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Medically Reviewed

How is Delta 8 Different From Marijuana?

- 8 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

medically-verified

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Marijuana is a substance that comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. People who use this substance recreationally might smoke it or mix it into food to eat it (edibles). While marijuana is legal in some states for medicinal and recreational use, it remains illegal on a federal level.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 52.5 million people reported using marijuana in 2021.[1]

The active ingredient in marijuana that causes psychoactive effects is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the states where marijuana is illegal, there have been several attempts to create a THC product that can be sold legally in gas stations and smoke shops. The most recent substance to be used in this manner is delta-8 THC.

While delta-8 THC produces many of the same effects as delta 9-THC, the primary active compound in marijuana, there are a few characteristics that make delta-8 different from marijuana.

What are the Main Differences Between Marijuana and Delta 8?

Marijuana contains delta 9 THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Delta-8 THC is a different cannabinoid that has a more mild psychoactive effect when consumed. However, delta-8 THC can still cause effects like drowsiness, mild euphoria, and other effects common with the cannabis plant.

The main differences between marijuana and delta-8 include:

Delta 8 is a Specific Cannabinoid

Marijuana refers to the entire cannabis plant, while delta-8 is a specific cannabinoid found in the plant. To explain, marijuana has delta-9 THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and more, while delta-8 is specific to one cannabinoid. Delta-8 is a minor cannabinoid that only contains 0.3% THC, making it less potent than the traditional marijuana that people consume to get high.

Delta 8 Has Lower THC Concentrations

The main difference between marijuana and delta-8 is the concentration of THC. Typically, marijuana has anywhere from 12% to 30% THC, while delta-8 has less than 0.3%. This is because delta-8 is derived from hemp, rather than the entire cannabis plant.

Differences in Legal Restrictions

Another difference between marijuana and delta-8 is their legal restrictions. While many states have begun allowing medicinal or recreational marijuana use, it remains illegal on a federal level.

Delta-8 has less clear-cut restrictions, as it is legal due to loopholes in current federal and state laws. With that being said, the legality of delta-8 THC can differ depending on the jurisdiction you are in, making it important that you check your local laws before purchasing the product.

There is a Lack of Studies on Delta 8

Lastly, while delta-8 has fewer psychoactive effects than marijuana, the safety of the substance is largely unknown. This is because there has been a lack of comprehensive scientific studies on the full extent of delta-8’s safety.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there were 104 adverse event reports associated with delta-8 from December 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022, with 55% of them requiring medical intervention or hospital admission.[2]

What are the Effects of Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 contains less THC than marijuana, which means the effects are more mild. However, you can still experience the common effects of THC when you use delta-8, such as drowsiness, euphoria, dizziness, and feelings of calmness. People might also experience adverse effects associated with THC, like anxiety, paranoia, or an increased heart rate.

Many people claim that delta-8 has helped them deal with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, and even appetite issues. However, none of these “benefits” are scientifically proven.

Some people have reported experiencing adverse effects after using delta-8, such as:[3]

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Slowed or fast heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Hallucinations or psychosis
  • Vomiting
  • Shakiness or tremors

Can You Get Addicted to Delta 8?

Because delta-8 contains less THC than marijuana, many people believe it is safer to use. However, you can still get addicted to delta-8 when used frequently. While there are not many studies on the addictive properties of it, any drug that produces psychoactive effects can lead to a substance use disorder.

Signs of a substance use disorder include:[4]

  • Consuming the substance in larger amounts or for a longer time than intended
  • Having a persistent desire to cut down on or completely stop using the substance but being unsuccessful
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of a substance
  • Experiencing uncontrollable urges or cravings to use the substance
  • The use of the substance impairs your ability to perform at home, school, or work
  • Continuing to use the substance despite facing interpersonal issues
  • Using the substance in unsafe situations, such as while driving
  • Continuing to use the substance despite facing worsening physical or mental health effects
  • Needing more of the substance to experience the desired effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you cannot use the substance

If you or a loved one experiences the above-mentioned symptoms while using delta-8, you could be suffering from addiction. Thankfully, drug rehab programs like the Carolina Center for Recovery can help you regain control over your life.

Find Help for THC Abuse

If you or a loved one frequently abuse delta-8 THC, it’s time to seek professional help. The long-term risks of abusing delta-8 are largely unknown, making it important that you receive addiction treatment sooner rather than later.

At Carolina Center for Recovery, we can provide you with the tools and support you need to overcome delta-8 THC addiction. We offer individualized, extended-term treatment in an intimate setting located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our team is comprised of doctors, clinicians, therapists, mentors, and recovery coaches with decades of experience in the addiction field.  We take a holistic approach to treating addiction, offering a variety of treatment modalities centered around identifying and resolving the underlying issues associated with the addiction.

Please contact us today for more information on our drug rehab programs in North Carolina.

References:

  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of cannabis (marijuana) use in the United States, Retrieved October 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-scope-marijuana-use-in-united-states
  2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): 5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, Retrieved October 2023 From https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-delta-8-thc
  3. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM): Be Aware of Adverse Reactions to Delta-8 THC, Retrieved October 2023 From https://uwm.edu/news/be-aware-of-adverse-reactions-to-delta-8-thc/
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Diagnosing and Classifying Substance Use Disorders, Retrieved October 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565474/table/nycgsubuse.tab9/

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