Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 For Sleep: Which One is Better?
Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 for sleep is a topic discussed among many beginner enthusiasts. So, should you go with Delta 8 for sleep rather than Delta 9 (or vice versa)? The truth is more complicated than a simple recommendation. What may be best for you may not be best for someone else since everyone has a unique endocannabinoid system and experience levels. In this blog post, we'll discuss THC and sleep-related research by covering the following:
Before we go any further, we must state that this blog post is for informational purposes only. Hometown Hero's products are not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition, including difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep (insomnia). See full FDA disclaimer.
What is THC?
THC stands for "tetrahydrocannabinol." It's a cannabinoid, a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants. THC consists of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. It is an isomer of cannabidiol (CBD) since its composed of the same elements but with a different chemical structure.
Still, it's most well-known for delivering effects such as joy, relaxation, creativity, and a general sense of well-being, although these effects can vary from person to person. Compared to even full-spectrum CBD, THC products have more active effects.
The reason why THC creates these effects when consumed is its resemblance to anandamide. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, a chemical messenger used in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of chemical messengers and receptors that help regulate various functions of the body, which include:
- Emotional Processing
- Pain Management
There are many theories as to why cannabis has THC in it. One of the leading ones is that THC helps protect the plant from ultraviolet radiation, which is a valuable trait as the species evolved in the high elevations of the Tibetan Plateau.
The Endocannabinoid System & Sleep
As mentioned, the ECS plays a role in many vital functions, including sleep. But what role does it necessarily play? The ECS was discovered as “recently” as 1988, so there is still much to be uncovered about this system of the human body. However, according to a journal published by researchers at the Universidad Autónomade Campeche, the activation of the CB1 receptor leads to sleep induction.
Interestingly, the CB1 receptors are the same component of the ECS that binds to THC when you consume it. This is true whether it’s Delta-9 or Delta-8. So what are these two forms of THC, and what makes them different from one another?
What is Delta-9 THC?
Delta-9 THC is tetrahydrocannabinol with a double bond on its ninth carbon chain, hence the name. People often refer to Delta-9 as just "THC" since it's a prominent cannabinoid in marijuana, but this compound also occurs in hemp.
Hemp and marijuana are the same species. Their only difference is one set forth by lawmakers, not scientists. Hemp is cannabis with a 0.3% or lower concentration of Delta-9 THC by dry weight, and marijuana is cannabis with any concentration higher than this.
Although Delta-9 is commonly associated with marijuana, it's also in hemp products. There is no limit to the quantity of Delta-9 in a hemp product, but the proportion. For example, Delta 9 gummies can contain 25mg Delta-9 or even 100mg of Delta-9 if the compound does not exceed 0.3% of the product's dry weight.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is a cannabinoid similar to Delta-9, except it has a double bond on its eighth carbon chain. Delta-8 appears in small amounts in both hemp and marijuana. However, its rise to prominence among cannabis enthusiasts did not occur until after the widespread legalization of hemp-derived cannabinoids through the 2018 Farm Bill and the state laws that followed its language. Although Delta-9 products can come from hemp and marijuana, Delta-8 products will almost always be hemp-derived.
Compared to Delta-9, Delta-8 has a weaker binding affinity to the body's cannabinoid receptors. Many enthusiasts will describe Delta-8 as being a lighter form of Delta-9 for this reason. However, it's best to remember that cannabinoids will affect everyone differently depending on the medium one consumes them with, how many milligrams one consumes, and a person's unique endocannabinoid system.
Research on THC and Sleep
What does science have to say about Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 for sleep? There isn't much out there on this subject (especially regarding Delta-8 for sleep) due to various factors, including longstanding prohibitionist red tape around cannabis research in the United States. But here are three studies done on the subject of THC and sleep.
The Study: A sample of 98 adults averaging around 22 years old had their sleep characteristics examined. 49 partook in cannabis daily, 29 were non-daily, and 20 did not partake in cannabis.
Findings: Those who partook in cannabis daily reported more sleep disturbances than those who consumed cannabis on a non-daily basis.
The Study: A review of previously published work on the applications of medical marijuana on disorders such as:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder
- Nightmare disorder
Findings: There was insufficient evidence to support using cannabinoids for any sleep disorder. However, promising outcomes in some sleep disorders warrant further investigation.
The Study: For six weeks, 29 participants with self-reported insomnia were either given a placebo or cannabis oil with a 10:15 THC to CBD blend, which contained minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
Findings: The 10:15 blend was well-tolerated and effective for improving the quality of sleep, duration of sleep, mood, and quality of life for adults with self-reported insomnia within two weeks.
Remember that these are limited studies, and the FDA has not evaluated the efficacy of cannabis or THC.
Is Delta-8 or Delta-9 Better for Sleep?
If you are dealing with insomnia, the first thing you should do is consult a medical professional. You should tell them if you are considering Delta-8 or Delta-9 products, whether edibles, flowers, vaping cartridges, tinctures, or any other medium.
For those who have never consumed THC before, Delta-8 may be a better option because of its weaker binding affinity. This property may produce effects that are easier to manage on a milligram-to-milligram basis than Delta-9. Many consumers prefer this option over Delta-9 for sleep because it is easier to avoid the negative side effects of consuming too much THC.
Those familiar with THC might find better results with Delta-9 or just "classic" THC. No chemical difference exists between the Delta-9 found in hemp products and the Delta-9 found in marijuana. Because of the dry weight limit for hemp, Delta-9 is limited to edibles, drink mixes, and beverages. Nonetheless, with hemp, you get the benefit of convenience with online shopping and a wider range of legality. Plus, because hemp is federally legal, you can take Delta-9 products (or any hemp-derived products) with you on domestic flights to states where Delta-9 is legal, as long as the airline permits you to carry such products on board.
In conclusion, cannabis research is still in its infancy when researching the effects on THC and sleep. Some studies have shown promising results, and some are a bit mixed. Plus, there are many instances where customers have mentioned "sleep" in their reviews of products. What it all essentially comes down to is that these products will affect everyone differently. What role they play in your life can only be discovered by trying these cannabinoids in a controlled, prudent manner, such as the "low and slow" approach, which involves trying a small portion, waiting for the effects, and then determining to stay where you are or consuming more.