Delta-8 THC: what is it and how to consume safely

People plugged into the world of cannabis-related news are probably well aware that there’s some controversy surrounding delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound that some claim is legal at the federal level because of certain loopholes. But if you’re new to cannabis products, you might find the whole thing a bit confusing.
This popular cannabis product claims to be milder than regular marijuana. But is it legal? And is it safe? Below, we’ll dig deeper into delta-8.


The cannabis plant contains more than 500 chemical compounds, including 100 cannabinoids, like CBD and various forms of THC. Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound that’s pretty similar to delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is a compound in the cannabis plant that produces a “high.” It’s what people are usually referring to when they talk about THC.

Although some states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, on a federal level, the plant remains listed as a Schedule I drug, a tier reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medicinal benefit, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration

However, the legality of the plant’s individual compounds, including delta-8 THC, falls into a gray area. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of CBD products as long as they contain less than .3% of THC. This would allow federal legalization of CBD products with delta-8 under those same guidelines.

How is delta-8 THC different from delta-9 THC?

Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC are naturally found in cannabis, and chemically, the two compounds are very similar. All that separates them is the location of a double bond, found on the eighth carbon in delta-8 THC and the ninth carbon in delta-9.

As far as scientists know, all forms of THC bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is what produces a high.

However, due to the location of its double-bond, delta-8 binds to those receptors in a slightly different manner than delta-9 THC, making it less potent.

What are the benefits of Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC users report feeling less paranoid, less anxious and having a “nicer” high compared with delta-9-THC. The most common experiences when using delta-8 were relaxation, euphoria and pain relief.

Unfortunately, researchers still don’t know enough about delta-8 THC to confirm that the benefits outweigh the risks. Experts have a much better understanding of delta-9 THC.

Will delta-8 get you ‘high’?

Because delta-8 is so similar to delta-9 THC, it will also cause a “high.” However, some people describe it as milder than with delta-9 THC.

Is delta-8 safe?

In healthy adults (and just like regular THC), pure delta-8 can’t directly cause death from overdose. However, because the hemp market is not regulated, these products could be contaminated with elements from the manufacturing process, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and mold, in addition to residual chemicals. Essentially, buying delta-8 products carries the same risks as buying black-market cannabis.

Make sure you are purchasing delta 8 THC products from reputable brands. You should also take a look at third-party lab reports for any product you want to buy and use. Any trustworthy company will openly show these results on its website.