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The Ultimate Guide To The Contrasts Of Delta 8 And Delta 9

The cannabis plant has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational properties. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the various compounds found in cannabis and hemp, particularly delta-8 THC.

You've probably heard of delta-9, the primary component in cannabis associated with the psychoactive effects you receive when you smoke marijuana. But what about delta-8? What are the differences between the two cannabinoids? 

In this guide, we will explore the differences, benefits, risks, and everything you need to know about delta-8 and delta-9 THC before you purchase any goods with these primary or secondary ingredients.

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What Is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. 

It belongs to a group of compounds known as cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) When introduced to the body, they interact with receptors in the human body's endocannabinoid system, a system throughout the body designed to support homeostasis.

THC is known for its psychoactive effects, producing a feeling of euphoria or "high" when consumed. However, it also has potential therapeutic uses, with research suggesting that it may help to relieve pain, nausea, and muscle spasms. 

THC is typically consumed through smoking or vaporizing dried cannabis flowers, but it can also be found in edibles, tinctures, and other cannabis-based products. Its use is regulated or prohibited in many parts of the world due to its psychoactive effects and potential for abuse.

What Is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis sativa plant that is similar in structure to delta-9, the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Delta-8 naturally occurs in cannabis plants in substantially small amounts. 

As such, Delta 8 products are typically made by synthetically converting CBD or delta-9 THC into delta-8. But much like delta-9 and CBD, delta-8 products are available in many forms, including edibles, tinctures, vaping cartridges, and even infused drinks.

Potential Health Benefits

Delta-8 is said to offer a mild, subtle high, which can make it a better option for those who are new to cannabis and want to avoid intense psychoactive effects. A 2022 study surveyed 521 delta-8 users, many of whom claimed that the side effects of delta-8 products were not as bad as that of regular cannabis. 

Additionally, a recent study survey showed that half of the people who used delta-8 used it for medical reasons, specifically:

  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Stress
  • Bipolar disorder

The research showed that consumers felt delta-8 was an effective substitute. In some instances, they thought delta-8 had less severe side effects.

Other potential benefits of delta-8 THC may include improved sleep quality, improved appetite, and reduced inflammation. However, more research is needed to understand the full scope of delta-8’s effects on the body.

What Is Delta 9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is the most abundant form of THC in cannabis plants. It is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the plant’s intoxicating effects. 

Delta-9 is a powerful, naturally occurring compound that has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. It binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body, for which the binding with the CB1 is responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects.

It’s also available in a variety of forms, including edibles, tinctures, oils, capsules, and more. It is also available in a variety of concentrations (with far more potent options available in today’s market), depending on the product.

Potential Health Benefits 

While its use is still controversial and heavily regulated or illegal in many places, research has shown that it may have some potential health benefits and real-world medical applications. Some benefits of consuming delta-9 THC may include:

  • Decreased anxiety
  • Pain relief
  • Relaxation
  • Feelings of happiness or exhilaration
  • Heightened imagination
  • Improved sensory perception

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of dronabinol (Marinol), a synthetic form of delta-9 THC, to stimulate appetite in people undergoing chemotherapy, individuals with HIV/AIDS, and anorexia. This may be a benefit for others as well.3

However, it is important to speak with a medical professional before trying either of these compounds, as they can interact with certain medications and may not be suitable for everyone.

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Delta 8 vs. Delta 9: Main Differences

Delta-8 and delta-9 are both forms of THC. However, there are some key differences worth noting that distinguish these two cannabinoids. Here are the main differences between delta-8 and delta-9.



Delta-9 is the most abundant and well-known cannabinoid in cannabis. It is produced naturally by the plant and is responsible for the majority of its psychoactive effects. It is synthesized in the trichomes of the cannabis plant, which are small, hair-like structures that cover the leaves and buds. 

Delta-8, on the other hand, is a far less prominent cannabinoid that occurs in much lower concentrations in the plant. It is produced through the degradation of delta-9, either through natural processes or through chemical conversion.



Delta-8 is said to be slightly less potent than delta-9, but this doesn’t mean that it’s any less effective. It’s believed that delta-8 has a lower affinity for the CB1 receptor, meaning that it binds less strongly than delta-9. 

This means that delta-8 should have a less intense psychoactive effect than delta-9, but it can still produce a strong feeling of relaxation and euphoria.

The fact that delta-9 has stronger psychoactive properties also means the compound can deliver more severe adverse effects.

It's worth noting that the potency and effects of both delta-8 and delta-9 can vary depending on the dose, the method of consumption, and individual factors such as body weight, metabolism, and tolerance. Don’t do anything on delta-8 that you wouldn’t do on delta-9.



According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC are federally legal. In technical terms, this renders delta-8 THC legal because it is obtained from hemp extracts. However, some states have placed restrictions on delta-8 THC sale and use. 

Delta-9 THC is still federally illegal in the United States and is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Delta-9 products are only accessible if you live in a US state with legalized medical or recreational cannabis. However, some organizations are using loopholes to sell delta-9 THC by deriving it from hemp rather than cannabis.

It is important to note that the legality of delta-8 and delta-9 THC products may vary from state to state and laws can be tricky. Therefore, it is important to check the laws in your state before purchasing any THC products.


