Differences Between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC

    With sweeping legalization across many states, America is learning much about the many benefits of ingesting cannabis AKA marijuana. Because of the marijuana prohibition of the past 50 or more years, the study of cannabis, the many chemical compounds found in the plant, and potential benefits to our health had gone largely unstudied in mainstream science.

    Recently we have discovered much about the different THC types. But, what exactly is THC and what are the differences in the different types? Is Delta 8 THC all that different from Delta 9 THC? Why do people prefer one over the other? Keep Reading for the answer to all these questions and more.

    What Is THC Exactly?

    There are currently an estimated 55 million marijuana users or 16.9% of the US population.  However, the reasons for using marijuana vary. THC is one of more than 50 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. These compounds have various effects on our physiology and psychology.

    You either love it or you hate it. Marijuana and THC have a long history of controversy. Supporters of legalization have many studies on their side.

    Over the last few decades, the whole stigma of THC has changed dramatically. From treating cancer to depression, THC is making a positive impact in many peoples’ lives all over the world. It seems we may finally be ready to consider the immense benefits of this one-time despised plant.

    Yet, THC, like all things, has its drawbacks and unwanted side effects. That is how understanding the different types of THC will help – which to use and how they differ.

    Six Types of THC

    We have rather recently discovered new types of THC. All of these cannabinoids are very similar in structure but they can have relatively different effects on our minds and bodies. The different structures attach to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors in different ways producing a variety of effects on our mind and body.

    The six known types of THC (called analogs) are as follows:

    • THC-a
    • THCV
    • THCP
    • 11-Hydroxy-THC
    • Delta 9 THC
    • Delta 8 THC

    THC-a (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)

    This is the precursor to the other forms of THC. You could think of THC-a as the raw material that creates the other types. THC-a is present in the largest amounts before the plant matures.

    If you were to take THC-a only, it would not produce any mind-altering effects. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other benefits. Like CBD, THC-a binds to CB2 receptors, which has a relaxing effect and improves appetite.

    THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)

    The “little guy” of the THC gang, THCV has only a three-term chain. As such, it is far less effective in binding to receptors. In the same dose as other THC, THCV has a mild or no mind-altering effect.

    THCP (Tetrahydrocannabiphorol)

    The new THC to the group, THCP was only recently discovered in 2019. Because not many studies have been performed, we don’t know much about THCP. We know that the compound has a 7-term chain instead of a 3-term chain like THCV.

    The longer chain makes for a more potent influence on cannabinoid receptors. In plain English, this means the “high” is much stronger. It is estimated that THCP is about 33% more potent and mind-altering than its more commonly present cousin – Delta 9-THC.


    This is the “cookie monster” of THCs. When THC-a is broken down in our digestive tract 11-Hydroxy-THC is produced. When you hear about trips to the ER for so-called “marijuana overdoses” it is this type of THC that is to blame.

    The truth is that nobody has ever died directly from taking too much THC but THC in large doses can have intense mind-altering experiences attached to it. For lack of a better comparison, when you drink alcohol the effects can certainly become unpleasant the more you drink.

    Please Note: Marijuana-infused edibles often contain concentrated doses of THC. When consumed the full effect can take many hours to kick in. Use good judgment and moderate your dose.

    Delta 9 THC

    You might call Delta 9-THC “the rockstar” of THC. Generally speaking, when someone speaks of getting high in relation to marijuana they are talking about Delta 9-THC. Delta 9-THC is the THC that is most commonly present in cannabis plants smoked or ingested for recreational purposes.

    That doesn’t mean it is bad for you though. Desirable mind-altering effects that many users report include:

    • Heightened libido (sex drive)
    • Healthy appetite and reduced nausea
    • Calming and relaxing demeanor
    • Feelings of overall well-being
    • More creativity and interest in hobbies

    The health benefits of Delta 9-THC and all THC for that matter are not fully understood. Yet, the more research that is conducted into medical marijuana the more convincing the evidence. THC is thought to be effective in treating a variety of physical/mental illnesses and their symptoms including:

    • ADHD
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Anorexia
    • Arthritis
    • Cachexia
    • Cancer
    • Chronic pain
    • Epilepsy
    • Glaucoma
    • PTSD
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Insomnia

    Some Unwanted Side Effects

    Although Delta 9-THC is championed by many in cannabis culture, there are some that don’t find the “high” all that appealing. In fact, most people that tried marijuana and didn’t like it complain about one or more unwanted side effects.

    For some, Delta 9-THC has a very sedative effect. Loss of motivation and oversleeping can make some feel like they are too tired to have a healthy lifestyle. Other common unwanted side effects include:

    • Memory impairment
    • Paranoia and anxiety
    • Addiction
    • Breathing problems
    • Depression
    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth

    It is tricky business, discussing the side effects of any drug, as everyone’s body and mind are different. Some find THC intoxicating and debilitating while others say it improves their state of mind and have nothing bad to say about the side effects they experience.

