Curious about the health benefits of delta 8 THC? You’ve come to the right place. This article explains everything you need to know about the therapeutic effects of this THC isomer.
THC is currently the most popular cannabinoid in cannabis. As researchers are fueling more resources into cannabis science, new isomers of THC are being discovered.
One of the trending analogs on the market right now is delta 8 THC — a less potent, smoother version of delta 9 THC that you can find in “normal” weed.
Delta 8 THC is somewhere in the middle between CBD and delta 9 THC. It does make you feel high but with a much lesser risk of anxiety and paranoia. It also comes with several health benefits typical of cannabinoids, such as reduced nausea, inflammation, appetite boost, and the alleviation of depression symptoms.
In this article, we’ll share with you everything there is to know about the benefits of delta 8 THC. But first, let’s talk about the way it interacts with the body and brain.
What Does Delta 8 THC Feel Like?
It’s understandable that you’re curious about the effects and benefits of delta 8 THC. In general, it’s just a less potent version of delta 9 THC. Since everybody is different, your experience with THC may not be the same as the ones of your friends. That being said, there are some effects that most THC users have experienced.
If this is your first time with cannabis products, there’s one accurate way to describe the effects and benefits of delta 8 THC — subtle.
The high induced by delta 8 THC is very relaxing, calming the user, relieving tension from the body, and elevating mood. These effects can vary depending on the dose; lower doses tend to be more energy-boosting, while higher doses can have a sedating effect and relieve pain.
To wrap it up, you may feel the following effects:
- A feeling of being weightless
- Sharpened focus with enhanced energy levels
- A mellow buzz in your head, but without a brain fog
- Remarkable relaxation
- An increase in appetite
Let’s take a look at how delta 8 THC compares to delta 9 THC.
How Is Delta 8 THC Different from Delta 9 THC?
The most commonly reported side effects of the high from delta 9 THC are anxiety and paranoia; they can be triggered at very high doses or in reactive individuals.
Delta 8 THC is different in this aspect. While you can certainly get high off of it, you’ll feel in control. Regardless of the strength of your high, you can still remain relaxed and in a positive mood.
Many people also notice that delta 8 THC doesn’t make them sedated unless applied in very large doses. The high induces relaxation, but the couch-lock effect isn’t as common as with delta 9.
Delta 8 THC also shouldn’t make your heart race.
What Are the Benefits of Delta 8 THC?
According to the National Cancer Institute, delta 8 THC is the agonist of CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body. These receptors are essential components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the master regulatory network that promotes and helps maintain homeostasis — a fancy term for the optimal functioning of all your other systems and organs.
The bond with CB1 and CB2 receptors enables delta 8 THC to produce similar health benefits to delta 9 THC and CBD. That being said, delta 8 THC is different from CBD and delta 9 THC when it comes to how it affects cognition, perception, and appetite.
Nevertheless, you can use these cannabinoids in different ratios to evoke specific effects as part of the whole-plant synergy.
Here we explain the health benefits of delta 8 THC alone. Let’s see how this cannabinoid can improve the quality of your life.
1. Smooth Psychoactive Buzz
Some people rarely use CBD because it doesn’t make them feel high, but they’re also very reactive to delta 9 THC from marijuana. In other words, marijuana can easily make them feel anxious.
That’s where delta 8 THC comes in. If you’re the type that prefers a smoother psychoactive buzz, delta 8 THC is a safer option. Its strength has been measured at around 50% of the strength of delta 9 THC. Many users swear by the high to be less edgy, allowing them to remain in the zone and feel relaxed throughout its duration.
2. Appetite Increase
While delta 9 THC leads to a more potent high, delta 8 THC seems to be more effective in managing appetite problems. Researchers believe that the appetite-stimulating properties of delta 8 THC are twice as strong as those of delta 9 THC.
If you like a normal weed for the munchies, then you’re going to be delighted with delta 8 THC, as a single dose can strongly boost your appetite.
3. Improved Sleep
The high from delta 8 THC is more mellow; the effects on sleep are also very similar to delta 9 THC but weaker, including euphoria, uplifted mood, stress relief, and sleepiness. These health benefits may be helpful for people suffering from insomnia.
4. Pain Relief
Cannabinoids like delta 8 THC, delta 9 THC, and CBD are often picked for their ability to relieve pain. As noted by researchers examining the topical benefits of delta 8 THC, it can relieve flare-ups from chronic pain. Pain and inflammation are common symptoms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The research on THC clearly shows that it can relieve chronic pain. THC comes with remarkable anti-inflammatory benefits and regulates hormones and neurons that are involved in pain signaling. When you take THC, you have a different perception of pain.
Since delta 8 THC has similar benefits to delta 9 THC, it’s reasonable to think that it can make the pain easier to live with as well.
Researchers from The National Cancer Institute have found that delta 8 THC can reduce anxiety and relieve stress.
