What Exactly Is Delta-8? Why You’re Hearing About It | Healthline (2023)

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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. Is delta-8 THC actually legal? How is it different from other forms of THC?

Below, we’ll dig deeper into delta-8, including its potential benefits and risks, whether it’ll get you “high,” whether it’s legal, and what kinds of alternatives are out there.

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.

Though delta-8 is similar to delta-9 THC, it has a slightly different chemical structure that makes it a lot less potent.

Like delta-9 THC, delta-8 produces feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and potential pain relief, but they’re a lot milder.

For people who don’t want to experience a pronounced “high,” the lower potency may be a benefit.

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.

What are the potential risks of delta-8?

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Because delta-8 is so similar to delta-9 THC, it produces some of the same side effects, like:

  • red eyes
  • dry mouth
  • rapid heart rate
  • trouble with coordination
  • slowed reaction times
  • anxiety
  • memory loss

But delta-8 may also have additional risks because it’s something synthetically produced, meaning you might not know what’s really in it.

Additionally, according to an article published in the journal Chemical and Engineering News, products containing delta-8 may also contain delta-9 and delta-10 THC — a compound about which little is known.

These compounds probably won’t produce ill effects, experts say. But it’s unclear whether other by-products, including synthetic ones, are safe to consume.

Here’s the complicated bit.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp containing less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC. That means there’s a loophole at the federal level for products containing higher amounts of delta-8 THC, as long as they come from hemp that doesn’t have more than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC based on dry weight.

However, delta-8 THC doesn’t naturally occur in large amounts in hemp plants. That means that delta-8 is largely made by converting cannabidiol (CBD) or delta-9 THC into delta-8 THC synthetically, which is illegal.

Additionally, some state laws strictly prohibit the sale of products containing both delta-8 and delta-9 THC. You can find out about your state’s laws by looking at the Norml.org map of cannabis-related laws.

However, keep in mind that because delta-8 is synthetically made and not well regulated, there are safety concerns. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) note that there have been increased calls to poison control centers regarding delta-8, as well as reports of adverse events requiring medical care and sometimes hospitalization.

Delta-8 vs. delta-9 vs. CBD

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Potential benefitsPotential risks & side effectsImpairing effects?Legality
Delta-8• pain relief
• euphoria
• relaxation
• red eyes
• dry mouth
• rapid heart rate
• trouble with coordination
• slowed reaction times
• anxiety
• memory loss
• other unknown risks due to synthetic nature
yes• not federally legal
• state laws vary
Delta-9• pain relief
• euphoria
• relaxation
• red eyes
• dry mouth
• rapid heart rate
• trouble with coordination
• slowed reaction times
• anxiety
• memory loss
yes• not federally legal
• state laws vary
CBD• pain relief
• anxiety relief
• insomnia relief
• changes in appetite
• changes in weight
• fatigue
• diarrhea
no• federally legal
• state laws vary

If you’re looking for a federally legal alternative to delta-8 that will not give you a “high,” you may want to consider trying CBD.

Below, we suggest a few full-spectrum options. Full-spectrum CBD has small amounts of THC but not enough to produce psychoactive effects when taken in small doses.

How we chose the best CBD products

When choosing CBD products, we keep the same general criteria in mind. Each product featured:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made by a company that discloses the source of their hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, molds, and heavy metals, according to the COA

When making our selections, we also consider:

  • company certification and manufacturing processes
  • CBD potency
  • whether products contain quality ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

CBD products to consider

Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Tincture, High Potency

  • Price: $–$$$ (depending on potency)
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 750 milligrams (mg) to 6,000 mg per 15-milliliter (mL) to 120-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

This high potency CBD from Lazarus Naturals is one of the brand’s most popular selections. It’s all natural, gluten-free, vegan, and contains no added flavors, so you should expect an earthy taste when using this tincture.

Reviewers love the potent tincture and say it works better than other products they’ve tried. Customers also appreciate Lazarus Natural’s assistance program, which helps veterans, people from low income households, and people with disabilities by offering a 60 percent discount.

