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

What Exactly Is Delta-8? Why You’re Hearing About It | Healthline (1)Share on Pinterest

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.

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.


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.


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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How does Delta 8 Get Me high? ›

Delta-8 is an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with anti-inflammatory effects. This means it attaches to the same receptors in your brain that THC does, producing some of the same effects while offering others unique to just Delta 8 alone.

Is Delta 8 harmful to the brain? ›

In conclusion, Delta 8 THC is safe for you to use as long as you take the proper dosage. It's very potent with the ability to bind with CB1 receptors in your brain which can cause anxiety, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, slowed reaction time, and more.

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.

Does Delta 8 have health benefits? ›

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.

Does Delta 8 show up on drug tests? ›

Delta-8 THC can show up on a regular drug test. Because it's chemically similar to delta-9 THC, it can cause a positive drug test for cannabis, even if you don't use “regular” cannabis products. If you know you'll be tested for cannabis, it's best to avoid delta-8 products altogether.

Is Delta 8 natural or synthetic? ›

Delta-8 THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant but is not found in significant amounts in the cannabis plant. As a result, concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD).

What does Delta 8 do to the heart? ›

Scientists and public health experts are alarmed about the rising use of Delta-8 THC and are concerned about its harmful health consequences, which can include slurred speech, increased heart rate progressing to slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, sedation, and coma.

How long does it take for Delta 8 to leave your system? ›

The half-life of Delta 8 THC has been reported as anywhere from 40 minutes to 7 hours. Delta 8 THC can linger in the body much longer than other metabolites and it is generally believed that Delta 8 remains detectable in the body for one to three days after consumption.

How long will delta 8 stay in your system for a drug test? ›

While delta-8 THC's effects last up to five hours in your body, the metabolites can stay in your system for up to 90 days. Luckily, the most common tests can detect metabolites for only a few days. However, if you are a chronic user, the test can yield positive even after 30 days.

What are the long term effects of delta-8? ›

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.

Does delta-8 help you sleep? ›

According to the NCI, Delta-8 uniquely binds twice with cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system that play a role in sleep by calming down processes like breath, heart rate, and mental activity. So, it may be able to regulate your sleep cycle and help you experience a sense of calm that promotes rest.

Does delta-8 get you higher than CBD? ›

Delta 8 THC is intoxicating, so it can get you high, while CBD doesn't have such properties. Delta 8 and CBD have different molecular structures and interact with different receptors in the body.

What happens if you take Delta 8 everyday? ›

Side Effects of Using Delta-8 Daily

increased heart rate. coordination problems. dry mouth and increased thirst. red, dry eyes.

Is Delta 8 okay for 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. However, it is not clear whether the toxic culprit is delta-8 or other vape ingredients like vitamin E acetate.

Does Delta 8 help with weight loss? ›

The short answer to this question is yes. Delta 8 may help you lose weight. Studies reveal that this cannabinoid can help you lose weight while increasing your appetite. A 50-day study on mice showed that those given delta 8 THC ate 22 times more but shed 20% of their body weight.

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.

Is delta-8 federally legal? ›

Delta-8 THC is considered legal at the federal level because it is derived from the hemp plant, instead of marijuana.

Is delta-8 the same as K2? ›

The most significant difference between delta 8 THC and K2/Spice is that delta 8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid, whereas K2 and Spice are synthetic — they don't exist naturally in cannabis plants at any stage.

Does delta-8 have heavy metals? ›

Rochester, NY: Delta-8 vapor products frequently contain heavy metals and are typically far less potent than advertised on the products' labeling, according to data published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Is delta-8 a chemical? ›

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.

What are the health risks of Delta 8? ›

“Delta-8 products can cause severe side effects such as paranoia, hallucinations, vomiting (very common), tremor, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness and tachycardia,” said Dr. David Taylor, chief medical officer and emergency medicine physician at Riverwood.

What is a Delta 8 high like? ›

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.

Can delta-8 cause psychosis? ›

Consuming delta-8 can lead to many unintended side effects, including psychosis. Psychosis can occur due to the regular consumption of cannabis products and can even trigger long-lasting mental health conditions.

How many hits does a delta-8 Disposable have? ›

How many hits are in a delta 8 pen? On average, you're going to get about 300 puffs per gram with your Delta 8 THC cart. This means that you'll get about 600 puffs on a massive 2 gram cart or 150 Puffs on a half-gram cart.

Can Delta 8 Cause Panic Attacks? ›

“We have noticed, especially recently, a sharp increase in the number of patients who have been poisoned with THC products — especially Delta 8 THC,” Orozco said. “If you can't tolerate the doses you took, then you can often end up — we see patients with anxiety, panic attacks.

Is Delta 8 highly addictive? ›

Despite the chatter, delta-8 THC is an addictive substance. Even if it doesn't carry the same level of danger as other drugs, it still raises cause for concern.

Can you take Delta 8 every night? ›

Delta-8 can be used at any point in the day or night and offer benefits depending on what you're using it for.

Does Delta 8 help with stress? ›

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.

Does Delta 8 give you energy? ›

Delta-8 isn't a stimulant, but it may inadvertently support energy sustenance. Delta-8 boost your metabolism, so make sure you're eating plenty of nutritious foods if you want to feel energized. Almost any Delta-8 formula will provide these benefits, but you may want to avoid indica-dominant products.

What is the best Delta 8 to get high? ›

Top 3 Best Delta 8 Brands in 2022
  • Exhale Wellness: Overall Best Delta 8 Brand For THC Products; Editor's Choice.
  • BudPop: Strongest THC Brand for Hemp Derived Delta 8 Products.
  • Hollyweed CBD: Premium Quality Marijuana To Buy D8 THC Online.
31 Oct 2022

Is anxiety CBD or Delta 8 better? ›

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.

Is vaping delta-8 worse than smoking? ›

smoking delta 8: The bottom line. When all's said and done, should you vape or smoke delta 8? It all comes down to a matter of personal preference—neither option is inherently safer or more desirable than the other. While vapes are more potent than flower, some people prefer to take it easy.

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

Nausea, paranoia, anxiety, and confusion can occur when using too much delta 8 or delta 8 THC.

Does 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 get u high? ›

Delta 8 THC Vape Carts: Vaping offers the fastest onset effects, starting in about 6 minutes. The time delta 8 THC needs to kick in through inhalation depends on the person and the product used. The peak effects can be noticed within 30 minutes to 2.5 hours after consumption, lasting up to 5 hours.

How many hits does it take to get high off of a Delta 8? ›

So, we recommend taking 4–5 puffs and waiting 30 minutes to see what you feel like after that dose, for starters. Delta 8 users often say that if marijuana (delta 9 THC) takes you 2 puffs to get high, delta 8 will take 4 puffs.

How long will delta 8 stay in your system? ›

The half-life of Delta 8 THC has been reported as anywhere from 40 minutes to 7 hours. Delta 8 THC can linger in the body much longer than other metabolites and it is generally believed that Delta 8 remains detectable in the body for one to three days after consumption.

What are the long term effects of delta 8? ›

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.

How long do the effects of delta 8 last? ›

A Delta 8 high can last from 3 to 10 hours. The exact amount of time will depend on the person taking Delta 8, the method of consumption, and the amount of Delta 8 they took. If you take edibles or tinctures with Delta 8, you will feel the effects of Delta-8 after about 30 minutes.

Whats better Delta 8 or 9? ›

Delta 9 is significantly more potent than Delta 8. Some experts believe it to be about twice as powerful overall. Side effects are more severe with Delta 9, including paranoid delusions, mental cloudiness, motor impairment, and anxiety.

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!


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