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Delta 8 Vs. Delta 9 – What’s The Difference?

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 pink and blue illustration with hemp leaf

If you’ve discovered the existence of delta 8, you might be asking yourself some questions. 

  • What is delta 8?
  • How is it different from delta 9? 
  • What is delta 9? 
  • What are the different laws surrounding delta 8 vs. delta 9? 
  • How is the high different between delta 8 and delta 9?
  • Is mixing delta 8 and delta 9 a good idea?

Luckily, you’ve got a team of experts here who can fill you in on what we know, what nobody knows, and what you need to know when it comes to making informed choices about this powerful yet gentle minor phytocannabinoid. 

This next section will break down what delta 8 is and what delta 9 is before diving into the differences between the two plant compounds. Keep reading to learn more. 

What Is Delta 8?

What is delta 8? We’re glad you asked. Delta 8 is a minor phytocannabinoid that comes from the hemp plant. Delta 8 is legal on a federal level because it is not delta 9, and as long as it has below the federal legal limit of 0.3% of delta 9, it’s ok. Although the drawback is individual states, for example, Ohio, can make up their own rules, and some have banned delta 8.

How does delta 8 work? Well, that’s a little complex. Essentially, delta 8, like the other hemp plant compounds, interacts with the CB1 and CB2 compound receptors in the body. These receptors signal messages to the endocannabinoid system that helps regulate the central nervous system. Delta 8 is believed to bind with the receptors and mimic the cannabinoids naturally produced by the body or block and limit receptor activity.

Later on, we’ll discuss how the high of delta 8 differs from delta 9, as they’re both a type of tetrahydrocannabinol. But first, let’s talk about what is delta 9.

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What Is Delta 9?

What is delta 9? It is one of the most well-known plant compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants. It is the one that causes all the uproar in politics. Delta 9 is technically illegal on a federal level if it’s purchased with over 0.3% delta 9. Some states have created laws that override this rule so that recreational and medicinal hemp-derived products can be sold regardless of the delta 9 amount. 

Like delta 8, delta 9 also interacts with the endocannabinoid system. More research is being conducted on both types of phytocannabinoids, although it can be difficult to study when it’s technically illegal over specific amounts. We’ll talk more about the legality of delta 8 and delta 9 below. 

Sometimes there can be confusion surrounding delta 9 because it’s often called THC as if there is only one THC. So misinformation can spread when public education is minimal. Delta 9 is a type of tetrahydrocannabinol, but it is slightly different from delta 8 on a molecular level. While both have a chain of carbon items, delta 8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon (hence delta 8), and delta 9 has a double bond on the 9th carbon in the chain (hence delta 9). The difference between delta 8 vs. delta 9 may seem minor, but the effects are worth understanding. More on that later.

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The Different Laws Surrounding Delta 8 vs. Delta 9

You may be wondering about the laws surrounding delta 8 vs. delta 9. That’s understandable, considering the lack of information out there, along with the conflicting statements from the information that is available. Below we’ll briefly discuss the legality of both types of tetrahydrocannabinol. 

Legality of Delta 8.

You may be asking yourself: is delta 8 legal? The answer is… sometimes. The thing is, the 2018 Farm Bill passed by the federal government legalized hemp and all of its derivatives as long as it was below 0.3% delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Yes, delta 8 is a type of THC, but it’s not the same as delta 9. The part where it starts to get complicated is where the states can create their own laws about the hemp plant within the Farm Bill’s language or ignore it altogether. Some states don’t allow cannabinol which is pretty much the gentlest, non-intoxicating compound. And others have legalized recreational hemp products for all to experience as long as they are old enough. 

Delta 8 falls within this conundrum because the states get to decide if it’s legal or not. We’ve compiled an entire detailed list of the state’s laws about delta 8 right here, so you can determine whether it’s safe for you to purchase and consume delta 8 in your state. 

Legality of Delta 9.

Delta 9 is a little more cut-and-dry regarding its legality. On a federal level, anything above 0.3% is considered illegal. On a state level, states have had several years to create laws surrounding its use. Just as with delta 8, delta 9 laws are different depending on the state. Many states have hemp programs, while others just ban it outright, even for medicinal purposes. As we learn more and more about this beneficial plant, we’re hopeful that laws will slowly continue to change, even on a federal level.

