Starting in September of 2020, one cannabinoid in particular, delta-8-THC, captured the cannabis community’s interest by storm. More novel than many of the cannabinoids, delta-8 is found in very low concentrations and can be difficult to extract. Delta Effex, a leader within the world of premium delta-8-THC products, explains the cannabinoid as “a sort of a middle ground between hemp, CBD and THC-Delta-9.”
The most common cannabinoid is often referred to as THC, but is more accurately known to be delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which produces a full-blown psychoactive reaction. While delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC have some similarities, including a sedative-effect and appetite stimulation, the interest for most industry experts lies in how the cannabinoids differ.
What is Delta-8-THC?
As referenced above, delta-9-THC is the most common cannabinoid and what most cannabis consumers know and love. However, there are actually over 100 different cannabinoids found in the plant. Much is known about Delta-9-THC and cannabidiol (CBD), but researchers and industry experts are now focusing more on the minor cannabinoids and their possible benefits.
Delta-8-THC has a similar molecular structure to delta-9-THC but is found in the plant at much lower concentrations. Commercial growers and extractors are using selective breeding techniques and molecular isolation tactics to create greater quantities of delta-8-THC.
How does Delta-8-THC affect our bodies?
Our bodies have two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. Delta-8-THC binds itself to the CB1 receptors. Researchers have recently learned, however, that the cannabinoid has also been known to bind to CB2 receptors but have more to understand about the binding mechanism.
While there is still much to learn about the cannabinoid, current preclinical and clinical studies have already uncovered some incredible therapeutic properties in the compound. Here are a few conditions the cannabinoid may benefit greatly:
A 1995 study published in “Life Sciences” that followed several pediatric cancer patients for two years reported that no vomiting occurred following the ingestion of the cannabinoid.
Pain & Inflammation
The topical application of delta-8-THC was linked to diminished pain and inflammation in a 2018 study that researched how the compound affected mice with corneal injuries.
In another study conducted on mice, researchers discovered that a low dose of the cannabinoid, given over a period of 50 days, resulted in a 22% increase in food intake. The study was published in the 2004 edition of “Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.”
Though there haven’t been too many studies on the effect delta-8-THC has on anxiety disorders, anecdotal reports show that the cannabinoid has a prolific effect. Delta-9-THC, while beneficial for many of those who suffer from anxiety, can worsen anxiety in others. Delta-8-THC is reported to result in a calm and focused high, without the paranoia or racing thoughts often attributed to the more popular cannabinoid.
Is Delta-8-THC legal?
In short, yes—many delta-8-THC products are currently legal and available to purchase in select retailers and online. Currently, delta-8-THC is legal as long as it is hemp-derived. If you’re unfamiliar, hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% delta-9-THC. However, it is important to note that as more information becomes available surrounding the cannabinoid, legislation and legality may be subject to change.