Delta THC | Science

Does Delta 8 Get You High?

Dr Abraham Benavides


Dr Abraham Benavides

Medical Doctor

If a few years ago you’d asked me the question “does Delta 8 get you high?”, I’d have probably asked you what the heck is that?

A lot has changed since then. In the last week alone, I’ve used my D8 THC vape more times than I can count, and gummies – well, I’m still hazy from yesterday’s expedition. I say expedition because yes, Delta 8 THC can get you high. Sky-high in my experience. Especially if you’ve got the dosage right.

But D8 products differ from the traditional cannabis you might have consumed in the past. For the why and how, keep on reading.

Getting high

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. Meanwhile, the scientific name for Delta 9, aka THC, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

Delta 9 and Delta 8 THC are active phytocannabinoids found naturally in cannabis plants, and both are also forms of THC.

Delta 8 THC was discovered in 1941 for the first time. This occurred as a result of a partial synthesis process while scientists were studying the structure of CBD.

The compound has existed in nature (via the cannabis plant) for thousands of years, but it has only recently been isolated, replicated, and marketed en masse.

However, D8 is only found in small concentrations in Hemp (or regular weed). As such, it has to be isolated or, more commonly, lab-synthesized to feel its effects outside of the well-established and clouded haze of Delta 9 THC.

It should be noted that since most delta 8 is commercially produced, some products could potentially contain leftover harsh chemicals and unknown products from the conversion of CBD to delta 8 which could be harmful to health. 

There also may be some bad actors out there as well that do not test their delta 8 products or follow GMP standards as there is no federal regulation.

Professional organizations like the Society of Cannabis Clinicians note that the health effects of delta 8 and other isomers produced in this conversion are still unknown and cannot be guaranteed to be safe for consumption.

You can picture these two cannabinoids (delta 8 and 9) as close family members who share some important similarities in

  • Chemical structure
  • Some of the associated effects
  • The way they work within the body
  • Their psychoactivity (aka the high)

Delta 8 Will Get Even Experienced Users Buzzed

Whether you prefer smoking cannabis or enjoying a delicious Delta 8 gummy on the go, prepare to get buzzed and feel relaxed. 

In my experience (and many others), the effects of Delta 8 THC are associated with the following:

  • Waves of euphoria
  • Blissful relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Lower chances of anxiety and paranoia
  • Mood and creativity enhancement 

Then again, make sure to stay hydrated to avoid discomfort and dry mouth. If you want to be discreet about your use, keep some eye drops at hand because red eye comes on fast with Delta 8.

The Double Bond Separates D8 & D9

Chemically, delta 8 and delta 9 are fairly similar. One crucial thing they share in common is the specific bond between two of the atoms in the molecule.

Ever wondered what the secret key to the intoxicating effects that make us fly high with Delta 9 is?

It’s the placement of the double bond. This allows the hydrocarbon tail to flex differently and thus these cannabinoids bind to receptors in the ECS in a different way.

Both THCs have a chain of carbon atoms. With Delta 9, the double bond is on the ninth carbon chain. When it comes to Delta 8 THC, it’s on the eighth carbon chain.

This may sound like a rather tiny difference. But if you think of it, adding only a single more “zero” to your bank account would shake things up, right?

What Is The Main Difference Between Delta 8 THC And Delta 9 THC?

As noted above, Delta 8 THC is known to produce effects similar to Delta 9.

However, the high or buzz with Delta 8 is generally (slightly) milder in my experience and according to anecdotal reports.

This is echoed in research science, confirming that it is less potent than its famous cousin Delta 9. Also, some of the unwanted side effects of traditional THC are reported to be absent or less common with Delta 8.

Personally, I’d say this depends on who you ask, and if you’re a first-time user, don’t expect it to be ‘light’. Nonetheless, if you’re a seasoned enthusiast who’s already enjoyed marijuana for over a decade, you might find it less intense than your usual go-to. 

When it comes down to its potential medical benefits, a study published by the National Library of Medicine outlines that relates Delta 8 THC in early study to:

THC Analogs

“potential antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective activities”. Which in short suggests it has anti-nausea/anxiety, pain-relieving, and neuroprotective effects. 

Also, an early 1975 study published by the Journal of National Cancer Institute suggests that Delta 8 THC use may relate to a reduction in cancerous tumors. Cannabinoids in general have shown early antineoplastic properties, but it all needs to be followed up.

Newer research has shown promise in delta-8 THC in potentially relieving acute eye pain and inflammation in mice after an eye injury. So far, this application has not been studied in humans.

The only clinical study on delta 8 was done with children on chemotherapy receiving delta 8 as a treatment for nausea and vomiting. The results were overall positive in this small study, vomiting was prevented in all 13 patients and side effects negligible.

Ultimately, the effects of marijuana are highly individual. They differ from one person to another, and that’s okay. That said, don’t underestimate the potency of Delta 8 THC.

What makes up for the difference in the effects? It’s the structure of the D8-THC molecule.

How Long Does It Take For Delta 8 To Work?

