What Is the Actual Difference Between Delta-8 & Delta-9 THC?

With such similar names, it can be confusing to know the difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC. We should first start with what Delta 8 and Delta 9 are, then we can dive into all the differences between them.

Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC are both cannabinoids from the Cannabis Sativa plant family (more on this later!). They are both found in industrial hemp, as well as the marijuana plant. However, these two forms of the cannabis plant contain varying levels of these two cannabinoids. Let’s dive into the first difference between Delta 8 and Delta 8 THC – where they are derived from. In the USA, all Delta 8 products are derived from the industrial hemp plant, and Delta 9 THC products are most often extracted from marijuana plants.

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Where Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC are Derived From

The first difference between Delta 8 and Delta 8 THC is the plant that each of these cannabinoids is extracted from. Both Delta 8 and Delta 9 are found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. There are however different forms of this plant and these different forms have very important distinctions. The two plants we are referring to are the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. Although these two plants have similarities, there are also major differences between the two. The one major difference is the amount of delta-9 THC they contain.

By law, the hemp plant must contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC (by weight) in order to be considered a hemp plant. Plants that contain more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC will fall into the marijuana plant category. This is an important distinction because the marijuana plant and hemp plant have different legal issues in the United States (more on this later!). Other than the difference in Delta 9 THC concentration, both plants have a similar make-up of other constituents such as CBD, CBN, CBG, terpenes, chlorophyll, and numerous other phytochemicals.

Cannabis Sativa plants, which include both the industrial hemp plant and marijuana are deciduous plants that have both male and female plants. Male and female plants differ in how quickly they grow and the make-up of their constituents. When growing hemp and marijuana, farmers seek to cultivate only female plants for Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC as well as CBD production. However, hemp plants are also used to make clothing for which a high fiber content is ideal. In these cases, male hemp plants are preferred for their high fiber content.

Hemp plants are generally grown outdoors or in greenhouses and marijuana is often grown indoors. Both hemp and marijuana are very absorbent plants which means they can extract chemicals, pollutants, and solvents from the soil. In fact, hemp was planted in Chernobyl to help remove the radioactive wastes from the soil to restore the viability of the land and the safety of the surrounding area. What this means is that the growing conditions of both hemp and marijuana are very crucial to the safety of the final product. All hemp and marijuana farms or greenhouses should not use pesticides or other chemicals as this will create an end product with a high concentration of potentially harmful chemicals that will be passed on to the end-user.

Legal Status of Hemp and Marijuana Plants

Now that we understand some of the major differences between the hemp plant and the marijuana plant, we should dig into the very important differences in their legal status in the United States. We already mentioned the key differentiator between hemp and marijuana, which is their Delta 9 THC content. This is an extremely important distinction as it determines whether or not the plants are legal to grow and sell in many states. At the federal level, marijuana is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. In other words, it is illegal. On the other hand, hemp, which contains less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC is federally legal.

As you can see, it is the Delta 9 THC content that determines whether or not these two cannabis plants are federally legal or illegal. Now, there is another consideration which is the state’s determination of the legality of marijuana. Despite being illegal at the federal level, many states have decided to make marijuana legal for either medical and/or recreational use. This can be a bit confusing since the federal and state laws seem to contradict one another.

Recreational marijuana is legal in the following states:

  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Washington, D.C.
  • California
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Michigan
  • Vermont
  • Guam
  • Illinois
  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • South Dakota
  • New York
  • Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Connecticut

It is important to stay up to date on all the details of the legal status of marijuana in your state. Some states have specific rules about where marijuana can be grown, in what quantity, and how much marijuana a person can have on them at any given time.

So, it seems that Delta 9 THC is a very controversial plant cannabinoid since it is the determining factor of whether a plant is legal or not. We should explore both Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC so you can understand the main differences in these cannabinoids and gain insight into the different ways they affect a person’s mind and body.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta 9 THC, or Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is a constituent of the Cannabis Sativa Plant. It is known as a phytocannabinoid which means it belongs to a class of plant molecules from cannabis. Other plant cannabinoids include Delta 8 THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and others. These plant cannabinoids have an effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a system made of CB1 and CB2 receptors found within the body’s central and peripheral nervous system. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brainstem and brain while CB2 receptors are located within the peripheral nerves in the body. When stimulated, the endocannabinoid system can influence the way the body perceives pain, feels hunger, and experiences moods and emotions. It is through this endocannabinoid system that Delta 9 THC affects a person.

