Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Δ8THC, is one of the many cannabinoids that occur in cannabis plants. Think of it as the younger brother of the more famous THC, the major psychoactive component of cannabis. Delta-8 THC is formed in the cannabis plant when delta-9 THC becomes oxidized. Some of it will convert into an isomer with an extremely similar molecular structure, referred to as delta-8-THC, or Δ8THC for short.
Difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC
Because the two molecules are similar in structure, they share some similar effects. Delta 8 THC is generally regarded as ⅓ to ½ as potent as its bigger and much more common brother Delta 9 THC. Most users report that consuming Delta 8 THC results in a mild cerebral experience, characterized as clear, calm, focused, and lacking in paranoia and anxiety, with the majority of noticeable effects being total body relaxation and release of stress.
Medical Benefits of Delta-8 THC
Delta 8 THC has the potential to be used in lieu of Delta 9 THC for people prone to anxiety or discomfort associated with the state of intoxication Delta 8 THC’s bigger brother can induce.
According to a study conducted in 2013 cited by the National Cancer Institute, delta-8-THC is considered to be one of the cannabinoids that have been shown to inhibit tumor growth, “…Delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol (CBN) were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.”
A study from 1995 published in Life Sciences indicates delta-8-THC’s ability to reduce symptoms of nausea with minimal side effects in children, “Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol…was administered to eight children, aged 3-13 years with various hematologic cancers, treated with different antineoplastic drugs for up to 8 months…Vomiting was completely prevented. The side effects observed were negligible.”
A 2004 study published in Pharmacol Biochem showed that delta-8-THC, even in extremely low doses, increased appetite and cognitive function in mice. “Delta(8)-THC (0.001 mg/kg) caused increased food consumption and tendency to improve cognitive function, without cannabimimetic side effects. Hence, a low dose of THC might be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of weight disorders with minimal side effects associated with cannabis use.”
A 2018 study from the Cannabinoid and Cannabis Research journal has shown potential for treating pain and inflammation with topical delta-8 THC (and CBD), “Our results provide novel evidence that the phytocannabinoids Δ8THC and CBD…are antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory in an experimental model of corneal hyperalgesia.”
A study from a 1987 Alcohol and Drug Research journal conducted on mice, shows that delta-8-THC may also possess some neuroprotective properties based on brain activity that was monitored in the study. The point of the study was to test various cannabinoids, but delta-8 THC was one of the components of the cannabis plant that stood out to the researchers of this study for its significant effect from such a minute dosage.
So how do I use Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC can be vaped, mixed with hemp flower or other smoking blends, dabbed like other CBD concentrates, added to edibles, or used sublingually when mixed as a tincture. Inhaling vapor from a cartridge, taking a hit off of a dab rig, or smoking a joint of some hemp flower with some bulk Delta 8 THC oil added to it will result in the most immediate effects, within minutes of inhalation. Edible and sublingual routes of administration will depend on the individual, but can range anywhere from 20 minutes to 180 minutes, and will frequently last longer than vaping, smoking, or dabbing. The best practice is to always start small, wait a little bit, and then see how you feel. With a Delta 8 Carts, that might be one puff until you know how it affects you. With an edible, you may consider trying half a dose and waiting an hour to see how you feel. Remember, it is possible to redose to achieve your desired results. While Delta 8 THC is generally considered to be less likely to cause anxiety and paranoia, some users have reported anxiety and paranoia in high doses. As with any substance, moderation is always advised.
Is Delta 8 THC right for me?
That’s a decision only you can make for yourself, you should always consult your doctor for medical advice and opinions prior to using any drug or supplement. The nature of any hemp-extracted product means that there may be a trace amount of Delta 9 THC in the product which, if consumed may cause a drug test to show a positive result for THC metabolites. Because of Delta 8 THC’s similar chemical structure to its illicit bigger brother, the metabolites produced by the body may be similar enough to yield a positive drug test result for THC metabolites.
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