To understand what Delta-8 THC is, let’s first cover what THC is. THC is a compound classified as the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found in the flowering buds of the cannabis plant. Cannabis covers both hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with <0.3% Delta-9 THC, while marijuana is cannabis with >0.3% Delta-9 THC. THC is the compound that causes the therapeutic effects that people experience from cannabis, as well as the psychoactive euphoric feeling of being “high”. It has a multitude of uses. Patients undergoing chemotherapy have experienced reduced nausea and vomiting while also experiencing increased appetite. Patients with chronic pain have experienced reduced symptoms. THC has increased sleep in patients with insomnia as well as increased relaxation in others with anxiety.
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In its simplest form, you can think of Delta-8 THC as THC that is derived from hemp, whereas Delta-9 THC is derived from federally regulated marijuana. You can consider them close cousins. The differences between the two are small, but significant, especially when it comes to legality. On the chemistry side, both have the same chemical formula with only one real difference in the chemical structure. This small difference in the structure gives delta-8 about 70% of the “potency” of the traditional Delta-9 THC form. So a 10 MG Delta-8 edible could be roughly compared to a ~7 MG edible of “conventional” THC. It has been reported by users that Delta-8 gives many of the same euphoric effects of Delta-9 without the anxiety or paranoia that people may experience. This is likely due to Delta-8 being comparatively less “potent” and shorter acting that Delta-9. Aside from that, much of the psychoactive and therapeutic effects are the same.
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When it comes to legality, Delta-8 is federally legal, whereas Delta-9 is not. This varies at the State level. Some states have a ban on Delta-8 THC while other states may restrict Delta-9 to requiring a medical cannabis card. They also may allow it for recreational use in adults. If Delta-8 is legal in your state, it is often seen as a cheaper and more readily available option when compared to Delta-9, this also does not require a doctor’s approval.