Understanding Delta 8 THC

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 17, 2020
Delta 8 THC What is
Delta 8 THC What is

You have probably heard about THC and may know it as the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for getting people “high” or, as it is colloquially known, “stoned.” Even though most of that effect is due to delta-9 THC, there exists in cannabis another compound, known as delta-8 THC, a different psychoactive cannabinoid with its own set of healing advantages when contrasted to the much more prevalent delta-9 THC.

So why all the hype around Delta-8? Well, basically because delta-9 THC is not the only cannabinoid with psychoactive results. Delta-8 is believed to be up to 30-50% less potent in creating a high. While it still has a psychoactive response, it requires a much higher dosage to produce the effect, making it more desirable as a therapeutic option overall due to its highly similar structure. As a cannabinoid, it is believed to share many of the positive attributes of its cannabis brothers and sisters – or cousins if you prefer.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you consult a healthcare professional before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine, especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication. It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Background Of Delta 8 THC Use

More recently, the primary focus of scientific studies has been on delta-9 THC and CBD. There has been little research done on delta-8 THC.

In 1974, federal government scientists conducted research on mice to determine if delta-8 negatively affected the immune system. What they found instead was a potential cancer-killing ability. Even though the research was done decades ago, it took years before the public learned about it, and further research has only recently picked up again. While some studies have been conducted, delta-8 has remained mostly out of the public eye.

In a 1995 trial undertaken by Shaare Zedek Hospital, Bikur Holim Hospital, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, children with cancer were given delta-8 THC. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the principal author, led the team that found delta-9 THC for the first time. The research authors said that there had been 480 successful cancer treatments with delta-8 THC when the publication was released. The cannabinoid, it was reported, helped the participant stop vomiting. 

An additional report by the National Cancer Institute found delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and CBD all showed the potential to stop tumor growth.

Several U.S. patents have been submitted, some more than a decade ago, each with instructions on how to obtain and extract delta-8 THC. The first is a United States patent with guidelines on converting CBD to delta-8 THC, filed in 2004. The second patent, on the antiemetic uses of delta-8 THC, goes over the active ingredients in the pharmaceutical structure used in research.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While not as potent as its “cousin” Delta-9, they start at the same place. Delta-8 is formed when the Delta-9 becomes oxidized.

Delta-8 is found in very low concentrations (<0.1%) in CBD hemp flower, but it can be drawn out or converted using various other cannabinoids and concentrated for a variety of uses. There is still much to discover about this admittedly lesser-known, lesser-studied variant. 

Does Delta 8 THC Get you High?

Unlike CBD, consuming delta-8 THC can make you high. They both bind to the same CB-1 cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. However, delta-8 THC often responds in different ways due to its slightly modified molecular structure. Delta-8 THC is psychoactive but not as potent as delta-9 THC. So yes, it can get you high, but it takes far more than the commonly known and referred to as THC, Delta-9.

How do You Use Delta 8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is most commonly delivered as an oil in a concentrated form that looks like CBD oil. Therefore, it can be used or ingested in many of the same ways as CBD oil, which is typically taken by mouth. But since there has not been as much research on Delta-8 as CBD, there are still questions about how the body metabolizes it and which method is most effective and efficient.

These are the most common uses for delta-8 THC concentrates:

  • Vaping
  • Dabbing
  • Mixing with flower
  • Edibles
  • Sublingual absorption

Potential Benefits of delta-8-THC

While the research has been limited, what has been done shows promise. Since many studies are currently underway, we should expect to hear more about this cannabinoid as research matures. Meanwhile, based on the existing and current research, here are some of the benefits we are hoping to hear more about.


A 2013 study by the National Cancer Institute says that delta-8-is one of the cannabinoids that have been shown to inhibit tumor growth,

“…Delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol (CBN) were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.”


