hemp, a hard-won battle for hemp farmers.
U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR), a national industry business advocacy organization, is working towards finding clarity to resolve any controversy.
“We look forward to working with Congress and federal agencies to develop responsible laws and regulations to provide separate pathways and proper guardrails to distinguish these products,” USHR said. “HR 841, which would establish a regulatory pathway for the sale of hemp-derived extracts like CBD, is an important starting point.”
As of now, there are no legal restrictions on the purchase and use of Delta 8 THC, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
When using Delta 8 THC, it is a good idea for beginners to use with caution until you learn how you tolerate the differences in potency between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC.