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Are There Any Side Effects of Delta 8 THC? Here Are the Facts

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably well aware that THC is a psychoactive molecule found in cannabis. What you might not have known is that it is only one of at least 100 different cannabinoids present in the hemp plant.

Delta 8 THC is one of the latest and greatest advents in the cannabis industry, but there are still a lot of lingering questions surrounding its use and safety.

In this article we will answer the following questions:

  • Will Delta 8 THC get you high?
  • Is Delta 8 THC better than Delta 9 THC?
  • What are the potential benefits and side effects of Delta 8?

But more importantly, we will cover the question: is Delta 8 THC safe?

Read on to find out.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is a close relative to Delta 9 THC, the more common kind that everyone knows about. Both compounds have a slightly different structure concerning their carbon bonds.

The double-bonded carbon in the Delta 8 THC molecule is located in the eighth position instead of the ninth. Although at first glance this might seem like a negligible difference, it actually affects the way the THC interacts with the systems in our body.

Endocannabinoid System

THC communicates with our bodies via the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for regulating processes associated with homeostasis, or the overall internal environment of our bodies. It functions through a complex network of sensors, receptors, and pathways.

Our bodies naturally produce compounds known as endocannabinoids as a means of performing these regulatory functions. When these molecules bind with receptor sites in the ECS they send a signal that causes a specific change or response to take place.

Researchers are still working to determine exactly how the endocannabinoid system interacts with different areas in our bodies. One thing they do know is that it plays a role in several key areas, including:

  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Liver function
  • Skin and nervous system
  • Immune response

Some research suggests that consistently low endocannabinoid levels might contribute to many treatment-resistant syndromes, such as chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

Because cannabinoids, such as THC, have a similar chemical structure to endocannabinoids, they are able to bind to receptor sites within the ECS.

CB1 receptor sites are known to play a major role in the nervous system. They are also the main binding location for the Delta 9 molecule and the reason why we experience mind-altering experiences while under the influence of THC. Delta 9 does not show an affinity, however, for the CB2 receptor, which is found more often within the immune system.

That’s one area in which Delta 8 THC is fundamentally different from Delta 9. Delta 8 can attach to both CB1 and CB2 receptor sites. This versatility allows the user to experience a different type of high, as well as several other notable benefits.

Is Delta 8 Better Than Delta 9 THC?

So Delta 8 is friendlier when it comes to choosing a receptor buddy to bind with, but does that make it better than traditional THC? The answer to that question depends a bit on what type of high you’re after.

Delta 9 produces a stronger, more intense high that can be overwhelming for some, especially first-time users. It is known for inducing anxiety and paranoia, as well as inhibiting motor functions and a person’s ability to focus.

Delta 8 THC breaks down slower in our bodies, thus producing a mellow high with a gradual onset. Although it still possesses the same psychoactive properties, it is not associated with paranoia and can enhance focus. Delta 8 is a great alternative for those who don’t like the extreme effects of Delta 9.

Another huge plus of Delta 8 THC is its legality. Because Delta 8 is extracted from CDB found in the cannabis plant, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill. This law states that any products that come from the hemp plant, including but not limited to “extracts” and “cannabinoids,” do not fall under the umbrella of controlled substances.

This means that Delta 8 is a legal option for those without a medical marijuana card or in places where traditional THC remains illegal.

What Are the Benefits of Delta 8 THC?

The most common way to distill Delta 8 THC is by extracting it from CBD. So naturally, it comes with a lot of the same benefits as cannabidiol. We won’t go into the difference between these two molecules, but 3Chi takes a great in-depth look if you’re curious.

Pain Relief

The pain-relieving benefits of Delta 8 THC are one of its more appealing attributes. For years CBD has been utilized as both a topical and oral solution for pain management. However one 2018 study showed Delta 8 as equally adept due to its ability to suppress different receptors involved in pain response.

Delta 8 alleviates pain associated with swelling due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is even able to regulate specific hormones that contribute to pain perception. So it’s a great option for those suffering from persistent or chronic pain.

Anxiety and Stress Relief

THC is commonly viewed as being anxiogenic, or anxiety-provoking. This is due to the high levels of psychotropic elements present in the compound. Delta 8 THC, however, is more anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing.

Many users find Delta 8 to be more therapeutic than Delta 9. The mellow high produced by Delta 8 THC has been said to heighten focus while taking the edge off of nerves and stress related to anxiety.

There are lots of different Delta 8 THC products that can further enhance your relaxation experience. Candles, lotions, and bath bombs are only some of the ways to utilize this cannabinoid at the end of a long and stressful day.