Use code “Healthline10” for 10% off your first order. One-time use only.

SHOP NOW AT LAZARUS NATURALS

Cornbread Hemp Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil

  • Price: $–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 375, 750, or 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

Cornbread Hemp’s CBD oil is USDA certified organic with hemp extract from the flower only. It contains no additives or preservatives.

Customers report that the oil is effective, helped produce a sense of calm, and improved their sleep. One person complains that the taste of the oil is too strong.

Use code “HEALTHLINE” for 25% off on first purchase.

SHOP NOW AT CORNBREAD HEMP

Vena Full Spectrum CBD Drops

  • Price: $$–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available via product page

Vena recommends taking one full dropper a day of their Full-Spectrum CBD Drops. The mint-flavored oil is a good choice for people who don’t like the earthy taste of unflavored CBD. When you buy Vena’s CBD products, they also come with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

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Reviewers say they like the minty taste and describe it as refreshing but not overpowering. Only a handful of customers complain that the product didn’t produce any noticeable effects.

cbdMD Tropical Gummies

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 750 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available via product page

Some folks prefer CBD gummies compared to CBD oil. cbdMD fruity chews come in a mix of strawberry, raspberry, orange, and tropical. The gummies are vegan and gluten-free. They contain organic ingredients, including organic oil, juices, and sweeteners.

cbdMD recommends taking one or two gummies in the morning. The brand also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Reviewers say the gummies taste great, and they like that the typical earthy CBD flavor is not prominent.

Shop now at cbdMD

CBD safety and side effects

According to research, CBD is considered safe, but that doesn’t mean adverse reactions aren’t out of the realm of possibility. Some people may experience:

  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • appetite and weight changes

Talk with your doctor before taking CBD or other cannabis-related products — especially if you’re taking any supplements or prescription medications. It’s possible for CBD to interact with certain medications, including those with a grapefruit warning.

While some brands recommend consuming CBD with meals for better absorption, one 2020 study suggests that taking CBD alongside high fat meals can increase your risk of experiencing side effects.

Don’t take CBD if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

What is delta-8?

Delta-8 is a chemical found in the cannabis plant in very small amounts. Because it occurs naturally in such small amounts, the delta-8 THC you find in commercial products is usually synthetically made from CBD or delta-9 THC.

Learn more

Is delta-8 the same as THC?

Delta-8 and delta-9 THC have similar molecular structures, but they’re not exactly the same. Because delta-8 has a different structure, it may produce milder effects than delta-9 THC.

That said, more research is needed to better understand the effects of delta-8.

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Learn more

Is delta-8 the same as CBD?

Delta-8 and CBD are both cannabinoids, but delta-8 has more in common with delta-9 THC than CBD.

Unlike CBD, delta-8 produces psychoactive effects.

Learn more

Is delta-8 safe?

There’s some concern surrounding the safety of delta-8 THC. That’s because it’s poorly regulated, and products containing delta-8 THC may contain additional compounds, including synthetic by-products that may cause adverse effects.

Learn more

Why is delta-8 legal?

It’s a common misconception that delta-8 is legal. In actuality, some states specifically prohibit it. It also isn’t necessarily federally legal, as it’s synthetically produced and not well regulated.

Learn more

Will delta-8 make you test positive for THC?

It’s possible. If you undergo drug testing, it may be best to avoid cannabis-derived products, including delta-8 products and CBD products.

Learn more

Will delta-8 get you high?

Because delta-8 is a form of THC, it has psychoactive effects and can get you high. While it’s reportedly less potent than delta-9 THC, it still has intoxicating effects.

Delta-8 THC may be an alternative to delta-9 THC for people who want a milder “high” than they get with regular THC. While delta-8 THC reportedly produces less potent effects than delta-9, more research is needed to better understand the potential side effects of this compound.

Additionally, because delta-8 THC is poorly regulated, there’s concern that the contents of products containing delta-8 THC may be difficult to assess.

Until better regulatory standards for the production of delta-8 THC exist, you may be more comfortable opting for delta-9 THC and CBD products.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.

