Delta 8 vs. Delta 9: Use Cases, Effects, and Products
Remember back in the days, when you would buy weed and all you had to ask for was an “eighth of green”?
Well… Buying cannabis is very different today. In the last few years there has been a crazy influx of new cannabinoids and products and most of them are available for purchase online.
Today we will take a look at Delta-8 vs Delta-9 THC, two of the most popular THC variations available. Both are forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but they possess unique effects.
We will explore the differences between the two cannabinoids, examining their use cases, effects, and molecular structure. I will also make some product recommendations so you can make a smarter buying decision.
Delta-8 THC produces milder and more manageable effects compared to Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is often preferred if you want mellow relaxation, sleep, and mild pain relief. Delta-9 on the other hand, has a more intense psychoactive effect and is better at alleviating more severe pain, nausea, and appetite issues. Delta 9 produces a much more powerful intoxication and is better suited for experienced consumers.
Delta-8 is available for purchase online (almost) nationwide thanks to the 2018 farm bill so you will more easily get your hands on Delta-8 than Delta-9. Heck, many times, you can even get Delta 8 in your local gas station (even though you should not buy it from there).
A closer look at Delta 8 THC
Delta-8 THC is a fairly “new” cannabinoid that has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to its milder psychoactive effects. Delta-8 is an isomer of Delta-9 which simply means that it shares the same chemical structure but has a different arrangement of atoms.
The difference in structure leads to its unique characteristics and studies show that delta 8 and roughly half the intoxicating effects of delta 9.
According to a study published in 2021, around half of the people (51%) taking Delta 8 are using it to treat a range of health and medical conditions. Presumably, this means that the other 49% of users are taking Delta 8 THC for its psychoactive effects.
Popular Delta-8 products include:
- D8 Flower (which I am not a fan of)
My personal thoughts on Delta 8
In my opinion, D8 has more adverse effects than D9 and delta-8 THC products tend to have a less “clean” high. It’s somewhat of a synthetic cannabinoid that is not naturally found in high concentrations in the cannabis plant. For that reason, I am not a big fan of D8 flower which has been sprayed with distillate after curing.
A closer look at Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 THC is the main compound responsible for making us feel high by binding to the CB1 receptor in our brains.
It has been widely studied and is known for its therapeutic uses for patients in need of pain relief, sleep aid, increased appetite, and much more.
Delta-9 THC is scheduled drug and is still illegal at a federal level though some states have medical and recreational programs. Delta 9 THC has very potent psychoactive effects that can sometimes lead to anxiety, paranoia, and other adverse reactions for some consumers.
Popular Delta-9 products include:
My personal thoughts on Delta 9
I prefer delta 9 THC over delta 8 every day of the week. Not only are the medical benefits of D9 far superior in my opinion, but it’s also a cleaner and fresher buzz that leaves me with less of a hangover and negative side effects the day after.
Some hemp producers have found ways to grow “legal” D9 flower, called THCa flower. Read more about that here.
Which is Better for Sleep
When it comes to sleep, Delta-8 THC is my preferred choice. Its milder psychoactive effects makes it less likely to spike anxiety or paranoia, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.
On a personal level, I can get heart palpitations from too much D9 so I avoid consuming it late at night.
Which is Better for Pain
Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC have showed promising pain-relieving properties. Delta-9 THC is generally considered more effective for severe pain, as it binds stronger to the CB1 receptors in the body, producing more potent analgesic effects.
That said, Delta-8 may be a better option for those seeking mild to moderate pain relief without the intense psychoactive effects of Delta-9 THC.
Which is Best for Anxiety
Delta 8 and delta 9 share a unique trait in that they can both relieve and cause anxiety. Too much THC of any kind can create paranoia and in some cases even psychosis.
Small doses of THC on the other hand, is great at relieving anxiety and stress. In my opinion Delta 8 is easier to dose for mellow and controlled anxiety relief but it does come with more side-effects than D9. My eyes get redder and I get a more severe cotton mouth with delta 8.
Side Effects, Risks, and Overall Safety
Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 have similar side effects, including dry mouth, red eyes, dizziness, and general stoney-ness. However, as I mentioned earlier, D8 does give me more severe symptoms than D9 for some reason.
The side effects of Delta 8 flower in particular is something that I am concerned about. Delta 8 flower is not naturally grown but instead, it is smokable hemp flower that has been sprayed with Delta 8 post-harvest. This spraying process and the potentially unnatural chemicals that you are inhaling, make me stay away from D8 flower altogether.
The legality of Delta-8 and Delta-9 varies depending on the state you are in. Delta-9 is federally illegal, but has been legalized for medical and recreational use in several states. Delta-8, on the other hand, falls into a legal gray area. It is derived from hemp, which was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, but its precise legal status is unclear and varies from state to state.
Read our complete guide to cannabis legality below