• CBD (cannabidiol), unlike delta-8-THC (delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol), lacks psychoactive properties and, thus, intoxicating effects.
  • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a positional isomer of delta-9-THC with the same pharmacological profile and less psychoactive potency(1).
  • Since both Delta-8 (an isomer of delta-9 THC) and CBD are cannabinoids, they may exhibit the entourage effect or whole-plant synergy(2).
  • Cannabis products containing delta-8-THC have become widely available throughout the United States. It has become an essential source of revenue for hemp processing companies, especially in states where the use of delta-8-THC remains illegal or requires physician authorization for medical purposes(3).
  • Researchers devised an online survey for users of delta-8-THC that included a broad range of issues linked to this chemical, such as its use in the treatment of medical conditions(4).

What Is CBD?

Cannabis sativa, an Indian hemp plant, is an annual herbaceous plant native to central and western Asia(5). The plant is grown for its therapeutic qualities and its natural textile fabric, hemp. The plant includes more than 400 chemical components, of which around 80 are physiologically active. 

There are roughly sixty cannabinoids, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its isomer delta (9-THC) being the most significant psychotropic compounds. Other discovered chemical compounds include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), and olivetol. 

In addition to cannabinoids, the plant also includes terpenoids and flavonoids such as quercetin.

Terpenes are essential for the aroma, flavor, and color of plants(6).

Meanwhile, flavonoids promote health and are used in nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, medicines, and cosmetics(7). They control critical cellular enzyme processes and have antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-carcinogenic characteristics.

Notably, unlike 9-THC, CBD does not have intoxicating effects since it lacks psychoactive properties. However, CBD exhibits various favorable pharmacological effects. 

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the compound are mediated via the inhibition of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase(8)

Cyclooxygenase converts arachidonic acid to prostaglandins, and one of its isoforms mediates inflammation and pain(9)

Meanwhile, In osteoarthritis (OA) and several other illnesses, the enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX)-1, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) generate pain and inflammatory effectors(10)

All three enzymes are essential for the conversion of arachidonic acid (AA) to inflammatory fatty acids, which contribute to cartilage degeneration.

What Is Delta-8-THC?

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a positional isomer of delta-9-THC with a comparable pharmacological profile and significantly less psychoactive potency(11)

Similar to CBD, delta-8 (delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of more than one hundred chemical components found in the Cannabis sativa plant(12)

However, most individuals are acquainted with THC (delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that is responsible for giving users a euphoric effect.

Delta-8-THC is present in traces in cannabis, although it is possible to distill and manufacture it from hemp(13). Increasingly, it is being sold as medicinal marijuana with less of the high and the anxiety that might accompany it. 

Delta-8-THC, unlike the other molecules mentioned, is an intoxicating cannabinoid(14)

However, it produces just a fraction of THC’s high, along with far less anxiety and paranoia. 

Consumers may find delta-8 hemp flower, which manufacturers claim that it is a CBD flower of superior grade that has been infused with pure Delta-8 THC distillate.

This flower has a potent impact and gives consumers a legal means to experience the entire range of hemp’s advantages.

Similarities Between Delta-8-THC and CBD

Delta-8THC is a cannabinoid, like CBD. The background of delta-8-THC is where the most notable variances between CBD and delta-8-THC may be discovered.

Despite the apparent differences, delta-8-THC(15) and CBD(16) have similar characteristics, particularly their sedative effects.

Instead of seeing delta-8 THC and CBD as rivals, these compounds should be seen as synergistic chemicals that improve each other’s medicinal characteristics. The phenomenon is called the “entourage effect” or whole-plant synergy. 

The “entourage effect” refers to the proposed favorable impact terpenes have on cannabinoids(17).

The advantages of delta-8-THC and CBD may be similar, yet their impacts on the mind and body are very distinct. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the two and determine which is superior for the health benefits and wellness requirements.

Differences Between Delta-8-THC vs. CBD

Here are the main differences between delta-8-THC vs. CBD

  • Cannabis has up to 1% delta-8-THC and up to 20% CBD.
  • Delta-8-THC is an analog of delta-9-THC, indicating that its chemical structure and affinity with the cannabinoid receptors are comparable (causes a euphoric high). CBD has a comparable molecular structure to CBG and does not attach to the cannabinoid receptors (no euphoric high).
  • Consumers of CBD are protected by the 2018 Farm Bill. Moreover, cannabidiol is federally legal in most states(18).
  • The federal legality of delta-8-THC is ambiguous, and it is prohibited at a certain federal level under state review. 

