Cannabis plants contain specific chemical components called cannabinoids. These are the components that have a healing effect on the mind and body of the person who uses them. Each cannabis plant contains over 110 cannabinoids, but the most popular one is called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is a controversial cannabinoid. Whenever someone gets high from smoking a joint or using a cannabis product, THC is what causes them to feel euphoric and paranoid. These psychoactive properties are the reason why high-THC level cannabis products are illegal in several states and countries.
Many people don’t realize that there are two forms of THC. The forms are called Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC. The illegal form with the psychoactive properties is Delta-9 THC. The other, Delta-8 THC, has less psychoactive properties, so it is legal in several more locations. But that's not all.
Let’s explore the most significant differences between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC.
All cannabis plants contain Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) in their leaves, flowers, and stems. THCA in its raw form does not have intoxicating chemical properties. But when sunlight shines on the cannabis plants for a long time, the heat causes THCA to go through a series of molecular changes known as decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation releases carbon dioxide and activates Delta-9 THC and other chemical components in the cannabis plant. Delta-9 THC has the power to attach itself to the CB1 receptors in the brain and alter overall brain activity from within the central nervous system. The THCA does not have this ability.
Smoking marijuana has become so popular because it provides psychoactive effects quickly. The reason for this pertains to the acceleration of the decarboxylation process. Raw marijuana leaves in their natural state have a low level of Delta-9 THC. But as soon as the joint gets lit up, a massive amount of Delta-9 THC is produced from the THCA.
When you see cannabis products advertised as having “low THC,” it could mean several things. Perhaps the manufacturer extracted the Delta-9 THC and left the legal “CBD” cannabinoid. Sometimes, a particular cannabis strain variation could naturally have low Delta 9 THC and high CBD. You will see this a lot with oil extracts and edibles.
In the United States, the Federal Government requires all cannabis-based products to have a 0.3% level of Delta 9 THC or less. Anything above 0.3% Delta-9 THC would be considered a federal crime. Of course, there are some American states which have legalized recreational marijuana. That means products with above 0.3% Delta 9 THC are allowed by state law. Since the Federal Government has decided not to pursue these cases, state laws continue to dominate.
The marijuana flower in its raw form will always have the potential to get you high. Just burn the leaves of the flower with a lighter or match to activate the Delta-9 THC properties. If you don’t live in a place with legalized recreational marijuana, then smoking marijuana leaves is prohibited.
Delta 8 THC
Okay, so what about Delta-8 THC? What is it, and why does it produce less psychoactive effects?
Delta-8 THC is Delta-9 THC in its oxidized form. It is not a separate individual cannabinoid from a cannabis plant. Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC come from the same raw THCA component. The difference is how they’re conceived from the THCA.
When the decarboxylation process occurs, Delta-9 THC will always come first. You now have two choices at this point. You can use the Delta-9 THC or store it away for future use. If you plan to store the Delta-9 THC, it must be sealed in an airtight container or wrap. That is the only way to preserve its psychoactive properties.
Eventually, there will come a point when Delta-9 THC has less psychoactive properties. Excessive air exposure and deterioration will cause the Delta-9 THC to become more oxidized and less potent. When Delta-9 THC diminishes to a significant degree, some of its molecules will contain Delta-8 THC.
Cannabis product manufacturers extract the Delta-8 THC from the molecules to produce less potent cannabis products. Minor psychoactive properties are still present in Delta-8 THC, so the oxidation process doesn’t completely eliminate them. But the intensity and sensation of the euphoria are significantly reduced in Delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 THC was a significant step toward the legalization of THC and recreational marijuana. Researchers have found that Delta-8 THC eliminated the disorientation and paranoia feelings that most people experience from Delta-9 THC. Because of this, the popularity of oil tinctures and vape cartridges began to grow.
The Shared Benefits of Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC
When you disregard the psychoactive differences, Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC offer very similar benefits. Some of the best benefits are as follows:
1) Relieves Stress and Depression
Everyone experiences some degree of stress and depression in their life. When these feelings become unbearable, some people may find Delta 8 THC or Delta-9 THC to be a healthier alternative to traditional medication.
THC can alter the CB1 receptors of the central nervous system to put someone into a sedative state. That is why you feel so relaxed after using any high-THC cannabis product.
2) Enhances Focus and Concentration
People with learning difficulties tend to have trouble focusing and concentrating on what is in front of them. Perhaps they have too many worries on their mind or feel distracted in some way. This problem can be solved with Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC. They can enhance your ability to focus and concentrate while helping you forget about your worries about a short while.
3) Chronic Pain Relief
Medical marijuana exists because of its anti-inflammatory properties. People with chronic pain can find relief if they consume medical marijuana. Whether it has Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC, the same anti-inflammatory properties exist in them. Anyone who has arthritis, joint pains, or other uncontrollable pains should replace their opioids with cannabis.
Always check with your healthcare physician before using any THC product for any medical condition. If you choose to consume Delta 9 THC, make sure it is legal in your jurisdiction. Otherwise, you can rely on Delta 8 THC to keep you out of trouble both legally and euphorically.