Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 vs. Delta 10 — What’s the Difference?

Cannabis plants boast an array of diverse cannabinoids, each with its own distinct effect on human physiology.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of many cannabinoids, and the most widely recognized among them all is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When discussing THC, we mean delta 9 THC specifically.

In addition to delta 9, other forms of THC are present in cannabis plants. Specifically, trace amounts of Delta 8 and 10 exist - chemical structures that share similarities with Delta 9 but can produce slightly different effects.

How are the three different from each other?

THC exists in three varieties: delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10. All of them can provide the same psychoactive effect - a heightened sense of euphoria or intoxication commonly described as being "high".

An in-depth research study conducted in the US, published in 2022 showed a steady rise of interest among people regarding delta 8 THC.

In states where the utilization of cannabis is restricted, public interest for delta 8 has been exceedingly high - hinting that its popularity is growing due to people's perception that it could be a legal alternative to delta 9.

Delta 8, explained

Though delta 8 THC possesses many of the same properties as its relative, delta 9 THC, it is composed of a slightly altered chemical composition. This alteration may cause changes in how this form of cannabis affects users.

Delta 8 can be found in tiny amounts within cannabis plants, so it often has to be synthetically generated from CBD or delta 9 THC for use in products. The effects of synthetic cannabinoids are mostly unknown at this time.

In 1973, researchers studied the variances between delta 8 and delta 9 THC to uncover their effects. It was discovered that Delta 8 could have a range of possible outcomes including...

  • visual illusions/distortions
  • euphoria
  • calming effect/relaxation
  • difficulties with thinking and speaking

Recently, a 2021 study was conducted to survey delta 8 users. Astonishingly, half of the respondents reported using this compound for medicinal purposes - primarily:

  • stress
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • bipolar disorder

Additionally, delta 8 users in several online forums often report that they feel relaxed and sleepy after consuming it. This is a common reaction to cannabis, as many people experience an elevated appetite known as the "munchies".

Delta 9, explained

Products containing THC generally contain delta 9 THC, the most common form of this compound found in cannabis plants.

THC is widely recognized for its psychotropic effects, commonly known as a high.

According to research, THC might help with:

  • anxiety
  • pain
  • glaucoma
  • nausea
  • low appetite
  • insomnia
  • muscle spasticity
  • obstructive sleep apnea

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the usage of a man-made form of delta 9 THC, known as dronabinol or Marinol, to stimulate appetites in individuals suffering from chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, and anorexia nervosa.

Delta 10, explained

Despite its increasing popularity, delta 10 is still relatively unexplored in terms of potential advantages and drawbacks.

Delta 10 users have reported that the high they experience is both mellow and energizing. In addition, many people claim to feel a heightened level of euphoria while using delta 10 products.

Common side effects associated with the consumption of Delta-10 may include:

  • increased appetite
  • dry mouth (“cotton mouth”)
  • red eyes
  • anxiety
  • slowed reaction times
  • memory loss
  • rapid heart rate


The legality of delta 8 and delta 10 THC is a complex matter.

Legally speaking, delta 8 and delta 10 are permissible at the federal level.

The Farm Bill of 2018 made it possible to buy, sell, and cultivate hemp legally due to its definition as a plant with less than 0.3% delta 9 THC by weight.

With the Farm Bill's singular focus on delta 9, it has presented a unique opportunity to capitalize on legal loopholes surrounding delta 8 and 10 products derived from hemp. As such, these items may fall into a legal gray zone.

In addition, as cannabis plants contain only minute amounts of delta 8 and delta 10, they’re usually processed synthetically.

Legislators in numerous states have enacted laws that prohibit the use of synthetic cannabinoids. While it is still debatable whether delta 8 and delta 10 are actually synthetic cannabinoids, the legal definition of "synthetic cannabinoid" may be expansive enough to include any artificially created cannabinoids including those found in commercially available products.

Both compounds exist naturally within cannabis plants as well. Delta 8 and Delta 10 are strictly prohibited in select US states.

With the current debates surrounding delta 8 and delta 10, it is highly likely that legislators will be introducing more state regulations to limit access to these cannabinoids.

In a Nutshell:

Delta 8 and Delta 10 have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their promising effects. Overall, delta 8 offers several medicinal benefits including stress relief, chronic pain relief, depression relief, and the alleviation of bipolar disorder. If you're interested in trying out delta 8 and 10, it is important to be aware of the legal implications of doing so and ensure that you're buying the right products.

Ultimately, you should always consult with your doctor before consuming any cannabinoid product to ensure that it's right for you.











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