Delta-8 THC products are not approved by the FDA and may put you at risk. Delta 8 THC is the middle ground between CBD and delta 9 THC. How is delta 8 THC different from CBD — and which is better for different health needs? Let us explain. Discover the differences, similarities, effects, and benefits of delta-8 THC and CBD, and how they help you.
5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties. Delta-8 THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant but is not found in significant amounts in the cannabis plant. As a result, concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).
It is important for consumers to be aware that delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. They may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk and should especially be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Here are 5 things you should know about delta-8 THC to keep you and those you care for safe from products that may pose serious health risks:
1. Delta-8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk.
The FDA is aware of the growing concerns surrounding delta-8 THC products currently being sold online and in stores. These products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use in any context. Some concerns include variability in product formulations and product labeling, other cannabinoid and terpene content, and variable delta-8 THC concentrations. Additionally, some of these products may be labeled simply as “hemp products,” which may mislead consumers who associate “hemp” with “non-psychoactive.” Furthermore, the FDA is concerned by the proliferation of products that contain delta-8 THC and are marketed for therapeutic or medical uses, although they have not been approved by the FDA. Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of federal law, but also can put consumers at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. This deceptive marketing of unproven treatments raises significant public health concerns because patients and other consumers may use them instead of approved therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.
2. The FDA has received adverse event reports involving delta-8 THC-containing products.
The FDA received 104 reports of adverse events in patients who consumed delta-8 THC products between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022. Of these 104 adverse event reports:
- 77% involved adults, 8% involved pediatric patients less than 18 years of age, and 15% did not report age.
- 55% required intervention (e.g., evaluation by emergency medical services) or hospital admission.
- 66% described adverse events after ingestion of delta-8 THC-containing food products (e.g., brownies, gummies).
- Adverse events included, but were not limited to: hallucinations, vomiting, tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
National poison control centers received 2,362 exposure cases of delta-8 THC products between January 1, 2021 (i.e., date that delta-8 THC product code was added to database), and February 28, 2022. Of the 2,362 exposure cases:
- 58% involved adults, 41% involved pediatric patients less than 18 years of age, and 1% did not report age.
- 40% involved unintentional exposure to delta-8 THC and 82% of these unintentional exposures affected pediatric patients.
- 70% required health care facility evaluation, of which 8% resulted in admission to a critical care unit; 45% of patients requiring health care facility evaluation were pediatric patients.
- One pediatric case was coded with a medical outcome of death.
3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects.
Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC (i.e., the component responsible for the “high” people may experience from using cannabis). The FDA is aware of media reports of delta-8 THC products getting consumers “high.” The FDA is also concerned that delta-8 THC products likely expose consumers to much higher levels of the substance than are naturally occurring in hemp cannabis raw extracts. Thus, historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.
4. Delta-8 THC products often involve use of potentially harmful chemicals to create the concentrations of delta-8 THC claimed in the marketplace.
The natural amount of delta-8 THC in hemp is very low, and additional chemicals are needed to convert other cannabinoids in hemp, like CBD, into delta-8 THC (i.e., synthetic conversion). Concerns with this process include:
- Some manufacturers may use potentially unsafe household chemicals to make delta-8 THC through this chemical synthesis process. Additional chemicals may be used to change the color of the final product. The final delta-8 THC product may have potentially harmful by-products (contaminants) due to the chemicals used in the process, and there is uncertainty with respect to other potential contaminants that may be present or produced depending on the composition of the starting raw material. If consumed or inhaled, these chemicals, including some used to make (synthesize) delta-8 THC and the by-products created during synthesis, can be harmful.
- Manufacturing of delta-8 THC products may occur in uncontrolled or unsanitary settings, which may lead to the presence of unsafe contaminants or other potentially harmful substances.
5. Delta-8 THC products should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.
Manufacturers are packaging and labeling these products in ways that may appeal to children (gummies, chocolates, cookies, candies, etc.). These products may be purchased online, as well as at a variety of retailers, including convenience stores and gas stations, where there may not be age limits on who can purchase these products. As discussed above, there have been numerous poison control center alerts involving pediatric patients who were exposed to delta-8 THC-containing products. Additionally, animal poison control centers have indicated a sharp overall increase in accidental exposure of pets to these products. Keep these products out of reach of children and pets.
Why is the FDA notifying the public about delta-8 THC?
A combination of factors has led the FDA to provide consumers with this information. These factors include:
- An uptick in adverse event reports to the FDA and the nation’s poison control centers.
- Marketing, including online marketing of products, that is appealing to children.
- Concerns regarding contamination due to methods of manufacturing that may in some cases be used to produce marketed delta-8 THC products.
The FDA is actively working with federal and state partners to further address the concerns related to these products and monitoring the market for product complaints, adverse events, and other emerging cannabis-derived products of potential concern. The FDA will warn consumers about public health and safety issues and take action, when necessary, when FDA-regulated products violate the law.