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FAQs

What is Delta 8 and what does it do to you? ›

3. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects. Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and intoxicating effects, similar to delta-9 THC (i.e., the component responsible for the “high” people may experience from using cannabis). The FDA is aware of media reports of delta-8 THC products getting consumers “high.”

What does Delta 8 make you feel? ›

Most will describe taking Delta 8 as a very pleasant and uplifting experience. It tends to bring a deep feeling of relief and peacefulness to its users. Some might even say it gives them a floating feeling, as if all of the weight has been taken off of them.

Is Delta 8 the same as CBD? ›

Unlike CBD, delta-8-THC produces euphoric effects that are similar to but milder than those of delta-9-THC, the well-known psychoactive compound in cannabis. Delta-8-THC is an isomer of delta-9-THC. The only difference between the two molecules is the location of a double bond between two carbons.

How many hits of Delta 8 do you need? ›

Delta 8 THC Hemp Flower Dosage

Similar to vapes, you should take 1–5 milligrams or 1–3 puffs as a good starting dose. However, delta 8 THC flowers may be more difficult to dose because the distillate may not be distributed evenly throughout the flower.

What is the Delta 8 strain? ›

Delta-8 is a type of THC, which is the psychoactive compound in the cannabis sativa plant. The effects of delta-8 are similar to the more common THC compound called “delta-9 THC.” While not as potent as delta-9, teens and young adults might use delta-8 THC.

Will delta-8 Get U high? ›

Some people have been asking whether or not Delta 8 gets you high. The truth is, it does in fact get you high, but the high is a milder high than that of Delta 9 THC. It also tends to make people sleepy rather than euphoric like most other indica strains of marijuana do.

How long does delta-8 stay in your urine? ›

Delta 8 can remain detectable in the blood or urine for as long as 30 days or as short as two days. There are a lot of factors that can either shorten or prolong the amount of time it takes for delta 8 to be completely cleared from the body.

How long does the delta-8 high last? ›

The high from delta 8 THC takes longer to kick in, but the effects of delta 8 also last longer. The onset and duration of delta 8 vary depending on your consumption method. In short, the high may need up to 2.5 hours to take hold, lasting up to 10 hours.

What's better for anxiety CBD or delta-8? ›

CBD is better for mild anxiety symptoms, while delta-8 is better for moderate anxiety. They're also useful for anxiety when combined. CBD has no known side effects or addictive properties, whereas Delta-8 research is TBD on its longer term effects for regular use.

Can delta-8 affect your liver? ›

Serious Health Concerns:

Marijuana, Delta-8, and related products have been shown to cause liver damage, depression, paranoia, memory/processing problems, infertility, cardiac problems, and cancer. CBD-specific side effects include changes in alertness, gastrointestinal distress, irritability, and agitation.

Does Delta 8 show up on drug tests? ›

Therefore, participants using delta-8 will likely screen positive for cannabinoids—either from the delta-8 metabolites themselves or from other cannabinoids that are present in the product being used.

Can I take Delta 8 everyday? ›

Delta-8 is a Great Cannabinoid for Daily Use

Hence, if you want to get as much out of it as possible, daily dosing is ideal. To further elevate your experience, we highly recommend combing delta 8 THC products with your daily consumption of CBD products such as with the Pinnacle Hemp Maxx 1:1 CBD/Delta 8 tincture!

How long does it take for Delta 8 to kick in? ›

Most users report that they can feel the effects of delta 8 just minutes after taking a hit. Gummies: Gummies and other edibles actually take the longest before taking effect. It can take up to 2 hours before you will feel delta 8 kicking in following a dose of gummies.

Is delta-8 like Sativa or Indica? ›

Is Delta 8 Flower Indica or Sativa? Delta 8 can be both. Many brands offer Delta 8 THC flower, prerolls, or vape carts in different strain options such as Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. The strain you choose for your Delta 8 THC plays a role in the way it affects you.

