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Delta-8 THC is one of the fastest-growing product segments in the cannabis industry. Derived from CBD, this relatively new and minor cannabinoid is becoming a favorite among medical and recreational consumers, especially those that do not have legal access to delta-9 THC.

Understanding the differences between delta-8 THC and CBD can help you have a positive, safe, and legal experience. Here, we will break down how each cannabinoid is produced, its legality, effects, and more to help you choose the suitable chemical compound for your needs.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabis plants contain over 100 cannabinoids, the main chemical compounds that produce a wide range of therapeutic effects.

Generally, research has focused on the two main cannabinoids: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Minor cannabinoids that naturally occur in the plant include CBN, CBG, CBC, THCV, and delta-8 THC.

CBD and delta-9 THC produce similar therapeutic benefits, including relief from pain, inflammation, nausea, and anxiety. CBD and delta-9 THC have different cerebral effects. Delta-9 THC produces an intoxicating high while CBD is non-intoxicating.

Consuming CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids together may produce an entourage effect that maximizes the therapeutic benefit while minimizing the adverse effects like anxiety and paranoia. More research is needed into the benefits of minor marijuana compounds.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the second most common chemical compound found in cannabis, although new varieties are bred to produce a higher percentage of CBDA. CBDA is the acidic precursor to its parent compound, CBD. CBDA can convert to CBD when exposed to light and heat.

What Is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Generally, cannabis contains under 1% delta-8 THC, making it difficult and expensive to extract from the cannabis plant.

Delta-8 THC is an analog to delta-9 THC. The only difference between the two cannabinoids is the placement of the double bond on the carbon chain.

Delta-9 THC and CBD can degrade over time and convert to delta-8 THC. Currently, most delta-8 THC products are made from hemp-derived CBD.

Delta-8 THC vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?

delta 8 vs cbd chart

Delta-8 THC and CBD are two therapeutic cannabinoids found in cannabis. While they share many similarities in effects, it is vital to understand the critical differences in their legality, effects, and potency.


CBD is found in higher concentrations in the hemp plant. Cannabis plants can be bred to contain a higher percentage of CBD. However, most CBD products are made using hemp.

Hemp-derived extracts, topicals, and edibles are made using a CBD concentrate. CBD can be extracted using solvent-based and solventless extraction processes.

Delta-8 THC is usually made with the hemp plant and found in very small concentrations. Using a closed-loop extraction process, processors extract a CBD isolate from the plant material and use a synthetic process to convert the CBD isolate into the delta-8 cannabinoid.

Due to the lack of regulation on delta-8 products, there is a higher risk of products containing contaminants.


The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the industrial production of hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. Cannabis products containing a THC percentage over this limit are a Schedule I substance that is federally illegal.

Under federal law, there is no explicit prohibition of delta-8 THC, which is a loophole used by producers and processors to “legally” sell delta-8 THC products in a legal gray area. As a result, many states have moved to restrict or ban delta-8 THC. At the moment, its legal status is unclear.


In terms of psychoactive effects, delta-8 THC and CBD affect the mind and mental state differently. For example, CBD does not cause an intoxicating effect. Delta-8 THC is known to produce a milder form of intoxication compared to its delta-9 THC analog.

In high doses, delta-8 THC can produce effects of overconsumption, especially for first-time or low-tolerance users.

Both CBD and delta-8 THC have been shown to provide pain relief, anxiety relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and cancer-inhibiting properties. Delta-8 may stimulate appetite, while CBD can suppress appetite.

Side Effects

Most people experience no side effects from CBD, although it can produce mild side effects such as dry mouth, lack of appetite, and sleepiness.

Delta-8 THC’s side effects include fatigue, reduced heart rate, and low blood pressure. Most adverse effects from delta-8 THC reported to poison control centers are due to accidental consumption of edibles.

Drug Testing

Most CBD products that have been lab-tested will not make you fail a drug test. However, when you eat a delta-8 THC edible, the cannabinoid is metabolized in the liver and converted into a THC metabolite detected by a urine drug test.

There is little risk for failing a drug test when delta-8 is inhaled or consumed sublingually or topically.

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Delta 8 vs. CBD: Which Cannabinoid Is Right for You?

While delta-8 THC and CBD share many therapeutic benefits, the right cannabinoid for you depends on various factors, including your genetics, tolerance, preferred delivery method, and more.

Why You Would Choose CBD

CBD products can benefit those who do not want to experience intoxicating effects but still want to experience the other therapeutic benefits. A wide range of CBD products are available legally across the country online or in dispensaries.

Why You Would Choose Delta-8 THC

Unlike CBD, delta-8 THC has a mildly intoxicating effect. Users who live in a state that does not offer recreational cannabis use may look towards delta-8 THC for its psychotropic effects. Users should ensure their delta-8 THC products are lab tested and shipped to their state legally.

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