Over a hundred known cannabinoids have been successfully isolated from the cannabis sativa plant.
The most well-known is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta 9 THC. It is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, providing the stereotypical high cannabis consumers experience when they smoke, vape, or ingest the plant.
But what about other cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC and CBD, which as a cannabis enthusiast, you may have come across? What are these derivatives of hemp plants, and how do they compare?
Here, we explore the difference between Delta 8 vs. CBD, the two analogs of hemp’s most well-known derivative, Delta 9 THC.
We look at what they are, how they affect the human body, their popularity, benefits and uses, and their side effects. We will also touch on what you need to know regarding their legality within the United States.
If you are considering using either cannabis product, do read on.
Understanding Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is a lesser-known but widely researched cannabinoid, just now gaining prominence.
It has about half the psychoactive potency of Delta 9 THC, inducing the same euphoric high as Delta 9 THC, but without all the undesirable side effects like paranoia, anxiety, depression, and dry eyes and mouth.
Delta-8 also differs from Delta 9 from a molecular perspective. It has a particular chemical bond that appears on the eighth carbon atom instead of the ninth carbon atom on its carbon chain, altering its chemical bonding process to the C1 and C2 receptors in the brain.
This bond difference is the thing that gives Delta 9 more potency and Delta 8 a smoother and milder high without anxiety or paranoia.
It’s safe to say that Delta 8 is becoming a lot more popular than Delta 9, especially among the cannabis consumer looking for a mildly psychoactive product with additional medicinal benefits. It is commonly sold as vape cartridges, distillates, gummies, and tinctures.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is similar to both Delta 9 and Delta 8. It is one of 144 cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant and accounts for up to 40% of the hemp plant’s extract. It is a naturally occurring cannabinoid extracted from the hemp plant and, unlike Delta 8 and Delta 9, doesn’t contain the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
More CBD products are sold as oils to be ingested sublingually than as extracts, oil-based capsules, tinctures, and e-liquids. These formulations are found in a lot of products such as edibles, drinks, beauty products, and vape cartridges.
Medicinal and Health Benefits of Delta 8 and CBD
Both compounds have medicinal and health benefits.
Although Delta 8 is the most researched of cannabis derivatives, its medicinal benefits are not well-researched. Most of the clinical studies focus on Delta-9-THC.
Still, various studies carried out by scientists over the years have shown Delta 8 THC to be useful as an:
- Analgesic – A mild form of painkiller used to relieve pain
- Antiemetic – An anti-nauseant used to relieve nausea or vomiting
- Anxiolytic – It can reduce anxiety and panic
- Appetite-stimulant – It boosts appetite, especially in patients with weight and disorders
- Neuro-protective compound – It provides support for nerve cells
Most cannabinoids share some of the above therapeutic benefits. Just like Delta 8, CBD has greater efficacy for treating inflammatory pain.
However, the only FDA-approved CBD medication currently in use is Epidiolex, which is instrumental in treating certain types of epilepsy. Still, many people swear by CBD’s effectiveness in treating chronic or terminal conditions like:
- Back pain
- Low appetite
The medicinal and health benefits are still being studied. Researchers are looking more into the compound’s therapeutic and pain relief properties in conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and anxiety.
Side Effects of Delta 8 THC and CBD
Although people tolerate CBD and THC Delta 8 well, some still report side effects.
Delta 8 induces a mild and pleasant euphoria in users, which could be viewed as a side effect. Another sign of Delta 8 use is an increased heart rate. However, there is limited data about Delta 8 THC’s impact on humans, and further studies are needed.
The side effects of CBD, however, are pretty well known.
Some of the most common include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
Cannabidiol can also interact with other medications such as blood thinners, so do not use these products if you suffer from blood disorders like hemophilia. Also, your product may contain less CBD than labeled or contain THC, a sure sign that you’ve bought it from a disreputable, non-third-party-testing store.
If you plan to purchase and use products containing Delta 8 or CBD, talk to your doctor first for more information.
Are CBD Delta 8 and CBD the Same?
CBD Delta 8 and CBD are the same in name only.
Delta 8 is a minor cannabinoid, naturally occurring in hemp plants in minute concentrations. Cannabinoid-synthesizing enzymes do not directly produce it in marijuana. THC degrades into Delta 8 after a while. Manufacturers can also derive Delta 8 from Delta 9 and CBD using a process known as isomerization.
CBD is also a derivative of cannabis plants but very different from Delta 8 and, for that matter, Delta 9 THC. All three compounds have the same molecular structure: 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and two oxygen atoms. These atoms are arranged differently in each compound, determining the effects on the endocannabinoid system in the body.
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant as CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD.
Perhaps the most famous difference between the two is that Delta 8 THC has psychoactive effects, while CBD does not.
Which Is Stronger for the Cannabis Enthusiast- THC Delta 8 or CBD?
Of the two, Delta 8 THC is the psychoactive compound, and CBD is the plant’s non-psychoactive portion. This difference means that when you take Delta 8, you may feel sedated and altered.
However, it is possible to feel “high” after taking CBD, whose contents have not been verified. Because these products are not FDA-approved, you must buy third-party-tested CBD for quality assurance to avoid purchasing a product with trace amounts of THC.
Are Both CBD Delta 8 and CBD Federally Legal?
Delta 8 was legalized in 2018 when the Farm Bill passed.
However, it wasn’t until September 2019 that it was first sold as a retail product in the form of gummies, cartridges, tinctures, and concentrates. It is legal in 38 states within the United States.
When it comes to CBD’s legality, the situation is a little bit more complicated. Currently, marijuana and CBD are fully legal for medicinal and recreational purposes in:
- Washington and Washington D.C.
CBD and marijuana are legal in some form, e.g., for medicinal purposes in 23 U.S. states, while another 14 states permit the use of CBD oil only. For instance, New York state permits CBD use in food and drink, but not with tobacco or alcohol.
Finally, always check government regulations before you place your order, as CBD and marijuana may be illegal in your state. Additionally, all CBD and Delta 8 products must have less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC to be legal.
If in doubt, visit the Americans for Safe Access website, which has a helpful guide to each state’s specific marijuana laws.
Which Is Dog-Friendly – 8 Delta or CBD?
Generally, CBD products are safe, and they have shown some benefit for treating anxiety in pets. However, how this cannabinoid works in an animal’s endocannabinoid system and the subsequent psychoactive effects is not fully understood, and more research is needed.
It is not recommended that you give your pets Delta 8 THC.
Will Delta 8 and CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
Delta 8 will show up on a drug test because it contains the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is advisable to refrain from ingesting it if you are due to undergo drug testing.
However, CBD should not show up on a drug test as long as you ingest third-party tested CBD with no added THC. Additionally, athletes’ drug tests are more sensitive and may return a positive result in athletes who have ingested or used CBD.
Always buy third-party-tested CBD from a reputable site to avoid purchasing a product with a false product advertisement. Reputable retailers will have an easy-to-use site, email address, and phone number for queries. They will also give you your account and password to make purchases and correspond to your email inbox once they have shipped your order.
Can You Travel with Delta 8 THC and CBD across the U.S.?
That 2018 Farm Bill enables users to travel with legitimate cannabis products between states as long as they are of legal age. However, if traveling with a tincture, keep in mind that the TSA limits how much liquid you can carry on the airplane. Users can also mail CBD products that comply with the Bill anywhere in the U.S.
However, you need to know the local and state laws before traveling with Delta 8 or CBD. Case in point – the following states have banned all cannabis products, including CBD and Delta 8 THC:
- Rhode Island