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Is Delta-8 THC Addictive?

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States.[1] Although it is legal for medicinal use in most states and recreational use in some, it can still be addictive in chronic users. Marijuana is made up of several different chemicals. The primary active ingredients are THC and CBD. THC, particularly delta-9 THC, is the chemical that produces the high from marijuana.

Delta-8 THC, however, is a compound extremely similar to delta-9 THC that is legal in places where delta-9 isn’t. Due to the legal status of Delta-8, many young people and drug users alike believe the compound isn’t addictive and is safe to use. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

Like any mood or mind-altering substance, delta-8 THC is addictive when abused.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabis compound that is similar to but weaker than delta-9 THC, the main compound in marijuana that gets people high. While delta-9 THC is illegal on the federal level, delta-8 is legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill made it legal for hemp to be grown and used for extractions, and since delta-8 is extracted from hemp or cannabis, it is legal, as well.[2]

Delta-8 THC is popular among young people who cannot get their hands on marijuana, people who are seeking a legal high, or those who crave marijuana but are looking for a calmer, more moderate-high. It can be smoked, vaped, or ingested in the form of an edible. Since the drug has weaker psychoactive effects, many people wrongfully believe that delta-8 THC is not addictive.[3]

What Are The Effects of Delta-8 THC?

The side effects produced by delta-9 are similar to those produced by standard THC found in cannabis. Shortly after using the drug, individuals may experience cottonmouth and red eyes. Users may experience feelings of happiness, relaxation, calmness, or tiredness. In high doses, colors may appear more vivid and music may sound better.

In extremely high doses, delta-8 can cause anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, and mood swings.[4] However, since these unappealing symptoms are rare, many people believe delta-8 THC is safer and less addictive than marijuana.

How Does Delta-8 THC Compare to Marijuana (Cannabis)?

Structurally, delta-8 and delta-9 THC are very similar. They both bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce relaxing and calming effects. The primary difference is the potency. Delta-8 is less potent than regular THC. It is thought to produce the same high as marijuana — just without the anxiety, increased heart rate, and paranoia. Delta-8 also stays in your system as long as marijuana and can be detected on a drug test.

Is Delta-8 THC Addictive?

All substances that change the way people feel are addictive, including delta-8 THC. With that being said, it may take longer for addiction to delta-8 to develop and a person’s withdrawal symptoms may be less severe when compared to other more dangerous drugs like opioids or methamphetamine.

The longer and more often a person uses the drug, the higher their tolerance will become, provoking them to increase their dosage or frequency of use. Chronic delta-8 use can cause physical and mental dependency. As the system gets used to having delta-8 THC in the body, the brain and body become dependent on it to function.

Users who develop physical dependence may experience symptoms of marijuana withdrawal when they stop using the drug, such as irritability, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and depression.

How Do I Know If I’m Addicted?

In most circumstances, people who wonder whether or not they are addicted to a certain substance usually are. However, many people who suffer from addiction also experience denial. They are unable to see that their substance use has gotten out of control. As a result, it’s important to be able to spot the signs of drug addiction — regardless of what drug is being abused.

Symptoms of THC addiction include:

  • Continuing to use THC or delta-8 to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Needing to increase the dose consumed to feel high
  • Struggling to focus, sleep, or eat unless high
  • Spending excess time and money on the drug
  • Mental preoccupation with delta-8 THC use
  • Planning work and social activities around drug use
  • Lying to friends and family about substance use
  • Having mental cravings for delta-8
  • Continuing to use delta-8 despite worsening problems at school, home, work, or with one’s health
  • Inability to control one’s use or cut back on the amount used

Anyone who relates to two or more of the above-listed symptoms may have a substance use disorder.

Find Help for Delta-8 THC Addiction Today

Despite popular belief, delta-8 THC is an addictive substance. Even though it may not be as dangerous and addictive as marijuana or other drugs, it should still be used with caution. People who have a history of substance use disorder should avoid using any forms of THC, legal or illegal unless directed to do so by a physician.

If you or a loved one have found yourself hooked on delta-8, know that you’re not alone and we’re not here to judge you. We’re simply here to help you get your life back on track. Call today to see if our treatment programs are right for you.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5525418/
  2. https://www.usda.gov/farmbill
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/delta-8-thc-legal-many-states-some-want-ban-it-n1272270
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1572574/

Medically Reviewed: July 7, 2021

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

About

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

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.


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

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