When something new like delta-8 THC comes around, there are a lot of questions about the specifics of what it does, and how it makes a person feel. While we rely on medical research to look into it clinically, one of the best ways of getting information about how something newly found is affecting people, is by getting their direct response.
I am not a medical professional. I conducted no survey of this topic, nor did I specifically speak to any individual one-on-one. This article is the compilation of different inputs regarding delta-8 THC and its effects, that were found on different message boards. No original wording of any post has been changed, and user’s words have been kept as is, right down to misspellings. Right now, in terms of getting a general user response on the topic, this is currently the only way that exists. As more research and more surveys are conducted in the future, there will be a larger body of information to work with.
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What we do know about delta-8 THC
Delta-8 THC, as the name implies, is structurally similar to delta-9 THC, the THC generally associated with the psychoactive effects of smoking cannabis. In fact, they have the exact same chemical makeup except that there is a ‘delta’, or double bond, on the 8th carbon molecule in delta-8 THC, and the 9th in delta-9 THC. Neither delta-8 or delta-9 THC is present in the actual cannabis plant, although delta-9 THC does appear over time in small amounts through decarboxylation due to sunlight. Generally speaking, however, delta-9 THC is produced through decarboxylation that comes from heating, whether lighting it to smoke it, or heating to vaporize, or to leech it into some fatty ingredient for edibles. Delta-9 THC – including all of its analogues and precursors (cannabigerolic acid), is the most plentiful cannabinoid of the cannabis plant.
Delta-8 THC comes from the breaking down of delta-9 THC, and therefore not only does it not appear directly in the cannabis plant, but it is only produced in very small quantities by an oxidation process of delta-9 THC molecules. This comes with an interesting caveat. Whereas marijuana is illegal due to its stipulation of being higher THC strains of cannabis, hemp is classified as having lower amounts of THC with maximum levels generally being around .2% (Europe) to .3% (US). This specification has been made in many places to allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Since delta-8 THC can be sourced from the THC of either hemp or marijuana, it leaves a legal loophole for its legalization by sourcing from industrial hemp only. Since sourcing cannabinoids from industrial hemp is legal, delta-8 falls into a gray area.
This loophole matters because THC and its analogues are illegal in most places for recreational use, and often medical as well. However, this is much of the time defined as THC sourced from marijuana – or generally high THC plants, and not hemp. The reason THC is illegal is only because of its psychoactive properties, properties which are similar between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, but touted as being less intense in the former than the latter. Right now, since it’s not widely tested or used, the best way to find out how delta-8 THC really makes a person feel, is to see what the people who have tried it have to say.
I started with Reddit, and came up with a few pages with discussions on delta-8. The overall consensus on the first page was that delta-8 does cause psychoactive effects, but not as intensely. One respondent said “I love Delta 8 for times that I can’t be “intoxicated” but still want help w my anxiety.” This person also stated “It gives you the calmness of being “high” but without the mental “high” aspects. You are still clear-headed”.
Another person stated “Delta 8 packs much less of a punch but will give similar effects and has great benefits. It’s definitely for people who are sensitive to Delta 9 THC.” A third person said “Delta 8 is great for flu symptoms, lack of appetite, and getting the benefits of D9 without that jittery mind racey / paranoid feeling that some people get”. The general feeling seemed to be that delta-8 provided an alternate to delta-9’s anxiety producing ability.
The second reddit page I went to mirrored the first for the most part with statements like: “As someone who used to love weed but can’t do it anymore due to it causing anxiety, I fucking love delta 8…It’s like a weed high minus the anxiety. You also lose the trippy headspace too. But get all the other benifits.”.
Another person said “So I bought some and starting vaping it and it does produce a high most certainly, 100%. It is not what youd expect from delta9 by smoking flowers, but it is a high nonetheless”. This person went on to explain “The OG cart had me sleeping in the afternoon and couch locked watching Hannibal the rest of the day lol. It is a much more physical high than the combined physical and mental of buds. You wont feel paranoia or heart racing like with buds but I would say it is definitely a good purchase.”
On the third reddit page, respondents continued with similar claims: “I smoke d8 all the time it’s speedier and cleaner of a high doesn’t get you as ripped.” As well as “Long time delta 9 user here. I actually switched about a month ago with some of the before mentioned sites and subs. Was actually surprised of the high. It’s a complete Indica high but focused somewhat but in high doses damn near the same as D9”.
After reddit I went to Bluelight.org to see what their forums were looking like. Some of the responses for users were as follows:
“I just got to try d8 THC for the first time and I’m super impressed. It’s a very smooth high compared to regular d9 thc and a little less potent by weight.”
“I tried a 25mg oral dose of d8 thc. It took a while to peak, around 2 hours, but it was definitely active. Comparable to around 15mg of regular THC.”
“I have purchased two ∆8 carts and I will purchase again. Here’s why: 1) Affordable. I can barely buy a trash cart for under $60. 2) It’s readily available, again I love in the south. 3) It gets me really high. Yeah it’s a different high and not as satisfying but it’s perfect for those time where I can’t fit flower in.”
The responses of those who have actually tried (and aren’t speculating from literature), point again in the direction of a most-certainly psychoactive compound that feels just a bit different from delta-9.
Why does it matter?
Delta-8 THC has been found to have possibly very strong medicinal benefits, with attention already being paid to its cancer-fighting properties, as well as its anxiolytic effects. As delta-9 THC is illegal, delta-8 gives a bit of a loophole to acquire the medical benefits of THC, but legally, and without as much of the jitteriness, paranoia, or overall anxiety that is often experienced with marijuana. This is great news for those who want the medical benefits without as much of a high, as well as for those who are sensitive to THC, and prefer a formulation that gives them the benefits of the psychoactive effects without the negatives of anxiety.
It’s not shocking that there’s another way to get a psychoactive effect from the cannabis plant apart from the standard delta-9 high. If the users from these forums are realistically tapping into the actual effects of delta-8, then the responses herein should be what a user can expect. It should be remembered that many people like to answer on forums without having had an actual personal experience to share – so be careful when doing your own research that you’re getting a person’s experience, and not simply their opinion based on reading.
It should also be considered that reading on a subject can often color a person’s experience, and that many of the respondents already had a working knowledge of delta-8. These are factors that are widely considered during survey research studies. If nothing else, this gives a look into what the masses who’ve already experienced delta-8 have to say. As of right now, experiences are not widespread and very few forums have user postings on the topic. I expect this will change in the next few years.
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