An Overview of Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol The Analogue of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
What is Cannabinoid Delta-8 THC?
The recent rise in cannabis’s popularity has shed light on its most useful compounds with one being Delta-8 THC (delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol). You may confuse Delta-8 THC with the much more widely known delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, but these compounds are completely different. While Delta-9 THC brings a lot of psychoactive effects, Delta-8 THC has low psychoactive effects in the absence of Delta-9 THC or where the concentration is less than 0.3%.
This article is meant to fully inform you about the different aspects of Delta-8 THC including:
- How Delta-8 THC is produced.
- The benefits associated with using this compound.
- The differences with other cannabinoids.
- The safety and side-effects when using D8.
- Dosing regimen for use in humans.
- The legality of Delta-8 THC in the UK and other regions.
- Discussion on various studies relating to the compound.
- The use of Δ8THC amongst vapers.
Delta-8 THC, abbreviated as Delta-8 THC, Δ8THC, Δ8, D8, D8 THC and D8THC, naturally occurs in the hemp plant. This compound has a chemical structure of C21H30O2, which it shares with other cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9THC).
Delta-8 THC reportedly interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to offer multiple therapeutic effects that make it as beneficial when compared to Delta-9 THC.
How is D8 THC Made and is it Natural or Synthetically Made?
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring compound, but it can also be produced synthetically by converting CBD or Delta-9 THC through heat, catalysts, altered pH environments and by using solvents.
When produced naturally, Delta-8 THC comes only in minimum amounts, which make it commercially unviable to use in products or to be sold in isolate form. On the other hand, producing Delta-8 THC synthetically can yield higher amounts of the compound that can successfully be incorporated into products.
CBD is initially extracted from hemp biomass before being converted into Delta-8 THC through a process called ‘isomerization’. Since CBD and Delta-8 THC have similar molecular structures, the process of isomerization exposes cannabidiol to acetic acid, which rearranges its structure to form a high strength Delta-8 THC concentrate.
What is the Difference Between Delta 8- and Delta-9 THC?
The major difference between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is how both compounds function in the body. Delta-9 is strongly linked to the CB-1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, primarily found in the brain and central nervous system (which brings the psychoactive effects). While having a strong affinity to CB 1 receptors, Delta-9 is believed to have a very low affinity with CB-2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system mostly found in the body’s immune system.
Contrastingly, Delta-8 THC may interact with both CB1 and CB2 receptors equally. This brings a more balanced effect, which comes with a unique range of therapeutic properties.
Will Delta-8 THC Get You High?
Delta-8 provides a clear-headed high free of any fogginess and paranoia. Since one individual is different from another, the high may vary from one person to another. Thus, while some users may feel a more energised high, others may feel a more ‘couch-locked’ and relaxation high. The high from Delta-8 THC may also be useful for several conditions like nausea, pain, and also several research studies indicate its potential as a neuroprotective for Alzheimer's.
While Delta-8 THC provides a high, it has a lower psychoactive potency compared to its cousin, Delta-9 THC. Thus, consuming high amounts of Delta-8 THC won’t make you as high in contrast to consuming the same amount of Delta-9 THC. This makes Delta-8 THC favourable for individuals who want to gain the benefits of THC without the potent high that comes from consuming Delta-9.
The Difference Between D8 and CBD and Interactions Between These Cannabinoids
CBD (cannabidiol) has gained popularity over the years, which makes it the most popular cannabinoid, with the biggest difference between both compounds being their psychoactive ability. Both CBD and Delta-8 THC are safe and derived from the hemp plant.
While CBD offers no psychoactive properties, which means consuming large amounts of CBD will not get you high, consuming large amounts of Delta-8 THC will get you high due to its psychoactive properties. Delta-8 also gives you the combined benefits of THC and CBD, which makes it a fair choice for most people who want a little high while experiencing all the benefits.
Despite the hype surrounding CBD, Delta-8 THC products are highly recommended for their therapeutic effects, which are better than CBD due to their interactions with the endocannabinoid system.
CBD and Delta-8 THC also share differences in how they interact with the endocannabinoid system. While CBD and traditional Delta-9 THC interact with just a single receptor, Delta-8 THC interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This results in a therapeutic benefit similar to the properties of CBD combined with a milder psychoactive effect to that of Delta-9 THC.
What Does Consuming Delta-8 THC Feel Like?
