The Science Behind Delta-8 THC
In many ways, the hemp industry is largely just in the early phases, even though the products have been legalized on a federal level since the 2018 Farm Bill. Recently, a new product, Delta-8 THC, has started showing up on the shelves of dispensaries, CBD shops, smoke shops and even at convenience stores.
Delta-8 THC is similar to Delta-9 THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis. However, it is not chemically identical, which means that it acts differently on the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide a milder type of “high” or psychoactive effect.
In the Body
The endocannabinoid system contains two different receptors, CB1 and CB2. The CB2 receptors are found throughout the body, and the CB1 receptors are found in greater concentration in the brain.
Both Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC bind with the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The Delta-8 THC binds less efficiently than the Delta-9 receptors, resulting in a milder, gentler, and less psychoactive type of experience for users.
In research on potency between Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC, the potency levels of Delta-8 THC were between ten and fifty percent of that of Delta-9 THC. For some users, this results in a lower risk of developing anxiety and paranoia, which is problematic for some people when using cannabis.
The non-psychoactive effects of Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC seem to be the opposite. Based on a study in the 1990s Delta-8 THC is more effective at reducing vomiting in chemotherapy patients, and it also stimulates the appetite more effectively. This was proven back in the 1990’s study on children undergoing chemotherapy where they prevented vomiting associated with the treatment. When combined with CBD, the holistic results for patients were significant as both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body were involved. Delta-9 THC is more typically associated with pain management and sleep. Although, now a days a lot of information is very speculative and based on consumer reports since research on cannabinoids has slowed down drastically due to conflicting federal and state regulations.
If you are interested in reading more on Delta-8 THC, check out the STNR education section.