What is Delta-8?

Delta-8 leaf on pink background

Delta-8 has exploded onto the market and has left many people wondering, what is delta-8? On this page, we’re going to talk about what is delta-8, the differences between delta-8 and other hemp plant compounds, delta-8 benefits, legality, how delta-8 works, and so much more.

Delta-8 is a compound that is naturally occurring in the plant and has taken consumers by storm.

The Difference Between Delta-8 And Hemp Extract

If you’re new to the hemp world, you may be wondering the difference between delta-8 and hemp. While they’re both plant compounds derived from hemp, they are different compounds with varying effects. Hemp Extract is a major phytocannabinoid that interacts with the endocannabinoid system, while delta-8 is a minor phytocannabinoid that also interacts with the endocannabinoid system. Delta-8 can be converted from Hemp Extract into delta-8 through a complex process called oxidation — more on that in the next section. 

The biggest difference between delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol and hemp is how it makes you feel. Delta-8 will get you high depending on how much you take. Hemp Extract will not. While both are technically considered psychoactive, delta-8 adheres to what most people associate with psychoactive in the sense that you’ll feel high. Hemp Extract is only regarded as psychoactive because it interacts with the body’s systems and helps calm the mind without the “high” that many associate with hemp.

How Is Delta-8 Made

There are many different ways to make delta-8. We’ll talk about the extraction processes later and discuss the differences between delta-8 vs. delta-9 and delta-8 vs. delta-10 below. What is delta-8? To understand this plant compound, you need to understand how it differs from its similar tetrahydrocannabinol family members. 

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC

Delta-8 and delta-9 are pretty similar because they are both a type of tetrahydrocannabinol, and they have a similar molecular structure. On this molecular level, the only difference is the placement of a double carbon bond. With delta-8, the double carbon bond is located on the eighth carbon in the chain. The double carbon bond can be found on delta-9 on the ninth carbon bond — hence their names. 

Delta-9 is the type of THC that everyone knows about. It’s the one the laws were created around and causes some controversy when it comes to federal and state laws and opinions. 

The other significant difference between delta-8 vs. delta-9 is the high. Both do get you high, but delta-8 is going to offer a smoother experience. We’ll talk more about the delta-8 later on in this article, but for now, it’s worth noting that the delta-8 high is the best of the THC highs. This is because you likely won’t feel the intensity that comes with a delta-9 high because this molecular difference seems to interact with the ECS (endocannabinoid system) in a unique way. More research is needed, and for now, this is great news for those looking to get high without the couchlock and mind games often associated with consuming delta-9.

Delta-8 vs. Delta-10 THC

Delta-10 may be lesser known than delta-8, but it’s still worth trying for yourself and learning about the differences. Many consumers of delta-10 report that it offers an even milder high compared to delta-8, which is milder than delta-9. The molecular differences of these two are similar to delta-9 — it all has to do with the placement of those double carbon bonds. You may have already guessed it, but delta-10 has its double bond on the tenth carbon in the molecule. We highly recommend it if you’re looking to try out these different plant compounds that are less restrictive legally than delta-9. 

How Does Delta-8 Work

When you ask the question, what is delta-8, you also need to answer, how does delta-8 work? Understanding how it works allows you to use it more beneficially and mindfully. Of course, it’s fun to get high, and that might be all you need. The good news is, regardless of whether you know how delta-8 works, it’s still going to do its job. The first step to understanding how delta-8 works is by understanding the system in the body that it’s working alongside — the endocannabinoid system. 

The endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is a modulatory system in the body that helps with so many different processes. Studies have shown potential links between the endocannabinoid system and its connection to energy, mood, appetite, reproductive functions, pain sensations and receptors, inflammation, stress, and so much more. 

How does delta-8 relate to the endocannabinoid system? 

The endocannabinoid has two important receptors called CB1 and CB2. These receptors interact with naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the body. Delta-8 and other hemp-derived products are also cannabinoids — just plant-derived ones — that also interact with the receptors in this system. While delta-8 needs to be studied to understand its interactions better, hemp research is an excellent place to start understanding how these plant compounds can “agitate” these receptors, which then impact what the ECS communicates to other parts of the body. 

