Delta-8 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Keeping up with the wide world of cannabinoids – like CBD, CBG, and THC (Delta-8 and Delta-9), just to name a few – can be overwhelming.

Here, we’ll take a deep dive into all things Delta-8 THC, including covering the crucial distinctions between Delta-9 THC (which is illegal in Georgia and at the federal level) and Delta-8 THC (which is fully legal in Georgia).

Here and elsewhere, you might also see Delta-8 stylized as “Δ-8 THC” – an homage to its Greek alphabet roots to which it owes its name.  

After we get done with the review, head over to our online store to check out Sympleaf’s high-quality artisan Delta-8 products to try out the new star of the cannabinoid lineup yourself.

How does Delta-8 THC differ from Delta-9 THC?

One critical point of confusion that befuddles many casual cannabis users and newcomers is the difference between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC.

THC is the acronym for the lengthy technically descriptive chemistry term “tetrahydrocannabinol.” It is the psychoactive cannabinoid that causes the “high” – often described alternatively as the euphoria – characteristic of cannabis consumption.

The only essential difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC is the location of the double-bond – on the eighth and ninth carbon atoms, respectively.

Both forms of THC exert their influence via receptors (CB1 and CB2) that make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These powerful and complex interactions produce the profound physiological and psychological effects explored in the upcoming section.

How does Delta-8 consumption affect the mind and body?

Delta-8 produces similar effects to Delta-9 by way of the ECS. These can be both psychological and physiological, affecting the mind and body. Such effects include but are not limited to:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased heartbeat rate
  • Time distortions
  • Sleepiness
  • Greater appetite
  • Shifts in visual perception
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

Despite the powerful effects in vivo, many but not all of which are listed above, the evidence shows that Delta-8, along with other cannabinoids like CBD, is extremely safe. Animal studies demonstrate the virtual impossibility of fatal overdose. No single death has ever been recorded that was attributable solely to cannabis use.

Far from being just a recreational drug, doctors prescribe cannabis to treat a wide array of health conditions.

Legal cannabis sales in the United States have skyrocketed in recent years. Forecasts indicate the trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Does Delta-8 have medical applications as well as recreational ones?

Delta-8 medical research is still in its infancy. It’s not, at this stage, nearly as well-investigated as CBG, CBD, or its sibling, Delta-9 THC.

Nonetheless, several clinical studies demonstrate Delta-8’s utility as a therapeutic for a number of conditions. These include but are not limited to:

  • Panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
  • Glaucoma
  • Cognitive dysfunction. Research shows “a tendency (of delta-8-THC) to improve cognitive function.
  • Nausea. The American federal government actually holds a patent on Delta-8 THC as an antiemetic therapeutic. In fact, according to research, Delta-8 THC is 200% more effective in this capacity than Delta-9.
  • Eye injuries: “0.2% Δ8-THC with 0.5% GAT229 also significantly reduced corneal inflammation. CB1 allosteric ligands could offer a novel approach for treating corneal pain and inflammation.”
  • Convulsive disorders: “Both Δ-8 and Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and uridine protect against pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced convulsions in mice… Δ-8 THC and Δ-9 THC are equipotent as anticonvulsants.”
  • Breast cancer (still in the experimental phase): “Less psychoactive and structurally similar analogs of Del9THC were chosen as drug candidates and ERβ was targeted as a therapeutic receptor. Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Del8THC) and delta-4-isotetrahydrocannabinol (Del4isoTHC) were the drug candidates selected on the basis of literature reports, absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADMET) properties.”

Is Delta-8 THC legal in Georgia?

Peach State residents should rest easy knowing that Delta-8 is legal in Georgia, full stop. You can buy and use Delta-8 freely.

Although the landmark 2018 Farm Bill is most commonly associated with CBD and its booming industry, the law actually fully permits the sale, purchase, and use of a variety of cannabinoids, including Delta-8 THC.

In fact, just a few short weeks ago, a “California federal appeals court ruled last week that delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids derived from hemp are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill,” further solidifying its legality. For a long while, Delta-8 THC existed in a sort of legal limbo, as it was unclear whether federal prohibitions on Delta-9 THC applied to Delta-8.

From a federal level, the most important takeaway from the convoluted drug laws pertaining to cannabis is that Delta-9 THC is illegal – not Delta-8. As the judges in the above-cited case concluded, federal statute “is silent with regard to delta-8 THC.” The more rulings that go in favor of Delta-8, the more extensively its legality is confirmed.

Does Delta-8 THC cause a ‘high’ comparable to Delta-9 THC?

As alluded to previously, Delta-8 is comparable to Delta-9 in terms of the “high” it produces – but with one critical caveat. The big distinction is that Delta-8 exerts similar but less potent effects:

“Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has activity in man similar to that of its double-bond isomer, delta-9-THC. Its relative potency to the other isomer, as judged following both oral and intravenous administration, is 2:3.

Because the psychoactive properties of Delta-8 produce less intense and shorter-duration highs, many users and their healthcare providers are looking to Delta-8 as a therapeutic alternative when it’s used as medicine:

“Although the legal environment is becoming more restrictive for delta-8-THC in comparison to delta-9-THC, results suggest that delta-8-THC may be equally effective for desired purposes of cannabis use and lower in undesirable or adverse effects.”

What forms does Delta-8 THC come in?

Delta-8 has been described by analysts as one of the “cannabis industry’s fastest-growing products.” Marketers have pioneered new delivery methods to attract new customers with their varying preferences. Accordingly, like other cannabinoids, Delta-8 THC comes in a variety of forms. These include:

  • Gummies and other edibles. Get your grub on with Delta-8 edibles.

Regardless of the route of administration or the form, the golden rule of thumb to abide by for a good time is to “start low and go slow.” Edible THC in particular has a way of creeping up on the user, so don’t overdo it at first to avoid any unpleasant or adverse side effects.

If your doctor has prescribed Delta-8 for its potential medicinal benefits, always follow his or her guidelines to the tee.

Contact Sympleaf to learn more about Delta-8 THC

An ongoing part of our mission is to equip our customers and Georgia neighbors with the most accurate, up-to-date information regarding all things cannabis, including Delta-8. Contact Sympleaf and we’ll be obliged to answer any questions you might have.