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Do You Know Your THC? A Guide to Delta-8 vs. Delta-9

Do You Know Your THC? A Guide to Delta-8 vs. Delta-9

Did you know that, according to GlobeNewswire, CBD companies are going to lose market share in 2021 to Delta-8 THC hemp product companies? If you’ve heard recently about Delta-8, then chances are you’re aware of how the industry is booming.

If you’re considering using this popular substance, you might be asking yourself questions such as:

“When it comes to Delta-8 vs. Delta-9, how are they different?”

“Are there are any similarities between these compounds?”

“What is Delta-8?”

“Will Delta-8 THC get you high?”

You might also be wondering about what the legal situation is with Delta-8 as compared to Delta-9, and whether these come in similar product forms or different ones.

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, then you won’t know if Delta-8 is right for you. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. In it, you’ll learn all about how Delta-8 compares to Delta-9, so read on to learn more.

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 on a Chemical Level

If you’re asking yourself the question, “What is Delta-9 THC?” we’ll answer that question here, when we compare how Delta-8 and Delta-9 differ on a chemical level. First of all, it’s important to know how they’re similar: both are cannabinoids that you find in the cannabis plant.

There are more than 124 cannabinoids present in cannabis. Most of these are non-psychoactive, such as the well-known CBD cannabinoid, which has increased in popularity over the past few years.

Until recently, people thought that the only cannabinoid that could produce a high was Delta-9 THC.

However, Delta-8 THC has recently become more popular because it turns out to have psychoactive effects. This is because, on the chemical level, it’s quite similar to Delta-9 THC.

There is a difference, however. Their chemical bonds are in a different place. When you’re enjoying a Delta-9 strain, the double bond is on the ninth carbon chain.

Delta-8 has the same type of chemical bond, except it’s on the eighth carbon chain.

As a result, when you take Delta-9 only activates one of your cannabinoid receptors: the CB1 receptor.

However, when you take Delta-8, it activates two of them: the CB1 and the CB2 receptors. This causes something interesting to happen to your body on a chemical level: it enters homeostasis. This is the resting state of your body.

If you’ve ever taken CBD, this is what occurs with CBD, since it attaches to both receptors. As a result, when you take Delta-8, it has more pleasant effects.

If you want to learn more about these chemical differences, you can always discover more.

A Different High

There are also some differences between how you experience a high with Delta-8 and Delta-9. We’ll start by going over how Delta-9 THC affects you since this is the more well-known type of high. Then we’ll explain how the high you get with Delta-8 is different.

The Delta-9 High

When you get high with Delta-9, the THC causes your brain to release dopamine, which a neurotransmitter that causes you to feel euphoric. If you haven’t taken Delta-9 THC before you might be wondering, what does being high feel like? Well, you’re familiar with this feeling because it occurs naturally.

Have you ever gotten what’s called “a runner’s high?” Or maybe you’ve felt great after going on a good first date.

When these things are happening, your brain is actually releasing dopamine. That’s why you feel so euphoric.

You might also feel some additional effects. These can include increased appetite, a heightened perception of your senses, feeling relaxed, and feeling like your perception of time is altered.

Unfortunately, there are some negative potential effects when you take Delta-9 THC. You might experience delusions, hallucinations, problems with your memory, anxiety, and paranoia.

If you’ve taken Delta-9 in the past and experienced some of these negative effects, you might be afraid of taking a different type of THC.

However, the high you get with Delta-8 is different, so there’s no need for you to feel that way.

The Delta-8 High

Because Delta-8 connects to your cannabinoid receptors in a similar way to CBD but still gives you a high as Delta-9 does, it’s kind of like a mix of the two. You feel uplifted, the same way you do with a high, but it doesn’t fully take over, either.

Instead of feeling immediately high and out of it the way you do when you take Delta-9, Delta-9 slowly makes you feel high so that you adjust to the feeling over time.

Some other differences you get with the high are that it’s far less potent and that it’s less likely to cause anxiety or paranoia.

Even though you do eventually get high enough to feel “stoned,” you don’t feel mentally confused the way you might when taking Delta-9.

You’ll also be more alert and awake. So if you have something important to do, having some Delta-8 won’t get in the way as Delta-9 would. You can stay clear-headed.

However, keep in mind that Delta-9 is more likely than Delta-8 to give you the munchies. So if you’re afraid of eating a lot while taking it, make sure you stock up on healthy foods before you take it.

Legal Differences

There are also some legal differences when it comes to Delta-8 and Delta-9. This is for several reasons. Both federally and on a state level, there’s a complicated relationship between buying and possessing marijuana-based products.