This question is quite complex since each individual will react differently to Delta-8 THC. Most individuals acknowledge that the Delta-8 high is a mellow high, which is more subtle than the one produced by Delta-9 THC. Users also acknowledge feeling less anxiety, pain, paranoia and an increased appetite (munchies), making it the choice for relaxation.
What Are the Known Dangers And Side Effects of Using Delta-8?
Dry Mouth And Eyes
Delta-8 THC can affect the salivary glands, leading to temporary dry mouth and dry eyes, which increases as you consume the compound. This usually makes the eyes red, the mouth dry and in some situations, causes discomfort due to the lack of moisture. However, these side effects are temporary and only last for as long as the cannabinoid is active in the body.
Extreme Body And Mind High
Consuming Delta-8 THC in high amounts can cause an intense body and mind high, which can be difficult for many to handle. Extreme mind highs usually block your state of consciousness, which prevent you from reasoning correctly.
An extreme body high can result in visual impairment, ‘couch lock’ and extreme sensitivity to the environment, which can lead to anxiety, temporary sensations of numbness and body temperature variations. Individuals also face a high chance of a heart attack due to an increased heart rate. Interestingly, there have been no recorded instances of anxiety or heart attack from individuals who consume Delta-8 THC.
A Failed Drug Test
Delta-8 THC can result in a failed drug test because it produces the same metabolite in the liver, 11-hydroxy-THC, as Delta-9 THC.
Research And Studies For Potential Uses Of Delta-8 THC
Potential To Fight Cancer
Cannabis has been acknowledged for its cancer fighting properties, and studies dating back to the 1970s back up this claim.
A 1974 study focused on Delta-8 as a cancer treatment. In this study, government researchers used mice infected with lung cancer to determine if Delta-8 could harm the immune system.
Surprisingly, there was an unexpected discovery during the study. Researchers discovered that the mice who received Delta-8 THC treatment for 20 days experienced smaller tumour sizes. It was also discovered that survival time increased when mice with cancer received Delta -8 THC .
Sadly, more detailed research into the subject was restricted years after the 1974 study due to the federal restriction of cannabis in the U.S., but it gives more hope that Delta-8 could be useful in the fight against cancer. Also, a report by the National Cancer Institute noted that Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC and CBD could block the growth of tumours.
Anecdotal evidence shows clearly why individuals should believe in the antiemetic properties of cannabis. Also, scientific research that occurred in Israel in 1995 backs up this study .
A research project into the antiemetic properties of cannabis was conducted by Israeli researchers. As part of this research, Delta-8 was administered to paediatric cancer patients suffering from nausea associated with chemotherapy. It was discovered that Delta-8 THC successfully treated patients with nausea, with over 480 patients gaining 100% relief.
The U.S. government has also licensed the use of Delta-8 as an antiemetic, which further proves that this compound can alleviate nausea and vomiting in cancer patients . Studies carried out on one of the patients given the cannabinoid showed that Delta-8 THC performed 200% better as an antiemetic when compared to Delta-9.
Appetite Stimulating Properties
Delta-8 can also stimulate appetite in patients finding difficulties eating. According to a 2004 study by Avraham et al., it was discovered that rodents treated with low doses of Delta-8 THC experienced greater appetites than those treated with Delta-9 THC .
Delta-8 also helps with relief from anxiety. Anti-anxiety medications are called anxiolytics, and Delta-8 THC is considered an ‘analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with a wide variety of applications including its use as an analgesic, as well as a neuroprotectant’, which means the NIH acknowledges the anti-anxiety properties of cannabis .
Delta-8 also won’t cause anxiety when taken in high amounts. Studies show that Delta-8 is less psychoactive than its cousin Delta-9, and it tends to provide a more clear-minded high with less anxiety .
Ability To Improve Cognitive Function
Delta-8 may also be a potential treatment for cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s disease. The 2004 study mentioned above by Avraham et al. also showed the ability of Delta-8-THC to improve cognitive function .
A 1987 study based on mouse models (HL Tripathi et al.) showed how Delta-8 THC increased acetylcholine levels in the cortex and hippocampus and lowered acetylcholine turnover in the hippocampus. This study gives hope for Alzheimer’s patients because the disease is associated with declining levels of acetylcholine in the brain .
A 1994 study by Mechoulam et al. showed how oral administration of Delta-8 THC significantly lowered the intensity and occurrence of neurological deficit in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rats .
