Delta-8 THC vs CBD: What are the Similarities & Differences? – Wellicy

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There’s been a lot of buzz lately about delta-8 and for good reason.

This exciting compound in the cannabis plant may offer some interesting properties to the body and mind, and due to recent scientific innovations this cannabinoid is starting to go mainstream. 

Many of us feel that our daily dose of CBD is enough for our wellness routines and may therefore not see the need to throw delta-8 into the mix.

However, if you’re unwilling to explore what delta-8 may do, you might be missing out. 

Yes, delta 8 is a cannabinoid found in hemp, just like CBD. 

But they are unique enough that each one is equally deserving of your attention.

At the end of the day we encourage you to experiment with varying cannabinoids rather than sticking with just CBD or delta-8 THC for example to find the perfect blend for your specific wants and needs. 

What is Delta-8?

Buy Delta-8 THC

Delta 8 is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant, which hemp is apart of the cannabis sativa-L genus, however, in order to be classified as hemp it must contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight.

Delta-8 THC is very similar to delta-9, which is the THC that is abundant in cannabis, and what's the cause for producing strong psychoactive effects, aka the high. 

Delta-8 THC is unique. 

It’s a minor cannabinoid in hemp, meaning it occurs in only about 0.1 percent of the plant’s material. 

So in the past, this cannabinoid was extremely expensive to produce due to requiring such large amounts of raw plant material.

But thanks to scientific innovations, delta-8 THC manufacturers leverage a process known as 'isomerization'.

Simply put, we take hemp derived CBD isolate using isomerization to produce pure delta-8 THC.

The effects of delta-8 THC are less intense than those of delta 9, offering a more subtle experience. 

Plus, delta 8 is completely legal, as the 2018 farm bill legalized all hemp derived cannabinoids, isomers, derivatives  and extracts legal as long as the final product contains no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by volume. 

What is CBD?

CBD, more formally known as cannabidiol, is the dominant cannabinoid found in hemp. 

This means that while there is only below 0.1 percent of delta 8 in hemp, there’s about 12 to 18 percent of CBD present.

CBD is non-psychoactive and has been widely studied for its various properties which can provide wellness-boosting effects to the user. [Source]

What Delta-8 and CBD Have in Common

Let’s examine that which delta 8 and CBD have in common to better understand why these two cannabinoids are often compared.

#1: Both are Cannabinoids

But what does this really mean? 

Cannabinoids are a unique class of compounds found in the cannabis genus and are used by the body compared to other natural plant compounds.

Cannabinoids are utilized by the endocannabinoid system, which is a major and complex bodily system consisting of networks of cannabinoid receptors that run throughout the body. 

Every cannabinoid receptor triggers regulatory actions that occur within a specific bodily process that is carried out daily, whether it be immune function, mood, neurological function, energy, digestive health or something else that determines how our body operates on a daily basis. 

The endocannabinoid system’s role is to help the body achieve homeostasis for enhanced wellness. [Source]

Each cannabinoid binds with cannabinoid receptors when introduced into the body. 

However, the binding process can vary from compound to compound, as the body has various cannabinoid receptors. 

#2: Present in Hemp

Of course, another similarity is that both delta 8 and CBD exist in the hemp plant, although, as we explained earlier, they exist in different levels of abundance. 

Still, when we consume the whole plant, either in the form of raw flower or a full spectrum hemp product, we are consuming both the levels of CBD and potentially a minute amount of delta 8 that naturally occurs in that specific strain of hemp being used for extraction.

It's crucial for us to point out, that these small amounts that naturally occur will not induce the intoxicating effects such as those experienced when leverage a delta 8 THC cartridge or edible that contains a potency of delta 8 THC often exceed 80%+.

#3: Share Similar Properties

Interestingly, CBD and delta 8 seem to have a lot of the same properties in common, according to what the current research says. 

But of course the largest difference between the 2 is the fact that CBD does not induce any level of high, whereas delta 8 THC induces intoxicating effects (high) but less intense than that which is experienced when smoking delta 9 THC (cannabis).

A recent study found that delta 8 may offer regulatory effects on mood, pain, and neurological health, much like CBD has been shown to have the potential to do.

But of course this is purely based off preliminary research data and further research is required before any definitive effects can be claimed.

Note, however, that this does not mean that only one is worth taking, as these effects can have subtle differences that can determine how effective they are in your body.

This is again why we recommend all of our customers leverage a full spectrum CBD oil, unless drug tested or looking to avoid THC in all, you can leverage broad spectrum CBD oil. Of course, you can also opt to build your own formula by using isolate cannabinoid products, like the Wellicy CBD Isolate Oil.

#4: Federally Legal

Because both CBD and delta 8 are derived from the hemp plant rather than the marijuana plant, at least commercially, they are both legal according to federal law, thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018 which determined that hemp and all of its derivatives can be lawfully sold and consumed.

