A Complete Understanding of Delta-8 THC
What is delta 8?
Exploring cannabis and its many cannabinoids can get overwhelming with all the complicated names, and the same can be said about delta-8. First of all, it sounds like a sci-fi movie, along with its sister compound delta-9—the most common cannabinoid in THC.
However, don’t let the complicated name dissuade you from learning more about the wonders of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. If the usual effects of THC aren't entirely desirable for you, then you might find delta 8 to be more welcoming.
The calming and relaxing qualities of delta-8, along with its many other benefits (..like the psychoactive effects), is why you should take time to look more into this amazing cannabinoid.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, the most well known of the 113 cannabinoids found in cannabis, is composed of many constituents that make it what it is. The most common is delta-9, which is the THC most people know. It’s the main component of cannabis that gives it psychoactive properties and makes it what most people know it as.
Meanwhile, delta-8 is a double bond isomer (same atoms, different arrangement) of delta-9 THC. It can be extracted into a solvent-free distillate, making it safe for various means of consumption such as sublingual administration and vaping, similar to cannabidiol (CBD).
It was isolated from cannabis in 1966 by researchers at the University of Delaware. It’s more or less delta-9’s little brother, and it’s found in the cannabis plant in low concentrations, formed when delta-9 becomes oxidized.
But now, thanks to the work and research done in the late 20th century and in recent years, delta-8 can now be refined from delta-9 to create new experiences and provide many benefits with its consumption.
While it’s not that well known at the moment, it’s starting to gain traction, especially with the progressing legalization of cannabis in America. For instance, delta-8 is being studied as a potential treatment for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, as well as for glaucoma and other conditions.
Benefits and Side Effects of delta 8
Despite being almost molecularly identical, there is a quite a difference between delta-8 and delta-9 in terms of their physical effects and how they interact with the human endocannabinoid system.
Some users found that delta-8 retains some of the psychoactive effects of its bigger sibling, delta-9. However, they’re less pronounced and not as ubiquitous. Like CBD, delta-8 binds to the CB-1 cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. However, due to its different molecular structure, it’s not exactly the same as that of delta-9.
Many users report clear-headedness, decreased anxiety, reduced nausea, increased appetite, and pain relief, but without the overly sedative effects that are commonly associated with cannabis. Its positive effects make it a valuable medical alternative to many pharmaceutical drugs on the market today.
It has also shown promise in having neuroprotective effects, thus making it a potential stress reliever, nootropic, and even a treatment for dementia and brain damage.
In 1987, a study published in the journal of Alcohol and Drug Research had various cannabinoids tested on mice. One of the results was delta-8 standing out from the pack with its significant effects on brain activity in minute dosages, thus putting forward its potential neuroprotective properties.
Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relief
Delta-8 has the anti-inflammatory qualities that are also seen in CBD, which makes it great for treating a myriad of maladies, including joint pain, arthritis, and so on.
A 2018 study published in the journal for Cannabinoid and Cannabis Research has shown that topical application of delta-8 and CBD have shown antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in an experimental model of corneal hyperalgesia.
That makes it a great alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and so on, as well as other analgesics like acetaminophen (paracetamol). Delta-8 does not cause the same long-term harm to the liver and kidneys as those common pharmaceutical drugs.
It also has much less of the addictive properties of opioids like morphine, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, and so on.
Antiemetic, Appetite Stimulant, Antitumor, and Supplementary Cancer Treatment
While more studies have to be conducted in order to confirm its antitumor effects, it was found to shrink cancer tumors in rats as far back as 1975. A study conducted in 2013 by the National Cancer Institute also found that delta-8 THC was able to inhibit tumor growth.
A study conducted in 1995 by Israeli scientists and published in Life Sciences found that it was profoundly effective in curing nausea, with a 100% success rate over 480 treatments. Also, since it’s also effective for pain relief, delta-8 can be an effective addition to cancer treatment.
And not only did it eliminate nausea and vomiting, but it also increased appetite in mice that received delta-8. It also showed signs of increased cognitive function in the mice, thus further proving its positive effects in the brain.
Due to its effectiveness as an antiemetic and analgesic, delta-8 can be beneficial in many ways for cancer treatment and even after it.
Of course, everyone’s bodies are different, so the effects of delta-8 may vary from one individual to another. Some may experience side effects, while others may have none. It has been reported thus far by researchers that the side effects of delta-8 THC are fairly insignificant compared to delta-9 THC, making it a safer form of medical cannabis.
The stereotypes associated with cannabis throughout the decades are now starting to gradually fade away as more and more people are now seeing and accepting the truth about cannabis. While it may still be prohibited at the federal level, that can change as more states legalize cannabis, and that should open the door for delta-8 to become more widely available.
Science can then pave the way to more studies to learn more about how delta-8 can be beneficial for health and medical treatment without the downsides commonly experienced in many commonly-used pharmaceutical drugs.
That also paves the way for vaping as a major way to consume delta-8. As more people learn more about delta-8, it can gain the same level of popularity as CBD. You can even now have delta-8 in edible form with delta-8 gummies.
Only time will truly tell if these developments will open the door to a new age for cannabis as not the pariah it had been throughout modern history, but the wonder it truly is.