Like other phytocannabinoids, Delta 8 binds to the human body’s endocannabinoid system, aka “our universal regulator”. It’s thanks to the endocannabinoid system how we can feel the effects of cannabis.

The time it takes for users to experience the effects is a variable, though. It depends on several factors that are strictly individual. These include:

  • Method of consumption
  • The dosage
  • Existing health conditions
  • Bodyweight
  • Cannabis tolerance levels (think of experienced users vs. the first time user)
  • Metabolism, including being on other medications
  • Age
  • Gender

How Long Do The Effects Of Delta 8 THC Last?

This depends on an array of individual factors. 

In my experience with Delta 8 will come with a high that can last for 2-3 hours that’ll come on fast (if smoked/vaped) and drop off in the same fashion. 

With edibles, you can expect the same sort of effects from Delta 8 THC as other D9 cannabis products.

Related Reads: D8 Carts, D8 Gummies, D8 Dabs, D8 Capsules

Delta 8 Effects & Detail

The main known and subjective difference between the effects of Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 is in the intensity.

Shortly put, Delta 8 THC promotes a less intense high. As a result, experienced users often find it much easier to manage without the crushing anxiety D9 can bring.

Some of the nicknames for Delta 8 THC include “diet weed,” “weed lite,” and “cannabis light.”

Related Read: How Does Delta 8 Feel?

According to a 1973 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics study, Delta 8 THC is estimated as two-thirds as potent as Delta 9.

As such, to experience the same effect as with Delta 9, an experienced user will probably need to take much more Delta 8 THC than if it was D9.

Be advised that the full short-term and long-term effects of any cannabinoid, like D8 or D9, are still not yet known.

As a result, the compound should probably be avoided by special groups like children, pregnant and breastfeeding persons, and those with any kind of severe illness related to cardiopulmonary, kidney, liver, psychiatric, or other critical illness.

Friendlier To New Cannabis Users

One of the reasons why more and more users are looking forward to medicating and recreating with Delta 8? It’s a more user-friendly cannabinoid.

Lower probability to experience the nasty fingernails-biting anxiety? Lower chances of paranoia?

Yes, please!

The Sweet Spot With Delta 8 THC: Where Is The Catch?

In an article for Bustle Digital Group, Lewis Nelson, chief of the division of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, shares some valuable insights.

He notes that “the more you take of delta-8, the more it looks like delta-9,” and I tend to agree.

In my experience, In higher doses or when consuming edibles, Delta 8 is just like Delta 9. it may lead to anxiety and paranoia. So, approach this otherwise milder high cannabinoid accordingly.

Effects Less Potent Than Delta 9 THC 

What causes the milder effect of Delta 8? One of the secrets is the unique way it interacts with CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Delta 8 THC works through the ECS by bonding primarily to CB1 receptors. This explains some of its potential pain-relief benefits.

CB1 receptors are related to pain receptors in the nervous system.

Here’s a quick comparison. CBD binds only partially to CB1 and CB2 receptors, but in a different way than D9 does. The case with Delta 9 is similar since studies show it acts as a partial agonist to CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Delta 8 And Delta 9 THC Are Near Identical

 Even though Delta 8 creates a milder effect than Delta 9, both cannabinoids possess a quite similar molecular structure. Thus, they both share similar effects.

The existing studies generally note that Delta 8 has “a similar pharmacological profile and slightly lower psychoactive potency.”

Hail the mellow high that allows us to enjoy THC in a more relaxed way.

Both Are Extracted From Cannabis Sativa Hemp Plants

“Regular” THC (Delta 9) occurs in high levels in a wide variety of cannabis strains. But the green revolution is also generating interest in the less studied cannabinoids that only occur in trace amounts.

Yup, Delta 8 occurs naturally only in trace volumes. So, it’s one of the minor cannabinoids, like CBDV, CBN, and THCV, among others.

Due to the fact, Delta 9 THC is federally illegal, many users find Delta 8 THC a suitable alternative to traditional cannabis.

Unlike marijuana-derived products, D8 hemp products fall into a gray area of the law. The 2018 Farm Bill makes hemp derivatives with less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC legal on the federal level.

But crucially, some states, such as Rhode Island, have banned Delta 8. That’s a friendly reminder to always do your own diligence before opting for any Delta 8 product. Remember, state laws for Delta 8 THC vary and not all producers test products adequately.

Marijuana Grower Illustrated

Delta 8 THC: The Dos And The Don’ts

The biggest similarity between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC is that both of these two substances can get you high. 

So, it’s important to use and recreate responsibly. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive under the influence of Delta 8.

#1 – Be Aware Of The Possible Side Effects

Even though Delta 8 users report a lower probability of experiencing anxiety, there are other common side effects involved. 

For example, like traditional marijuana, Delta 8 will likely leave you with a dry mouth and an increased appetite! Remember, the short and long term effects of any cannabinoids are still unknown which leads to the second point.

#2 – Remember That We Still Need MORE Research

Ultimately, Delta 8 is suggested to possess much of the same benefits as Delta 9.

