Delta 8 vs Delta 9: Two THC's
Learn about the key differences between these THC compounds
When thinking about cannabis, the typical person usually thinks about getting "stoned" and getting the "munchies". But this plant is a beautiful, complex, and useful herb that is very unique.
This plant possesses potential benefits that are expanding each and every time a cannabinoid is discovered. You might have heard of Delta 9 THC, which is the main compound found in most cannabis plants. It causes the relaxing and sedating ‘high’ effect from consuming standard cannabis. Delta 8 THC is a lesser-known compound that was discovered very recently, and is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. In this educational piece, we're going to dig into the similarities and differences between these two THC compounds.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
We have what is known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in our body that is a neuro-modulatory system. From the research that has been done thus far, findings suggest that the ECS is responsible for the regulation of physiological as well as cognitive processes, such as fertility, mood, memory, and even pharmacological effects of cannabis.
Maintaining homeostasis is the primary function of the endocannabinoid system, or a stable environment internally, despite external changes in the environment. Cannabis, including THC, contains chemicals that naturally mimic these endocannabinoid messengers and bind to the same receptors. Researchers conducting clinical trials are seeing how compounds may be useful for the treatment of some diseases, pain, and even mental health conditions.
The ECS binds with plenty of cannabinoids and it produces a different reaction with each one of them. These reactions depend on the properties of the components that bind with it. With Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC, the small significant difference in their chemical structures is precisely what makes all the difference for our respective bodies.
The differences between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are very subtle and depending on the consumer, make a noticeable difference or not. It's important to understand how the compounds can work. Both are isomers of THC, but the main contrast lies in their chemical bonds - 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. The difference? The level of potency.
Delta 9 THC (Δ9-THC)
Delta 9 THC binds with our CB1 receptors, predominantly found throughout the body and the brain. When this occurs, the effect is quite strong because of the double bond on the ninth carbon chain. Delta 9 THC is the most present compound in the cannabis plant, in very high quantities, which means the effects are strong. This is perhaps a suitable explanation for the occurrence of a general feeling of relaxation when we consume cannabis, which is known to potentially help with stress, sadness, and some kinds of discomfort.
Delta 8 THC (Δ8-THC)
You'll find much lower quantities of Delta 8 THC in the cannabis plant. It's also less potent, with about 50%-60% of the "strength" when compared to Delta 9. Delta 8 tends to bind with CB2 receptors, which are most present throughout the organs & extremities, like in the digestive tract and the immune system.
There is one more thing that makes Delta 8 and 9 different. They don’t only induce different effects, but they also do it at a different pace. Delta 9 THC is absorbed quickly. This is an important thing to note as it can alter your plans for the afternoon or evening.
Delta 8 has a slow build up. It delivers a significantly smoother experience than Delta 9 because of its mild nature. After the consumption, the feelings of relaxation gradually come on, and there is considerably less risk that it can induce anxiety.
Recap: Both Delta 8 and 9 THC are naturally occurring in cannabis plants. Delta 9 is the most often talked about or referred to, while Delta 8 is the less potent and talked about brother. The most important difference is the pace at which these compounds work into your system. Delta 9 delivers more powerful effects than Delta 8, and it does it faster.