Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 THC: The Top Differences and Similarities You Need to Know

At Magic City Organics, we get customers who love both or one or the other.  Some people experience better effects from Delta 9 but others prefer the functional high & strength from Delta 8.  Want to learn more?  Come by our store or submit an online virtual consultation!

People who’ve researched the world of cannabis or already know their way around it are probably pretty familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol, aka the beloved THC. 

As the main active compound found in the cannabis plant responsible for the psychoactive effects of recreational or medicinal use, THC is one property of the magic plant worth learning about. However, what a lot of regular hemp or cannabis product users and newbies alike don’t know is that there are actually more than one different type of THC, and there’s some stark differences between them. 

The most popular form of THC that we all were likely first acquainted with is delta-9 THC. It’s the one that brings on that high feeling, and it’s usually the one people refer to when mentioning THC products. But as for delta-8 THC, on the other hand, you can think of it as delta-9’s hemp-derived “nicer younger sibling,” as one study refers to it—and you’ll see why later. 

It’s helpful to know the differences and similarities between delta-9 and delta-8, especially because they offer their own unique benefits and risks. So pencils up, and let’s dive into what you need to know about delta-9 and delta-8 THC below!

What do delta-8 and delta-9 THC have in common? 

It’s not unusual to see delta-8 described as delta-9’s sibling, cousin, or relative because the two extracts share more similarities than their chemical makeup and names alone. See for yourself: 

1. Delta-8, like delta-9, causes you to feel high.

The first thing people usually want to know when they learn there are two types of THC is, “Does delta-8 make you high?” 

And because delta-8 THC binds to your body’s endocannabinoid system in the same way as delta-9, the answer is yes. The effects of consuming delta-8 aren’t as intense as they would be with delta-9 THC, but users report feeling less of the common adverse effects of “traditional” THC, like anxiety and paranoia. 

2. The duration of the effects from delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC is the same. 

If you ever wondered how long you have to enjoy the relief of delta-8 THC, you’ll be glad to know it’s about the same as the high from delta-9. 

Of course, the length of the effects depends on how much or how you consume the THC, however. For example, if you take delta-8 THC using edibles, your high could last a few hours, and if you smoke or vape delta-8, it can last for a couple of hours. 

3. The side effects of delta-8 and delta-9 THC are similar. 

Not so fast—you didn’t think you’d escape the infamous red eyes and case of the munchies just like that, would you?

Delta-8 THC comes with the complete package, side effects and all. But the good news is that since the overall high from delta-8 is less intense, users also report feeling fewer negative side effects like anxiety or paranoia. 

4. Delta-8 and delta-9 THC have the same chemical formula. 

Remember what we said earlier about there being many types of THC? 

That’s because it comes in several different forms called isomers, or compounds with the same molecular formula, and delta-8 and delta-9 are one and the same!

What are the differences between delta-8 and delta-9 THC? 

From what we’ve covered so far, hopefully, it’s easy to see why delta-8 is becoming increasingly in demand now.  But understanding the major differences between delta-8 and delta-9 should help clear up any lingering confusion about what makes these two unique: 

1. Their molecular structures are slightly different.

Though delta-8 and delta-9 THC share the same chemical formula, there is a slight difference in the placement of the two carbon atom’s double bounds. Although the difference is small, it’s the reason why the psychoactive effects of delta-8 and delta-9 THC aren’t precisely the same either. 

2. The legality of delta-8 and delta-9 gets tricky. 

The million-dollar question everyone wants an answer to is, “Is Delta-8 legal,” and the answer is yes and no. 

According to federal law, its more potent cousin, delta-9 THC, is still illegal, but the number of states legalizing medicinal and recreational use is rising. As for Delta-8, however, things get hairy. While technically, the 2018 Farm Bill passed by the federal government made delta-8 legal, some states have still banned its use. 

You can check out this guide here if you want to see where your state stands on the matter! 

3. The intensity of the effects isn’t the same. 

While delta-8 users can expect to feel some of the same euphoric effects produced by a delta-9 THC high, it won’t be quite the same. The onset of the effects of delta-8 THC takes place for longer and leads to a mellow and calm state that won’t leave you impaired physically or mentally as delta-9 THC would. 

4. The extraction process is different. 

Delta-9 and delta-8 both occur naturally in the cannabis plant, but delta-8 THC is only in small amounts. Because of this, it’s easy for delta-9 to be extracted from the plant while its counterpart, delta-8, is produced synthetically in a lab. 

However, this isn’t to say any delta-8 THC you’ve gotten your hands on is fake or shouldn’t be trusted. Professionals use solvents to extract delta-8 THC out of CBD from hemp, and you can rest assured because, according to the 2018 Farm Bill, this is the only legal way to produce delta-8. 

So which one is the winner? Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC? 

By now, you’ve probably got the idea that there’s a strong list of pros and cons for both delta-8 and delta-9 THC, depending on what you’re looking for from your cannabis experience. 

There will always be risks associated with both delta-8 and delta-9 THC products, but if you’re in the market for delta-8, make sure to do your research and discover hemp brands you can trust. 

Share this post if you found it helpful, and don’t hesitate to drop your other burning questions about all things hemp and CBD-related below! 

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