In April 2020, a new cannabis compound was making the headlines, and it still is, becoming the subject of its subreddit. The new kid in the block is Delta-8-THC, and it looks as if it is going to take the throne off Delta-9-THC. The new compound is riding on the hype that it gives a smooth high, minus the paranoia and anxiety.

The cannabis plant has hundreds of chemicals, and Delta-9-THC is among the most popular and potent. Well, Delta-9-THC boasts several therapeutic benefits for people going through chemotherapy, such as the stimulation of appetite and treatment of extreme nausea.

Unfortunately, excessive Delta-9-THC can sometimes trigger particular side effects such as headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and paranoia. This fact alone is worrying for people that want to enjoy the benefits of legal marijuana without the burden of the side effects.

Given that most of the cannabis in the United States contains a high amount of Delta-9-THC, consumers are quickly lining up to try Delta-8-THC, an obscure twin to Delta-9-THC.

Delta-8 THC and other Cannabis Compounds

The cannabis plant is typically the producer of numerous compounds, with Delta-9-THC and CBD being the most abundant and popular.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol was discovered by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist, in 1964. The compound has a reputation for laughter, relaxation, sedation, and elation, among others.

THC embeds tightly to CB1 receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system, found mostly in your brain but with a presence all over the body. Typically, the endocannabinoid system comprises the chemicals and receptors that influence stress, sensation, pain, and mood. The chemical structure of THC is a lot similar to the chemical that allows the brain messages. It is this similarity with anandamide that makes the cannabis compound bind tightly to the cb1 receptors.

As research continued, it was discovered that delta-9 THC was not the only psychoactive compound in the cannabis Sativa plant. Delta-8 THC had the same effects but on a smaller scale. Even though delta-8 THC has the same structure as Delta-9 THC, it has a few more electrons that interact with receptors in a completely different way. As a result, the high from Delta-8 THC is not instantaneous, but instead, gradual. Delta-8-THC's chemical structure is a bit altered, which doesn't allow it to have the same effect.

Other minor compounds include THCV, CBN, CBG, and of course, Delta-8-THC. The majority of the cannabis compounds produce minimal amounts of Delta-8-THC, and so it takes a lot of effort, but it is mostly worth it.

The legality surrounding Delta-8 is a bit hazy and complicated. It is inarguable that Delta-9 is a schedule 1 substance, in the same group as LSD and heroin. This 1970 law complicates research on cannabinoids, so there is so little information about Delta-8.

So is Delta-8 THC Legal?

The updated U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) list does not explicitly ban Delta-8. Usually, the confusion comes from where the producer sources their compound. It's illegal if Delta-8 comes from cannabis Sativa. However, it is a different case if it comes from hemp and it has less than 3% Delta-9-THC, at least according to the 2018 Farm Bill, or so most people may think.

Even though the current law clearly states that all compounds derived from hemp are legal, it is still ambiguous and may not protect companies from a DEA crackdown. This unclear situation has led to the reopening of public comment by the USDA to address these issues. At the moment, it is a wait-and-see situation for the industry.

That means the future for the Delta-8 is a bit unclear, despite consumers' eagerness to try it out.

What are the Benefits of Delta-8-THC over Delta-9-THC?

The difference between the two cannabis plant offsprings is very subtle but essential nevertheless. No doubt both Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC will get you stoned and cuddling a couchlock over NetFlix and chill. However, Delta-8 is not as potent as its sibling. Some users familiar with both drugs claim that Delta-8 has less anxiety, causing effect, and added therapeutic benefits. However, these are just anecdotal reports, and clinical studies are pending.

Delta-8 is quickly rising to the top at the expense of Delta-9-THC, becoming an ingredient in soft drinks, vape cartridges, tinctures, and gummies, among others. It is important to note that quality control for Delta-8 is non-existent, just like CBD.

In comparison to Delta-9, Delta-8 is a better alternative for prescription drugs because of its better stability. The main difference between the two cannabis compounds boils down to the atoms' location that forms the THC molecule structure, which determines its stability. The double bond on Delta-8 is on the 8th carbon of the chain, while for the Delta-9 is on the 9th carbon.

This slight difference may be the reason why the compound is less sedating, less anxiety-provoking, and a bit more useful in leaving you slightly more clear-headed than Delta-9. Of course, some hardcore cannabis users will not see sense in a less psychoactive compound, but therapeutic users will appreciate the difference.

Personal experiences also indicate that delta-8 may be useful in stress management, especially for people that work from home.

According to experts, Delta-8 has the potential for sensitive patients such as children and the elderly who may avoid the stoned effect mostly associated with THC. The available study shows that delta-8 curbs vomiting and nausea, as observed in children with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. Based on this research, Delta-8 may be a tremendous antiemetic or medication to prevent nausea and vomiting.

According to the researchers, the side effects of Delta-8 were negligible. It was observed to be more energetic and with minimal sedating effects. It is unclear whether a higher dose of delta-8 THC may have the same effects as delta-9 THC.

One shortcoming may be for the recreation of users is that delta-8 THC is a more powerful appetizer than delta-9 THC. Delta-8 may not be a cure-all as some consumers expect, but it has good potential. Only time will tell.