Marijuana and Delta-8 THC are both derived from the cannabis plant, yes, but they have some key differences. Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis plants (both hemp and marijuana) but in much smaller amounts than Delta-9 THC, which, as previously stated, is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Since Delta-8 occurs in such small amounts, it is usually synthesized from another natural cannabinoid like CBD to be infused into products. This doesn't necessarily mean Delta-8 is "synthetic" (read more on that here
), just that if you ate, say, a Delta-8 gummy
, you are consuming it in an isolated form.
Since Delta-8 THC products are hemp-derived, they don’t have as many legal restrictions as marijuana.
Marijuana can only be legally purchased and possessed in certain states, but it cannot be shipped across state lines. Delta-8 is legal in most states, can cross state lines, and can even be bought from the comfort of your home.
That being said, when you smoke marijuana, you are consuming not only Delta-9 THC, but also several minor cannabinoids like CBD and, yes, even Delta-8. Since Delta-9 THC occurs at higher concentrations in marijuana, however, you are typically going to feel this major cannabinoid's effects more than anything else.
Effects of Weed vs. Delta-8
Delta-8 THC has less intense effects than the main compound of weed, Delta-9 THC, because of its chemical structure, producing a distinctly milder high. Enthusiasts describe their experience with Delta-8 as a unique feeling of euphoria with an uplifting and relaxing bodily sensation.
Because Delta-8 THC binds differently to the brain's CB receptors than Delta-9 THC, it exhibits “lower psychotropic potency.” In other words, those who have experienced adverse side effects when consuming weed (for example, high levels of anxiety and paranoia) will likely not see those effects when consuming Delta-8. Just remember that due to idiosyncracies in individuals' endocannabinoid systems, cannabinoids affect everyone differently.
Generally, Delta-8 THC is used for its potentially therapeutic benefits, such as providing relief, while marijuana is used for recreational and, in some prescription-based instances, medicinal purposes.
Delta-8's lack of potency, wider accessibility, and euphoric effects have made it a beloved choice among many cannassuers.