Delta-8 vs. Delta-9: What's The Difference? | Turn 420
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Delta 8 Thc

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9: What’s The Difference?

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Because cannabis sativa contains only a small amount of delta-8 THC, it’s typically manufactured in concentrated amounts from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). While CBD doesn’t have any intoxicating effects, delta-8 THC has similar psychoactive properties to delta-9 THC, although it is generally less potent than delta-9.

Delta-8 THC products are available in many forms, including gummies, chocolate and other candies, cookies, tinctures, vaping cartridges, infused drinks and even breakfast cereal.

Some manufacturers market delta-8 THC products as treatments or cures for medical conditions; however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has neither evaluated nor approved these claims. In fact, in May 2022, the FDA issued warning letters to five manufacturers of delta-8 THC products for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The warning letters address misbranding, such as not providing adequate instructions for use, illegal marketing of products as treatments for medical conditions or other therapeutic uses and adding delta-8 THC to foods, such as gummies, chocolate and other consumables.

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Potential Benefits

Making general statements about whether using cannabis is good or bad doesn’t paint an accurate picture of delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC, says Dave Gordon, M.D., a double-board certified integrative and functional medicine physician with expertise in cannabis therapeutics and advisory board member for Leaf411, an online resource for using cannabis safely and effectively.

To understand the risks and benefits of delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC, according to Dr. Gordon, consider:

  • All compounds/constituents being consumed
  • The dose consumed
  • The frequency of consumption
  • The method of administration
  • The quality of production (cultivation, extraction and formulation for cannabis products)
  • The demographics and health status of the individual consuming

With that said, potential benefits of delta-8 THC may include:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved sleep quality
  • The calming of an overactive nervous system or immune system
  • Improved appetite
  • Sensory overstimulation prevention
  • Reduced inflammation

Potential Risks

“Like any compound, consuming more delta-8 THC than the body wants or needs can cause some short-term adverse effects,” says Dr. Gordon. These negative side effects tend to depend on dosage, meaning they become more severe with increased consumption, he adds.

According to Dr. Gordon, short-term adverse effects of overconsuming delta-8 THC may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety (and potentially panic)
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Impaired coordination

Generally, adverse effects resolve within a couple of hours with inhalation and within several hours of edible consumption, says Dr. Gordon.

“Individuals with preexisting conditions may have risks that others do not,” adds Dr. Gordon. “In patients with high risk for (or already diagnosed) psychotic diseases, over-consuming delta-8 THC could increase frequency or severity of psychosis.”

Consuming large amounts of delta-8 THC, especially when smoked, could precipitate heart damage or abnormal heart rhythms in those with significant underlying cardiovascular disease, says Dr. Gordon.

Additional risks associated with delta-8 THC consumption are linked to the product manufacturers themselves. According to the FDA, delta-8 THC products may contain potentially harmful chemicals or contaminants, including household chemicals used during the chemical synthesis process that yields delta-8 THC.

When weighing the potential risks of consuming delta-8 THC, it’s important to consider that the FDA hasn’t evaluated or approved any delta-8 THC products for safe use. Delta-8 THC manufacturers may also market their products with unproven claims of health benefits that could put public health at risk.

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