Delta 8 THC taps into the CB1 receptors in the brain; these receptors are involved in the modulation of the psychoactive effects you get from cannabis. Delta 8 has a weaker affinity with CB1 receptors, so it carries a lower risk of inducing anxiety.
Similar to CBD and other cannabinoids, delta 8 THC can relieve muscle tension and help your body relax. However, it doesn’t make you feel tired, so you can still perform your chores while enjoying the high.
6. Digestive Support
Delta 8 THC can help you control nausea and vomiting. It can be as effective as delta 9 THC, with one subtle difference. Its psychoactive nature isn’t as strong, which makes it potentially available to a broader range of users.
Delta 8 THC could become an adjunctive treatment for the side effects of conventional cancer therapies when it receives enough research.
One of the major health benefits of delta 8 THC and other cannabinoids are their neuroprotective and antioxidant properties.
Delta 8 THC can inhibit the production of adenylyl cyclase and regulate calcium and potassium channels in the central nervous system (CNS). These mechanisms can lead to improved brain function.
Delta 8 THC can also boost the levels of choline and acetylcholine — two substances that have a significant impact on the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
Finally, delta 8 THC takes part in neurogenesis, which is a process of forming new nerve cells.
Current Research on Delta 8 THC Benefits
There’s little direct research on the benefits of delta 8 THC. One 1973 study found that its effects mimicked those of THC, but were less potent. Another, published in 1995, highlighted the cannabinoid as a potential therapeutic agent for the side effects of chemotherapy.
However, these studies were conducted on small samples, and few policymakers got notified of their existence.
An online survey published in January 2022 in The Journal of Cannabis Research analyzed the consumption habits of more than 500 delta 8 THC users across 38 states. Most of them consumed the cannabinoid in a concentrated form.
About 50% of the respondents said they used delta 8 THC to treat a health problem or medical condition, and almost 30% admitted to using delta 8 THC exclusively to treat a health condition.
Common health issues treated with delta 8 THC included anxiety, panic attacks, depression, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and stress — the same conditions that people turn to delta 9 THC for.
Most participants reduced or stopped using pharmaceutical medications, as well as normal THC products because delta 8 THC was effective enough for their conditions.
However, it’s important to note that online surveys are prone to biases and thus more randomized controlled studies need to be done to be certain about delta 8 THC benefits.
How Is Delta 8 THC Used?
If you’re curious to give delta 8 THC a shot, remember to start with low doses and go slow by taking up to 10 mg per session — and waiting to see how your body responds.
Delta 8 THC offers slower-acting effects than delta 9 THC. Depending on the consumption method, it can take anywhere between 45 minutes and 3 hours to kick in. Make sure to wait for a bit longer before taking another dose to prevent adverse reactions.
Moderate and heavy users of cannabis can take about 25–40 mg of delta 8 at a time and use smaller doses for microdosing.
Even if you have some experience with delta 9 THC, the conditions, tolerance, and your unique body chemistry can influence your experience. Sometimes, you may need a lower dose to achieve the same effects, while on other occasions, you’ll need to increase your dosage — especially when you build a tolerance to delta 8 THC.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
The best benefit of delta 8 THC isn’t necessarily related to health, but rather to its legal status. Despite certain states banning its sales, delta 8 THC remains federally legal and you can still buy it online and have it delivered to your doorstep.
That’s because delta 8 THC products from hemp contain no more than 0.3% of delta 8 THC. All products that meet this criterion are considered legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Key Takeaways on Delta 8 THC Benefits
Delta 8 THC offers similar benefits to delta 9 THC. However, its psychoactive profile is milder, resulting in a lower risk of anxiety of paranoia. That’s why so many people are jumping on the wagon right now.
The potency of delta 8 THC is measured at around 50% as that of delta 9. While some benefits will require stronger doses, others — such as appetite stimulation — can be achieved with smaller amounts.
Delta 8 THC is a potent relaxant that can ease stress, but it can also enhance your attention span, improve sleep quality, relieve pain, curb anxiety, increase appetite, and reduce nausea and vomiting.
Recent research also indicates that delta 8 THC has neuroprotective properties that can prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases.
But the best part about this cannabinoid is that it’s legal at the federal level, so you can enjoy its benefits and a smoother high even if the recreational use of marijuana isn’t allowed in your state.
- Hollister, L. E., & Gillespie, H. K. (1973). Delta-8- and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol comparison in man by oral and intravenous administration. Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 14(3), 353–357. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpt1973143353
- Abrahamov, A., Abrahamov, A., & Mechoulam, R. (1995). An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology. Life sciences, 56(23-24), 2097–2102. https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3205(95)00194-b
- Kruger, J.S., Kruger, D.J. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling?. J Cannabis Res4, 4 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8
- Kruger, D. J., & Kruger, J. S. (2021). Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 10.1089/can.2021.0124. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2021.0124