What Are the Potential Benefits of Delta-8-THC and CBD?

Delta-8-THC may help manage many of the same symptoms (nausea and appetite stimulation) as cannabis, making it a potentially enticing alternative for those who want to avoid cannabis’ psychoactive effects(19)

Delta-8-THC is said to be beneficial for nausea and stimulating the appetite. Some data (although from a minimal trial of 10 children) shows that delta-8-THC may be a viable choice for preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. 

Although the marketing claims for delta-8-THC are fascinating, there are insufficient human trials to support its effectiveness or safety, so users must take them with great caution. 

Meanwhile, several studies indicate that the advantages of CBD may have far-reaching benefits, according to the Cleveland Clinic(20)

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is considered a complex network of enzymes, neurotransmitters, and receptors that play a crucial role in developing the central nervous system. 

The ECS regulates many processes, including pain, motor control, memory, hunger, and inflammation. 

However, by investigating CBD’s effects in these particular regions in more depth, researchers may understand how CBD affects a range of diseases and ailments.

What Do Researchers Say About CBD and Delta-8-THC?

Late in the year 2020, cannabis products containing delta-8-THC became widely available throughout the majority of the United States and quickly became a significant source of revenue for hemp processing companies, particularly in states where the use of delta-9-THC remains illegal or requires physician authorization for medical purposes(21)

Researchers designed an online survey for users of delta-8-THC. This survey included a wide variety of concerns related to this substance, including its usage in the treatment of health and medical ailments(22)

Similarities and main differences were observed between delta-8-THC usage and the use of delta-9-THC cannabis and products. The most prevalent administration techniques were edibles (64%) and vaping concentrates (48%)

About half of the patients (51%) utilized delta-8-THC to address a variety of health and medical disorders, most often anxiety or panic attacks (69%), stress (52%), depression or bipolar disorder (46%), and chronic pain (41%). 

The legal environment is becoming more limited for delta-8-THC than delta-9-THC. However, the findings indicate that delta-8-THC may be just as effective for the stated reasons of cannabis usage while having fewer undesired or harmful consequences. 

Empirical evidence must guide all policies and behaviors. A significant study will be required to verify the patterns observed by participants systematically, and cooperation between university researchers, the government, and the cannabis sector may be beneficial in increasing the knowledge base for delta-8-THC and other cannabinoids.

Meanwhile, here are the therapeutic benefits of CBD according to some clinical research: 

  • Seizures 

The current data demonstrate the usefulness of CBD as an adjuvant to standard AEDs (antiepileptic drugs)(23). Many of the metabolic pathways implicated in the interaction between CBD and other AEDs remain unclear. 

In addition, not all of the molecular sites used by CBD to exert its antiepileptic effect have been identified. Nonetheless, the findings acquired so far support the use of CBD in conjunction with AEDs.

  • Insomnia

CBD may show promise for REM (rapid eye movement) sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime drowsiness(24). In contrast, nabilone may lessen PTSD-related nightmares and improve sleep in individuals with chronic pain. 

Nabilone is a synthetic version of cannabis (also known as marijuana)(25). Nabilone is used to relieve nausea and vomiting produced by chemotherapy for cancer. 

The research on cannabis plants and sleep is in its infancy and has produced contradictory findings. An additional controlled and longitudinal study is essential for advancing our clinical and research implications.

  • Depression, Anxiety, Mental disorders

Preliminary clinical studies show CBD’s usefulness as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant and its favorable risk-benefit profile(26). Specific findings encourage the creation of large-scale studies to examine CBD as a possible novel medication for managing these mental diseases.

  • Inflammation and Pain

One study has shown the benefit of CBD as pain relief that decreases the endogenous pain response in mice with acute arthritic diseases(27)

Also, additional research has noted that CBD may improve fracture healing in mice with mid-femoral fractures.

Various CBD products are readily accessible as supplements with different administration techniques. It is essential to note that they are not medications. 

Given the rising societal importance of CBD and cannabis-based medications, however, prospective controlled trials assessing their effectiveness are necessary for the future.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

One study emphasized the significance of cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)(28)

Cannabis preparations were seen as potential new pharmaceutical agents due to the compound’s anti-inflammatory effect on IBD and other gastrointestinal disorders. However, their psychotropic properties have severely restricted their usage in treatment. 

Can Delta-8-THC and CBD Be Combined?

Delta-8-THC has a less severe psychoactive impact than delta-9-THC(29)

Delta 9 THC may be coupled with CBD for a less psychoactive effect, and the combined impact of delta-8-THC and CBD will provide the advantages of both cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects. 

