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Delta-8 THC is similar to delta-9 THC, which is a compound in the cannabis plant that produces a high. Though it’s similar to delta-9 THC, it has a different chemical structure and is usually synthetically made.
Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.
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.
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.
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
- memory loss
But delta-8 may also have additional risks because it’s synthetically produced. And, since over-the-counter CBD products currently fall under the category of supplements, which are not moderated as closely, 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.
Because delta-8 is so similar to delta-9 THC, it will most likely also cause a “high.” However, some people describe it as milder than with delta-9 THC.
Here’s the complicated bit.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp containing less than 0.3% 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% 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.
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.
|Potential benefits||• pain relief|
|• pain relief|
|• pain relief|
• anxiety relief
• insomnia relief
|Potential risks & side effects||• red eyes|
• dry mouth
• rapid heart rate
• trouble with coordination
• slowed reaction times
• memory loss
• other unknown risks due to synthetic nature
|• red eyes|
• dry mouth
• rapid heart rate
• trouble with coordination
• slowed reaction times
• memory loss
|• changes in appetite|
• changes in weight
|Impairing effects?||yes||yes||it’s possible|
|Legality||• not federally legal|
• state laws vary
|• not federally legal|
• state laws vary
|• federally legal when from hemp|
• 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 these 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% 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:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to an
FDA warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
CBD products to consider
|Product||Price||CBD type||CBD form||Flavors|
|Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture||$40||full-spectrum||oil||Unflavored|
|Cornbread Hemp Distilled CBD Oil||$34.99||full-spectrum||oil||Unflavored|
|Medterra True Full Spectrum Original CBD Gummies||$59.99||full-spectrum||gummies||Citrus|
|cbdMD Broad Spectrum CBD Gummies||$129.99||broad-spectrum||gummies||Tropical Mix (strawberry, raspberry, orange, tropical)|
CBD safety and side effects
- 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
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 from delta-9 THC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Will delta-8 get you high?
Probably. 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.
Learn more about delta-8.
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% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so 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.
Delta-8 THC is similar to delta-9 THC, which is a compound in the cannabis plant that produces a high. Though it's similar to delta-9 THC, it has a different chemical structure and is usually synthetically made. Healthline has sole editorial control over this article.How does delta-8 get you so high? ›
The molecules' similarity means that delta-8 and delta-9 act very similarly in the body. Most crucially, they both bind to the same receptors in the brain, particularly one called the cannabinoid type 1 (or CB1) receptor, which produces the high you experience when you smoke a joint or eat a weed gummy.What is delta-8 and why is it legal? ›
Since delta-8 THC is sourced from hemp, and not marijuana, it is legal and unregulated at the federal level. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp, cracking open an industry with offshoots in textile manufacturing, medicine and (albeit accidentally) intoxicants.What does delta-8 high do? ›
A person may use delta-8 to produce “euphoric” effects, feel relaxed, or find relief from pain. Some people may not want to achieve the “high” that delta-9 THC produces, so they turn to delta-8 because they believe it will produce milder effects.Will delta-8 show up on a drug test? ›
Because delta-8 THC is similar to delta-9 THC, it can make you feel high and is likely to show up on a drug test. Delta-8 THC is federally legal, but it isn't regulated. So delta-8 THC products can contain residual chemicals and other contaminants.Is delta 8 harmful to the body? ›
While some claim it is the more gentle and “legal” high that offers relaxation and pain relief, recent warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say delta-8 is a potentially dangerous drug that has resulted in thousands of accidental poisonings.What is the difference between CBD and delta 8? ›
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.How long does delta-8 stay in urine? ›
Urine tests usually only detect delta 8 in your system for 4 to 8 days after your last use of the substance. Lastly, blood tests may show delta 8 in your system for 2 to 30 days depending on the factors mentioned above.What are the side effects of delta-8? ›
According to Riverside Recovery, eating large amounts of Delta-8 can cause psychosis, severe vomiting and addiction. Side effects also include anxiety, tremors, loss of consciousness, confusion and dizziness.What are the long term side effects of delta-8? ›
Marijuana, Delta-8, and related products have been shown to cause liver damage, depression, paranoia, memory/processing problems, infertility, cardiac problems, and cancer.
How much Delta 8 to get high? Everyone's Delta-8 dosing threshold will be different. Some people feel psychoactive effects after taking only 5-10 mg of Delta-8, while others need to take 20 mg or more for substantial effects. Your THC tolerance, weight, metabolism, and other biological factors will affect this.Is Delta 8 bad for your heart? ›
In some cases, Delta-8 may cause a temporary increase in heart rate, which could lead to a short-term rise in blood pressure.Is Delta 8 good for anxiety? ›
Studies indicate that delta-8 THC has the potential to reduce symptoms of anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. The compound interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, modulating neurotransmitter release and impacting emotional responses.Can you feel really high on Delta 8? ›
Delta 8 gets you high, but it is different than traditional THC. You may feel the effects of Delta 8 almost instantly and they may feel much stronger than regular THC at first. This initial wave feels strong and cerebral before settling into a comfortable, mellow feeling.How much Delta 8 gets you stoned? ›
How much Delta 8 to get high? Everyone's Delta-8 dosing threshold will be different. Some people feel psychoactive effects after taking only 5-10 mg of Delta-8, while others need to take 20 mg or more for substantial effects. Your THC tolerance, weight, metabolism, and other biological factors will affect this.How long does it take for Delta 8 high to kick in? ›
They kick in faster than other edibles as they are absorbed directly through the digestive tract. The effects of Delta 8 gummies can be felt anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour after consumption. Delta 8 differs from CBD, another non-psychoactive compound in hemp and cannabis.What Delta 8 products get you the most high? ›
- #1. Exhale Wellness: Overall Best Delta 8 Brand.
- #2. BudPop: Most Potent Delta 8 THC Brand for Hemp Products.
- #3. Hollyweed CBD: Popular Delta-8 Brand For Wide Variety of Organic Products.
- #4 Cheef Botanicals: Get Up To 25% Of On Delta 8 Products.