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How Is The High Different In Delta 8 And Delta 9?

Now to the big question, everyone’s been asking. Is the high different between delta 8 vs. delta 9? Yes, it is. 

If you’ve ever consumed delta 9, you may have had a more intense psychoactive experience. Depending on the strain, you may have felt a couchlock where, you know, you feel glued to the couch. 

If delta 9 and delta 8 are both a form of tetrahydrocannabinol, do they both send you deep into your mind or into your body? 

The good news is that with delta 8, you don’t have to go to that stuck place. You may even be asking yourself: does delta 8 make you high?

Yes, it does, but it’s different. Delta 8 is a smoother, more prolonged high that allows you to keep moving throughout your day. You can take a little bit for a boost in that it may assist with a sense of calm. 

As we’ve discussed, delta 8 has a slightly different molecular structure than delta 9, and it seems that difference makes, well, a difference. Let’s compare the high between delta 8 vs. delta 9 below. 

The Delta 8 High.

The delta 8 high might include support for your daily wellness routine and an easy-going attitude towards life. A delta 8 high is likely to be smoother, and gentle, yet enough to be considered a high that you’ll notice depending on how much you consume. An even happier side effect of a delta 8 high is that customers report a more prolonged high compared to delta 9, but not the kind of high where it feels like a ride you can’t get off of. 

The Delta 9 High.

The delta 9 high is definitely a high. It can feel like it climbs and climbs (“too much, too much!”), especially with edibles. The intensity of the high can lead to bouts of an unhappy high. Of course, as with everything, if taken in moderation, you can experience a nice, light high with delta 9. 

If you’re deciding between the delta 8 vs. delta 9 high, definitely go for the delta 8 high for a longer, softer, and mellow high that still gives you that “high” feeling without all the not-so-fun side effects of delta 9. 

Mixing Delta 8 And Delta 9

If you’re considering mixing delta 8 and delta 9, don’t do it. Of course, you’re a grown adult and can do what you want, and we don’t recommend mixing delta 8 and delta 9. Why would you want to, really? If you’re consuming delta 8, you’re getting that chill high that carries you gently through your day. If you’re consuming delta 9, you’re likely also experiencing a high that is less like a cuddle and more like a too-tight bear hug. If you take delta 9 while taking delta 8, the delta 9 will likely override the positive aspects of delta 8. 

If you need some ideas on consuming delta 8 instead of trying to blend the two, how about creating a delta 8 infused party? You can infuse different baked goods with delta 8 tincture, or you can have a buffet of delta 8 gummies like Delta North Delta 8 Gummies 1000 mg. You could add delta 8 products to your tea if it’s water-soluble, and you could vape if that’s your preference.

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Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 - The Takeaway

Now that you know some of the differences between delta 8 vs. delta 9, you may be wondering how easy or difficult it is to get your hands on a quality product. The good news for some of you (sorry, those of you who live in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont — delta 8 has shipping restrictions there) is that purchasing delta 8 is as easy as the click of a button — or tap of a screen. 

Enjoy the delta 8 benefits through these delivery methods: 

Edibles.

You can enjoy edibles in the form of gummies, baked goods, or capsules. Edibles are consumables that have to be processed through the liver, so they take a bit longer to hit the system than other delivery methods, but they stay in your system longer too. A win if you’re looking for a long-lasting delta 8 high.

Tinctures.

Delta 8 tinctures are a solid option for those of you looking for a quick and easy way to serve yourself up some delta 8 goodness and have it hit your system quickly. This delivery method is absorbed under the tongue, where it’s absorbed into the membranes of your mouth and carried into the bloodstream.

Vaping.

If you want a quick and fast-acting delivery method, vaping delta 8 is effective. It hits the bloodstream through the lungs versus through the gut so that you may notice activation immediately to a few minutes. 

If you’re looking for the more gradual release of edibles, we’ve got you covered here at Delta North. It’s no question when it comes to delta 8 vs. delta 9. Delta 8 offers a smoother, more prolonged high. So if you’re ready for support to your daily wellness routine, head on over to Delta North and pick out your delta 8 gummies today. 

Legal Disclaimer: You should still consult an attorney for the best legal advice regarding Delta 8 in your state, as the material shared here is for informational purposes only.

author avatar
Clayton McCall

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.

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