Does Delta 8 Get You High and How Does it Feel?

Does Delta 8 Get You High and How Does it Feel?

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any new supplement, including CBD.

Delta-8 THC is receiving a lot of press of late. It’s the cannabinoid that everyone is talking about and it’s available in a number of concentrates and vaping formulas. It’s said to be potent and long-lasting, but what exactly is Delta-8-THC, how does it compare to regular THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and other cannabinoids, and what is the best way to experience it?

What is Delta-8?

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, often known simply as delta-8 or delta-8-THC, is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids in this plant, with others including delta-9-THC (the compound responsible for the marijuana high), CBD, CBN, CBG.

Delta-8 is actually a variant of delta-9. It is produced by heating delta-9 to trigger a chemical reaction and removing the compound’s CO2 molecule.

Does Delta-8 Get You High?

Although delta-8 is psychoactive, it doesn’t produce the same effects as delta-9. Initially, the effects come on very strongly, and many users report feeling waves of comfort and euphoria that eventually fade into a general sensation of calm.

The effects could be overwhelming for inexperienced users, especially if their only experience is of non-psychoactive compounds like CBD and CBG. When compared to delta-9-THC, the effects of delta-8 typically last longer and provide more of a sedating effect.

As with all drugs, though, it really depends on your level of tolerance, mindset, and dose.

What is the Best Way to Take Delta-8?

There are an increasing number of delta-8 products on the market, including edibles, tinctures, and vapes. The one that works best for you will depend on your experience and desired effects, but they all offer something a little different:

  • Delta-8 Edibles: Delta-8 can be added to food and drink. These substances are then consumed and the delta-8 usually takes effect within an hour. Edibles are a pleasant and easy way to take cannabinoids and they include gummies, chocolates, and high-fat spreads.
  • Delta-8 Tinctures: Tinctures are oil-based concentrates that are dropped under the tongue. The compounds enter the bloodstream via the mouth’s tiny capillaries, delivering a relatively fast onset of action (30 minutes to 90 minutes on average) that lasts for 5 hours or more.
  • Delta-8 Vapes: Vaping delivers the fastest onset, around 5 minutes on average. These effects peak at 30 to 60 minutes and can last for several hours.

Whatever option you choose, make sure you buy from a reputable brand and know exactly what’s in the bottle or packet. Read the dosing instructions carefully and don’t exceed these under any circumstance.

What is Delta-8-THC Hemp Flower?

Cannabis strains are specially bred to produce desirable quantities of a specific cannabinoid, as well as a profile of terpenes that produce specific fragrances and flavors.

In recent years, for instance, we’ve seen a surge in the number of CBD and CBG strains on the market. When harvested, the buds from these plants contain high levels of CBD/CBG and very low levels of THC, making them legal under federal law and facilitating the large-scale production of oils, extracts, and edibles.

There is also a large demand for smokable hemp flowers. These flowers are the buds of the cannabis plant. They can be smoked in joints, pipes, and bongs, or added to vaporizers and food. They taste and smell like marijuana, but as they have very low levels of THC, they are legal and non-psychoactive, making them a good substitute for anyone weaning themselves off of marijuana.

That brings us to delta-8 flowers.

Unlike CBD and CBG, there are no strains that contain very high levels of delta-8, so smoking naturally grown and harvested hemp flowers wouldn’t give you the desired effects.

To produce smokable delta-8 flowers, manufacturers often take high-CBD flowers and then spray them with a delta-8 distillate.

It gives the user something they can smoke in joints and bongs while providing them with an efficacious dose of delta-8-THC. But there’s more to these products.

The high levels of CBD in delta-8-THC flowers help to balance out the effects of delta-8, leaving the user with more of a rounded and stable “high”, as well as a plethora of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Delta-8 hemp flowers also contain trace amounts of other cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, etc.), as well as terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and limonene. These compounds are where cannabis buds get their rich and varied flavors, but they’re also known to enhance the effects of cannabinoids via something referred to as the Entourage Effect.

Simply put, the Entourage Effect is what happens when you combine many marginally beneficial compounds into one substance—producing a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

How Much Delta-8 Should I Take?

You should start with a very small dose, especially if you don’t have a great deal of experience with THC and other cannabinoids. Pay attention to the recommended dosage on the package and start with a dose at the very bottom—or below—the recommended range.

If you don’t feel the effects straight away, don’t take more. To be on the safe side, leave it for a few hours or even the following day. Vaped delta-8 usually takes effect within a few minutes but you may not feel the effects for up to 2 hours if you’re consuming edibles. From there, the effects can last for between 2 and 10 hours.

Once you find the right dose, don’t be tempted to take more in the hopes that you can improve or prolong those feelings.

High doses of delta-8 are more likely to produce side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, fatigue, and sickness. 

What are the Benefits of Delta-8?