How to report complaints and cases of accidental exposure or adverse events:
If you think you are having a serious side effect that is an immediate danger to your health, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency room. Health care professionals and patients are encouraged to report complaints and cases of accidental exposure and adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
- Call an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator if you wish to speak directly to a person about your problem.
- Complete an electronic Voluntary MedWatch form online or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178.
- Complete a paper Voluntary MedWatch form and mail it to the FDA.
- To report adverse events in animals to the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, please download and submit Form FDA 1932a found at: www.fda.gov/ReportAnimalAE.
For more information about Delta-8 THC: CDC HEALTH ALERT NETWORK (HAN)
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) maintains the National Poison Data System (NPDS), which houses de-identified case records of self-reported information collected from callers during exposure management and poison information calls managed by the country’s poison control centers (PCCs). NPDS data do not reflect the entire universe of exposures to a particular substance as additional exposures may go unreported to PCCs; accordingly, NPDS data should not be construed to represent the complete incidence of U.S. exposures to any substance(s). Exposures do not necessarily represent a poisoning or overdose and AAPCC is not able to completely verify the accuracy of every report. Findings based on NPDS data do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AAPCC.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: Explaining the Differences and Similarities
Most people choose delta 8 THC because they consider it the perfect middle-ground between CBD and delta 8 THC.
But what exactly is the difference?
In this article, we’ll compare CBD and delta 8 THC in terms of their effects on the body, brain, appetite, and more.
We’ll also cover their legal status and whether they produce the same results on a drug test.
What Is Delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC, also known as the “diet weed” and “cannabis light” due to less potent cognitive effects, is an analog of delta 9 THC and belongs to the class of natural compounds known as cannabinoids. Extractors make delta 8 THC using a multistep process to isolate the compound from the raw plant material.
Hemp doesn’t synthesize delta 8 naturally; it only occurs as a metabolite of delta 9 THC’s degradation with time. Therefore, there are only trace amounts of delta 8 THC in hemp.
By using a natural catalytic reaction, manufacturers can now extract large quantities of delta 8 THC from hemp.
In its concentrated form, delta 8 THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in a similar fashion to delta 9 THC — but not to such a great extent.
Delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC have a very similar molecular structure. However, there’s a slight difference in how their atomic bonds are arranged.
The double bond location for delta 8 THC is at the 8th carbon chain, while the double bond in delta 9 THC occurs at the 9th carbon chain.
This difference makes delta 8 THC less potent than delta 9 — about 50-70%.
The cannabinoid can get you high, but the effects are more clear-headed, less anxious, and smoother than from delta 9.
That’s the reason why so many cannabis users are turning to delta 8 from normal weed.
Delta 8 THC can be obtained from both hemp and marijuana, but the only federally legal products are sourced from hemp.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for “cannabidiol” — the second major cannabinoid in cannabis and the most abundant one in hemp plants. Unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high because it’s non-intoxicating. That being said, it’s by all means psychoactive, contrary to what many people are saying.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, CBD affects the mind and emotions, so it fits into the definition of “psychoactive.”
On top of that, CBD has a wide range of potential benefits, with the greatest number of studies investigating its effects on the nervous system.
People usually take CBD in the form of oil. You can apply it under the tongue or mix it with food and beverages. Other popular consumption methods include taking CBD gummies, capsules, vapes, and topicals.
It’s worth noting that not every type of CBD oil is designed for vaping. Make sure to vape only the products that are labeled specifically for that use.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: Explaining the Differences
In this table, we demonstrate the major differences between Delta 8 THC vs. CBD:
|Delta 8 THC||CBD|
|Interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS)||CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist||The modulator of the ECS and FAAH inhibitor|
|Can It make you fail a drug test?||Yes||No|
|Most common health benefits||Anti-nausea, appetite stimulant, analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory||Anti-stress, anti-convulsant, muscle relaxant, anti-nausea, sleep regulation, anti-anxiety, analgesic|
|Side Effects||Dry mouth, red eyes, confusion, fatigue, sedation||Dry mouth, changes in appetite, irritation, dizziness|
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: How They Work
When it comes to the differences between delta 8 THC and CBD, we need to take a closer look at how they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Delta 8 THC directly activates CB1 and CB2 receptors which regulate everything from immune function to mood.
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have a direct affinity with the CB1 receptor. It’s only the agonist of the CB2 receptor, which is why CBD doesn’t get you high, unlike THC.
Instead, CBD modulates the activity of the ECS and helps it maintain homeostasis in the body by enhancing endocannabinoid signaling and slowing down the breakdown of the body’s natural endocannabinoids.
CBD also acts on 65 other molecular pathways that are independent of the ECS — hence its therapeutic versatility.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: Effects On the Brain
Another significant difference between delta 8 THC and CBD is the way they impact cognition and perception.
