Medically Reviewed By:Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine
Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents
Delta 8 For Pain – What You Should Know
In 2016, it was estimated that 20.4% of America’s population lived with chronic pain and 8.0% had high-impact chronic pain.
Chronic pain has been linked to various mental and physical conditions, and it also contributes to the high cost of medical care as well as low productivity.
The cannabis plant has been used in treating numerous ailments for thousands of years, even though there was little to no scientific research to support the health benefit of cannabis back then.
Studies on cannabis and hemp have since expanded, and new discoveries are being made about the cannabis plant, its effects, and potential health benefits on the human body.
If you are reading this article or experiencing chronic pain, then you may have heard about delta 8 THC for pain relief.
How true are these claims?
What does the research say about delta 8 for pain relief?
Keep reading to find out more about delta 8 and its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Delta 8 is a naturally occurring minor cannabinoid in the hemp plant and the cannabis plant.
It is found in trace amounts, usually about 0.01% of the plant, so extraction in significant amounts would require a massive number of plants.
However, scientific research has found a way of transforming CBD or delta 9 THC from cannabis and hemp plants into delta 8 THC in the laboratory, making it possible to get delta 8 THC in large quantities.
Delta 8 is an endogenous cannabinoid that binds with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2) found in your endocannabinoid system (More about this later in the article).
Research and reports from users of delta 8 THC show that may be associated with:
- Minor pain
- Minor nausea reduction
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce stress
- Induce restful sleep
- Act as an appetite stimulant
Can Delta 8 THC Cause a High?
Yes, delta 8 can get you high.
As an analog of delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive compound known to cause a high in marijuana possesses similar psychoactive properties to delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 and delta 9 share the same chemical formula but a different chemical structure.
Both compounds have a carbon double bond, but the chemical structure of delta 8 places its double bond on the eighth carbon chain, and delta 9’s can be found on the ninth carbon chain.
This variation in the chemical structure may seem insignificant at a glance, but it is responsible for how they bind with the cannabinoid receptors, which causes the difference in the effects of the compounds on the human body.
Delta 9 THC is more potent than delta 8, which makes the psychoactive effects of delta 8 mild, smooth, and mellow, and it doesn’t trigger stress.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a natural cell signaling network found in the body.
It consists of endogenous cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2), and enzymes that synthesize or degrade the cannabinoids.
CB1 receptors are mainly located in the central nervous system, the brain, and the spinal cord, and CB2 receptors are located in the peripheral nervous system and the immune cells.
The discovery of the ECS is relatively new, and scientists are still researching its main function in the human body, but it is believed to play a significant role in regulating pain, inflammation, mood, sleep, appetite, learning and memory, embryonic development, etc.
How The ECS Works
Your body naturally produces endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids that bind with cannabinoid receptors to regulate various physiological responses.
The ECS performs its functions when CB1 and CB2 receptors bind with the endocannabinoids produced by your body.
CB1 receptors are considered to be the main primary cannabinoid receptors that regulate most of the major physiological and central neural activities like pain.
Delta 8 For Pain - How It Works
The endocannabinoids that your body naturally produces have a similar chemical structure to the chemical structure of regular THC found in hemp and cannabis.
According to the National Cancer Institute, delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, located in the central nervous system.
Research shows that the CB1 receptors are located in parts of the nervous system, particularly the brain, that controls pain signals.
By binding to the CB1 receptors in the brain, delta 8 THC produces psychotropic effects and may ease pain.
What Research Says About Delta 8 For Pain
Activation of the endocannabinoids has been reported to have pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects among users, but what does the research say?
A study conducted in 2018 explored the effects of delta 8 and CBD on mice with corneal injury.
The result of the study showed that administering delta 8 THC to the mice reduced their pain score.
The study also revealed that delta 8 THC mediated its antinociceptive (pain-blocking) and anti-inflammatory effects through the CB1 receptors.
Although more research needs to be done on delta 8 THC in humans, we can base the effectiveness of delta 8 THC for chronic pain relief on available research on delta 9 and cannabinoids for pain management in humans.
A 2009 study looked at delta-9 THC treatment in chronic central neuropathic pain. A total of 172 patients were given 7.5mg delta 9 THC each, on average, over a seven months period. The results showed a significant improvement in their treatments. The study also witnessed a drop in opioid use by the patients.
Although 25% of the patients did not tolerate the treatment due to side effects, the scientists concluded that a supplemental delta 9 THC as part of a broader chronic pain management plan may be a promising analgesic therapeutic option.
Since delta 8 THC often has low side effects on the body but produces similar health benefits as delta 9 THC, it may serve as a better alternative to delta 9 when it comes to managing minor pain.
