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Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: The Difference Explained

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: The Difference Explained

When it comes to the positive benefits of CBD therapy, how it can restore quality of life, it’s important to know the facts.


What are the differences between CBD, Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC?   There is cannabis-derived CBD, there is hemp-derived CBD. There’s broad-spectrum CBD and full-spectrum CBD – but, what’s the difference?   


What works best for people suffering from life-altering medical conditions such as anxiety, stress, and depression may not necessarily be what works best for someone looking to “take the edge off” after a difficult and challenging day at the office.


Both Delta 8 and Delta 9 are one of hundreds of cannabinoids extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plant.  But they are also both active compounds in the hemp plant as well.   After all, both the cannabis and hemp plants DO have similar chemical structures; similar CBD, CBN, CBG, terpenes, chlorophyll, etc.


Delta 8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol.   Delta 9 is short code for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.   The Delta-8 cannabinoid is less-frequently occurring in the Cannabis Sativa or hemp plants therefore, it must be derived out of the Delta-9 cannabinoid – which means that Delta 8 products will be less potent that Delta 9 products.


What sets Delta 8 apart from Delta 9 is their THC levels, but also how they’re extracted; Delta 8 generally is derived from the Delta-9 cannabinoid and can come from the cannabis or the hemp plant, whereas Delta 9 is most often extracted strictly from cannabis.

How much stronger is Delta-9 than Delta 8?


Differentiating Delta 8 from Delta 9 doesn’t come down to how strong one is versus the other; it comes down to understanding the volume of THC content  in both the compounds and how each is created.


The USA Government considers CBD that contains less than 0.3% THC to be hemp. And anything that contains more than 0.3% THC is illegal unless you reside in any of the States in the USA where recreational marijuana use is now legal.

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is derived from the cannabis plant.   It is a “phytocannabinoid” which is made up of molecules in the cannabis sativa plant.   Because it does contain traces of THC it can affect the body’s own endocannabinoid system differently from Delta 8 which also contains some THC, yet, not as much as Delta-9.

Broad-spectrum CBD is CBD free from THC.   Full-spectrum CBD is CBD with less than 0.3% THC.  Broad Spectrum CBD products generally will not show up on a work drug test, for example.  Whereas Full Spectrum CBD products generally will; have a pretty chance of showing up since they do contain traces of THC.

The body’s endocannabinoid system contains receptors.  These are commonly-known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors, respectively.  The body’s endocannabinoid system collaborates with the body’s central nervous system.   CB1 receptors are commonly-considered to live in the stem of the brain whereas CB2 receptors are commonly-known to exist all throughout the nerves that run throughout the human body.

Delta 9 contains traces of THC that will bind with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system to stimulate them;  Delta 8, which contains less THC than Delta 9, but is also made out of Delta 9 also clings onto the receptors and stimulates them in the similar fashion.   CBD does not bind onto the receptors, but it stimulates them in such a way that it causes them to produce their own, natural cannabinoids.

How these intriguing active chemical compounds of the hemp and cannabis plants stimulate our body’s nervous system is primarily the reason why there has been controversy around CBD therapy in recent years.

Does Delta 8 get you high like Delta-9?

No, but both Delta 8 and Delta-9 promote an overall feeling of deep relaxation and calm.  Delta 9 is different because it binds to the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors; it produces feelings of euphoria or the feeling of “being high” within the brain and body–which can impair the ability to make decisions.

Since Delta 9 binds to the endocannabinoid system receptors it is classified as a Schedule 1 “psychoactive” substance by the US Government. Schedule 1 substances are generally-considered as not beneficial at the medicinal level.

The Schedule 1 classification is long overdue for an overhaul.  Not only is there NOW significant scientific data that suggests otherwise, the federal government and many States have since gone on to not only legalize medical use of cannabis but some have even legalized cannabis for recreational use as well. 