Brain Health

Researchers are keen to explore the depth of brain benefits related to Delta 8 THC. It has shown promise as a neuroprotective agent. In other words, it protects nerves in the brain and nervous system against degeneration and damage.

When used on epilepsy patients, cannabinoids were shown to reduce the number of seizures. Further studies have been suggested to assess the potential of Delta 8 in helping patients with other neurologically degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Dementia.

Digestive Assistance

One of the most notable and scientifically supported benefits of Delta 8 THC is its ability to reduce and relieve nausea and vomiting. In one particular study, it eliminated stomach upset in children undergoing intense cancer treatments, without any notable side effects.

Delta 8 has been shown to aid in appetite stimulation and nutrient absorption. The hunger pangs won’t be as intense as those encountered with Delta 9, but without the severe psychoactive effects, you’ll be able to make more conscientious food decisions.

Delta 8 THC Effects

The benefits of Delta 8 THC might sound great, but it’s always a good idea to look at the flip side of the coin. There are some potential side effects you might want to consider before you try your first dose.

Anxiety

Hold on a second! Didn’t we say that reduced anxiety was one of the benefits? Then how can it be listed as a side effect as well?

Well, it turns out you can have too much of a good thing. Delta 8 has approximately two-thirds the potency power of Delta 9, but it still contains the psychoactive properties responsible for causing mental distortions. This means that if taken in large doses it has the potential to cause anxiety or even panic attacks and paranoia.

The best way around this potential side effect is to start small and work your way up to larger doses. That way you can still enjoy that mellow Delta 8 THC feeling without worrying about a sudden onset of hysteria.

Dry Mouth

Similar to Delta 9 THC there is a chance that you will experience dryness or a cotton-like sensation in your mouth. The good news is, this is not the result of dehydration.

Delta 8 and Delta 9 are known to decrease saliva production by inhibiting salivary gland function. It’s only a temporary side effect and if it really bothers you, then just down a few glasses of water.

Dry Eyes

The dryness that causes eye irritation and redness is a common side effect. Like cottonmouth, it will only last as long as the Delta 8 compound is active within your system.

Mental Impairment

Depending on the strain of Delta 8, you can experience any number of symptoms related to mental impairment. Especially when taken in higher doses, you might suffer from grogginess, brain fog, and decreased ability to concentrate. This should wear off once your body filters the active cannabinoid out of your system.

Delta 8 THC can also impact motor functions and coordination skills required for driving and adequate performance at work. Even though it is less potent than Delta 9, it is still a form of THC. Avoid operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery while under the influence of Delta 8, which can be dangerous to both yourself and others.

Body High

Experiencing an intense body high is possible with higher doses of Delta 8 THC. This might include anything from temporary numbness to temperature variations and body twitches. To avoid experiencing these symptoms keep your doses low until you know how the cannabinoid is going to affect you.

Mind High

A lot of people specifically take THC because they are searching for that out-of-body experience. It might require a bit more Delta 8 to get there, but it is still possible. In this state, it can be difficult to formulate complete thoughts or respond appropriately to stimuli in your surroundings.

Always use Delta 8 THC responsibly, in a safe place, and with people you trust.

Unpredictability

As mentioned before, this cannabinoid is slower to take effect than Delta 9. It might be tempting to take another hit or munch on a few more gummies because you aren’t getting the Delta 8 THC feeling you desire. Be careful, because you could overdo it.

Delta 8 THC has the potential to take you by surprise. Make sure that you don’t have to go to work or do something important the first few times you try it, just in case.

Failed Drug Test

Despite the fact that Delta 8 THC is a legal alternative to Delta 9, you can still fail a routine drug test after use. Unfortunately, current tests are limited in their ability to distinguish between the two different types of THC.

Another way to look at it is by comparing it to an alcohol breathalyzer or blood test. The tests are able to determine whether you have alcohol in your bloodstream, but they won’t be able to tell the police officer whether you were drinking whiskey or gin. It’s just not possible.

Excessive Happiness

This is one side effect that most people find quite pleasant. Although Delta 8 might not give you as many giggles as Delta 9, it can tickle your fancy a bit. This particular effect is due to its psychotropic properties.

Just don’t take a hit right before a big presentation at work, or you might not be able to keep a straight face. On the other hand, if you have nowhere to be and nothing to do, it doesn’t hurt to give your happy levels a little boost.

Is Delta 8 THC Safe?

Alright, so we know the benefits and we know the potential side effects, but there is still that overarching question: is Delta 8 THC safe?

The truth is that current scientific research on Delta 8 is limited. Although CBD is widely accepted as a safe alternative to Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 is a different story. Not much is known about its potential long-term effects.

At the end of the day, additional studies are required to conclusively determine whether this milder form of THC is truly safe.

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