But this doesn’t mean we truly understand how this cannabinoid influences the human body in the long run. Cannabinoids are known to activate receptors other than CB1 and CB2, which could cause other bodily effects.

It has been extremely hard to evaluate the benefits of cannabis properly. Unfortunately, the ongoing war on marijuana is still running strong.

At this point, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the safety profile of Delta 8 THC. 

Special groups like children, pregnant and breastfeeding persons, and those with any kind of severe illness related to cardiopulmonary, kidney, liver, psychiatric, or other critical illness should probably avoid delta 8 as they do delta 9.

#3 – Stay Away From Low-Quality Delta 8 THC Products!

It’s worth noting that not all hemp products are created equal.

Unfortunately, low-quality products marketed to offer potency at a value price point are building an entire industry of their own. In search of quick profit, many companies neglect users’ well-being.

We have to learn how to avoid scams at any cost, and one of the best ways to do so is to request a Certificate of Analysis provided by third-party labs each time you buy any Hemp-derived product.

Top Delta 8 Brands

We do need much more research before we know exactly how Delta 8 THC works.

 In the meantime, we should only purchase Delta 8 THC from trustworthy brands that truly care for users’ well-being.

1. Exhale Wellness

Exhale Wellness is a reputable brand with excellent user sentiment and a great variety of certified products.

Top Pick
Top Shelf Delta 8 Products | Exhale
  • Always third party tested & 20% off your first order via the link below
  • Vapes, carts, flower, tinctures and gummies available
  • 30 day money back guarantee on all orders!

PROS (+)

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free shipping
  • 20% off your first order

CONS (-)

  • No full-spectrum products are available

It’s the highest-rated natural hemp company focused exclusively on Delta 8 THC and only natural ingredients in their product range.

Based in sunny California, the company sources its hemp from local farms in Colorado to ensure premium quality.

Exhale Wellness offers a fantastic selection of vape cartridges, disposable vape pens, flowers, pre-rolls, cigarettes, edibles, and concentrates.

2. Binoid

Binoid has a well-established reputation in the hemp space, as the company launched back in 2018. Located in Los Angeles, California, Binoid sources its hemp from local farms in Oregon.

Best Bulk Delta THC Vendor
Binoid | Hemp Derived Cannabinoids
  • Delta THC, THCO & HHC
  • Free shipping
  • Highly rated
Our Rating:

PROS (+)

  • Variety of cannabinoids available
  • Free shipping
  • Highly rated

CONS (-)

  • Free shipping could be faster

Manufacturing their products in cGMP-certified facilities, the brand is dedicated to offering a range of novel cannabinoids. These include:

  • CBD,
  • Delta 8 THC,
  • Delta 10 THC,
  • HHC,
  • THCP,
  • THCV, and
  • THC-O.

You can find a variety of products on the menu, such as gummies, tinctures, capsules, vapes, dabs, and creams.

3. Diamond CBD

Diamond CBD is among the pioneers of the CBD industry, having been one of the first to market.

Broadest Delta Assortment
Diamond CBD | Delta THC
  • Largest Delta THC range
  • Contrasting potencies
  • Free 2 day shipping over $100

PROS (+)

  • Largest D8 assortment on the market
  • Varying potencies available
  • Loved by customers

CONS (-)

  • Free shipping only over $100

With a sustainable approach to Hemp research and development, the brand already has over 100K satisfied customers.

The product range is broad and deep at the same time. It includes CBD, Delta 8 THC, and Delta 10 THC products. 

Delta 8 and Delta 10 are available in the form of smokes, edibles, oils, capsules, and vapes. The CBD range also offers drinks, pet care, and skincare products.

4. Delta Extrax

Delta Effex has recently changed its name and is now operating as Delta Extrax. 

The company focuses exclusively on Delta 8, Delta 9, and Delta 10 THC products. The team’s mission is to disrupt the Delta space and offer higher quality to the users.

Delta Extrax | D8, D10, THCO & HHC
  • Delta Effex are specialists in Hemp derived D8 + D10 products.
  • Always third party tested.
  • Vapes, carts, tinctures and gummies!

PROS (+)

  • High potency range
  • Frequent discounts for email subs
  • Quick shipping

CONS (-)

  • Shipping isn’t free

You’ll find a great assortment of cartridges, concentrates, disposables, edibles, flowers, and tinctures. Just recently, the company has expanded its products’ menu.

The premium collections include novel cannabinoids like HHC, THCP, THCV, and THC-O.

Wrapping Up: Does Delta 8 Get U High?

We’re officially in the era of novel cannabinoids!

Are you a first-time Delta 8 THC user?

Delta 8 could potentially help you learn more about the psychoactive effects of weed without knocking your socks off. Eventually, you could choose to add Delta 9 to your routine with a much better understanding of THC in general.

Experienced users may enjoy Delta 8 THC as a more functional, all-day alternative to the typical experience with traditional THC. Always consult a healthcare professional for any personal health concerns.