Delta 9 has a particular potency that Delta 8 doesn’t.  Some CBD experts say that Delta 9 works faster than Delta 8.  Some CBD experts suggest that Delta 9 may even be twice as strong as Delta 8 – even though both produce deep feelings of relaxation and calmness.

Delta 8 and Delta 9 also differ in availability.  Delta 9 THC even though it contains less than 0.3% THC is illegal to ship across state lines regardless of the fact that it’s considered “legal” on the Federal level - whereas, Delta 8 can be shipped.  Delta-9 made from hemp plants can be shipped, though.

Delta-9 accounts for the majority of the THC that naturally-occurs in the cannabis plant, which makes it the easiest of the two compounds to extract.  Delta-8 is less so.   Not only is Delta-8 more difficult to extract, but it eats up more of the natural, organic plant in that there is less of the Delta 8 compound in the original plant than there is Delta-9 as active compounds in the first place.  

Delta-8 is an isomer.   This means that it has a similar chemical structure to Delta-9, even though it is different.   Delta 8 and Delta 9 are only two of hundreds of cannabinoids naturally-occurring in both the cannabis and hemp plants.

Think about it like this:   If Delta 9 were run-of-the-mill notebook paper – Delta 8 would be a more fancy, speciality paper.   Having a speciality paper to write a letter on can be great, but is it better or inferior to run-of-the-mill paper?    It’s not better, it’s not worse – just unnecessary.   

When it comes to Delta 9, a company has to cut down 20 trees, they have to create the paper pulp, and then, they have to turn that pulp into 10,000 sheets of paper over a select period of time.  But, when it comes to creating Delta-8, that same company has to cut down 1000 trees to produce the same 10,000 sheets of paper. 

In short: making Delta 8 uses up more of the natural, organic plant, it uses more energy and time.  It creates more waste.   And for what, really?   All you get is a product half as potent as Delta-9.

Does Delta 8 Get You High?

Delta 8 will not produce the similar “high” feeling that many experience with marijuana. But, users do report experiencing feelings of deep relaxation and calmness. Delta 8’s health benefits outweigh its recreational curiosity, certainly. 

Using Delta 8 or Delta 9 THC or even THC Free Broad-Spectrum CBD to help relieve the symptoms associated with medical issues like sleep apnea, chronic pain, depression and anxiety should be determined firstly by speaking with your PCP or with a medical profession experienced in CBD therapy. 

One of the quickest ways in which Delta 8 is made is through extracting it from CBD Oil.   Delta-8 is extracted through the CO2 or alcohol extraction process.

Which Should I Try:  Delta 8 or Delta 9?

A recent survey conducted suggested the following:

521 people from 38 states — 29% from New York — reported:

  • Experiences with delta-8 were characterized predominantly by relaxation, pain relief and euphoria, with most participants saying they could perform their normal daily activities without experiencing the adverse side effects associated with cannabis use, such as paranoia, anxiety or the munchies.
  • 51% reported using delta-8-THC to treat a range of health and medical conditions, primarily anxiety or panic attacks, stress, depression or bipolar disorder and chronic pain.
  • 78% said they have not told their primary care provider that they use delta-8 because they lacked confidence in their physician’s ability to integrate medical cannabis into their treatment.
  • On average, participants’ experiences of paranoia and anxiety while using delta-8-THC were between “not at all” and “a little.”
  • Participants also showed little knowledge on effective doses of delta-8 and said most of what they did know about it came from the internet or their own experiences.

In Summary:  CBD and Delta 8 are probably going to be the most beneficial to folks reading this article that suffer from daily life illnesses like anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, or chronic pain.   Whereas, Delta 9 is going to be mostly beneficial to those who are more interested in a recreational alternative to traditional marijuana.   

Delta 9 carries over some of the positive benefits of Broad-Spectrum CBD and Full-Spectrum Delta 8, but it also has its share of side effects – which are most often associated with traditional marijuana usage.  

Using a CBD that’s THC Free or the half-potent Delta 8 mean that a user doesn’t experience the same side effects, of course.