CBD interacts with the same receptors as THC, preventing the activation of the receptor. This process will still enable delta-8-THC to offer its benefits to the body. At the same time, CBD reduces the euphoric impacts of THC while introducing its advantages. 

What Are the Possible Side Effects of CBD and Delta-8-THC?

The legal environment is becoming more limited for delta-8-THC compared to delta-9-THC(30). The findings indicate that delta-8-THC may be just as effective for the stated reasons for cannabis usage. At the same time, there may be fewer undesired or adverse consequences.

Meanwhile, there are also some risks to using CBD, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue(31). CBD can also affect other medicines users are taking, like blood thinners.

Delta-8-THC vs. CBD: Safety Concerns

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is particularly worried that delta-8-THC products expose users to far more significant chemical quantities than raw cannabis extracts derived from hemp(32)

Therefore, past cannabis usage cannot be used to prove the safety of these products for human consumption.

Meanwhile, CBD tends to be a highly safe substance for adults(33). Some individuals experience adverse effects from CBD, including nausea, lethargy, and irritability. 

Moreover, CBD may potentially interfere with some drugs(34). It is vital to consult a physician before using the compound. For children under the age of 21, it is still unclear if any level of CBD is safe for children.

Is Delta-8-THC Stronger Than CBD? Does It Get Users High?

As mentioned, similar to delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC possesses psychoactive and intoxicating effects. Delta-8-THC compound is responsible for the “high” that cannabis users feel. 

The FDA is aware of media allegations that delta-8-THC products have psychoactive effects(35).

On the other hand, CBD does not attach to cannabinoid receptors, resulting in neither intoxication nor euphoric effects.

Moreover, CBD may reduce the symptoms of a delta-8-THC high. 

CBD is a negative allosteric modulator of CB1(36). Cannabidiol modulated CB1 receptors as a noncompetitive negative allosteric modulator. In addition to actions not mediated by CB1 receptors, allosteric modulation may explain the in vivo effects of cannabidiol

Allosteric modulators of CB1 receptors have the potential to manage peripheral illnesses without the adverse effects of orthosteric agonism or antagonism.

Therefore, CBD indicates that it binds to the receptor at a different site than delta-8-THC. This modulatory activity alters the receptor’s structure, preventing delta-8 from attaching to it, and may result in weaker effects.

What Are the Regulations Around CBD and Delta-8-THC?

The 2018 Farm Bill allowed the manufacturing and sale of CBD products in the United States so long as they contain less than 0.3 percent THC(37)

Theoretically, this would allow the federal legalization of CBD products containing delta-8-THC under the same guidelines. 

However, doctors, such as internal medicine specialist Paul Terpeluk are concerned about delta-8-THC products because delta-8-THC has psychoactive compounds and produces similar or identical effects to THC(38). Meanwhile, CBD products are available in dispensaries in the form of sublinguals, such as CBD oil, capsules, pills, tinctures, topicals like creams, balms, lotions, edibles, gummies, cookies, brownies, and vapes.

  1. Delta8 Tetrahydrocannabinol
  2. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders
  3. Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC
  4. Ibid.
  5. Cannabidiol (CBD)
  6. Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes
  7. Flavonoids: an overview
  8. Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action
  9. Role and regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 during inflammation
  10. 5-Lipoxygenase metabolic contributions to NSAID-induced organ toxicity
  11. Delta8 Tetrahydrocannabinol
  12. What Is Delta-8?
  13. Beyond CBD: Here come the other cannabinoids, but where’s the evidence?
  14. Delta8 Tetrahydrocannabinol
  15. Sedation and Acute Encephalopathy in a Pediatric Patient Following Ingestion of Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol Gummi
  16. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
  17. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders
  18. The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer
  19. Beyond CBD: Here come the other cannabinoids, but where’s the evidence?
  20. CBD Oil — Are the Benefits Claimed Too Good To Be True?
  21. Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC
  22. Ibid.
  23. Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials
  24. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature
  25. Nabilone
  26. Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders
  27. Cannabidiol: A Brief Review of Its Therapeutic and Pharmacologic Efficacy in the Management of Joint Disease
  28. Cannabidiol in inflammatory bowel diseases: a brief overview
  29. Study: Users say delta-8-THC is delta-9’s ‘nicer younger sibling’
  30. Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC
  31. What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?
  32. 5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC
  33. CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?
  34. CBD and other medications: Proceed with caution
  35. 5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC
  36. Cannabidiol is a negative allosteric modulator of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor
  37. What Is Delta-8?
  38. Ibid.
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