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What is Delta 8 THC?

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.

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.

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC?

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.

Delta 8 Products

Delta 8 products come in a variety of forms.  Most commonly found are disposable delta8 thc vapes, delta 8 gummies and delta 8 shots.

Delta 8 THC Vapes

When shopping for such a product, you will come across an extensive range of brands and flavors. In order to make your decision easier, you should consider multiple factors, such as functionality, pod life, coil type, design, and quality. As far as pod life is concerned, the model you buy should provide no fewer than 100 puffs.

Delta 8 Gummies

Gummies are an awesome way to consume delta 8. These gummies are super discreet and can be taken even when you are in a large crowd. There aren’t any signs of marijuana other than the effects it has on you.

It is best to purchase weed gummies and edibles from a trusted source, such as the dispensary if legal in your area. Getting homemade edibles can be risky and you may not know the dose you are eating.

One of the most important things to know is that delta 8 gummies can take 30 minutes to 2 hours for the effects to hit you. Many people end up eating too much of an edible because they can’t feel it, resulting in them being overwhelmed 2 hours later.

Delta 8 Shots

Delta 8 shots are legal through a gray area in the law, which states that hemp products are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC.  One of the most important things to know is that delta 8 shots can take 30 minutes to 2 hours for the effects to hit you.

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.

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.

Is Delta 8 THC Safe?

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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