How are Delta 8 and CBD different?
By Dharma D8 | April 22, 2021
When it comes to cannabis, there are a lot of different complicated-sounding names that get thrown around. It can sometimes be hard to keep them all straight. CBG, CBD, THC, CBC, CBE... After all, there are over 100 cannabinoids to think about (We'll talk more about what a cannabinoid is later down in the article.) But, there are two particular names that have been thrown around a lot more recently. They are delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 8 or D8 THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). There is a lot to say about each of these compounds. Right now, we just want to educate anyone who wants to know more about what they have in common and what about them are different. Let’s start by talking about the similarities.
What do Delta 8 and CBD have in common?
There is an awful lot that Delta 8 and CBD have in common, but there is also a fair amount that makes them pretty different. But because we prefer focusing on what brings things together, we want to start there.
Cannabis plants are pretty interesting organisms because they have something that nothing else has, chemical compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds are exciting because they are able to interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This is a system found in the human body made up of cellular receptors that help the body control several different functions, like mood and memory. Cannabinoids interact with the ECS and, as a result, have an effect on these functions. There are over 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis plants; D8 THC and CBD are just two of them.
There are two main variations of the cannabis plant that you’ll hear about. They are marijuana and hemp. These two variations are similar in many ways, but they differ in some very important ones too. One considerable similarity is that they both have Delta 8 and CBD in them. A major difference is that marijuana is federally illegal while hemp is federally legal. Hemp was legalized in 2018 by the latest version of the Farm Bill. When hemp was federally legalized, so were most of the cannabinoids found in the plant. This means that D8 THC and CBD products that have been made using hemp are federally legal. But there is an important nuance to remember here. Just because something is federally legal doesn’t mean that it is legal in every state. There are a handful of states that have either not legalized hemp or not legalized CBD and/or Delta 8. This means that if you’re interested in giving either D8 THC or CBD a try, you will need to familiarize yourself with your local laws on hemp.
Delta 8 and CBD are both cannabinoids that can interact with the ECS. They are both found in hemp and, as a result, are federally legal. That about covers it for what they have in common. Now, let’s move on to how they differ!
How are they different?
This is where things start to get a bit more interesting. Mainly because where these two cannabinoids differ lies mainly in how they affect you. So, now we get to talk about the fun stuff.
Let’s start with the one effect that everyone has questions about, a feeling of euphoria (also known as a high). To fully explain this, there is one more cannabinoid that we need to mention briefly. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC) is probably the most famous cannabinoid and is often thought of as just THC. When it interacts with ECS receptors, it binds with them tightly. This causes that psychoactive feeling of euphoria that is so often associated with cannabis. As you can guess from the name, D8 THC is very similar to Delta 9 THC. It just has a slight difference in its structure. This difference, while not enough to consider them wholly different, is enough to create a slightly different effect. Delta 8 also binds with the ECS receptors, but it doesn’t bind quite as tightly. This means that it causes a feeling of euphoria, but that feeling is often described as not as intense and more bodily than Delta 9 THC.
Because there are two cannabinoids that can cause a feeling of euphoria, the assumption often is that all cannabinoids can do the same. But this isn’t actually true. CBD isn’t psychoactive and doesn’t cause a feeling of euphoria. When CBD interacts with ECS receptors, it doesn’t bind tightly. It simply stimulates them. This keeps it from causing any sort of intoxication.
Another difference between these two cannabinoids is the amount of research that has been done on them. Though CBD has been legal in the United States for as long as D8 THC, more research has been done on CBD. Part of this is because of Delta 8’s connection to Delta 9 THC. As that cannabinoid is considered a Schedule 1 drug, it’s still federally illegal (even though you can find it in hemp). So, while it was difficult for researchers to get the go-ahead to study D8 THC, it wasn't as difficult for people to get their hands on CBD to study it.
That being said, there is still some pretty promising research that has been done on Delta 8. For example, this study found that D8 THC was able to help reduce pain and inflammation in mice corneas. Plus, Delta 8 is considered an anxiolytic, meaning that it may be able to help reduce anxiety when taken at the right levels. Both of these are very exciting benefits that do need more research but could still help a lot of people.
D8 THC has a few important similarities with CBD, but it differs in some pretty big ways as well. While CBD has been very popular over the last few years, Delta 8 is starting to make a name for itself too, and it’s not hard to see why. So, if you feel like you want to give some D8 THC a go, check out what we have here at Dharma8. We carry a diverse line of Delta 8 products made using only high-quality hemp so that you get the best D8 THC experience possible. Check out our shop page here!
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