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Delta 8 vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?
CBD Education


Delta 8 vs. CBD: What’s the Difference? 

The realm of cannabis and its derivatives has recently experienced an unprecedented surge in popularity, with two specific cannabinoids emerging as the talk of the town: delta-8 THC and CBD.

As the integration of these compounds into the mainstream market continues to expand, it has become increasingly crucial for consumers to discern their dissimilarities and make informed decisions about their use.

In this article, we’ll embark on a scientific exploration of these cannabinoids, scrutinizing their chemical structures, effects, and prospective applications. We’ll impart a comprehensive comparison of delta-8 THC and CBD with the goal of providing the knowledge CBD consumers need to navigate this rapidly evolving industry.

What Is the Science Behind Cannabis and Cannabinoids?

The Cannabis sativa plant, a versatile and widely-cultivated species, has given rise to the ever-growing industry of cannabis, cannabinoid, and hemp products. From fibers to oils, this plant has proven its worth in various industries. However, it is the cannabis plant's chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, that have truly captured the attention of researchers, healthcare professionals, and consumers alike.

How Do Cannabinoids Affect the Human Body?

Cannabinoids exert their effects on the human body by interacting with a complex cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system. This system, composed of receptors, enzymes, and endogenous cannabinoids, plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, pain sensation, appetite, and immune function.

A key feature of the endocannabinoid system is the presence of CB1 receptors, predominantly located in the brain and central nervous system. These receptors are the primary targets of cannabinoids, and their activation or inhibition determines the overall effect of these compounds on the body.

What Are the Major Cannabinoids?

Among the hundreds of known cannabinoids, two have risen to prominence: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These compounds, while sharing a similar chemical structure, possess distinct properties that set them apart.

Delta-9 THC, the most well-known psychoactive compound, has long been recognized for its mind-altering effects. This cannabinoid binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, triggering a cascade of reactions that ultimately leads to the characteristic "high" associated with cannabis use.

On the other hand, delta-8 THC, a less famous isomer of delta-9 THC, has only recently gained attention in the world of cannabis research. While this compound also exhibits psychoactive properties, it is generally considered to be less potent than its more infamous counterpart. The subtle differences in chemical structure between delta-8 and delta-9 THC result in unique interactions with CB1 receptors, contributing to their distinct effects on the body.

What Is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC shares a striking resemblance with delta-9 THC in terms of molecular structure, with one subtle yet significant difference: the placement of a double bond on the carbon chain. This seemingly minor variation influences the way delta-8 THC interacts with CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which subsequently affects its overall psychoactive properties.

How Do the Psychoactive Effects of Delta-8 THC Compare to Delta-9 THC?

While both delta-8 and delta-9 THC exhibit psychoactive and intoxicating effects, delta-8 is generally considered less potent. Users often report a milder high, characterized by increased focus and relaxation, without the uncomfortable thoughts sometimes associated with delta-9 THC.

However, individual experiences may vary, and it is essential to approach delta-8 THC with caution, especially for novice users.

What Types of Delta-8 THC Products Are Available on the Market?

As the demand for delta-8 THC continues to rise, the market has responded by offering a diverse array of products, including:

  1. Gummies: These discreet edibles have become a popular choice for those seeking a controlled and enjoyable experience.
  2. Tinctures: Liquid formulations that provide convenient and precise dosing, allowing users to easily incorporate delta-8 THC into their daily routines.
  3. Vapes: Inhalation devices that deliver delta-8 THC directly to the bloodstream for faster effects, bypassing the digestive system.

What Are the Potential Health Benefits of Delta-8 THC?

Research on delta-8 THC is still in its infancy, but preliminary findings and anecdotal evidence suggest potential benefits. Some users report that delta-8 THC can help ease feelings of discomfort, although more research is needed to confirm these claims.

Anecdotal reports suggest that delta-8 THC may also aid in supporting appetite and soothing stressful thoughts, but further studies are necessary to substantiate these claims.

What Are the Side Effects and Risks Associated with Delta-8 THC Use?

As with any psychoactive substance, delta-8 THC may cause side effects, including dry mouth. More severe side effects, such as dizziness, confusion, or nervousness, may occur in some individuals, emphasizing the need for further research on the safety profile of delta-8 THC.

How Does the Legality of Delta-8 THC Vary Across the United States?

The legal landscape surrounding delta-8 THC is complex and ever-changing:

  • Federal regulations: The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp plant-derived products containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC, but the legislation does not explicitly address delta-8 THC.
  • State-level discrepancies: Individual states have adopted their own regulations, resulting in a patchwork of laws that make the legality of delta-8 THC uncertain in many areas.
  • Dispensaries and the cannabis industry: As the legal status of delta-8 THC continues to evolve, dispensaries and other cannabis industry stakeholders play a crucial role in ensuring accessibility and compliance with regulations.

