In a previous post What’s the deal with Delta? we covered what Delta-9 THC is and what makes it legal.
Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the well-known, primary psychoactive compound in hemp and cannabis flower, meaning it gets you “high”. You know it by its street names, weed, mary jane, ganja, skunk, bud, herb, grass, etc. But the question remains; is delta-9 legal or not?
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, as long as the product is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight volume, then it’s defined as legal hemp and not illegal cannabis. Hemp hit the market hard after its legalization in 2018, allowing CBD and other hemp-derived products to be legally bought and sold online and in stores. Products such as CBD, Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, etc, that can all be derived from industrial hemp.
So what's the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9?
These two compounds are profoundly similar, and both are psychoactive, but users find that Delta-8 is milder. The only hard difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC is where a particular double bond is located on the chain of carbon atoms. Delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon atom in its molecular structure and Delta-9 has a double bond on the ninth carbon atom.
Nearly all Delta-8 THC on the market today is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD, which makes it part of a federally legal chain of origin. People in states where THC is illegal crave cannabis products and are now seeking out Delta-8 to scratch the itch. Many hemp-based extractors are ramping up Delta-8 production to meet this new demand.
Delta-8, like delta-9 (regular THC), binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which causes users to feel high. Delta-8 binds to the endocannabinoid system in a slightly different fashion because of the location of its double bond. This is what is thought to make Delta-8 much less potent than regular THC. However, more research needs to be done on Delta-8 and how it interacts with the body. More on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system.