This means that when delta-8 interacts with the CB1 receptor, it’s likely affecting the brain where these receptors are most prevalent. They’re also present in the pituitary, thyroid, and possibly adrenal glands, impacting these processes. The CB1 receptors are also activated in the cells that affect metabolism, the retinas, reproductive cells, and so much more. Who knew? 

There’s so much more to learn about the endocannabinoid system, but having a basic understanding of this vital system, especially the knowledge that it exists, is a great place to start. 

The Entourage Effect.

When you talk about hemp-derived products, you’ll likely come across the term The Entourage Effect. The Entourage Effect refers to the functions of the plant compounds in the body. If you consume only one plant compound, you may experience one thing. Still, if you introduce other plant compounds like additional phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, you may experience something completely different. Let’s say you consumed only delta-8, or only Hemp Extract, or only whatever. You may still feel high or relaxed, or whatever the compound is supposed to do, which is great. And when you take delta-8, or Hemp Extract combined with other phytocannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids, you may experience the high while also feeling less pain or perhaps less stress. In effect, the idea behind the Entourage Effect is that the sum of the parts is greater than just the parts themselves. 

What is delta-8, and how does it interact with the body? By entering the body, whether through the consumption of delta-8 gummies, tinctures, the skin, or inhaling, and then interacting with the endocannabinoid system.

Delta-8 THC Effects

Hemp delta-8 is an exciting plant compound. We’ll talk about its legality later, but there’s something to be said for a product that can get you high and is also legal in many states. When you’re purchasing hemp-derived products, the first question is often related to what is delta-8 and then figuring out what the effects are. You don’t want to consume something without a bit of understanding about how it will make you feel. So let’s dive into the delta-8 THC effects and other common questions that come up with this popular new plant compound. 

Will delta-8 get you high?

This is a good question, and yes. Delta-8 will get you high. Of course, you can always take micro servings that may not produce a noticeable high that some people are chasing after, and it’ll still leave you feeling uplifted and more relaxed in a softer way. It’s also entirely possible to consume delta-8 with a typical serving of 5 mg, 10 mg, or even 25 mg and experience a smooth yet noticeable high. 

What does the delta-8 high feel like? 

There are two main scenarios, and it’s worth noting that everyone’s experience will be a little different because of bodies and metabolism and all that good stuff (that we’ll discuss in the next question). 

  • The morning high. Let’s say you’re ready to tackle your day, and you want to feel more relaxed as you move into it. You take an amount of hemp delta-8 that you’ve tried before and felt good for mornings. “Good for mornings” means you still feel alert and spritely, ready to seize the day. Once you take your delta-8 gummy (our favorite delivery method for smoothness and longevity), you can wait a little while before it “kicks in.” This will likely be a slow build because of the nature of delta-8, which is a mild high when compared to its delta-9 counterpart. You’ll likely feel light and lifted yet focused and present with whatever comes your way.
  • The evening high. The day is over. You’re potentially exhausted or just ready to wind down, have some fun, and feel super relaxed. Hello, delta-8. When you don’t have anywhere to be, and you want to chill TF out, you can take a higher amount if that feels good for you. The climb towards your high will be similar, soft, powerful, yet gentle enough that you don’t feel panicked or glued to whatever object you’re sitting on. You might feel a deep sense of contentment, relaxation, and perhaps giddiness—all good things. 

Delta-8 didn’t become popular just because it’s derived from hemp. It became popular because of how good the high is. Don’t believe us? Try it out for yourself. What is delta-8? A smooth-sailing, body-supporting high.

How long will a hemp delta-8 high last?

How long will a hemp delta-8 high last? The answer to this question depends on a few factors. As you know, all bodies are different. The length of the high depends on: 

  • How you’re consuming the delta-8. A delta-8 gummies high may last longer than tinctures or inhaling it. 
  • Your body chemistry — metabolism, body weight, genetics, etc. 
  • How often you consume delta-8. We’ll talk about tolerance in the next question. 
  • How much you consumed. 
  • What you’ve had to eat that day (kind of like drinking alcohol on an empty stomach means it’s going to hit harder and faster because the body isn’t processing any food first).