Ability To Treat Pain And Inflammation
As expected, Delta-8 may also relieve users from pain and inflammation. According to a 2018 study by Thapa et al., it was discovered that topical Delta-8 THC reduced corneal pain and inflammation in an experimental mouse model .
Several clinical studies in patients with IBD have shown the possibility of Delta-8 THC to decrease symptoms resulting from pharmaceutical pills.
Delta-8 THC is becoming more popular than ever before due to the numerous research studies being conducted on its potential benefits. Based on the studies mentioned above, Delta-8 THC may help those suffering from pain, inflammation, anxiety, loss of appetite, nausea and impaired cognitive function.
How To Take Delta-8 THC and What is the Best Dosing Regime?
It usually takes several uses before users find their perfect dose. Doses vary from one individual to another, and regardless of your age, sex and weight, it’s recommended to begin slowly before working your way up.
Delta-8 THC is usually given in doses of 10 to 40 mg. A beginner is recommended to start with 10 mg while heavy recreational users of Delta 9-THC can take 40 mg.
Delta-8 THC can be taken in the form of vapes. In this scenario, beginners are recommended to take 1-3 three second puffs while heavy users of Delta-9 THC may go above that limit.
The potency of Delta-8 THC varies from one individual to the next. Therefore, your dosage will mostly depend on your usage of cannabis as a whole.
Consuming Delta-8 THC in the form of edibles may require a different dosage regimen. Individuals have reported D8 THC edibles being more potent than Delta-9 THC. Therefore, Delta-9 THC users can take the same dose of Delta-8 THC edibles while beginners can begin slowly before working their way up.
Is it Safe to Vape D8 THC?
Vaping Delta-8 cartridges can indeed be safe if you choose a trusted brand. Also, since each company that produces Delta-8 carts is different, we can’t conclude on its safety.
Some companies are based on trust and do what it takes to produce safe, lab-tested products. On the other hand, some companies want solely profits, and they try to reduce cost by producing low-quality Delta-8 cartridges that are completely unsafe.
To learn about the safety of vaping Delta-8, you must first know how it’s manufactured and formulated into e-liquid cartridges. Delta-8 consists of about 0.1% of cannabinoids in the hemp plant, which means it’s difficult and expensive to extract this compound.
Nonetheless, due to the lack of regulations surrounding the production of Delta-8 vaping cartridges, some companies are using it as a means to produce low quality products. Also, the market is filled with fake Delta-8 THC carts, which may not actually contain hemp but different chemicals that can cause harm when inhaled into the lungs.
The safety of vaping Delta-8 THC will all boil down to the manufacturer. If you buy a vaping cart that is high-quality, properly extracted and lab-tested then it should be perfectly safe to use. However, buying low quality, poorly extracted vape carts will be harmful for you.
Legalities of D8 in the UK
Delta-8 THC is still in the grey area in the UK. Although it was discovered back in the ‘80s, it has only gained popularity over the last couple of years.
Delta-8 THC has quickly made waves in the US, but in the UK it is still relatively unknown amongst the general public. There has also been a recent change in the US policy towards this cannabinoid, deeming it synthetic and banning it in many states. Given these turns of events and that the US cannabis market is far ahead with their experience using cannabinoids, it may cast a shadow over the future of Delta-8 THC in the UK.
Delta-8 THC is currently illegal in the United Kingdom`; it also falls under the Class B drug classification along with other drugs such as amphetamines, ketamine and codeine.
Other cannabis compounds such as naturally occurring and synthetic THC are also illegal, making Delta-8 THC derived from hemp also illegal in the UK.
Delta-8 THC is considered a less intensive version of THC. Its interaction with the endocannabinoid system instantly relieves users from stress and anxiety with fewer side effects than the Delta-9 isomer.
Nonetheless, since it’s currently in the grey area in the world, it becomes difficult to conduct detailed studies on the compound. Current studies have proven to be a gateway for more successful studies in the future. More studies are needed to discover more benefits of this promising cannabis compound.
As the World continues to become more aware of this compound, hopefully, we will see a change in its legality from different regulators and government agencies.
We believe that the laws will become favourable for this naturally occurring cannabinoid as more states and countries pass laws to legalise different forms of cannabis.
Please note that this article was written by a 3rd-party author who is a specialist on the topic of CBD, hemp and cannabis. Any information or recommendations contained within this article, are independent to the opinion of RUDERALEX CBD and our employees. We make no claims for any of our products, please read our disclaimer for additional information.