Delta 8 vs. Delta 9: Quality Of Life Benefits

Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC are used by people who have an unfortunate medical condition that they must battle against everyday.  


Dealing with bouts of intense anxiety, continuous depression, stress-related life situations or chronic pain can be a lot to deal with for anyone on a daily basis.


Quality of life is essential for every one of us human beings, which is why so many people have turned to CBD as an organic and vegan alternative method to help reduce the effects such illnesses have upon them.


From anxiety, depression, stress to sleep apnea and epilepsy CBD products (Including both Delta 8 and Delta 9)  have slowly grown a reputation since 2014 as not only having the ability to help people find various states of relief from illnesses that reduce quality of life, but science is also now reporting how CBD can help people with digestive problems; help with anorexia, improve one’s own self body image, body care, asceticism, etc.


A survey conducted just a couple years ago found how CBD and THC products helped to curb the convulsant effects of epilepsy.  Out of 18 participants, 16 reported seeing a decline in the frequency of seizures, 2 reported no subsequence attacks.   The 16 participants that reported a decline in bouts of seizures saw an 25%-60% reduction in the frequency of eplipsetic seizures in their children.

The direction one decides to take when it comes to using CBD Therapy should also be determined based on what is legal in one’s state of residence as well.   But also by considering all of the following too:

Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 (Cost vs. Quality)

One CBD brand that costs less than another in many instances will make it of a poor quality – but that doesn’t mean all CBD is created equal, either.  Saving money is important, but in most instances, what you pay for when it comes to CBD therapy is exactly what you receive.

The Price of CBD is predicated on how it's made; how the cannabinoid (cbd) is extracted from the cannabis sativa or industrial hemp plants.

Prices flux based on how the cannabidiol is extracted and infused.  General extraction processes include alcohol extraction, CO2 extraction, and solvent extraction.    

Here’s a laymen’s look at how each process functions to create a cannabidiol extract.

CO2 extraction usually makes a CBD product expensive; alcohol extraction is used to create mid-grade products; solvent-based extraction used to create cheap CBD products which should be avoided at all costs.

Cannabinoid extraction done by the CO2 method captures the active compounds in hemp or cannabis through a conversion process which finds the CO2 changing physically from a liquid to a gas.   CO2 liquid is mixed with the raw cannabis or hemp and cannabinoids are extracted by way of heating up the concoction.  

The CO2 converts from liquid to a gas, evaporating and leaving behind the extract.  

The alcohol extraction method works in much the same way as the CO2 method.  The only difference, truly, is in the cost of the raw materials needed to produce the concoction that eventually becomes the extract.  Alcohol costs less than C02 due to the simplicity related to making it in the first place.

Solvent extraction is bad news.  Solvent extraction uses toxic chemicals to create CBD extracts.  Chemicals such as petroleum, for example, are combined with the raw, organic hemp or cannabis material to get the extract. 

What makes chemistry solvent extraction bad, is that unlike CO2 or alcohol extraction, CBD made from solvent-based extraction doesn’t allow 100% of the chemical used to be evaporated given its artificial nature.   So, cannabinoid extracts used in CBD products will contain chemical contaminants not only toxic over long periods of exposure, but they can give a user health issues, since they take an organic ingredient and make it into a synthetic.

Anyone reading this article should avoid all CBD, Delta 8, and Delta 9 products made through solvent extraction.   

Before you purchase any CBD, Delta 8, or Delta 9 product from a local dispensary be sure and ask about how their CBD products are made.   If they can’t tell you - don’t buy from them.

Do you think it’s a good idea to eat food that has been treated with chemicals that are toxic – whether they’re used to help with the preservation process or simply used as a sanitizer – like pesticides, etc?   

Spotting good-quality CBD isn’t too hard.

One of the things that you want to look for when considering any CBD brand, regardless of whether it’s a Delta 8 or Delta 9 product, is to look for the product’s testing PDF on its retail website or also someone at your local dispensary.   