They key factor that determines if a product is a cannabis or a hemp product comes down to the delta 9 THC levels. In order for a product to be considered hemp derived and thus federally legal, it must contain no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC by volume. 

It is important to note that all though the 2018 Farm Bill legalizes all extracts, isomers, cannabinoids and derivatives of hemp with <0.3% delta 9 THC. Some states have made rules or regulations specifically surrounding delta 8. 

#5: They’re Isomers

A particularly fascinating fact about these two compounds is that they are isomers of each other, meaning that they have the same molecular makeup, but each one is rearranged in a different way. 

This means that CBD can be turned into delta 8 and vice versa using molecular chemistry techniques.

Hence why delta 8 THC products have hit the mainstream hemp market. As manufacturers such as ourselves leverage a process known as 'isomerization' where we take hemp derived CBD isolate and convert it into delta 8 THC.

How Delta-8 and CBD Differ

Next, let’s move onto the differences between delta 8 THC and CBD, I mean after all that’s why you’re reading this article.

#1: Psychoactive Properties

CBD is non-intoxicating, period. 

It doesn’t have any intoxicating effects, meaning you will never experience a high from leveraging a CBD product. 

Furthermore, if you consume the full hemp plant, in the form of hemp flower or a full spectrum CBD oil, you will not get high because the levels of THC, both in terms of delta 8 and delta 9, are too low.

But, when we take CBD isolate and using isomerization we product delta 8 THC, we end up with a high purity distillate. 

This means that delta 8 products will be psychoactive, because they are so concentrated.  As a result, delta 8 will get you high but it's important to note the high experienced will not be to the often extreme levels experienced when smoking cannabis (delta 9 THC).

#2: Availability

It’s far easier to find CBD than delta 8 on the market as it stands, although that may change as there is a growing demand for delta 8. 

This means that currently, CBD wins in the availability department. 

#3: Manufacturing

The methods used to produce delta 8 and CBD may vary depending on the company producing the products.

CBD is fairly easy to isolate and extract, because it’s so abundant in the hemp plant that it doesn’t require much effort such as the additional processes required to get large amounts of delta 8 THC extract. 

And of course the CBD extract could be a full spectrum CBD oil, broad spectrum CBD oil, or pure CBD isolate.

Delta 8 is more difficult, and more advanced methods such as isomerization are needed in order to produce an adequate amount of delta 8 THC distillate. 

Otherwise, strictly using the naturally present amounts of delta 8 in the raw hemp flower would require incredible amounts of material to product minute amounts, thus driving the cost for that product to astronomical levels.

#4: Access to Literature

CBD has been widely studied over the last decade due to changes in legal status and heavy demand, even within the medical community.

This means that we now have access to an enormous library of medical literature showcasing the various potential effects of CBD, as well as its safety. 

Delta-8 is so new that we don’t have that many studies on it. 

While studies do go back to the 1970s, they are extremely limited. 

As more people show an interest in delta 8, there should be a higher incentive to fund its testing in order to learn more about it.

Although we have incredible amounts of research surrounding CBD and even delta 8 THC, it's important to remember these are all preliminary results. And we need further research before any definitive claims can be made.

#5: Pet-Friendliness

CBD is deemed safe for pets according to a good portion veterinary bodies (though some are on the fence about using cannabidiol as an administration method). 

But delta 8 is not.  Delta 8 has not been tested on pets, and this is why we cannot say that it is advisable to give it to them.

Further, it’s considered unethical to give your pet an intoxicating substance, and this may result in unwanted side effects and changes in behavior that are completely best to avoid altogether.

At the end of the day, although CBD is often accepted by vets, we highly recommend you consult your dog or cats vet before starting them on a CBD regimen.

#6: Medical Backing

It took years for the medical industry to take CBD seriously, and now, after much research has been done, the medical community largely welcomes CBD oil, with many doctors even recommending it to their patients. 

But delta 8 isn’t there yet. 

It’s so new that much of the medical industry has never even heard of it, let alone studied it. 

This means that you may have a harder time speaking to your doctor about trying delta 8 compared to trying CBD.

We highly recommend you first consult with a medical professional before using any cannabinoids, especially if you are currently taking prescription medications or have recently been prescribed them after taking CBD products.

#7: Potential for Legal Repercussion 

One important difference to keep in mind is the risk of legal penalty. 

Both CBD and delta 8 are legal according to federal law, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get into trouble if you are somehow caught using delta 8.

Delta 8 and delta 9 are so similar that drug tests and lab kits do not differentiate between the two. 

This means that if you take delta 8 before taking a drug test, you may fail. Meaning that if you are drug tested for work or any other reason, we highly recommend you avoid using delta 8 or delta 9 THC products. 

CBD, meanwhile, does not come with these risks as using a pure CBD product will not show up on a drug test.

Final Thoughts on Delta-8 & CBD

While they share some crucial factors in common, the differences are significant enough to make each one worth considering independently.

Wellicy carries delta-8 products that are great for those who are totally new to this fascinating cannabinoid from the hemp plant.