Delta 8 VS Delta 9: What's the Difference?

Editors Note: This is a republished story. 

Hemp and marijuana plants contain many active ingredients. However, a lot of focus is on two specific natural compounds found in these plants – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

Most consumers have recently found out that there are two types of THC molecules in hemp and marijuana – Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC. Here is everything you need to know about these two compounds, including the key differences between delta-8 and delta-9.

THC: Short Recap

If you were wondering what ingredient is responsible for the “high” effect, it’s THC. It is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. Marijuana contains higher concentrations than industrial hemp.

It works pretty straightforwardly. We have the endocannabinoid system with CB1 and CB2 receptors, and THC binds to these receptors and exhibits its effects. When it binds to CB1 receptors, it induces the “high” effect, while CB2 binding induces relaxation. 

What is Delta 8

Delta 8 THC is naturally occurring in cannabis plants, both hemp and marijuana. Although it occurs in very small concentrations, it can still be derived thanks to distillation. It has a unique molecular structure and exhibits unique effects when consumed.

Delta 8 can exhibit very high neuroprotective potential and help relieve chronic pain. There are various Delta 8-based products on the market ranging from oils to edibles. With this in mind, let’s quickly see what Delta 9 is.

What is Delta 9

Delta 9 is also naturally occurring in cannabis plants. The more popularly used term for it is simply THC. Whenever you see an article referring to THC or outlining its effects and benefits, it’s, in fact, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the molecule that can induce elation and a classic “high” feeling.

Due to its profound effects, it caught the eye of researchers in the field of medicine. Delta 9 THC exhibits many properties; it can act as an appetite stimulant and prevent nausea, among other things.

Do you remember the Farm Bill from 2018? If one wants to grow hemp or make cannabis-based products legally, the THC levels have to be at 0.3% or less. The bill refers to Delta 9 THC. 

Delta 8 and Delta 9 – Key Differences

From what you’ve seen so far, it is easy to assume that Delta 8 and Delta 9 are two compounds with really similar properties and effects. In terms of molecular structure, Delta 8 and 9 are almost identical apart from a couple of electrons. 

However, there are some key differences that you should know about. 

Anxious and Paranoid Effects

There is a reason the Farm Bill dictates keeping the levels of Delta 9 THC levels below 0.3%. In some people, Delta 9 THC can induce feelings of anxiety. It can also make them feel paranoid for no apparent reason. It can also impact the performance of mental work. The “too much high” effect is only tied to Delta 9 THC.

Delta 8 THC is less psychoactive than Delta 9. People who experience these unpleasant feelings should instead try Delta 8. It is far less potent than Delta 9 and can enable people to enjoy cannabis or cannabis-based products carefree.

Relaxation Effects

Due to its potency, Delta 9 THC is more likely to induce elation rather than relaxation. After taking Delta 9 THC, people report the “high” feeling that can even build up to euphoria. It can elevate your mood. If this is how you imagine the relaxed state, Delta 9 THC may have some answers for you.

On the other hand, if you genuinely want to get rid of the tension without experiencing the “high” effect, Delta 8 THC might be a better option. It has a significantly milder effect when compared to Delta 9

The Effects Build Up

There is one more thing that makes Delta 8 and 9 different. They don’t only induce different effects, but they also do it at a different pace. Delta 9 THC is absorbed quickly, and it can induce the feelings mentioned above quite fast after consumption. This is an important thing to note as it can alter your plans for the afternoon or evening.

Unlike Delta9, Delta 8 THC is a slow kicker. It delivers a significantly smoother experience than Delta 9. After the consumption, the feelings of relaxation gradually come on, and there is considerably less risk that it can induce anxiety. 

To sum up, both Delta 8 and 9 THC are naturally occurring in cannabis plants. Delta 9 THC is the famous THC everyone talks about, while Delta 8 is its less potent counterpart. The critical difference is the pace at which these compounds build up effects. Delta 9 delivers more powerful effects than Delta 8, and it does it faster.


  • Steve Houpt

    April 7, 2021 at 9:03 am

    What is the ratio of terpenes to one another for a specific health condition?


  • Richard M. Cohen

    April 29, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Thank’s, It’s a great thing that this article suggested the importance.


  • Mariah

    June 2, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    What is difference between SMOKING DELTA 9 v. gummies? Thx!


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