For delta 8 THC, this effect is much stronger than CBD. It’s going to induce a similar type of high to delta 9 THC, but without triggering anxiety and paranoia in sensitive users.
According to the textbook definition, both CBD and delta 8 THC are “psychoactive.”
This term refers to any substance or activity that has an impact on mood, perception, and emotions.
Since both delta 8 THC and CBD affect our mood and emotions, we may consider them both psychoactive.
That being said, the cognitive change from delta 8 THC is much more pronounced compared to CBD.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: Effects on Appetite Stimulation
Studies have shown that delta 8 THC is a strong appetite stimulant — even stronger than delta 9 THC.
CBD offers the exact opposite effects, resulting in moderate inhibition or reduction of appetite, effective for those who want to lose extra weight.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: Drug Testing
There’s also a vivid difference between delta 8 THC and CBD when it comes to drug testing.
Delta 8 THC can make you fail a drug test because such tests aren’t designed to distinguish delta 8 from delta 9. Even in states where marijuana is legal, you should abstain from taking delta 8 THC for at least three weeks prior to your drug screening.
CBD shouldn’t give you a false-positive result on a drug test as long as it comes from a certified source that can assure the THC content is below 0.3%.
According to health experts, a person would need to take around 2,000 mg of full-spectrum CBD daily to get a false-positive drug test result for THC, which is 40 times the standard dose of CBD for most individuals.
Delta 8 THC vs CBD: Legal Status
Delta 8 THC and CBD are treated in the same way by federal law. There are a few individual states that have enforced separate laws that view delta 8 THC the same way as marijuana.
Hemp-derived products, such as delta 8 THC and CBD, are legal on the federal level as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of delta 9 THC.
This condition allows hemp-derived CBD, as well as hemp-derived delta 8 THC, to remain legal in the light of the federal regulations.
Some states have other laws that ban all forms of THC (including delta 8).
What Are the Similarities Between Delta 8 THC and CBD?
Despite visible differences, delta 8 THC and CBD share some similar qualities, especially when it comes to their relaxing effects.
Some studies even suggest that the health benefits of both cannabinoids are greater when taken together than either of them in isolation.
So, rather than looking at delta 8 THC and CBD as competitors, we should consider them synergistic compounds that work in tandem to enhance each other’s therapeutic profile.
This phenomenon is known as “the entourage effect” or “whole-plant synergy.” According to this concept, the sum of all cannabis compounds is more effective than each of them alone.
Where to Buy Delta 8 THC and CBD?
Both delta 8 THC and CBD are in high demand. While CBD remains the winner in the wellness space, delta 8 THC excels when it comes to recreational use and natural ways to biohack your brain, increase productivity, regulate mood, and regulate stress response with hemp extracts.
You can find delta 8 THC and CBD products in online stores as well as in nearby vape shops, wellness centers, head shops, and specialty stores.
If you’re looking for the best deals on high-quality delta 8 and CBD extracts, we recommend finding a reputable online vendor. Unfortunately, the hemp market is still left without regulations, with a lot of scammy businesses entering the space with cheaply produced, untested products.
When buying CBD and delta 8 THC products online, make sure to buy only from companies that use organic hemp from local farms and test their products for potency and purity in third-party laboratories.
A laboratory is considered third-party if it has no affiliation with the manufacturer. The lab analysis should list the entire phytochemical profile, including delta 8 THC levels, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and results for contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metal reagents, bleaches, and mycotoxins.
Final Thoughts on the Differences Between Delta 8 THC vs CBD
Despite coming from the same parent plant — Cannabis sativa L. — CBD and delta 8 THC produce different effects on the body and brain.
Delta 8 THC produces a cognitive change, which is much different than the body-focused effects of CBD. Of course, CBD can also improve your mood and help regulate emotions, but delta 8 provides a similar kind of buzz to the one created by delta 9 THC.
Furthermore, delta 8 THC boosts appetite, while CBD appears to reduce it.
Both cannabinoids are legal in the United States as long as they’re sourced from hemp.
Despite many differences, delta 8 THC and CBD share many of the same health benefits. Their primary role is to regulate the endocannabinoid system and promote homeostasis.
If you don’t mind some alteration to your perception, go for delta 8 THC.
If a weed-like buzz isn’t your pair of shoes, go for CBD instead.
Which cannabinoid do you prefer — Delta 8 THC or CBD? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
What’s the Difference Between Delta-8 THC and CBD?
Is delta-8 stronger than CBD? Which is better for anxiety? Can you take them together?
Delta-8-THC, often shortened to delta-8, is an intoxicating analog of delta-9 best used for pain, inflammation, sleep, and appetite stimulation. CBD is a popular non-intoxicating cannabinoid best used for pain, depression, PTSD, appetite suppression, and general health and wellness.
