Delta 8 THC is an analog of delta 9 THC, which means they have the same molecular structure, with a slight difference.
Both molecules are practically identical, except for the location of a double bond in its chemical structure; that is all. Delta 9 THC has this double bond on the 9th carbon chain, while delta-8-THC has it on the 8th carbon chain. The difference is minimal but ends up having a noticeable impact when the effects of each molecule are analyzed. Is also enough for these two compounds to classify differently from a legal perspective; at least, that’s the theory.
The laws regarding delta 8 THC are confusing, and there is much room for interpretation (more on that later). Many companies that manufacture delta 8 THC sell it as a “legal high” or as an alternative to delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 is also softer and less likely to cause anxiety than delta 9. It is great for people who enjoy the effects of THC, but it produces “too much anxiety.” Delta 8 THC also has a longer shelf life than Delta 9 THC.
Over time, some of the delta 9 THC is converted to delta 8 THC, while the rest breaks down into another cannabinoid called CBN. CBN is not psychoactive. THC that has been converted to delta 8 THC will remain active much longer before degrading finally on CBN. In terms of potency, delta 8 THC is about half as powerful as delta 9.
Quick Reference: Delta 8 THC:
- Similar psychoactive effect to delta 9 THC, but causes much less anxiety.
- Improves appetite more effectively than delta 9 THC.
- It is more stable and has a longer shelf life than delta 9 THC.
- It is about half as potent as delta 9 THC.
- Binds to the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors.
- The body develops a tolerance to delta 8 THC fairly quickly.