The Effects of Delta 9 THC

Delta 9 THC stimulates CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors are located in various parts of the brain including the frontal cortex which is responsible for executive functioning and decision-making, as well as the hippocampus which is involved in memory. When stimulated by Delta 9 THC, researchers have found that the effects include:

  • Perceptual alterations
  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Working memory deficits
  • Issues with memory recall
  • Depersonalization
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Excitement

These effects can be very intense for some people and lead to much distress. Delta 9 THC also increases cortisol, our stress hormone. On the other hand, there are many people who enjoy the feeling of Delta 9 THC and seek out marijuana and Delta 9 THC products for recreation. Every person has a different tolerance to Delta 9 THC as well as different preferences of what feels good to them and what is a “bad trip.”

Because of these effects that Delta 9 THC has on the brain, it is considered a psychoactive substance. It is for this reason Delta 9 THC/marijuana has been classified as a schedule I controlled substance. This category is reserved for substances that can have a high potential for abuse without any FDA-approved medical use. However, this categorization may not be totally consistent with what we know about marijuana and Delta 9 THC. Aside from the effects listed above, Delta 9 THC and marijuana are used in various treatments. This is because marijuana and Delta 9 THC can also affect other aspects of our health physiology that are therapeutic in nature. Research is still ongoing though, which means scientists are continuing to learn more and more about Delta 9 THC every year.

In summary, Delta 9 THC is a plant cannabinoid that is found in both the hemp plant (in quantities less than 0.3%) as well as the marijuana plant. It has psychoactive properties which can lead to symptoms that may be pleasant for some, and a total nightmare for others.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is also found in both marijuana and the industrial hemp plant. However, there are no legal limitations on how much Delta 8 THC can be in hemp. The majority of Delta 8 THC products on the market are derived from industrial hemp. Delta 8 THC is found naturally in full-spectrum CBD products as well. These cannabinoids work synergistically to create an entourage effect of relaxation, euphoria, physical relaxation, and more. The effect of CBD, as well as Delta 8 and 9, is through the same endocannabinoid system that Delta 9 THC effects. However, each of these cannabinoids affect this system in different ways, which produces different effects in the body.

The Effects of Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC binds to the same receptors that Delta 9 THC binds to. The main difference between the two is that Delta 9 THC has much stronger effects than Delta 8 THC. So, Delta 8 also has psychoactive effects but does not create the same intensity of experience as Delta 9 THC. This is thought to be because Delta 8 does not stay bound to the CB receptors for as long as Delta 9 THC does.

There has been a lot less research on Delta 8 THC as it is more of an emerging trend in hemp extract products. People will commonly use Delta 8 for euphoria, physical and mental relaxation, and other reasons. None of these uses have been approved by the FDA, so they are based on user experience more than anything else.

Overall, Delta 8 THC shares many similarities to Delta 9 THC in its effects. The main difference is that Delta 8 has much more mild effects and the effects do not seem to last as long.

Another main difference is that Delta 8 and Delta 8 products are not federally illegal. Therefore there are few restrictions on where Delta 8 can be sold However, that does not mean there are no restrictions. This brings us to our next discussion point which is the legality of Delta 8.

Legal Status of Delta 8

Delta 8 is fairly new to the scene of hemp-derived products. Unlike Delta 9 THC which has been studied for decades, Delta 8 made its way into products shortly after CBD products began hitting the market. This means that many states have not explicitly banned delta-8 THC products.

At the federal level, Delta 8 (when derived from the industrial hemp plant) is legal. However, there are some states that have decided to ban the sale or import of Delta 8. The states that have banned or regulated the use of delta-8 THC include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Michigan (comes into effect October 2021)
  • North Dakota
  • Connecticut

Dosing of Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and Other Cannabinoids

It should be mentioned that no matter which cannabinoid you ultimately settle on, you start with the lowest possible dose and gradually increase the dose to prevent any adverse side effects. The effects that you’re likely to feel will be determined by multiple factors including supplements or medication that you’re already taking, genetic factors, and the number of enzymes that you have.

With this caution in mind, after selecting a company to buy your Delta 8 THC or Delta 9 THC from, choose the company’s lowest potency THC product and gradually increase the dose until the desired effects are reached.

