What is the difference between Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC?
When we think of cannabis, we consider two main compounds, Cbd and Thc because they are very abundant and produce psychotropic (thc) and medical (cbd) effects. But there are actually four different structures that all interact with the body: THC-V, THC-A, Delta-8 THC et Delta-9 THC.
Delta-9 THC is commonly referred to as THC and is believed to be the compound by which strains are classified. While Delta-9 THC produces the majority of the psychotropic effects, delta-8 THC also produces independent but overlapping changes, such as relaxed mood and anti-anxiety.
At first glance, the structure of these two molecules appears identical except for a line in the topmost ring. This line represents a new molecular bond and although it does not appear to visibly change the molecule, it can significantly alter its binding properties and stability.
In fact, delta-8 THC can turn into delta-9 THC because the latter is much more stable. The “delta-8 bond” does not prefer this position and will actually move to the more stable delta-9 position, and the molecule will change. This transition is part of the reason why the concentration of delta-9 THC is higher than that of delta-8, because over time all delta-8 will become delta-9.
What are the effects of Delta-8 THC?
For most compounds to work, they must attach to a receptor in the body. Remember that this mechanism is a key and a lock; only THC can bind to its receptor. Because delta-8 and delta-9 THC have remarkably similar structures, they can bind to the same receptors found throughout the central nervous system: Cannabinoids type 1 and 2, or CB1 and CB2, respectively.
Some reports show different activities when the two THC molecules bind to different receptors. Some claim that CB2 is activated when delta-8 THC (non-classical THC) binds, but inactive when delta-9 THC (classical THC) binds. Others claim that the receptor is active regardless of the molecule, but delta-9 THC has a weaker attraction on CB2. The effects corresponding to a loose bond are not well understood.
However, when a compound binds to its receptor, it then relays the message throughout the cell. It is all based on structure and slight differences. Due to the unique link transmission between delta -8 and delta-9, users report different high feel.
Some users report that delta-8 THC is a much calmer high and doesn't make them so paranoid. Other reports have indicated that delta-8 THC relieves them of nausea while not making them as disoriented as those that can often occur with delta-9 THC.
Is delta-8 THC important in cannabis?
There are several hundred types of botanicals found in cannabis, the effects of which are not yet fully understood. Although there are many compounds in cannabis, most of these molecules appear in trace amounts. Delta-8 THC, for example, is estimated to be between 0,3-0,5% by weight, while delta-9 THC can exceed 20%.
With delta-8 THC present in such minimal amounts, it is difficult to determine if this could have a significant impact. However, a lot of research indicates that trace molecules - including delta-8 THC - build up to produce a synergistic effect, known as the entourage effect. In addition, there is anecdotal and scientific evidence of different thrills when the user consumes pure delta-9 or delta-8 THC.
Is there any scientific evidence to support these differences?
While there are no current studies on the different cellular pathways that might impact these psychological differences, there are therapeutic studies that use delta-8 THC as an anti-nausea medication.
Numerous reports, and even the US patent, state that while delta-8 THC binds to the same receptors, it is 50% less potent and 200% more effective as an anti-nausea medication than delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC produces the same psychotropic effects - decreased muscle activity, relaxation, and memory lapses - but requires a much higher concentration.
These differences have made delta-8 THC a beneficial therapeutic and recreational compound. Recreationally, Delta-8 THC can be used to ensure the user is not too high. In therapy, it can be used to have beneficial effects such as anti-nausea, without producing a significant psychotropic effect.
Are there strains that are high in delta-8 THC?
Remember that delta-8 THC breaks down naturally in cannabis and can become another form of THC, like delta-9 THC. Therefore, it is unlikely that a single strain will continuously carry greater amounts of delta-8 THC. However, it is possible to buy it in extracted form.
Delta-8 THC is a desirable compound because it produces a more relaxed high while suppressing the anxiety that is often associated with delta-9 THC. Many companies have started extracting it from cannabis and hemp to obtain products with a higher concentration of delta-8.
One only has to look at photos of the Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC to realize that they are so similar to each other, it's hard to believe their qualities can be so unique. But users who want a less intense high with suppressed anxiety qualities are advised to try delta-8 products.