People worldwide are getting increasingly excited about the “new” cannabinoid, delta-8 THC. To help you decide whether this compound is better for you than CBD, here’s a head-to-head comparison of the two: Delta-8 vs. CBD.
What is delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is another form of THC. Marijuana (cannabis with more than 0.3% delta-9 THC) is most commonly known for its primary psychoactive compound, delta-9 THC. This is the type of that gives people the “high” most seek from recreational use of the cannabis plant.
Although delta-8 is a variant of this intoxicating compound, it doesn’t produce the same effects as delta-9. Some have gone so far as to say that it doesn’t cause any compromising psychoactive effects at all and therefore bears more similarity to CBD. Yet, this isn’t quite right.
Scientific research into the cannabis plant has been notoriously slow compared to public knowledge of the herb, much like it is for CBD and THC. This isn’t to say that researchers are wrong about their clinical conclusions concerning delta-8-rich cannabis.
In fact, some researchers know better than most people who buy and sell delta-8 products, demonstrated by this statement by Harvard Health experts: “Delta-8-THC is an intoxicating cannabinoid, but it has only a fraction of the high that THC causes – and much less of the accompanying anxiety and paranoia.”
Additionally, many professionals have dedicated much of their time to gathering knowledge about delta-8. In fact, studies so far have shown that it may be helpful as a supplemental treatment option for cancer patients, as it can specifically help with reducing vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
This is all to say that delta-8 affects individuals differently than mainstream culture claims, depending on how their body responds to it.
How does delta-8 make you feel?
With all that said, here’s the truth based on direct experience with the alternate THC: Consuming delta-8 flower can potentially produce psychoactive effects that feel like a very mild, fleeting form of getting “high.”
When consumed through smoking and in edible form, delta-8 can make you feel lightweight, a feeling that affects both your body and head. It offers the same calming effects that THC and CBD are known for and tastes and smells like cannabis flower with these primary compounds.
It’s challenging to explain the effects of delta-8 on the body and mind. This is mainly because cannabinoids’ effects are highly subjective and vary in type and intensity from person to person. Still, the breakdown below should help you better understand delta-8 vs CBD and ultimately help you decide which will work best for you.
Delta-8 vs CBD: The difference, explained
Many people are under the impression that delta-8 and CBD are the same substance. This is incorrect. Delta-8 flower and CBD (cannabidiol) are not the same at all. These are different kinds of cannabinoids that interact with your body differently.
Less is known about the specifics of how CBD interacts with humans’ endocannabinoid systems (ECSs) when compared to THC-rich cannabis. Yet, scientists know enough to illustrate that delta-8 and CBD are entirely separate chemical compounds that can produce varying effects. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when you consume delta-8 vs. CBD.
CBD’s analgesic (pain-relieving) advantages are well-documented. It’s one of the main factors that attract medical professionals and laypeople alike. It tends to be a better alternative to typical medical prescriptions like opiates and anticonvulsants, mainly due to fewer side effects and better consistency in relief.
Whether you consume it orally as an edible or by smoking hemp or topically as a cream or a bath bomb, it’s no secret that CBD can help get rid of pains stemming from:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Many more health conditions
Delta-8 can help manage your pain too. According to the National Cancer Institute, it also provides analgesic properties, among many other benefits. In medical professionals’ and politicians’ eyes, delta-8’s disadvantage is that it also imposes similar psychoactive effects as delta-9, so CBD gets the upper hand here.
Plenty of research shows that both delta-8 and CBD offer advantages in regulating emotional and mental health for many people. CBD has repeatedly been touted as a substance that can help improve the quality of life for many patients struggling with a plethora of physical and mental health conditions.
While there is still much research to be done on delta-8’s potential to fight anxiety, depression, and other conditions that cause patients significant, chronic stress, experts agree that delta-8 also has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.
Delta-8 also provides neuroprotection, which can help shield the nervous system from injury-related damage or other forms of nervous system cell death.
Smoking delta-8 vs hemp
Smoking cannabis with CBD or delta-8 will provide a different experience each time. As is the case with all cannabis flower, smoking results in a faster onset of physical and cognitive effects than any other type of consumption. Yet, the duration of these effects vary pretty dramatically.
When you smoke hemp flower with CBD, the calm and feeling of being lightweight can last for a while, typically about an hour or more. With delta-8, though, the “high” is far more short-lived, maxing out at about 45 minutes, if that long.
It can also take longer to feel delta-8’s effects about ten minutes or more, whereas CBD helps you relax within just a few minutes. It’s up to you to decide if this is an acceptable difference. Just keep in mind that fleeting effects mean you’ll need to resupply more frequently, meaning delta-8 is going to cost you a lot more money in the long run.
Delta-8 vs CBD edibles
Delta-8 is available in many forms, including:
- Smokable flower
Luckily, you can find CBD in all these forms too, plus more. For instance, you can also buy CBD bath bombs, facial and body creams, and many other product types.
CBD and delta-8 are pretty much the same in terms of their effectiveness as edibles. They both take a while to produce effects, but it can last about an hour or more if you’ve got the right dosage.
With that said, you’ll have to eat more delta-8 edibles than CBD products to get the same level of intensity in your experience of the effects discussed above. Neither are as potent as THC in their ability to yield desirable outcomes with only a nibble or two.
Delta-8 vs CBD: The verdict
Delta-8 and CBD are very different herbs that offer varying advantages and drawbacks, depending on your reasons for consumption and budget. Since delta-8’s effects are so fleeting, you might want to look into getting CBD if all you’re looking for is an easy way to manage pain and stress, without the added “perk” of feeling high, no matter how weak the sensation may be.
On the other hand, those who are looking for effects similar to those offered by THC would be better off trying delta-8, especially if you live in a state where marijuana is illegal. Still, CBD is the better alternative overall, as the effects manifest much more quickly, they’re not as fleeting and offer similar intensity levels whether you take it orally or topically.
Is delta-8 legal?
Delta-8’s legality changes from state to state. Most states allow people to buy and sell the cannabinoid freely on the market. Yet, there are always a handful of states that don’t want to participate in some cannabis-related commercial activity. States where delta-8 is currently illegal include the following:
- Rhode Island
Delta-8 THC has sadly become a divisive topic between cannabis enthusiasts, politicians, and medical professionals. It blurs the lines of legality since typical legal language doesn’t mention delta-8 but focuses on its counterpart, delta-9 THC, instead.
On that note, it’s important to highlight that people are finding many legal loopholes to sell delta-8, as far as federal laws are concerned. Outside of state regulations, federal statutes didn’t really have any language explicitly addressing delta-8, so as far as the public was concerned, it was pretty much fair game.
Alas, as of August 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wasn’t having it. The agency issued new regulations which listed “substances contained in the cannabis plant, or in the resinous extractives of such plant, and/or synthetic substances, derivatives,” and more under the Schedule I category, making delta-8 implicitly illegal. There’s still no precise language addressing this cannabinoid, though.
Delta-8 THC is rapidly gaining popularity in popular culture. Scientists are still learning more about the cannabinoid, but results are promising concerning its ability to ease pain, reduce stress, and more. Make sure to keep an eye out for future legislative changes, though, as the DEA seems to be leaning toward stricter regulation, although many states are more accepting of delta-8 than its alternative, delta-9 THC.