Third-party lab testing is something sacred in the CBD biz.   How a product is tested and how a company shares this information with its customers will tell anyone that they’re a company that it’s a company okay to deal with simply because they’re dedicated to transparency.   

Having every product tested by a third-party lab will verify the company’s claims of ingredients, purity and potency.  Anyone in the CBD biz today should not only be doing this for every last one of their products that they are selling either online or via a local dispensary, but the main reason to do this is to also provide customers with peace of mind – selling a product that is safe should always come first before selling a product that is effective.

Third-party testing should be done by an ISO compliant lab.  And the testing report should reveal that the product does not contain any pesticides, molds, or toxic heavy metals.

Any company that doesn’t believe in transparency, doesn’t share its third-party lab test results for its products, etc. – shouldn’t be selling CBD products.  

Broad-spectrum Delta 8 or full-spectrum Delta 9 THC CBD products are only as good as a particular company's customer service.  Legit companies selling CBD online or through a local dispensary should be willing, open, and even eager to share everything with their customer base not only about who they use as a  third-party testing firm for its products, but they should also offer stellar, satisfactory customer service. 

Quality Delta 8 or Delta 9 products are important so it’s important that anyone interested in trying out CBD, Delta 8 or Delta 9 for the first time keep within their budget but also only buy products that are organic and vegan-friendly.

A brand that truly cares about its customers will offer everything they sell in a wide variety of delivery systems, flavors, and potencies and a reasonable price.

Delta 8 vs. Delta 9: Dispensary vs. Online Retailer

Getting CBD, Delta 8 or Delta 9 from the internet does have its certain advantages.   You can shop from the sofa – which is key if you’re someone who’s suffering from a life-debilitating medical illness and it’s difficult to leave the house.   


Shopping from the sofa demands that customers receive their CBD, Delta 8 and Delta 9 products quickly, though.   No one wants to wait a week to receive what they may deem as essential quality of life improvement alternative medicine, so any legit brand out there selling CBD, Delta 8 and Delta 9 that’s worth anything also offers speedy shipping as well.


In addition, most online e-retailers also offer their customer bases special deals and discounts which can sweeten the deal when it comes to grabbing the sale.

While local dispensaries may also offer special deals and discounts they generally don’t have the wide variety of products that are available through an e-retailer.  However, on the flipside of that, the biggest advantage that a local dispensary has over an e-retailers is their ability to offer samples of their products person-to-person – and that’s equal to great customer service!

A great customer service department means that a company usually has great CBD products.  

The customer service department of the company that sells CBD should always be able to answer every single question thrown at them about cannabinoids, CBD culture, Delta-8 and Delta-9 products, effects upon the user, and how it is manufactured, etc. 

A customer question or a customer concern or complaint handled with sincerity always suggests a great company but also  one with great products; a company that takes the time to create a customer experience is going to put the same amount of care into their products, etc.

Delta 9 vs Delta 8: Conclusion

After reading this summary which is a comparison of Delta 8 vs Delta 9 you’ll be able to now make a more-educated decision when it comes to deciding as to whether or not you’ll be exploring CBD alternative therapy.  


CBD has helped many people find life-altering assistance when it comes to reaching various states of relief from everything from anxiety, stress, depression to chronic pain and epilepsy. 


Even though there are differences between CBD, Delta 8 and Delta 9 – they are all still derived from cannabis or the industrial hemp plant.   CBD is not a drug; whereas in some states, both Delta 8 and Delta 9 are considered as such yet.


Yet, similarities that may exist that do connect them end at your state’s line.   It’s important before you set out in any Delta 8 or Delta 9 regime that you not only consult your PCP or another medical professional with a background in CBD therapy, but that you also do some research to what is legal and what isn’t legal in the state you live in when it comes to purchasing, transporting, shipping Delta 8 or Delta 9, etc.

Tags: Delta 9 THC, THC
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