What Are the Main Differences Between Delta-8 THC and CBD?

Delta-8 THC and CBD do have several key differences, which are crucial to note if you’re working on deciding which cannabinoid may be the better option for your needs.

1. Psychoactive Effects

A key distinction between delta-8 THC and CBD lies in their psychoactive properties. While delta-8 THC elicits a milder high compared to delta-9 THC, it still possesses intoxicating effects.

In contrast, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not cause any mind-altering experiences. Consequently, CBD is often favored by those seeking potential therapeutic benefits without the accompanying high.

2. Potential Benefits

Both delta-8 THC and CBD have garnered attention for their potential health benefits, although the extent and nature of these benefits differ. Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest that delta-8 THC may help with various uncomfortable thoughts and sensations.

However, more research is needed to validate these claims. CBD, on the other hand, has been more extensively studied and is known to offer a wide range of potential benefits. CBD may help ease feelings of tension, support sleep health, and help support feelings of overall wellness.

3. Accessibility and Legal Implications

Legally, delta-8 THC and CBD occupy different spaces. While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight, the legislation is ambiguous regarding delta-8 THC. This has led to a patchwork of state-level regulations, with some states allowing the sale of delta-8 THC and others banning it.

In contrast, CBD is generally more widely available and accessible, given its federally legal status and non-psychoactive nature.

How Suitable Is Each Compound for Different Individuals?

Ultimately, the choice between delta-8 THC and CBD depends on an individual's needs and preferences. Those seeking potential therapeutic benefits without intoxicating effects may be drawn to CBD, while others may prefer delta-8 THC for its milder psychoactive properties compared to delta-9 THC.

It is essential for consumers to educate themselves about these compounds, consult with healthcare professionals as needed, and make informed decisions based on their unique circumstances.

What Are the Consumption Methods for Delta-8 THC and CBD?

As we delve deeper into the world of delta-8 THC and CBD, it's essential to understand the differences in consumption methods and their subsequent effects on the body. In this section, we will compare the various consumption methods for both delta-8 THC and CBD, exploring the distinctions in onset, duration, and mechanism of action.

Inhalation: Smoking or Vaping

When smoking or vaping, cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC and CBD are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the alveoli in the lungs, bypassing the first-pass metabolism in the liver.

Inhaled delta-8 THC produces psychoactive effects within minutes, while inhaled CBD offers quick relief for acute symptoms without psychoactive effects.

The effects of inhaled delta-8 THC typically last between two to three hours, while the non-intoxicating effects of inhaled CBD may last slightly longer, depending on factors such as individual tolerance and dosage.

Oral Ingestion

When consumed orally, cannabinoids pass through the digestive system and are metabolized by the liver before entering the bloodstream, resulting in a slower and less predictable onset of effects.

The effects of orally ingested delta-8 THC manifest within one or two hours, with psychoactive effects peaking around the three-hour mark. For CBD, the onset of its non-intoxicating effects usually occurs within the same timeframe but may vary depending on factors such as metabolism and individual variability.

Oral consumption of delta-8 THC generally yields longer-lasting psychoactive effects, ranging from four to eight hours. CBD, on the other hand, provides sustained therapeutic benefits without intoxication, with effects lasting anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the individual and dosage.

Topical Application

Topical products are designed to penetrate the skin's surface, allowing cannabinoids to interact with local receptors without entering the bloodstream.

Topical CBD products may provide targeted relief for discomfort without producing systemic effects. Topical delta-8 THC products are less common, but they may be used for localized relief in some cases.

The Bottom Line

As we've explored in this article, cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC and CBD offer a wide range of potential benefits, from bodywide relief to managing acute and chronic conditions. By incorporating innovative cannabinoid products into your daily routine, you may experience the power of these compounds for yourself.

At Muscle MX, we aim to empower individuals with modern science and traditional remedies, offering a unique blend of both to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. Whether you're seeking relief from discomfort or looking to optimize your body's performance, our products are designed with your needs in mind.

So why not join us in our quest for a healthier, more active lifestyle, and experience the power of innovative cannabinoid products for yourself? With Muscle MX, you can trust in our commitment to quality, innovation, and dependable results, allowing you to live your best life possible.


5 Things to Know About Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol | NCBI

2018 Farm Bill Updates Guide |

Cannabis Sativa - an overview | Science Direct

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