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Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC

Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC

Scientists have isolated about 113 Cannabinoids from the Cannabis plant, and all of them have varied properties. We can say that the Cannabis plant is a storehouse of hundreds of therapeutic substances that affect human life for good. 

Of these 113 Cannabinoids, Delta-9 THC, which we commonly refer to as THC, is ubiquitous. However, Delta-8 THC is a relatively newly discovered compound. People assume them to be the same molecules because of their names; however, the actual case is different.

Thanks to the structural similarities, they share a lot of common effects. But they differ in various other aspects that we’ll discuss in this article.

What is Delta-8?

We have started hearing about Delta-8 THC quite a lot all of a sudden. Delta-8-THC is a Cannabinoid that occurs in small amounts in Cannabis plants. Researchers have observed that delta-8-THC is a degraded form of THC and is not formed inside the plant by cannabinoid-synthesizing enzymes. It decomposes into delta-8-THC as THC is kept for a while. To grow a better quantity of delta-8-THC, commercial farmers and extractors bring selective breeding and molecular isolation techniques into use.

The National Cancer Institute presents Delta-8 THC as an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol with anxiolytic, antiemetic, appetite-stimulating, neuroprotective, and analgesic properties. Delta-8 binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, which is located in the central nervous system…This receptor exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than Delta-9 THC, the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”

What is Delta-9 THC?

It might be news for you that Delta-9 THC is the full name of the Cannabinoid that we commonly called THC. Its structure resembles that of Delta-8 THC, but the slight difference in structure elicits many differences in properties.

These differences are so significant that they can determine the differences in the legal status of both compounds as well.

Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC

Differences between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC:

Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are different from each other both physically and chemically. The structural resemblance is there, but the following aspects make them compete with each other at many levels:


It differs from a structural or molecular standpoint because of the location of a crucial chemical bond. Both delta-8 and delta-9-THC contain double bonds in their molecular change. Delta-8-THC retains the bond on the 8th carbon, while delta-9-THC has the same double bond on the 9th carbon. While it is a slight difference, it significantly impacts the body’s Endocannabinoid receptors’ binding and response to the molecule.

Delta-9-THC is less balanced than delta-8-THC. To form cannabinol (CBN) or delta-8-THC, Delta-9 oxidizes. Contrarily, Delta-8 THC is stable, has a long shelf life, and doesn’t oxidize to form other Cannabinoids.


Delta-9 THC has been very unfortunate when it comes to the legality of the compounds. It has never been on a list of legal substances in the history of Cannabinoids because of its psychoactive nature. Even the positive legal status of the legal compounds is based on the lesser concentration of THC.

As far as the legality of Delta-8 THC is concerned, it lies in the legal grey zone area. It is pretty clear that when we extract it from Marijuana (Cannabis), it’s illegal because of the higher concentration of THC in it. However, Delta-8 THC-based products’ manufacturers get it from hemp CBD, which contains less than 0.3% THC. The Farm Bill Law 2018 legalized the products under 0.3% THC; however, it didn’t mention Delta-8 THC. Since the companies obtain it from the legal hemp CBD at the federal level, they market Delta-8 as a legal compound.

Interim Final Report 2020 by DEA has put the legal status of Delta-8 in danger as it says that all synthesized Tetrahydrocannabinols are Schedule 1 Controlled Substances. Authorities are about to review this proposal by October 2021, and if it gets approved, Delta-8 THC will be officially illegal.

The distinct difference between the legal status of Delta-8 and Delta-9 is that while Delta-8’s legal status is still hazy, Delta-9 is illegal for sure!


The extraction of both compounds from the plant body brings about some other significant differences. Delta-8 THC, located in the pollen of the Cannabis flower, is in a minimal amount. While the Delta-9 THC is one of the most abundant Cannabinoids present in the plant body. Hence, you can extract Delta-9 directly from the plant without caring much about the quantity.

In the case of Delta-8 THC, it is very plant-wasting and energy-draining to extract Delta-8 THC directly from the plant. Hence, companies now synthesize it in laboratories from the hemp-derived CBD. It is a costly process, but it makes obtaining Delta-8 THC much easier.

Mechanism of Action:

Delta-8-THC binds to the CB1 receptor like Delta-9 THC, but its affinity is different because of its slightly different molecular structure. CB1 receptors are responsible for the mediation of most of the psychotropic effects of THC. 

This differential binding may be responsible for people’s elevation with decreased anxiety and a higher ability to focus. It is comprehendible that its distinctive molecular structure also affects the chemical’s effects on other receptors and neuropathways. Delta-8 THC offers a lower potency that is more tolerable and ideal for recreational use.


Here we will talk about the prime factor that makes people choose from these two – the effects of both substances. The same is the reason behind the different legal statuses of both compounds.

Delta-9 THC is much more potent than Delta-8 THC. According to some reports, it can be twice as strong as Delta-8. Therefore, the psychoactive effects of Delta-9 are undesirable for the people who need to do work efficiently. Delta-8 is an ideal product for the people who don’t want the “high” that’ll hinder their daily life task performance and productivity.

Delta-8 causes a feeling of high, but it’s too mild to cause any adverse effect on focus, task performance, and clarity. Hence, it ensures a more convenient and more transparent experience. 

Moreover, the effect of Delta-8 THC surfaces up slower and gradually after the intake. In the case of Delta-9 THC, one experiences immediate and sudden impacts that are very strong


It is essential to keep safety factors under consideration before giving a substance your very first shot. Some compounds can have hundreds of benefits, and still, their harmful side effects and risks will outweigh the benefits. Beware of such compounds!

 Delta-9 THC is very potent and elicits effects more instantaneously, but its side effects are more considerable than those of Delta-8 THC. The adverse side effects of Delta-9 THC include mental fog, increased anxiety, paranoid delusions, and impaired motor skills.Products:

All the Cannabinoids are relatable in the products based on them because they are present in the same state of matter. Delta-8 and Delta- THC-based products can be:

  • Tinctures
  • Topicals 
  • Capsules
  • Edibles
  • Vape pens


The availability of these Cannabinoids is a matter of interest. Only a few states allow the consumption of Delta-9 THC based on certain conditions. If you belong to any of the states where laws are a bit flexible, go on and buy it. Otherwise, it’d be hectic since THC isn’t legal at the Federal level, and manufacturers might not ship it across the state boundaries.

However, Delta-8 THC is still legal at the Federal level, so we have more online stores that offer Delta-8 THC-based products. These sites send their products across the state’s borders as well. The companies with excellent reputations usually avoid sending Delta8 products to the states where it is potentially illegal. 

FDA doesn’t regulate Delta-8 THC-based products, so it’s better to avoid the companies that might produce low-quality products.


The best idea is to look for the state laws, your condition, and the properties of both compounds keenly before choosing one. Once you are sure about the products that deserve your attention, look for a reputable company with positive, authentic reviews that deal in that compound. Let the journey towards better life quality begin as soon as you get your hands over any Cannabinoids.