Selecting A Quality Product

There are multiple factors to take into consideration when selecting a high-quality cannabinoid product and a company that takes pride and stands behind its product. There’s much research that goes into finding a high-quality company that can take many hours of research. Lucky for you guys we have done all the lake work for you and are going to break down each component that we take into consideration when determining a high-quality company. Keep in mind that we weigh certain factors more heavily than others depending on their importance to consumers and their health.

Third-party Lab Testing

By far the most important determinant of whether or not you should purchase a cannabinoid product from a company is whether they go through the extra hassle of third-party laboratory testing their products for both purity and potency. In today’s market, there’s just no room for companies not ensuring pure products that are safe for their consumers. Companies that don’t go through this extra time and expense automatically or are eliminated from our selection.

Fan Following

Another big indicator of whether you’re buying from a company that takes pride in their work and service is the fan following. Although you have to take into consideration that some of the cannabinoid companies are new and haven’t been in business very long, the ones that have an established business history and that have built a solid customer base are likely to produce quality cannabinoid products.

Extra Ingredients

Artificial colors and flavorings play a part in our decision whether to purchase a product or not. Products that avoid the addition of unnecessary ingredients rank higher in our books. Why put unnecessary ingredients into our bodies if we don’t have to?

Customer Service

Companies that take their customer service seriously are a sure sign of a high-quality company. Companies that invest in good customer service and easy access to questions you may have about the cannabinoid make the buying process easier. Customer concerns and complaints are sure to arise if the business is big enough and they’re selling enough products. It’s how the companies respond to customer concerns and complaints that distinguish quality companies from ones that are just in it for a quick buck.


In our increasingly connected modern World where shipping has become both affordable and quick companies that insure quick shipping of their products to customers are going to be favored over those that don’t. Customers don’t want to wait a long time for their products after they make the decision to purchase. Many companies offer free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount. Look for companies that offer both affordable and cheap shipping options.

Variety of Products

We look for companies that provide a variety of cannabinoid product options to their customers. We prefer these companies because this allows customers to get their cannabinoid products in one place versus having to shop from a variety of companies. Shopping from one high-quality cannabinoid company allows you to take advantage of bulk buying and free shipping options that may be offered by companies and customers who spend a certain dollar amount.

Methods Used to Extract Cannabinoids

Many individuals may be surprised to learn that there are a few ways in which cannabinoids can be extracted from the cannabis plant. Specifically, there are three primary ways that companies use your tractor cannabinoids including alcohol extraction; solvent extraction; and CO2 extraction. One of the methods is the gold standard, the other is an acceptable extraction method, and the other should be avoided at all costs.

CO2 Extraction

The Industry gold standard method for extracting can’t cannabinoids is CO2 extraction. This extraction method is the gold standard because of CO2’s unique ability to change physical state from a liquid to gas depending on the temperature in the pressure placed on CO2. Under high pressure and lower temperatures, the CO2 is in liquid form and it’s used to extract the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. After the cannabinoids are extracted, the solution is heated up and the pressure is relieved, which turns the CO2 gas and leaves a pure cannabinoid product.

The downside to CO2 extraction is that this method costs more money for the manufacturers of cannabinoid products to utilize which is ultimately passed down to the consumer. But sometimes purity and quality is worth paying for. If you’re not sure whether a company utilizes the CO2 extraction method you should reach out to a company representative and ask.

Alcohol Extraction

If you happen to decide not to choose a company that uses CO2 extraction we recommend that you use a company that utilizes alcohol traction over solvent traction. Alcohol traction like the name so just uses alcohol to pull the cannabinoids out of the cannabis plant. This method may not be suitable for those who have a history of alcohol use disorder or other addictions.

Solvent Extraction

Our least favorite method of cannabinoid extraction is solvent extraction. This method utilizes petroleum based chemicals to pull the cannabinoids out of the cannabis plant. The downside to this method is that sometimes solvents are left behind in the final cannabinoid product. Solvents have been linked to many adverse health outcomes. Why risk your health when you don’t have to?

The news and editorial staff of Sound Publishing, Inc. had no role in the preparation of this post. The views and opinions expressed in this sponsored post are those of the advertiser and do not reflect those of Sound Publishing, Inc.

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