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Delta 8 vs Delta 9: What Are the Differences?


Delta 8 and delta 9 are both forms of THC, but they still have their differences.

Delta 9 THC is the stereotypical THC that you think of when you think of cannabis. It’s well known for its effects and is the driving force behind what makes cannabis special.

Deta 8 is a common choice among people who get paranoid when they consume delta 9. While the effects of delta 8 are more gentle, so too are the side effects.

Delta 8 is typically isolated from hemp plants.

In addition, Delta 8 and Delta 9 also have different legal statuses- an interesting tale that we will get into soon!

Read on to learn all about these legendary cannabinoids, their similarities, and their differences!

What is Delta 8?

Delta 8 is a form of THC found in cannabis, but is derived from hemp for mass production. It became popularized after the 2018 Farm Bill was passed (more on that later!).

Delta 8 is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids bind to your endocannabinoid system and are found in different ratios and percentages in different cannabis and hemp strains.

To be more specific, Delta 8 is a CB1 agonist.

Delta 8 is not well researched and is largely unregulated. It’s vital to buy deta 8 from brands who do third-party testing and proudly display the results on their website. (If your tests come back with impressive results, you’ll want people to know!)

Delta 8 might show up on drug tests.

What is Delta 9?

Delta 9, or delta 9 THC, is what people are referring to when they say THC. Delta 9 THC is the most common and abundant form of THC found in cannabis plants.

Delta 9 has the following chemical formula:

C21 H30 O2

In fact, this is the exact same formula as delta 8- just with one carbon double bond found in a different place.

Delta 9 is not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to purchase it from a reputable source. Find brands that advertise their third party testing results on their website. In-house testing is good too, but definitely not the gold standard since there’s a conflict of interest.

Always consume delta 9 responsibly. Start at a low dose and increase from there if needed.

The effects of smoking and vaping are rapid, but edibles can take an average of 45 minutes- and as long as two hours- to kick in. It’s vital not to consume more edibles until the first dose has taken effect.

Is delta 8 legal compared to delta 9?

Delta 8 is federally legal but is being banned in some states due to safety concerns and lack of research. Meanwhile, delta 9 is federally illegal but is being legalized and decriminalized in some states.

The 2018 Farm Bill is the reason delta 8 is federally legal. According to the bill, plants with .3% THC or less are considered hemp, and all hemp products are legal.

Thanks to this, researchers learned how to isolate cannabinoids- you’ve probably heard of CBD- from hemp. Delta 8 is just another example of a cannabinoid isolated from hemp.

The laws surrounding Delta 8 are unclear in the following states:

  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska

Delta 8 is regulated in the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Michigan
  • Nevada

Delta 8 is illegal in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Utah

Delta 8 is legal in all the unlisted states.

You can face drug charges for possession of delta 8 if you live in a state where it’s illegal.

Which is stronger, delta 8 or delta 9?

Delta 9 is stronger than delta 8. But on the same token, delta 9 also has stronger side effects than delta 8.

Delta 8 and delta 9 both bind to your endocannabinoid system and include double bonds in their structures, thought to produce the effects of cannabis.

But because the double bonds are found in different places, the two substances interact with the endocannabinoid system slightly differently. This is likely why delta 9 is stronger than delta 8, although we still need more research.

Can you mix delta 8 and delta 9?

You can mix delta 8 and delta 9. You may experience the entourage effect, where the substances interact and boost in strength just from being mixed.

But generally speaking, it’s best to keep the two substances separate. It’s just too difficult to know how much to consume because they both have slightly different effects. You’re better off sticking to one at a time.

If you must, mix delta 8 and delta 9 responsibly. It can be hard to judge how much delta 8 and delta 9 to mix because they have different effects, so go easy and don’t overdo it.

What are delta 8 and delta 9 gummies?

Delta 8 and delta 9 gummies are gummies that are infused with delta 8 and delta 9 concentrate.

Delta 8 gummies are more mild than delta 9 gummies- both in effects and side effects. As discussed previously, delta 8 and delta 9 interact with your body differently because of the location of their double bonds.

Likewise, delta 8 gummies may be legal where delta 9 gummies are illegal, and vice versa.

Delta 9 gummies are usually 10mg, whereas delta 8 gummies are usually 25mg.

Delta 8 and delta 9 gummies are often consumed either whole or split in half, depending on individual tolerance and desired effects.

Why choose delta 8 over delta 9 or vice versa?

You should choose delta 8 over delta 9 if you get paranoid very easily when you consume cannabis, or if you want less intense effects.

You should choose delta 9 over delta 8 if you don’t experience paranoia and want stronger effects.

Legality may also come into play here, because delta 8 and delta 9 have different legal statuses. Depending on where you live, you may only have one option anyway.

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