Delta-8-THC: What Is It, and How Does It Work?
Much has been made in recent years over the key differences between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both of these chemicals offer multiple health and wellness benefits, although CBD products lack sufficient levels of THC to produce psychoactive effects. When people talk about THC’s ability to produce a high, they’re typically talking about Delta-9-THC. However, there’s another variant of THC that produces a distinctive high of its own, one that many people might find more attractive. This variant is called Delta-8-THC — and it’s starting to claim its place in the psychoactive spotlight. Let’s examine the science of how this substance differs from Delta-9-THC, how it works in the brain, and what effects it can offer.
THC and the Brain
Like so many other chemicals, THC in its various forms interacts with receptors known as cannabinoid receptors. You actually have types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors reside primarily in the brain, while CB2 receptors can be found more abundantly in your digestive and immune systems. In addition to bonding with ingested or inhaled THC, the CB1 and CB2 receptors also bond to the body’s own natural cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG.
Delta-8 and Delta-9 get their names from the location of one particular carbon bond on either the eight or the ninth chain of the compound in question. As tiny as this difference may be, it’s sufficient to make Delta-THC-9 and Delta-THC-8 interact with your endocannabinoid system in different ways. As a general rule, THC forms stronger bonds with CB1 receptors than it does with CB2 receptors. However, Delta-8-THC bonds less successfully with the brain’s many CB1 receptors than Delta-9-THC.
The Delta-8-THC Difference
Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC are the only substances known to produce a marijuana high. But because of Delta-8-THC’s weaker bonding with CB1 receptors, this variant seems to produce lesser, gentler psychotropic effects than its stronger cousin. Research indicates that the potency level of Delta-8-THC usually hovers below 50 percent of that of Delta-9-THC, although some products may have as little as 10 percent of this potency level. This reduced potency means that Delta-8-THC may be much less likely to cause some of Delta-9’s undesirable side effects, such as paranoia and anxiety.
Medical Potential: What the Studies Show
Despite its relative gentleness as a psychotropic substance, Delta-8-THC appears to have some powerful benefits in other directions. For one thing, it seems to boast more than 200 percent of Delta-9-THC’s effectiveness as an antiemetic. One study showed that Delta-9-THC actually prevented vomiting in pediatric chemotherapy patients. The dosage administered in the study only caused euphoria in a couple of the participants. This detail had led researchers to speculate that Delta-8-THC’s relatively light psychotropic effects give this variant a wider therapeutic window (the range of dosage which provides the most desirable effects with the least undesirable ones) than Delta-9-THC can offer.
Delta-8-THC also does a more powerful job of counteracting lack of appetite than Delta-9-THC. This feature, combined with its anti-emetic properties and its minimal psychotropic effect, could make it an important element in cancer patient treatment programs. It appears that combining CBD with Delta-8-THC can turn down the psychotropic effect even further, allowing doctors to fine-tune it to suit individual patients’ needs and tolerances.
Some research hints the Delta-8-THC may even help people think. The compound seems to increase levels of an important neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine. Acetylcholine aids in neuroplasticity, cognition, arousal, and memory. Delta-9-THC is known to preserve existing acetylcholine levels in the brain, with studies suggesting that marijuana may play a role in Alzheimer’s treatment by slowing the disease’s progression.
Research continues on the fascinating effects and benefits of Delta-8-THC. in the meantime, you may be happy to know that this THC variant is actually legal in Arizona (and other states that have legalized hemp products and medical marijuana). Contact All Greens Dispensary to learn more!