You may have heard people raving about delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) recently. There are many companies selling delta 8 (Δ-8-THC) products such as edibles, vape cartridges and other products. According to a Forbes article, these products are very much in demand. The article says, “Delta-8 THC is having a moment as it’s quickly become the most exciting, and most intoxicating, product in the hemp industry.” You may be wondering if they’re so similar then will delta-8 THC get you high like delta-9 THC? That’s a great question and we’ll get to the answer.

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Δ-8-THC is just another cannabinoid that is found in marijuana. It is pretty similar to delta 9 THC. The structural difference between these two cannabinoids is that delta 8 THC has a double bond on the eighth carbon and the same double bond is found on the ninth carbon for delta 9 THC. The chemical difference between both of them is that delta 8 is more stable. A study said, “The major chemical difference between them is that delta-9-THC is easily oxidized to the biologically inactive cannabinol; delta-8-THC is stable, does not oxidize to cannabinol and has a very long shelf life.”

Let’s first look at how Δ-8-THC is made. 

How is delta 8 THC made?

First of all delta 8 THC can be found naturally in the marijuana plant. It’s not very abundant but it’s there. When companies want delta 8 THC they simply harvest hemp and extract the cannabidiol (CBD). This is how delta 8 THC is technically legal. It’s made from hemp and hemp has 0.3% or less THC. According to Forbes “Delta-8 is being sold across the country thanks to an exception in marijuana laws made by the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized cannabinoids derived from hemp.”

Delta-8 THC Extraction methods 

According to Extraction Magazine, a group of scientists patented a way to make delta 8 THC from CBD by chemical synthesis. The steps are outlined by Extraction Magazine as follows:

  1. Mix a Lewis acid with an organic solvent. A Lewis acid is simply a compound or ionic species which can accept an electron pair from a donor compound.
  2. Add 300 mg of CBD to dried p-toluenesulfonic acid (30 mg) in toluene (15 ml), under N2 atmosphere (inert and free of oxygen).
  3. Reflux the solution for an hour. 
  4. Dilute the mixture with an organic solvent. In this case, 20ml of ether was used as the organic solvent.
  5. Pour the mixture into cold water.
  6. Mix everything together.
  7. Allow the mixture to separate into the aqueous and organic phases.
  8. Remove the organic phase, this is the Δ-8-THC. 
  9. Elute the organic phase. You do that by washing it. Use aqueous 5% NaHCO3 which is sodium bicarbonate. Afterward, use water then dry over MgSO (magnesium sulfate) and evaporate it. 

Another extraction method of Δ-8-THC

Delta 8 Science’s extraction method involves breaking up the hemp flower and sending it through fractional distillation. Fractional distillation is a method of separation or extraction that uses the difference in the boiling point of the substances. They said, “We use a thin film distillation and utilize variations in temperature and pressure in order to isolate delta-8-THC”.

Delta 8 Science also said they’ve achieved success isolating Δ-8-THC from CBD and Cannabigerol (CBG). 

Will delta 8 THC get you high? 

Yes, according to Pub Chem, this cannabinoid can absolutely make you high. It binds to the CB1 receptor just like Δ-9-THC. However, Δ-8-THC doesn’t give a high quite as intense as Δ-9-THC. According to Pub Chem, “This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC)”. You’ll also have a lower risk of being anxious using this instead of delta 9 THC. This is especially important for people whose anxiety increases when they use marijuana due to delta 9 THC.

A study also agrees that Δ-8-THC isn’t as potent. It said, “….delta-8-THC differs from Δ-9-THC in being about twice less potent in most, but not all pharmacological tests.”

What are the effects of delta-8-THC?

Pub Chem has listed several properties of this cannabinoid:

  • Antiemetic (prevents vomiting)- According to a study, It was able to be an effective treatment in preventing vomiting in children with cancer. 
  • Anxiolytic (reduces anxiety)
  • Appetite-stimulating
  • Analgesic (relieves pain)
  • Neuroprotective (protects nerve cells against damage, degeneration, or impairment of function)

Conclusion 

Yes, Δ-8-THC does make you high. It’s similar enough to delta 9 THC to have many of the same properties. However, Δ-8-THC isn’t quite as potent as Δ-9-THC. Don’t worry though many people are still opting to use it for the high. It may even be a preferred choice since it tends not to produce anxiety that products high in delta-9 THC give some users. Currently, Δ-8-THC is legal and available for purchase in many places.