If you take a 25 mg gummy (or even half of that), you’ll likely feel high for a few hours up to a day. If you inhaled delta-8, you’d likely feel the effects for around 2 hours, but it could last up to 10 hours depending on the factors above. There’s no real hard and fast rule about how long a high will last because there are so many different variables at play. 

Can you build a tolerance for delta-8?

Can you build a tolerance for delta-8? Sure. You can build a tolerance for most things. The body is a pretty powerful and well-oiled machine. “Tolerance” is really the body self-regulating to these additional cannabinoids entering the body. To self-regulate, desensitizing, and internalizing your body’s CB1 receptors over long periods of use. This self-regulation can make the hemp products seem less effective or noticeable. 

The good news is that the body also resets every time you sleep. If you’re a really heavy user, it’ll likely not recede back to its original pre-delta-8 baseline, but for most consumers, this should be enough. You might hear of people taking a “T break,” which means they’re taking a tolerance break to help come back down to their actual baseline and allow the plant compounds to leave the body. This can take around 2 to 4 weeks for consumers who enjoy delta-8 frequently. 

How common is delta-8 use?

Delta-8 use is widespread, even more so as its effects start to make their way around. It may be less known than hemp or delta-9, but with education and premium products like Delta North hitting shelves, consumers are giving it a shot and raving about it — in the best way. You may find people who have never heard of delta-8, and you may find those who can’t get enough of it. Perhaps, after you try it for yourself, you’ll be in the latter group. 

Will delta-8 show up on a drug test?

Will delta-8 show up on a drug test? It could. Drug tests are often testing for the metabolite of THC called THC-COOH. This metabolite is present in THC, which includes delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. The good news is that if you did test positive for a drug test with delta-8, it would be a false positive because the test aims to look for the federally illegal amount of delta THC above 0.3% on a dry weight basis. It’s also worth noting that when you take a drug test, it’s not usually looking for any traces of THC in your system. Most tests have a specific cut-off value that you have to reach before it triggers a positive. If you’re worried about passing a drug test, it’s well worth it to weigh the options and figure out the right solution for you.

Delta-8 gummies in hand on purple background

Different Ways To Consume Delta-8

There are many ways to consume delta-8 that include eating it, smoking it, rubbing it on your skin, or absorbing some of it through your mouth before swallowing it. What is delta-8 in consumption form? We’ll touch on some of the most popular consumption methods, with delta-8 gummies being one of the best options because of their ease of use, flavor profiles, and consistency. 

Gummies.

Hemp delta-8 gummies fall under the category of edibles. Edibles are just as they sound — things that are edible, things that you eat. Edibles come in many forms: gummies, cookies, brownies, chicken wings, whatever. When you consume delta-8 by eating it, especially through gummies (our favorite), you’re processing the delta-8 through your liver. This takes some time and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 or 3 hours to activate. We love delta-8 gummies because it stays in the system much longer than any other delivery method, and they’re playful, and can offer some quicker release mixed with the liver release by sucking on them. How does that work? Check out the next consumption option. 

Tinctures.

Tinctures are a liquid that you drop under the tongue. You hold it there for about a minute, and it starts to absorb into the membranes in the mouth. This is a quicker activation time than edibles because it doesn’t have to pass through the liver to enter the bloodstream. If you’re consuming gummies, you can suck on them for a while before you eat them. The joy of doing this is twofold. First, you get to enjoy the delicious, unparalleled flavors of Delta North Delta-8 Gummies before you swallow them. Second, some of that gummy is going to dissolve in your mouth and be absorbed into those membranes. So you’ll get some quicker activation, around 15 to 30 minutes, and then more delta-8 will be released after the rest of the swallowed piece processes through the liver—a win-win.  

Vapor.

Inhaling delta-8 is another popular option for those who enjoy quick activation times, around 5 to 10 minutes, and the experience of inhaling vapors from hemp. When you inhale delta-8, it activates quickly because the smoke goes straight to the lungs and then directly into the bloodstream. While this is fun if you want to get high quickly, it also lasts for a shorter amount of time and isn’t always the healthiest option for your lungs. 

Topicals.

