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Comparison of Delta–8 THC vs Delta–9 THC

Before we start comparing Delta–8 THC from Delta–9 THC, lets understand what exactly is Delta–8 Tetrahydrocannabinol and why it is considered as milder version or a younger sibling of Delta–9 THC.

What is Delta–8?

Delta–8 THC is a phytocannabinoid, known for its psychoactive effects, produced naturally by all the cannabis in small amounts, unlike Delta–9 THC which accounts in huge amount.

Concentrated amounts of Delta–8 THC that are being gaining popularity in the market among cannabis enthusiasts are mostly synthetically created from CBD and hemp in a lab.

Though Delta–8 THC does occur naturally in very small amounts in the cannabis, it can be extracted from CBD by complex methods through a process called isomerization.

But again, it won’t be really feasible because the amount of plant material and cost incurred for successfully accomplishing the task would truly be massive and comes at a huge cost. 

In the previous blog, we discuss about isomers in relation with THCA; the precursor of THC where it has come to our knowledge that THCA has two isomers: Delta–8 and Delta–9, i.e., they both have same chemical formulae but with different arrangement of molecules in their molecular structure.           To summarize, if you can move the double bond from one section of the carbon chain to another, you would get a completely different molecule. 

That is how Delta–8 in huge quantities is obtained from CBD through isomerism.

Toxicity of Delta–8 THC

FDA has received about 104 adverse reports between December 1, 2020 to February 28, 2022 involving poisoning through Delta–8 THC based products:

  • 55% of these cases required intervention (e.g., by medical services) or hospital admission,
  • 66% described adverse effects after ingestion of Delta–8 THC in the form of brownies and gummies such as: hallucinations, tremor, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, vomiting and loss of consciousness and
  • 41% of which involved children, who were accidentally exposed to products with Delta–8 in them and some of these children dies due to poisoning of Delta–8 THC.

National Poison Control Centre received 2,362 severe cases of Delta–8 THC products between January 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022.

They are being marketed in unethical ways that put the public health at greater risk and should especially be kept–out–of–reach of children and pets.

Both the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) and the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), officially stated that, Delta–8 THC is not well regulated and there are safety concerns emerging from the Poison Control Centres regarding increase in the Delta–8 poisoning where adverse events of requiring medical care and hospitalization are increasing at very high rates.

Legality Concerns of Delta–8 THC

The legality status of Delta–8 THC is more complicated topic than it seems, because cannabis plants contain only trace amounts of Delta–8 and Delta–10, in order to make it in huge volumes, they are re usually synthetically produced in labs.

There is a common misconception among netizens and newbies of cannabis enthusiast that Delta–8 THC is legal. In actuality, the facts are rather complex and sophisticated. 

Though legally, it also isn’t necessarily federally legal, as it’s synthetically produced and not           well-regulated. In some states, Delta–8 and Delta–9 THC products were strictly prohibited to sale. Many states even passed and enacted laws against producing, manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabinoids to the public.

Some manufacturers managed to find a loophole in the Farm Bill by stating that federal law defines cannabis as the marijuana, only if it has more than 0.3% of the Delta–9 THC content and defines cannabis as industrial hemp, if it has less than or equal to 0.3% of the Delta–9 THC content.        Since, industrial hemp and its byproducts don’t categorise under ‘Controlled Substances Act’ providing that their Delta–9 content is below 0.3%.                                                                            Because the Farm Bill focuses explicitly only on Delta–9 and not on Delta–8 or Delta–10, it’s a bit of loophole which makes Delta–8 and Delta–10 products to fall into a legal gray zone.

It is crucially important for consumers to understand that most Delta–8 THC based products is synthetically made from the blend of CBD and other chemicals in labs that have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA in any context for safe use.

How Delta–8 THC target markets?

Since, Delta–9 THC and CBD gained popularity in the form of candy, gummy bears, peppermints, energy drinks and tinctures etc.