Molecular Structure

Delta-8 and delta-9 have different molecular structures that may contribute to their different effects on the body.

Delta-8 and delta-9 both have a similar chemical formula, C21H30O2 but differ in the placement of a double bond in their molecular structure. Delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon chain while delta-9 has a double bond on the ninth carbon chain. 

This subtle difference in structure can affect the way the molecule interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system.

Different Type Of High

Compared to delta-9, delta-8 is reported to have a milder and subtler effect, with less intense psychoactive properties. Some users describe the delta-8 high as more clear-headed and functional than delta-9, which can cause a stronger euphoric and sedative effect.

Delta-8 is also said to have a lower risk of inducing anxiety, paranoia, or other negative side effects that some people experience with delta-9 as well. This may make delta-8 a preferable option for those who are sensitive to the effects of delta-9 or who are looking for a milder cannabis experience.


Delta 8 And Delta 9: Factors To Consider When Choosing Right Dosage For You

There are a few factors that you take into consideration when you’re trying either for the first time. 

  • The most important factor is your tolerance level and experience with cannabis. Those who are new to cannabis should start with a low dose and increase gradually as their tolerance builds up.
  • Consider your desired effects. The effects of delta-8 and delta-9 can vary depending on the dosage. A lower dose may produce a more mild and more relaxing effect, while a higher dose may produce a more intense and euphoric effect. Consider what effects you are looking for when choosing your dosage
  • It is also important to consider the type of product being used, as some products contain higher concentrations of delta-8 or delta-9 than others.
  • Other personal factors, such as age, weight, and metabolism, can also affect the dosage.

It is important to remember that delta-8 and delta-9 can have different effects on different people, so it is important to experiment with different doses to find the one that works best for you.


Can I Take Delta 8 And Delta 9 Together?

The short answer is yes, you can take delta-8 and delta-9 THC together. However, it is important to note that the effects of combining the two compounds can be unpredictable and may vary from person to person.

Also, there are limited studies on the effects of combining delta-8 and delta-9, and it is not clear whether it is safe to take them together. It is generally recommended to avoid mixing different types of THC, as they may have unpredictable effects and could increase the risk of side effects.

It is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before using any new substances, including delta-8 and delta-9, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.


Which Is Better For You? Delta 8 THC Vs Delta 9 THC

Ultimately, the choice between delta-8 and delta-9 THC comes down to personal preference. Both compounds offer their unique benefits and drawbacks. Neither is necessarily a better choice in regard to your health. 

Consider your needs and goals when deciding which compound is better for you. If you’re new to cannabis, delta-8 might be a good place to start, as it’s said to be milder and less overwhelming than delta-9. 

If you’re looking for a more intense experience (and it’s legal in your state), delta-9 might be the way to go.


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Final Thoughts 

As more cannabinoids flood the market, keeping track of what they are and what they do can be difficult. Fortunately, cannabinoids like are easy to understand, especially in relation to similar cannabinoids like delta-9 THC.

But beyond simply knowing what cannabinoids do, you have to know that the company you’re buying them from is invested in your health and experience. Say, for example, that you’re interested in trying full-spectrum CBD with low amounts of THC. Who do you turn to? FOCL is here to help you begin your wellness journey!

Try FOCL's Premium Full-Spectrum CBD products, expertly crafted with the highest quality ingredients and backed by scientific research to help you achieve optimal wellness. Sign up now and earn points, and by referring a friend, you both can earn $20 for their first order.

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    Does delta-9 get you higher than delta-8?

    Yes. Delta-9 THC is more likely to produce a strong psychoactive effect, such as an intense feeling of euphoria or an altered state of consciousness. Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is said to be less psychoactive and produces a milder effect. 

    There’s also the fact that delta-9 products have become increasingly more potent over the years, with some achieving extremely high levels that can lead to an unpleasant experience.


    How to tell the difference between delta-8 and delta-9 by looking?

    Delta-8 and delta-9 THC are very similar in structure and appearance. The only way to tell them apart is to test them in a lab. Make sure you keep your products in properly labeled, separate containers if you plan on trying both.


    What is the best high delta-8, 9, or 10?

    There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the individual and the desired effects. Delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 are all cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. 

    Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" that people experience when they use cannabis. Delta-8 and delta-10 THC are similar to delta-9 THC in their chemical structure and effects, but they are present in much smaller amounts in cannabis plants. They may both also have milder effects.

    Which delta is the strongest?

    Delta-9 THC is the most psychoactive form of THC and is the primary form of THC found in the cannabis plant. Delta-8 THC is believed to be less psychoactive and produces a milder effect. Ultimately, the strongest form of THC for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.



    1. Kruger, J. S., & Kruger, D. J. (2022). Delta 8-THC: Delta 9-THC’s nicer younger sibling? Journal of Cannabis Research, 4(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8 
    2. Kruger, D. J., & Kruger, J. S. (2023). Consumer experiences with Delta 8-THC: Medical use, pharmaceutical substitution, and comparisons with Delta 9-THC. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 8(1), 166–173. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2021.0124 
    3. RH;, V. E. A. S. (n.d.). Medicinal applications of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and marijuana. Annals of internal medicine. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9148653/