    The fact is we experience THC in different ways, but the good news is – different types of THC tend to have different effects. Depending on what effects we desire, with a little “try and see”, we can learn what THC and combination of THC types work best for us.

    Delta 8-THC

    Delta 8-THC only differs by a couple of atomic bonds but is a powerful substance also. Delta-8 is only found in trace amounts in cannabis so it is necessary to extract and concentrate it to achieve an effective dosage.

    The above undesirable side-effects of Delta 9-THC are why Delta 8-THC is becoming so popular. Those that want the calming and other effects of cannabis but want to maintain a more focused and less altered mindset, find Delta 8-THC their cup of tea.

    Individual experience will vary but you can expect the same cascading calmness, increased appetite, and sense of wellbeing you might expect from smoking marijuana. Yet, the effects on your thinking tend to be much milder. This gives many the confidence that they can enjoy THC and carry on with their normal day-to-day routine.

    Health Benefits of Delta 8-THC

    It is important to remember that Delta 8-THC has many of the same health benefits as Delta-9 THC. The main difference is Delta 8-THC is a milder psychotropic compound. This means you can expect less of a “mind high” when using Delt-8 THC concentrates.

    As research suggests that Delta 8-THC is about 50 – 75% less potent in its mind-altering effect, it is often a much more tolerable high at the same dosage. At the same time, users of Delta 8-THC still get the desired benefits they are looking for.

    Hunger and Nausea

    Delta 8 appears to have a particularly strong effect on appetite. Coupled with its ability to inhibit nausea, Delta 8-THC has the unique ability to promote hunger and a healthy diet.

    Cancer patients going through chemotherapy often have a real hard time eating and keeping food down. Delta 8-THC can help these individuals keep a healthy weight.

    The same is true for anorexics. Over time, people that suffer from anorexia train their brains to ignore hunger and getting back that natural feeling of needing to eat can be a real challenge.

    Fight Stress and Anxiety

    Who doesn’t have stress, right? Well, despite popular belief, life doesn’t have to be stressful. With a healthy mind and lifestyle, many have all but eliminated unhealthy stress from their lives. Delta 8-THC works to fight social anxiety and panic attacks without the disorientation of the more potent Delta 9-THC.

    Chemical imbalances are often to blame for mental illness and can take stress to unnecessary unhealthy levels. The ability of THC to interact with the brain and functions that produce these chemicals gives it a unique advantage as a medicine to treat these illnesses.

    Sleep Well

    So many of us have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep. When counting sheep doesn’t work, you might try taking a drop of Delta 8-THC. Many insomniacs have reported taking a dose of THC before bed helps them to fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and get better restful sleep.

    These are only a few of the health benefits that are well known to medical marijuana science. As studies continue and we become ever more adept with gauging dosages and types of THC, you can expect more exciting health benefits to be discovered. For details, read more here about the health benefits of Delta 8 THC.

    Methods of Ingesting THC

    A less talked about factor, the method of ingestion, can make all the difference in how THC affects you. How you take THC is not only a personal preference, although that is a big part of it, but changes the experience also.


    The old tried and true method, smoking cannabis buds is a highly effective way to get THC in your system. However, if you are looking to try Delta 8-THC, you are not likely to want to smoke it. Delta 8-THC is sold as a concentrate, normally an oil in a dropper.


    THC concentrates are often infused in a thick liquid or oil. A good way to control the dosage and get THC in your system quickly and safely is by dropping it under the tongue. Put a drop or two under your tongue and the THC will absorb through the mouth and gums. What’s left will absorb through the digestive system.


    It is all the rage. The jury is still out on whether or not vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking but it certainly gets the job done. Vape pens heat up oils to a vaporizing temperature. The resulting vapor is more concentrated with active ingredients and so produces fewer bi-products to the lungs and surrounding air.


    There is no question that eating THC is the healthiest way to ingest it. However, because it takes much longer to feel the effects and getting the right dosage can be tricky, many have a hard time getting THC this way.

    Popular THC-infused edibles include sweets, cookies, and brownies. Technically any food could be spiced up with THC oils, butter, or powder and there are loads of THC cookbooks online to help you out with ideas.

    Delta 8 THC if You Please

    We are only beginning to understand the many ways the compounds found in the cannabis plant can be used to better our lives. One thing is for sure, while Delta 9 THC will remain a favorite of many, Delta 8 THC is another substance you will hear more about in the coming years.

    We suggest that you take your health seriously and use THC responsibly. Control your dosages and find the right combination of types of THC for you. For more articles related to your health and lifestyle, keep reading our blog.


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