Topicals are a different way to “consume” delta-8. You likely won’t get high from it, but it can still interact with the cannabinoid receptors on the skin. Topicals come in the form of lotions, gels, salves, and oils. You can rub them on the skin for different kinds of body support as needed.

Potential Benefits And Side Effects of Hemp Delta-8

While research will be needed to understand the full benefits of delta-8, the good news is that people don’t need to know the benefits to, well, benefit from them. When you do yoga, you gain the benefits in body and mind whether you realize it or not. The same is true for delta-8. What we can do is make some quality guesses based on how other phytocannabinoids benefit a person, as well as go off of anecdotal evidence. It’s up to you to do your research, test out these products, and decide how they will best support your lifestyle. 

Some of the possible benefits of delta-8 include: 

  • Relaxation in body and mind
  • A feeling of centeredness 
  • Uplifted mood and contentment
  • Support for managing stress

We keep the benefits loose because there aren’t studies out yet on this powerful plant compound. What is delta-8? It’s exciting and in the early stages of understanding. Hemp has been around for a very long time, which means delta-8 has been around for a long time, even if humans are only starting to learn what it can offer. 

Potential side effects of delta-8.

The great news about delta-8 is that there seem to be very few side effects. The main ones include a sense of euphoria, contentedness, and giddiness. As we’ve discussed, the delta-8 high is very different from a delta-9 high in its intensity. It’s much smoother, gentler, yet no less powerful. We say, “yes, please!” to a high that doesn’t leave you feeling anxious or too heavy in the body to function.

Is Delta-8 Legal

Is delta-8 legal? Federally, yes. But thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, states are allowed to interpret the federal laws as they see fit, which means that some states — we’re looking at you Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont — have shipping restrictions on delta-8 or are working on creating restrictions or standards about how delta-8 can be manufactured, marketed, and sold. The latter, creating standards around delta-8, is great. Banning it outright, not so much. 

Some states have deemed delta-8 as a synthetic product because of how it’s made. Delta-8 is created through a process called oxidation. Before we talk about oxidation, it’s essential to understand that delta-8 occurs in minimal quantities in the hemp plant naturally. To extract it would be wasteful and costly. So the next best thing is to create delta-8 from other hemp plant compounds like delta-9 THC and Hemp Extract through a process called oxidation. This process involves time, heat, and light usually. It’s similar to what’s done in nature to convert CBGA into other plant compounds — a parent phytocannabinoid responsible for converting into THCA and CBDA, which later become THC and Hemp Extract when decarboxylated. 

Converting phytocannabinoids into other types of phytocannabinoids is a common practice that doesn’t detract from the quality or naturalness of the plant compound. Yet, some states are using this as a loophole to continue creating prohibitive hemp laws. What is delta-8? It’s not a synthetic cannabinoid, that’s for sure.

Where To Buy Delta-8?

If you’re looking to buy delta-8, you’ve come to the right place. Depending on where you live, you can find delta-8 products in stores like dispensaries or online. Your best bet for finding a quality product is to look online. 

When you seek out a premium delta-8 brand, you want to ensure they provide a Certificate of Analysis on all products, which means the delta-8 is going through third-party testing to ensure the cannabinoid profile is accurate and that it is compliant with federal law. I.e., the delta-9 THC content is less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. If you live in any of the “banned” states, you won’t be able to have delta-8 shipped to you very easily, so it’s best to do your research to make sure you aren’t getting yourself into any trouble. 

A common question that comes up with delta-8 — and most hemp-related products, is can you travel with delta-8? There’s not a simple answer to that question. If you’re traveling and staying within a hemp-friendly and legal state, then you’re probably alright. If you’re crossing state lines, then it gets a little trickier. You’ll want to be sure of the up-to-date laws surrounding delta-8 for wherever you’re traveling. 

The best way to store delta-8.

If you’re purchasing some delicious hemp delta-8 gummies, you’re going to want to store them properly. Just like anything perishable, you don’t want to leave bags or bottles unsealed and uncapped because the product might dry out. You wouldn’t leave a chip bag open overnight, so you don’t want to leave your products out in the open either. 

You can store your products, whatever they are, in a cool, dry place. It’s best not to leave them in the sunlight, near heated surfaces, or in your car.