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What is the difference between Delta-8 and Weed?

What is the difference between Delta-8 and Weed?

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As cannabis research continues to evolve, new cannabinoids are being discovered and gaining popularity among enthusiasts. One such compound is Delta-8 THC. With its unique properties and effects, the response to Delta-8 has varied: adoration from experienced cannassuers seeking a novel experience, regulation from lawmakers, and most of all, confusion from the general public.

Perhaps you're curious to try Delta-8, but are among those still wondering, "How does it compare to traditional weed?" If so, you've come to the right place. Read on to find out the key distinctions between marijuana and Delta-8 THC.

Understanding The Cannabis Plant

cannabis flower

It's important to note that weed and Delta-8 are derived from the same species - cannabis. This fascinating plant produces over 100 cannabinoids, with Delta-9 THC being the most prominent. Delta-9 THC is a psychoactive compound that is commonly associated with marijuana- in fact, the words are often used interchangeably- but it can also be found in legal hemp. 

Hemp vs. Marijuana

The small yet crucial difference between marijuana and hemp is the concentration of Delta-9 THC. Legal hemp contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, while marijuana contains anything above that limit.

Interestingly, Delta-9 THC derived from hemp is federally legal, but Delta-9 THC derived from marijuana (AKA, weed), is still a Schedule 1 Substance. So, as long as your state laws agree, you'd be breaking no laws buying our Fudgy Delta-9 Brownies since they're made with legally compliant, hemp-derived Delta-9 THC. However, you might get into some trouble buying traditional pot brownies as only a few states have fully legalized marijuana.

Hemp's federal legalization is due to the 2018 Farm Bill, under which hemp was defined as a separate entity, including all of its derivatives, extracts, and parts.

So, Delta-8 vs. Weed... or Delta-8 vs. Delta-9?

infographic hemp vs marijuana

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.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, you should choose the product that makes the most sense for you. While marijuana does have its place in the cannabis world, Delta-8 offers unique benefits.

For one, you can order it online, find it in most states, and of course, it is federally legal. 

The key points to consider when making a choice between these are that:
  • Marijuana and hemp are two forms of the same plant species, cannabis, and differ solely in terms of their Delta-9 THC concentration. 
  • The difference in Delta-9 THC concentration by dry weight is what then defines the legality of both hemp and marijuana.
  • Hemp, and its derivatives, are legal on a federal level according to the 2018 Farm Bill, while marijuana is a Schedule 1 Substance.
  • State regulations on both vary.
  • Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are among over 100 cannabinoids that are found naturally in both marijuana and hemp. 
  • Delta-8 THC is a minor (less abundant) cannabinoid with less potent effects, while Delta-9 is a major (more abundant) cannabinoid with more intense effects. 
  • Delta-8 products usually contain just Delta-8, whereas Marijuana contains a high concentration of Delta-9 THC and other minor cannabinoids.
  • If Delta-9 or Delta-8 are derived from hemp, they are federally legal. 
Until next time, happy exploring and mind your mind!

FDA Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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