Is delta-8 good for you? ›

Delta 8 THC is like a middle ground between CBD and delta 9 THC. It does get you high but not over the edge; on top of that, it offers several health benefits typical of cannabinoids, such as relief from pain, nausea, inflammation, loss of appetite, and depression.

Is delta-8 safe to smoke? ›

In 2021, the FDA issued a consumer update, warning that delta-8 THC has serious health risks. Reports from December 2020 through July 2021 involved 22 people, some of whom reported vomiting, hallucinations, trouble standing, and passing out after consuming delta-8 THC products.

What happens if you take too much delta-8? ›

As a cannabis product, Delta-8 can cause cotton-mouth and dry eyes. Grogginess or Drowsiness: This is another no-go for Delta-8. If you're feeling drowsy or groggy, you may very well have overdone it. Fatigue and brain fog don't often occur with hemp-derived THC.

Can delta-8 help with anxiety? ›

Anxiolytic: delta 8 THC is a potent relaxant due to its aforementioned connection with the two cannabinoid receptors. It can reduce anxiety, bolster your response to stress, and induce a calm state of mind.

Does delta-8 work for stoners? ›

Hardcore stoners may feel let down that delta 8 is generally reported to have slightly milder effects than delta 9. If you're tired of flipping out on random people for no reason when you're high, though, be advised that delta 8 also appears to cause significantly less anxiety and paranoia than THC's conventional form.

Can I fly with Delta 8 gummies? ›

Can you take Delta-8 gummies on a plane? Usually, the answer is yes! And hemp gummies may hands down be the easiest type of product to carry on a plane. You can generally just leave gummies or other edibles in their original packaging.

Is delta-8 or Delta 10 stronger? ›

Delta 8 THC has been found to be more potent than Delta 10 THC because of the cannabinoid ratios. The potency of Delta 8 THC is based on the CBN content, which is another cannabinoid that provides psychoactive effects. Delta 8 THC lasts longer than most other cannabinoids due to the CBN content.

Does delta-8 make you paranoid? ›

The allure of delta-8 THC is its allegedly weaker potency. It is weaker than delta-9 but still interacts with the same cannabinoid receptors, producing the effects that people like from cannabis but supposedly without negative effects such as paranoia.

What is the fastest way to get delta 8 out of your system? ›

The most effective way to clear Delta 8 from your system is to drink plenty of water. This will help you flush more Delta 8 THC via urination and will help dilute the remainder of the THC metabolites in your system. In addition to water, you can think about making a detox drink of your own!

Does delta 8 speed up your metabolism? ›

In general, cannabis users have lower body mass indexes and are less prone to obesity than non-cannabis users, according to this research. Scientists believe this is because cannabis use speeds up metabolism, and Delta-8 THC appears to have a key role in helping people burn more calories faster.

Does Delta 10 show up on test? ›

So there's bad news, but there's also good news. The bad news is that yes, Delta-10 THC will make you fail a drug test. Much like Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 is a close cousin to Delta-9. It too has a similar chemical structure meaning that Delta-10 THC will most likely appear as THC on a standard drug test.

Can you drink alcohol and take Delta 8? ›

THC and alcohol may potentiate each other's effect, so you'll definitely want to consume the two in smaller doses than usual. It's unsafe to consume Delta-8 when drinking heavily. You may even want to consider forgoing alcohol and choosing a Delta-8 beverage instead.

How do you sober up from Delta 8 high? ›

Here are eight ways to help you sober up safely.
  1. Watch your dose and potency. ...
  2. Give it time. ...
  3. Stay calm and use relaxation. ...
  4. Find a distraction. ...
  5. Drink water, but avoid coffee and beer. ...
  6. Avoid other substance use and folk remedies. ...
  7. Use a safety plan. ...
  8. Seek out professional assistance.
17 Aug 2021

Does Delta 8 make you groggy in the morning? ›

Short answer, yes, it is possible. Feeling groggy in the morning after taking Delta-8 is a common side effect for many users. This is because Delta-8 works by binding to receptors in the brain responsible for feelings of alertness and wakefulness.