Delta-8 is used both recreationally and medicinally. It could aid with a number of ailments and provide a host of benefits, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Pain Relief
  • Anti-Inflammation
  • Increased Appetite

It’s a good alternative to delta-9 in that it’s not as intense, doesn’t produce as many adverse reactions, and lasts much longer. For the time being, it’s much more accessible than THC and can be purchased in a variety of forms in most states. 

Is Delta-8 THC Safe?

There are a few concerns about delta-8 that don’t exist for CBD, CBG, and other non-THC cannabinoids. 

Firstly, delta-8-THC products have not been evaluated by the FDA and there is very little research regarding their safety or efficacy. Usually, this wouldn’t be a huge problem, as CBC and CBN are also relatively poorly studied. The difference is that CBN/CBC are not psychoactive and there have been very few—if any—adverse reactions from frequent users.

Delta-8, on the other hand, is psychoactive and so it produces intoxicating effects, along with a list of potential side effects.

Between December 2020 and July 2021, the FDA reported on numerous adverse reactions relating to the consumption of delta-8. These reactions included vomiting, loss of consciousness, and hallucinations. A worrying number of individuals have also been admitted to hospital following delta-8 ingestion.

Many of these hospitalizations could have been the result of overexposure or accidental exposure, as well as incidents of consumers taking delta-8 thinking they are getting a non-psychoactive CBD alternative and then panicking when they felt the effects.

Still, there is a clear risk of harm resulting from the consumption of delta-8. That doesn’t necessarily mean that delta-8 is bad and should be avoided. It just means that you should be cautious if you decide to use the substance, being sure to:

  • Keep it away from children and pets
  • Start with a small dose to assess tolerance
  • Don’t operate heavy machinery
  • Don’t combine it with other drugs and/or alcohol
  • Speak with a physician first if you’re taking medications or have a pre-existing health condition 

How is Delta-8 Made?

If you decide to use delta-8, make sure you source it from a reputable company. 

Cannabis plants contain very small amounts of delta-8. To produce CBD, manufacturers can turn to high-CBD varieties that contain upwards of 20% of this compound in the plant’s biomass. The same is true for CBG and THC, as there are multiple strains that contain high levels of these compounds.

With delta-8, it’s a different story. To create delta-8, manufacturers will typically begin with a compound like CBD and then convert it (often via a synthetic process) into delta-8. 

These chemicals could leave contaminants in the delta-8 extract, and if the delta-8 is then inhaled or consumed orally, the user may be exposing themselves to harmful compounds and undesirable effects.

Is Delta-8 Synthetic?

Delta-8 is not a synthetic compound in the same way as the much-maligned K2 and Spice. It is produced from compounds in the cannabis plant, although the methods of production can vary.

Is Delta-8 Legal?

The laws governing the production and sale of delta-8 are changing all of the time. On the one hand, it’s produced from legal hemp, which should make it legal at the federal level. But at the same time, it’s closely related to THC and produces similar effects, so many states are moving to place it in the same category.


Pre-clinical Studies:

    • Acute oral and intraperitoneal Delta-8- and Delta-9-THC-induced behavioral effects in male Sprague-Dawley rats (2008): This study compared the effects of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC in rats, finding similar psychoactive effects but potentially lower potency for Delta-8.
    • Effects of cannabidiol and Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol on inflammatory and nociceptive responses in a chronic model of temporomandibular joint disorder (2019): This study in rats suggests Delta-8 THC may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
    • In vitro evaluation of the potential antiproliferative activity of Delta-8-THC and its comparison with Delta-9-THC and cannabidiol in human cancer cell lines (2020): This study suggests Delta-8 THC may have potential anti-cancer properties in certain cell lines, but further research is needed.

Clinical Studies:

    • Consumer Experiences with Delta-8-THC: Medical Use, Pharmaceutical Substitution, and Comparisons with Delta-9-THC (2022): This survey-based study investigated user experiences with Delta-8 THC, finding many reported using it for medical purposes and preferring its milder effects compared to Delta-9 THC.
    • Preliminary assessment of the safety and efficacy of Delta-8-THC in the treatment of anxiety disorders (2022): This small clinical trial suggests Delta-8 THC may be well-tolerated and effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, but further research with larger sample sizes is needed.
    • Delta-8-THC for the treatment of refractory post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A feasibility study (2023): This ongoing clinical trial is investigating the safety and efficacy of Delta-8 THC in treating PTSD.

Reviews and Scoping Reviews:

    • Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC's nicer younger sibling? (2021): This review summarizes existing research on Delta-8 THC, highlighting potential therapeutic benefits while emphasizing the need for further research.
    • Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol: a scoping review and commentary (2022): This review outlines the limited and often low-quality research available on Delta-8 THC, calling for improved regulation and standardized testing.

Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any new supplement, including CBD.

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