At cbdMD, we’re big proponents of choosing and using whichever CBD product or supplement is right for you – but the same can’t be said for Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC. While both are considered psychoactive substances, only one of them is held to rigorous manufacturing and testing standards. Which we’re sure must leave you with many questions, mainly:
- What’s the difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC?
- What is Delta 8?
- What is Delta 9?
- Are either of them legal near you?
- Is Delta 9 safer than Delta 8?
- Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: which is better?
Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: What’s the Difference?
Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC are both derived from the Cannabis sativa plant and create psychoactive effects when ingested. They also have a similar chemical structure, earning their names based on the location of their double carbon bond. Each of them interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) using both CB1 and CB2 receptors and affects your appetite, thought process, and motor skills. But the similarities stop there.
While Delta 9 THC is federally regulated, subject to third-party testing, and held to specific standards, the same can’t be said for Delta 8. Although it was discovered around the same time, Delta 8 naturally degrades as the hemp plant matures, meaning only a small portion is available after extraction. Delta 9 THC, on the other hand, is found in much larger quantities.
Because of this drastic difference, the majority of THC products are developed with Delta 9. And once Delta 9 THC rose in popularity, there wasn’t much reason to work on extracting enough Delta 8 for testing. Not to mention that since it’s found in such small quantities, it is generally pretty expensive to accumulate enough natural Delta 8 THC to test in the first place.
This also means that the Delta 8 found online and in stores near you is likely not naturally derived. But we’ll get into that later. First, here’s an overview of Delta 8 and Delta 9, so you can see the differences for yourself before we dig further into whether Delta 9 is safer to use than Delta 8 THC.
What Is Delta 8?
Delta 8 THC, or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, has a double carbon bond on the eighth carbon atom, separating it from other types of THC. What this means is that while Delta 8’s psychoactive effects may be similar to standard THC (Delta 9), they are not the same. Unfortunately, because Delta 8 isn’t federally regulated, there hasn’t been much research conducted on it. A lack of research leads to unreliability in both the development and manufacturing process.
Most notably, this means there’s no guarantee you’re purchasing or ingesting the same amount of THC listed on the product label. It could contain more or less, or even none at all. And it should be noted that using Delta 8 THC is not a replacement for Delta 9, as many Delta 8 products also contain Delta 9. Because without regulation, there’s no standard in place requiring companies to be transparent in their formula or production methods.
If you think that by using Delta 8 THC you’re skirting the laws around drug testing for THC, you might want to think again. Because not only can Delta 8 show up on a drug test, it can also easily be mistaken as a false positive for Delta 9 THC. And despite your state’s laws regarding Delta 8 THC, this can easily lead to complications. Especially since labs don’t yet have full capabilities to determine the difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC.
What Is Delta 9?
Due to its psychoactive effects, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the most famous cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta 9 THC is considered a controlled substance when found in concentrations higher than 0.3 percent. Delta 9 can be produced from either hemp or marijuana, but in order to make sure we comply with federal regulations, the Delta 9 used in our products is only taken from federally compliant hemp plants.
As Delta 8 is still federally unregulated, our full spectrum CBD products and THC gummies are only ever made with Delta 9 derived from hemp. This way we can guarantee that none of our products contain more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. That being said, just because all our products comply with federal regulations doesn’t mean they won’t show up on a drug test.
While consuming a small amount of Delta 9 THC may not result in a positive drug test, that doesn’t mean it won’t show up at all. And if your employer or state has a no tolerance policy, any amount of THC may be considered a positive result. It’s also important to note that THC can build up in your system over time. So depending on how often you use Delta 9 THC and in what quantities, you may increase your likelihood of failing a drug test.
But if drug testing doesn’t apply to you and you want to safely try Delta 9, we recommend checking out our Delta 9 THC gummies. Made with a whopping 10 mg of THC and 90 mg of CBD per gummy, they also come in two delicious flavors: cherry and blue razz. And don’t worry, we’ve already developed a Delta 9 gummies guide for beginners so you’ll know exactly what to expect!
Or give one of our full spectrum CBD products a whirl – they contain a complete hemp profile and are available in tinctures, softgels, and gummies! Each contains a different concentration of our full spectrum formula so that you can choose the right product and strength for you.
Are They Legal Near You?
Nowadays, Delta 8 is often found online, in gas stations, and even grocery stores. Because it wasn’t directly recognized in the 2018 Farm Bill, it falls into a sort of legal gray zone. So is Delta 8 legal near you? Despite the fact that you might be able to find it in stores near you, it's good practice to check your state’s guidelines before purchasing and using Delta 8 products.
The regulations surrounding the sale and purchase of Delta 9 THC, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. Is Delta 9 legal near you? That depends. The laws are easy to understand if you live in a state that has a flat out no tolerance policy or has fully legalized the use of Delta 9 THC. But unfortunately, some state’s regulations are more unclear, limiting specific quantities of Delta 9 or when and where you can purchase it.
Is Delta 9 Safer Than Delta 8?
Unfortunately, because there isn’t a lot known about Delta 8 thus far (and therefore there are fewer regulations against it), many people have the impression that it is a safer option than Delta 9 THC. Because there aren’t any major laws against purchasing or using it, Delta 8 has to be a better alternative to Delta 9, right?
Not necessarily. Without regulations, there’s no standard to be upheld and no procedure to follow when producing Delta 8 THC. Which means you can’t really be sure what you’re getting when you purchase Delta 8 online or in stores near you.
Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC: Which Should You Use?
As we mentioned above, Delta 8 THC is found in much lower concentrations than Delta 9. In order to cut down on costs, most of the Delta 8 THC included in many products is synthetically manufactured from other cannabinoids. The process is fairly simple and much cheaper than working to extract natural Delta 8 from the hemp plant. All you need is a handful of chemicals.
And because it’s unregulated, companies are not required to disclose the potentially harmful chemicals they used to manufacture Delta 8 THC – or any contaminants created during the process. So not only are Delta 8 products not naturally sourced, they could easily contain a number of unknown chemicals as well. Until Delta 8 is as regulated as Delta 9, there’s no incentive for Delta 8 companies and manufacturers to become transparent.
Between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2022 the FDA received 104 reports of adverse effects experienced after taking Delta 8 THC including anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. From January 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022, national poison control centers received 2,362 exposure cases, 70 percent of which required health care facility evaluation.
Although Delta 8 THC may be legal near you, that doesn’t mean it’s safer. And until Delta 8 is held to the same standards of production as Delta 9, we recommend steering clear.
For more information on Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC, which one might be right for you, and news about our upcoming full spectrum CBD and Delta 9 THC products, keep an eye on our frequently updated blog. Interested in staying up to date on the latest supplement news and cbdMD’s upcoming special offers? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or chat with someone live today!