Types Of Delta 8 For Pain
Hemp products like delta 8 THC come in different forms, and you will most likely find a product type that will work for you according to your preference. Delta 8 THC products can be found as edibles, smokeables, oils, or creams.
Delta 8 THC Edibles
Delta 8 THC edibles are food products that have been infused with delta 8 THC, like delta 8 gummies, cookies, candies, and even beverages, among others. When you consume delta 8 edibles, they get metabolized by your liver and then get absorbed into your bloodstream, where it binds with the cannabinoid receptors to take effects.
Delta 8 THC Smokables & Inhalables
Delta 8 flowers can be purchased directly and smoked without being infused in food products. Smoking induces delta 8 effects more quickly, but it doesn’t last long as compared to the other forms of delta 8 THC.
There are also electronic vape cartridges that let you inhale your delta 8 THC products for a quick release of its effects.
Delta 8 THC Tinctures and Oils
These are natural oils that have been infused with delta 8 THC. When placed under the tongue, they dissolve quickly and are absorbed directly into your bloodstream to take effect.
Delta 8 THC Topicals or Creams
If you prefer to apply your delta 8 THC directly onto the area affected by pain, then you can opt for delta 8 topicals or creams. Cannabinoid receptors can also be found on the skin as well, so it is possible to apply delta 8 directly to your skin to feel its effects.
Delta 8 THC Side Effects
Research shows that delta 8 THC has very negligible side effects even when administered in higher doses. There have been a few cases where the following negative side effects have been noted:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- High heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
Sometimes, dosing an amount that your body cannot handle may cause these adverse side effects, as well as mixing your delta 8 THC with other prescribed medication. It is, therefore, always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using delta 8 THC for pain relief.
How To Get The Best From Delta 8 THC
Although delta 8 effects are different for everyone, you can get the best out of your delta 8 edibles by checking these safety boxes:
- Purchase high-quality delta 8 products like our delta 8 gummies 500 mg - fake, or low-quality cannabis products can hinder its effects and possibly pose health risks.
- Choose a consumption method that you prefer - the method of consuming delta 8 can determine its effects, but each method still has its advantages and drawbacks, so choose what works for you by experimenting.
- Check third-party lab results - cannabis products that contain more than the legal 0.3% delta 9 THC can land you in trouble with state laws. It can also cause more intense side effects.
- Start with a smaller dose - it is advisable to start taking delta 8 THC in smaller doses, especially if you are a new user. Wait for its effects to kick in, and increase the dose if you feel you need to do so.
Delta 8 THC products come in delta 8 isolates and full-spectrum delta 8, which combine other cannabinoids like CBD, flavonoids, and terpenes that work together in synergy to create what is referred to as the entourage effect.
Users report that full spectrum delta 8 THC with high-quality ingredients gives the best effects, and it's accompanied by few side effects, so opting for full spectrum delta 8 might give you the best effects.
Delta 8 Vs CBD For Pain Relief
Delta 8 and CBD have the same chemical formula but different chemical structures, which makes the compounds bind with the endocannabinoid system in entirely different ways.
CBD products don’t produce mind-altering effects, but research shows that CBD oil or CBD gummies also may have pain relief properties, among other health benefits associated with helping you alleviate pain.
There is no “right” cannabinoid when it comes to choosing one for relieving pain since these cannabinoids affect everyone in different ways - and this includes delta 8 THC. You should therefore know your body and choose what works best for you.
Delta 8 Vs Delta 10 For Pain
Delta 8 and delta 10 are isomers, but their difference might depend on what you are looking for in a cannabinoid. Delta 10 THC isn’t as potent as delta 8 THC, and it has a low affinity to CB1 receptors, so its intoxicating effects may be energizing, but it doesn’t produce much of a high.
Delta 10 provides a relaxing experience and helps you to feel calm, which makes it recommended for relieving stress.
Delta 8 THC may be a better choice for people dealing with severe chronic pain and inflammation since it binds well with the CB1 receptors to block the detection of pain signals by sensory neurons.
Delta 8 For Pain - Takeaways
Delta 8 has similar potential health benefits to delta 9 THC, however, it is not as strong as delta 9 THC, which makes it a good choice for people who can’t tolerate the side effects and intense high from marijuana. If you are interested in a delta 8 product, we recommend our delta 8 gummies 1000 mg.
Delta 8 products come in many forms, including creams.
Research shows that delta 8 is a better cannabinoid for minor pain relief because it binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system to block pain signals, and it has few side effects.
For a better understanding of how the endocannabinoid system operates and its function in the human body, read our article on the endocannabinoid system.
Disclaimer: If you use prescription medications, always follow your doctor's advice before purchasing delta 8 THC. Delta 8 is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical conditions. Information provided on this website should not be considered legal advice and is for informational purposes only.
Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.