Federal Law

In the Farm Bill, which was passed in 2018, it was made illegal to federally buy or possess Delta-9 THC. This is because the laws associated with this bill say that you can’t buy any cannabis products that have more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC in them.

Products that have more than this amount are considered to be marijuana. Ones that don’t are considered to be hemp, which can be legally purchased according to federal law.

Of course, products with THC in them are legal in some states, because state law is different than federal law. We’ll go into that in the next section.

You may be wondering at this point about how the Farm Bill impacts the federal legality of buying and possessing Delta-8. “After all,” you might be thinking, “the law seems to only apply to Delta-9 THC, not to Delta-8 THC.”

If you’re thinking this, then you’re not the only one. The reason so many businesses have now started selling Delta-8 is that there’s a loophole in the Farm Bill.

Technically, only Delta-9 products are illegal federally, not Delta-8 ones.

However, the DEA has clarified recently that any cannabis plant-based products that are meant to increase the potency of a high are federally illegal.

This makes the legal situation a little bit gray. Chances are, you won’t go to jail for simply having some Delta-8 on hand. But you might be feeling a little nervous about its legality.

For this reason, it’s important to see what the laws are in your state.

State Law

The legality of Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC vary state by state. This is because states have been slowly legalizing cannabis and cannabis products for some time now. If you’re a Delta-9 THC user, then you should look for states where both marijuana and hemp are legal.

In terms of using recreational marijuana, the states where it’s legal include Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

They also include Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, Montana, and South Dakota. Additionally, recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, D.C., and Guam.

If you’re a medical marijuana user, then your access to Delta-9 THC is even more extensive. There are 35 states that have made the use of medical marijuana legal, as well as Washington, D.C.

In the case of Delta-8 THC, things are a little different. Some states where Delta-9 is legal won’t have it be the case that Delta-8 is legal.

On the other hand, there may be states where Delta-9 THC, under the umbrella of marijuana, isn’t legal—but Delta-8 THC is.

Here’s why. These two are considered, legally, two separate things.

To check to see if Delta-8 is legal in your state, you need to know whether it has a total THC law. With this type of law, it isn’t only Delta-9 THC that’s illegal.

All types of THC aren’t legal if the product they’re in has more than 0.3% of them in it.

Because Delta-8 is technically a type of THC, you can’t legally buy or use it in any of these states. These states include Arkansas, Alaska, Idaho, Delaware, Mississippi, Iowa, and Montana.

However, if you don’t live in any of these states, then buying Delta-9 on a state legal level is fine.

Consumption Methods

When it comes to consumption methods, you can take Delta-8 in many of the same ways as you would take Delta-9. However, there are a few differences in terms of effects that you should be aware of. These methods include vaping, edibles, and more.


Vaping is one of the most popular ways to take Delta-9 and Delta-8. When you’re vaping, you have an electronic cigarette that has oil in it that contains the THC type you prefer. Sometimes, these vapes come pre-filled, which is easier if you’re often on the go.

This type of product is easy to use, but it might not be the best choice for taking Delta-8. This is because users have in the past reported that its taste is slightly different than that of Delta-9—and that it isn’t altogether pleasant.


Another way you can take either Delta-9 or Delta-8 is with edibles. However, edibles take a long time when it comes to your high hitting you since your body takes a while to process them. As a result, you want to use them properly depending on the type of THC you’re taking.

If you’re taking Delta-9, then take a smaller amount. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with the high, which could cause confusion or paranoia.

With Delta-8, you won’t have this problem. However, because you’re more likely to get the munchies, you need to be extra careful.

Go for a sugar-free edible if possible, so that you aren’t adding calories to your intake.


You can also buy Delta-9 and Delta-8 in flower form. Because you’re rolling your joints yourself and deciding how much you put in, start slow with Delta-9. With Delta-8, however, you shouldn’t worry too much since it’s a gentle high.

If you’re buying flowers, you can also smoke them out of a vape or a pipe. If you prefer Delta-8, choose a flower that has high reviews in terms of flavor, since it might take you a while otherwise to get used to the taste.

Buying a high-quality pipe or vape will also make the experience more pleasant.

Need More Information?

Now that we’ve answered the question, “When it comes to Delta-8 vs. Delta-9, how are they different?” you know all you need to about the differences between these two types of THC. However, you might need additional information.

Maybe you want to learn about the best THC strains available on the market.

Or maybe you want to learn more about the best THC accessories you can use to improve your experience. Whatever information you need, you can find it on our blog.

Check out our health and fitness blog posts to learn how you can enjoy THC daily.

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