What is Delta 8 THC?

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What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is distinct from the THC that is often mentioned in conversation about cannabis. What we refer to as THC usually means delta-9-THC, the main form of THC found in cannabis. Delta-8-THC is an analog of delta-9-THC, a molecule with a similar structure, but some notable differences. While the two share many similar properties, such as reportedly stimulating appetite, reducing nausea, and soothing pain, delta-8-THC tends to exhibit a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9-THC.

Delta-8-THC is a minor cannabinoid, occurring in the plant in small concentrations. Delta 8 is not directly produced by cannabinoid-synthesizing enzymes within the plant. When THC is stored, overtime it degrades into delta-8-THC. Commercial growers and extractors use selective breeding and molecular isolation to access greater quantities of delta-8-THC.

Delta-8-THC binds to the CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system. Delta-8-THC additionally has an affinity for CB2 receptors, although less is known about this binding mechanism.

From a chemical or structural perspective, delta-8-THC differs from delta-9-THC due to the location of a critical chemical bond. Both delta-8 and delta-9-THC contain double bonds in their molecular chain. Delta-8-THC contains that bond on the 8th carbon chain, while delta-9-THC contains the bond on the 9th carbon chain. Although it’s a subtle difference, it has noticeable effects on how the body’s endocannabinoid receptors bind and respond to the molecule.

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Pain and Anti-Inflammatory Effects

A 2018 preclinical study published in “Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research” found that delta-8-THC may help to diminish pain and inflammation in corneal injury in mice. The research found that delta-8-THC, applied topically, assisted in pain reduction, and reduced inflammation through its effects on the CB1 receptors. Another preclinical study on rats also reported that delta-8-THC delivers pain relief, but that tolerance to the cannabinoid developed rapidly.

Anti-Nauseant Effects

The nausea fighting potential of delta-8-THC was reported in a 1995 study published in  “Life Sciences.” The study followed eight pediatric cancer patients over two years and found that no vomiting occurred when patients ingested delta-8-THC before and for 24 hours after cancer treatment. The study reported very few side effects.

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