Cannabis plants produce delta 9 THC and delta 8 THC. The latter is the kind of cannabinoid which occurs rarely. Different scientists and researchers from around the world collect information and pay attention to low concentrations of cannabinoids, still little is known about delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabis experts continue the studies as they believe in unique healing values of delta 8 THC.
Delta-8-THC is a long-ignored cannabinoid with both therapeutical and psychoactive properties, which is only now emerging from the shadows of its popular cousin – Delta-9-THC. Both these cannabinoids have similar characteristics, but Delta-8-THC is not just a copy, as experts believe it has unique healing values.
Due to the fact that researchers pay attention to low concentrations of cannabinoids, more information exists about Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol than ever before, although it still not enough. Compared to more popular and widespread cannabinoids such as Delta-9-THC and CBD, there is still not much knowledge about Delta-8-THC.
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What are the differences between Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC?
Both Delta-9-THC and Delta-8-THC are naturally produced by hemp plants. Different cannabis strains will contain different concentrations of these cannabinoids, but delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol rarely occurs at levels above 1%. It is a cannabinoid that acts in the background, while the more dominant cannabinoids play a major role.
In terms of the structural formula, Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC differ in only one chemical bond. However, this difference is crucial as it leads to differences in performance and potential medical applications.
Hemp producers are now able to concentrate Delta-8-THC through advanced extraction processes. At the time being, there are only a handful of companies capable of producing this rare cannabinoid. For example, Oleum extracts available Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol from selected cannabis varieties through thin-layer and fractional distillation. To date, the only pure Delta-8-THC is from chemical manufacturers and is not available for commercial or medical applications.
How does Delta 8 THC work?
Both types of THC cause a relaxing and euphoric sensation. Patients should know that the effect of Delta-8-THC will be very similar to that of Delta-9-THC. Most personal experience reports showed that the differences between the two compounds are subtle, if at all noticeable.
The report, published for the first time in The Stranger, indicated that Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol “is incredibly energizing and yet leaves a clean mind,” said Jeremiah William, a former Leafly cannabis researcher.
These personal experiences range from calming to energizing, but both indicated less psychoactive effects compared to Delta-9-THC. However, these findings are not from controlled studies. The difference in experience may be due to differences between products. For example, Jeremiah William mentioned that the Delta-8-THC concentrate understudy also contained Delta-9-THC.
In general, most users and manufacturers report ‘weaker psychoactive effects from Delta-9-THC’. Given that Delta-8-THC is so closely related to Delta-9-THC, researchers are not sure about the specific psychoactive effects that each compound causes.
What does the research say about the advantages of Delta-8-THC?
Scientists came across Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol over four decades ago, in the 1970s. Since its discovery, little progress has been made in the exploration of this cannabinoid.
One of the most frequently quoted articles is several decades old. In 1975 the Journal of National Cancer Institution published a study entitled “Cannabinoid anticancer activity.” In this article, the authors investigated the effect of several cannabinoids, including Delta-8-THC, on lung cancer in mice. Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol increased the survival rate in mice with lung cancer and prolonged their life, compared to the control group.
Although no clinical trials are currently underway, cancer.gov lists Delta-8-THC in its database. The description on cancer.gov for this cannabinoid is as follows: “An analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with an antiemetic, anti-anxiety, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” All these properties, including pain relief, stress relief, and appetite stimulation, are desirable when fighting cancer.
More research is needed to reveal the real potential of Delta-8-THC
Unfortunately, since its discovery in the 1970s, most of the research on Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol has been done in vitro. Several additional studies on Delta-8-THC have been carried out in recent years, but there are still no human studies.
Thanks to advanced extraction techniques, Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol will certainly become more available in the coming years. Patients will, therefore, want to know the therapeutic value of this cannabinoid. It is assumed that its production is cheaper than in the 1970s, and researchers are becoming increasingly interested in lesser cannabinoids.
Over time, more research will fill the pages of medical journals and online databases, providing data on the potential of Delta-8-THC. The more research is done on this modest cannabinoid, the greater the chance that it will be available in the future for medical and recreational purposes.
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