Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC are two of the most popular types of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis. Both produce psychoactive effects, but there are some key differences between the two that affect the user experience.
What is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC is a minor cannabinoid found naturally in small concentrations in cannabis plants. It has a similar molecular structure to the more common Delta 9 THC, with the double bond on the 8th carbon chain instead of the 9th. Delta 8 is typically manufactured from hemp-derived CBD using chemical conversion techniques. This allows it to be produced legally since hemp contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive Delta 9 THC.
What is Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, is responsible for the euphoric effects commonly linked to marijuana use. It binds with CB1 receptors in the brain and body to generate various effects including euphoria, sensory enhancement, feeling energized or relaxed, pain relief, increased appetite, and more. Delta 9 THC occurs naturally in substantial amounts in marijuana strains of the cannabis plant. It’s what makes marijuana psychoactive and is responsible for its intoxicating qualities.
Comparing the effects
While Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC share some similarities, there are marked differences in their effects:
- Delta 8 provides a milder, less anxiety-inducing high compared to Delta 9 according to many users. The psychoactivity is less intense.
- Delta 8 tends to produce more of a mental and physical relaxation effect. Users report clear-headedness along with calming of both body and mind.
- Delta 9’s high is more stimulating and energizing at times, with a greater tendency for users to feel impaired or couchlocked.
- Delta 8 has been said to still allow functional productivity, whereas Delta 9 may impact concentration and motor coordination more significantly.
- Adverse reactions like anxiety, rapid heart rate, and paranoia seem to be less common with Delta 8 based on user reports. Delta 9 may heighten sensory perception more than Delta 8 as well.
Delta 8 THC generally provides a milder, less sedative, more functional high, while Delta 9 has more profound cerebral effects with greater associated side effects in some users. Of course, experiences vary based on the individual, concentration, and delivery method.
Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 cartridges
Pre-filled THC cartridges that attach to vape pens and batteries have become one of the most popular ways to consume Delta 8 and Delta 9.
- Delta 8 carts derived from hemp are legal federally, while Delta 9 carts fall into a gray legal area but are considered illegal by the DEA.
- Delta 8 carts have lower THC concentrations capped at around 1g THC per mL of oil. Delta 9 carts are commonly 0.5-1g of THC per mL.
- Delta 8 carts tend to cost less than the premium pricing of Delta 9 carts from licensed dispensaries.
- Both contain THC distillate oil, but Delta 9 carts have terpenes reintroduced post-extraction while Delta 8 carts often do not have cannabis-derived terpenes.
- Hardware quality, assembly, and packaging standards tend to be higher with regulated Delta 9 carts. Delta 8 carts have less oversight.
- Delta 8 carts produce smoother, less potent hits while delta 9 carts create thick, potent vapor when inhaled.
So Delta 8 carts offer a more mellow experience and greater accessibility, but Delta 9 carts provide a more potent high when inhaled along with better flavor/aroma from terpenes.