A 1995 study published in Life Sciences suggests delta-8’s capacity to decrease nausea, with very few side effects, in children,

“Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol was administered (18 mg/m2 in edible oil, p.o.) to eight children, aged 3–13 years, with various hematologic cancers, treated with different antineoplastic drugs for up to 8 months…Vomiting was completely prevented. The side effects observed were negligible.”


A 2004 study published in Pharmacol Biochem reported that in even lower dosages, mice given Delta-8 showed both increased appetite and increased cognitive function. These therapeutic effects at lower dosages are particularly appealing for the future as a therapeutic option for many diseases.

“Delta (8)-THC (0.001 mg/kg) caused increased food consumption and tendency to improve cognitive function, without cannabimimetic side effects. Hence, a low dose of THC might be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of weight disorders with minimal side effects associated with cannabis use.”


In 2018 the Cannabinoid and Cannabis Research journal published the results of a study that revealed the potential for treating pain and inflammation with topical delta-8 THC (as well as CBD),

“Our results provide unique proof that the phytocannabinoids Δ8THC as well as CBD… are antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory in an experimental version of corneal hyperalgesia.”


A research study from a 1987 Alcohol and Drug Research journal performed on mice reveals that delta-8 may have some neuroprotective effects based on brain activity. The point of the research study was to examine different cannabinoids, yet delta-8 was the component of the cannabis plant that attracted the researchers’ attention due to its substantial impact from such relatively small dosages.

As more studies are conducted on the potential therapeutic applications for Delta-8, we hope to see positive results for the conditions where studies and improvements have already begun:

The adverse effects of delta-8-THC, as observed by researchers, were quite insignificant, especially when contrasted with pharmaceutical alternatives. There is still a great deal more research that needs to be done.

However, delta-8 appears to have the best of both worlds; the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the side effects and strong psychoactive properties of Delta-9-THC.

However, it is important to remember that Delta-8 is THC, and while it has a much lower incidence rate of psychoactive side effects, they can still occur. Any marijuana product with high THC levels should always be used with care, especially at higher dosages.

When you research the legality of Delta-8 THC, you can find many sites that will 100% confirm that it is federally legal. According to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which we frequently refer to as the 2018 Farm Bill, 

“The term ‘hemp’ implies the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any type of part of that plant, consisting of the seeds thereof and all derivatives, removes, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether expanding or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a completely dry weight basis.”

It further removes hemp from the definition of marijuana in section 102(16) of the Controlled Substances Act.

“Tetrahydrocannabinol, except for tetrahydrocannabinol in hemp (as defined under section 1639o of Title 7)”, meaning that t derived from hemp are not Schedule I Narcotics.”

Understandably, a derivative of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC could or should be considered legal.

However, this came into question on August 21, 2021, when the DEA proposed the criminalization of Delta-8 THC. According to some lawyers, the Farm Bill was intended to make all cannabinoids other than Delta-9 legal. Provisions of the act also made clear that a whole host of tetrahydrocannabinol (as long as they are derived from legal hemp) was also legal, and Delta-8 should therefore be legal, at least for now.

The legality of delta-8 THC is in question, but things seem to be looking up for marijuana legalization legislation. 

What does the Future Hold for Marijuana Legalization in the US?

On April 1, 2002, the House passed legislation to legalize marijuana nationwide and eliminate the criminal penalties for those distributing or possessing it. The bill passed along party lines, with three Republicans joining all Democrats (except two) in supporting it. 

The real test is to pass it in the Senate with at least 60 votes. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would take marijuana off the federal list of banned drugs and eliminate marijuana-related convictions from people’s records. The bill would also levy a federal tax on marijuana sales to support initiatives to assist communities damaged by the so-called “war on drugs” tactics, which imposed harsh penalties for drug distribution and use.

The sales tax would begin at 5% and progressively climb to 8% over five years. Those supporting it said that the federal government should catch up with the majority of states that have legalized marijuana to some degree. Outlook? We say everything is possible!

Meanwhile, check out our store to shop for legal products as we wait for the bigwigs in Washington to make up their minds about doing the right thing.