Cannabis Science

All your Delta 8 Questions Answered

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Cannabis has over 100 different cannabinoids such as delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Another cannabinoid rising in popularity is delta (Δ) 8 THC. You may have been hearing people talk about it. It’s a rising star in the cannabis community but what is delta 8 THC?

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What is Delta 8?

Simply put delta 8 is a cannabinoid that’s an analouge of THC. It’s very structurally similar to delta 9 THC. The main structural difference between Δ 8 and Δ 9 is that the double bond for Δ 8 is found on the eighth carbon instead of the ninth.

This cannabinoid has many properties that can be beneficial to us. It can relieve pain, nausea as well as stimulate appetite, reduces anxiety and prevents nerve cells against damage. In addition to that, a study investigated its ability to prevent vomiting in children who have cancer.

Even though delta 8 THC is naturally found in cannabis, it’s commonly made in the lab by converting CBD from hemp to delta 8. Cannabinoids can generally be converted from one to the next.

Does Delta 8 Make You High?

Yes, it does. Just like delta 9 THC, it interacts with your cannabinoid receptors to produce a high. Δ-8-THC binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1 that located in the central nervous system according to PubChem. 

Why Δ 8 THC Is Not As Potent As Δ 9 THC

According to a study, Δ 8 is generally not as potent as Δ 9 and so the high caused by Δ 8-THC isn’t as long-lasting or intense as its counterpart. Gabriella Gobbi, a professor at McGill University’s Department of Psychology, was referenced on Inverse explaining the difference. She said that the slight structural difference in Δ 8 means it doesn’t bind as well to the receptor and that’s why the high is not as intense. 

In addition to not being as potent, Δ 8 THC tends to produce less of the negative effects that some people experience when they use Δ 9 THC. For example, people who use Δ 8 THC says that they don’t feel anxious.

Is Delta 8 Safe?

There isn’t a lot of scientific research surrounding Δ8 THC but there isn’t much indication that it is dangerous. We don’t know if there are long-term effects. However, scientists have studied this cannabinoid for its medical benefits and it looks promising. For example, the study that previously mentioned the use of  Δ 8 THC with kids that have cancer. The study did find that it helped prevent vomiting and the negative side effects were limited. 

But the bottomline is, Delta 8 appears to be safe to use. 

Is Delta 8 Legal?

Yes, delta 8 is federally legal. According to Forbes, the 2018 Farm Bill technically makes delta 8 legal since it says that hemp-derived products are legal. However, Forbes says that there are still some concerns. When Congress passed the bill, it was under the assumption that hemp products were not intoxicating. Delta 8 THC is. In addition to that, Δ 8 (and Δ 9) is on the DEA’s list of controlled substances. Finally, there isn’t enough of this cannabinoid in hemp and so it’s commonly made by converting CBD. According to Garrett Graff, a lawyer and managing partner at cannabis-focused Hoban Law Group was quoted in Forbes saying that fact makes a “complicated, legal mine field.”

Where is Delta 8 Available? 

Since it is technically legal, it can be found wherever you can get other cannabis products; dispensaries, and online. convenience stores and gas stations but we recommend getting cannabis products from trusted places. 

While Δ 8 is used in many forms, LA Times times says that it is more popularly available as an edible. For example, it can be made into gummies or you could have it in a drink.

Does Δ 8 Show Up on a Drug Test?

It definitely can. Delta 8 may be detected on your drug test because the metabolites from this cannabinoid may be picked up by the test. In addition to that, there could be traces of delta 9 in whatever product you used. 


Delta 8 is a cannabinoid gaining popularity because it is technically legal and produces a high without some of the unpleasant side effects associated with its more potent counterpart. There isn’t a lot of research done but what has been done makes it look promising for medical benefits and potentially safe to use. It’s pretty widely available but stay clear of it if you have a drug test coming up. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].