Unlike CBD, Delta–8 is not federally legal as per US FDA, so manufacturers of Delta–8 THC found easy to regulate the business using the methods currently prevalent in the market by changing the contents of the label.

Some forms of synthetically created Delta–8–THC: 

  • Gummies in form of candy–like appearance and taste,
  • Food products such as Brownies,
  • Vape cartridges and sold legally over the internet and in stores. 
  • Tinctures (Ethanol–based solvent to carry Delta–8 THC)

Precaution: Delta-8 THC products should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

These products may be purchased online, as well as at a variety of retailers, including convenience stores and gas stations, where there is no restriction on age limit on who can purchase these products.

Delta–8 THC products are unregulated, so what’s on the label might differ from what’s inside the package, both in terms of the potency of Delta–8 and other unanticipated ingredients, like Delta–9.

How do Delta–8 and Delta–9 differ chemically?

They are both isomers of THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinol Acid). 

The only chemical difference between these two is the change in position of the double bond in carbon chains. Even a small change in molecular structure as double bond between carbon atoms can make a molecule behave in entirely different way and has different properties.

Take CBD, an isomer of Delta–8 and Delta–9 THC, does CBD is anything like THC?                                No, CBD doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects in the body at all, unlike THC when consumed. 

Delta–8 THC is similar to Delta–9 THC, a psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant that produces the feeling of euphoria, when consumed.

Delta–8 and Delta–9 THC has a different structure, and produces milder effects than Delta–9 THC.

Will Delta–8 gives the feeling of ‘high’ with equal intensity as from Delta–9?

Delta–8 is similar to Delta–9 THC in terms of psychoactive compounds, but is less potent and milder in terms of its effect, but it still has intoxicating effects.

It might be considered as an alternative to Delta–9 THC for those people who want relatively mild ‘high’ feeling than with the regular THC (Delta–9 THC). 

Delta–8 is largely made by converting cannabidiol (CBD) or Delta–9 THC synthetically, which is illegal.

Comparison of Delta–8, Delta–9 and CBD on the basis of their potential benefits and risks

Basis of Comparison



CBD (Cannabidiol)

Potential Benefits

Pain Relief



Pain Relief



Pain Relief

Anxiety Relief

Insomnia Relief

Potential risks & 

side effects

Dry mouth

Dry eyes (Redness)

Cognitive Impairment


Memory loss

Dry mouth

Dry eyes (Redness)

Cognitive Impairment


Memory loss

Changes in appetite

Changes in weight



Impairing effects



It’s possible


Varies from state to state

Varies from state to state

Federally legal from hemp and varies from state to state.

Is Delta–8 the same as CBD?

No, unlike CBD, Delta–8 THC produces psychoactive effects.

Potential benefits of Delta–8 THC

Delta–8 is also a psychoactive compound, like Delta–9 that offers a similar euphoric high. 

As per some research, Delta–8 THC may help in treating few medical conditions like:

  • Anxiety,
  • Chronic pain,
  • Stress and
  • Depression.

The use of Delta–8 THC is still under developmental stage as more medical research are needed to determine the effectiveness and risks associated with Delta–8 THC.

Potential risks associated with Delta–8 THC

As Delta–8 is a new byproduct of the cannabinoids that can be extracted now, researches don’t know much about them, there are lot of areas to explore. 

Additionally, the chemicals used to convert CBD into Delta–8 poses additional risk for illness. 

Risks associated from consuming Delta–8 THC:

  • Dry mouth (Dehydration),
  • Dryness in eyes (Red Eyes),
  • Changes in appetite and weight,
  • Nausea,
  • Insomnia,
  • Hallucinations,
  • Memory loss,
  • Panic attacks,
  • Cognitive impairment and
  • Loss of consciousness.

Is there an alternative to Delta–8 THC?

If you’re looking for a legal alternative to Delta–8, you may want to consider trying CBD.

Will Delta–8 make you test positive for THC?

Yes, Delta–8 THC and other cannabinoids will show positive on the Tox Screen, if you undergo drug testing.

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