How much do Delta 8 gummies usually cost? ›

Medically Reviewed
Delta 8 Gummies
EffectsWill make you feel relaxed, mellow, and euphoric.
How long does it take to feel the effects?It is usualy from 40 minutes to an hour. For beginners, you might feel it a litte earlier.
Price250mg is $20 – 1000mg is $45
3 more rows

Can Delta 8 help with depression? ›

Deal With Depression & Anxiety

Delta 8 works like a charm on depression and anxiety. It helps regulate your body's blood, lower your depression and anxiety. Experts believe that treating patients with Delta 8 can help reduce mental stress and anxiety.

Is Delta 8 good for pain? ›

Delta 8 can definitely help with pain and we recommend trying this out if you feel like it's right for you. The Delta 8 THC compound in cannabis helps our body respond to pain signals sent by our central nervous system and cannabinoid receptors located throughout our body.

Who should not take Delta 8 gummies? ›

Delta 8 THC is known to cause anxiety in some people. This is likely because it activates the same areas of the brain as delta-9 THC. These areas are responsible for triggering feelings of fear and anxiety. If you're prone to anxiety, it's best to avoid Delta 8 altogether.

Does Delta 8 weaken the immune system? ›

Delta-8 THC can be used to suppress the immune response in your body.

Does CBD affect your kidneys? ›

There is no evidence to suggest that CBD has any adverse effect on kidney function.

How long does the delta-8 high last? ›

The high from delta 8 THC takes longer to kick in, but the effects of delta 8 also last longer. The onset and duration of delta 8 vary depending on your consumption method. In short, the high may need up to 2.5 hours to take hold, lasting up to 10 hours.

What happens if you take too much delta-8? ›

As a cannabis product, Delta-8 can cause cotton-mouth and dry eyes. Grogginess or Drowsiness: This is another no-go for Delta-8. If you're feeling drowsy or groggy, you may very well have overdone it. Fatigue and brain fog don't often occur with hemp-derived THC.

Can you take delta-8 everyday? ›

Delta-8 is a Great Cannabinoid for Daily Use

Hence, if you want to get as much out of it as possible, daily dosing is ideal. To further elevate your experience, we highly recommend combing delta 8 THC products with your daily consumption of CBD products such as with the Pinnacle Hemp Maxx 1:1 CBD/Delta 8 tincture!

Is delta-8 safe to consume? ›

Delta-8's Dark Side

In 2021, the FDA issued a consumer update, warning that delta-8 THC has serious health risks. Reports from December 2020 through July 2021 involved 22 people, some of whom reported vomiting, hallucinations, trouble standing, and passing out after consuming delta-8 THC products.

Does Delta 8 show up on drug tests? ›

Therefore, participants using delta-8 will likely screen positive for cannabinoids—either from the delta-8 metabolites themselves or from other cannabinoids that are present in the product being used.

How do you get Delta 8 out of your system? ›

Abstinence. Generally, you can get rid of the delta-8 THC metabolites in your body by abstaining from taking any THC-related products for at least ten days before a drug test. Doing this will allow you to pass the urine test.

Can Delta 8 help with anxiety? ›

Anxiolytic: delta 8 THC is a potent relaxant due to its aforementioned connection with the two cannabinoid receptors. It can reduce anxiety, bolster your response to stress, and induce a calm state of mind.

How long does it take for delta-8 to kick in? ›

Most users report that they can feel the effects of delta 8 just minutes after taking a hit. Gummies: Gummies and other edibles actually take the longest before taking effect. It can take up to 2 hours before you will feel delta 8 kicking in following a dose of gummies.

Why does delta-8 Make me feel weird? ›

Dry mouth and red eyes are two common side effects of Delta 8. These are caused by the cannabinoids in Delta 8 binding to receptors in the body that control saliva production and blood flow to the eyes. Delta 8 can also cause dizziness, anxiety, paranoia, and headaches in some people.

Does delta-8 hurt your lungs? ›

Animal studies suggest that vaporized delta-8 might be less psychoactive than delta-9 THC. However, no human research has directly compared their effects. Delta-8 has also been linked with lung injury.

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