CBD is better for mild anxiety symptoms, while delta-8 is better for moderate anxiety. They’re also useful for anxiety when combined. CBD has no known side effects or addictive properties, whereas Delta-8 research is TBD on its longer term effects for regular use.
Delta-8 vs CBD: What are the main differences?
Delta-8 and CBD are both naturally occurring cannabinoids present in cannabis (hemp and marijuana). Delta-8 is intoxicating and will induce a euphoric high. CBD is non-intoxicating and won’t cause a high. CBD’s therapeutic benefits are gentle and subtle, while delta-8’s are stronger and more noticeable. Both are good for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and sleep but also have unique benefits of their own.
- Cannabis carries up to 1% delta-8 THC and up to 20% CBD
- Delta-8 is an analog of delta-9 THC, meaning it has a similar molecular structure and affinity with your cannabinoid receptors (causes a euphoric high). CBD’s molecular structure is similar to CBG and won’t bind to your cannabinoid receptors (no euphoric high).
- Delta-8 and CBD have anti-anxiety, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and sleep promoting qualities (separately or together).
- CBD is federally legal in all 50 US states and protected under the 2018 Farm Bill.
- Delta-8’s federal legality is in a grey area and is illegal in several states, under State review.
What is delta-8 THC good for?
Similar to delta-9 THC, delta-8 is good for many health and wellness benefits. While scientific research on delta-8 is lacking, some preclinical studies and lots of anecdotal stories suggest delta-8’s effects are good for the following:
- Anxiety and stress reduction (with CBD and CBG)
- Pain relief and anti-inflammation (with CBD)
- Nausea and vomiting (on its own or with THC)
- Appetite stimulation (with or without THC)
What is CBD good for?
CBD boasts a huge array of health and wellness benefits. There are thousands of research papers spanning decades suggesting CBD’s effects and interaction with your body might help you with the following:
- Anxiety, stress reduction, and relief from PTSD symptoms (with CBG and THC)
- Pain relief and anti-inflammation (with delta-8, THC, and CBG)
- Acne, psoriasis, and skin inflammation
- Appetite suppression
- Substance abuse and addiction
Is delta-8 stronger than CBD? Does it get you high?
Yes, delta-8 THC is stronger than CBD. Delta-8 binds to both cannabinoid receptors, resulting in a euphoric high similar to THC but with roughly half the potency. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t bind to either of the cannabinoid receptors, thus causing no euphoric high or intoxicating effects.
Delta-8 THC products cause a euphoric high that’s similar to a THC high. Photo: Elsa Olofsson/Oracle
However, CBD can reduce the effects of a delta-8 high. CBD is known as a negative allosteric modulator of CB1 similar to CBG. This means it attaches itself to the receptor but in a different location than delta-8. This modulatory activity causes the receptor to change shape, thus preventing delta-8 from fully binding to it, resulting in less potent effects.
Is delta-8 or CBD better for anxiety?
In general, CBD is better for mild anxiety, while delta-8 is better for moderate anxiety. CBD’s subtle balancing effects can gently soothe your mind and body, especially when consumed daily. Delta-8’s effects are stronger and far more noticeable, particularly in moderate doses, which is great for stubborn, longer-lasting anxiety symptoms.
How do delta-8 and CBD work for anxiety?
CBD’s calming anti-anxiety effects work via serotonin receptor activation. CBD’s activation of serotonin receptors allows your body to utilize already existing serotonin molecules more efficiently. Serotonin is the happiness molecule responsible for anxiety and stress reduction.
Delta-8 for anxiety works differently. It binds to and activates CB1 receptors. While CB1 activation doesn’t necessarily cause anti-anxiety benefits, the moderate euphoria is enough to induce short-term happiness, relaxation, and feelings of overall mental satisfaction.
Delta-8 THC vs CBD for sleep
While delta-8 and CBD are decent cannabinoids for sleep and sleep-related problems on their own, we believe they’re more effective when combined. Delta-8’s euphoric and mildly sedating effects at CB1 receptors combined with CBD’s calming qualities at serotonin receptors are a perfect mix for a restful night’s sleep.
Conclusion: Is delta-8 better than CBD?
Delta-8 and CBD share very similar benefits but their effects on your mind and body are totally different. Therefore, comparing the two and choosing which one’s better for your health and wellness needs is difficult.
If you’re looking for gentle and subtle therapeutic effects, CBD should be your go-to, particularly if you combine it with other soothing cannabinoids such as CBG and CBC. A high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil with additional terpenes and a spice of THC is a good option here.
However, if you’re looking for something stronger and more powerful, delta-8 is a powerhouse addition to your daily health and wellness regime. Beginners should start with a decent delta-8 oil or expertly crafted, high quality delta-8 gummies. Be cautious from buying “street products” and ensure all products are Third Party Tested before trying.