What is Delta-8?

When you think about cannabis you probably think of THC (aka delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), but have you ever heard of Delta-8? Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t, there isn’t even a Wikipedia page about this cannabinoid. While you might not have heard of Delta-8, it’s been on researchers radar for years as one of the four most researched cannabinoids. You might be asking yourself “why haven’t I heard of it?” While Delta-8 is present in most cannabis plants, it isn’t as abundant as THC. But with recent advances in technology making it easier to isolate specific cannabinoids, Delta-8 has been getting a lot of press. 

If you analyze and compare Delta-8 to THC’s chemical structure you’ll find that Delta-8 is very similar, with only a slight difference in the location of one double bond. It’s such a subtle difference you might miss it if you blink. “Delta” refers to the location of an atomic bond. On Delta-8 the double bond is in the 8th position; with Delta-9-THC the bond is located in the ninth position. 

In the human body, Delta-8 binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Because it binds to both receptors simultaneously, users experience a milder cerebral high. When compared to the effects of THC, users describe a more clear-headed, productive, energetic, and upbeat feeling.

Properties

The National Cancer Institute lists Delta-8 in its drug dictionary as:

“An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”

Let’s break it down:

An analgesic is a drug that acts to relieve pain.

An antiemetic is an anti-nausea drug that is commonly used to treat side effects of opioid pain relievers, general anesthesia, and chemotherapy.

An anxiolytic is a drug that relieves anxiety.

A neuroprotectant acts to salvage, recover, regenerate the nervous system, its cells, structure and function.

An appetite-stimulant aids in increasing hunger.

So to sum it up, Delta-8 is a pain relieving, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety cannabinoid that also protects your nervous system, and stimulates appetite. Don’t even act like you’re not impressed!

Research

In 1975, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that mice treated for 20 consecutive days with Delta-8 and CBN had reduced tumor size, AND increased survival time.

In 1987 during a study looking at the effects of cannabinoids on levels of acetylcholine (ACh) and choline on various regions of the mouse brain, it was discovered that administration of Delta-8 increased ACh in the brain’s cortex and hippocampus. What does that mean? ACh is a neurotransmitter that causes muscles to contract, activates pain responses, and regulates endocrine and REM sleep functions. The cortex of your brain is responsible for processing sensory information, and the hippocampus regulates emotion. 

There are currently no active clinical trials in the United states investigating the benefits of Delta-8. This is likely due to the DEA’s classification of Cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. The FDA requires special licensure and registration requirements for cannabis-related studies. If cannabis were to be reclassified the scientific community would have more freedoms to conduct research on Delta-8 and other beneficial cannabinoids. 

Products we carry with Delta-8:

  • Dr. Delights Delta 8 Disposable vape pen, Dr. Delights extracts the compound to create a plant oil distillate with approximately 70% delta-8.
  • Delta-8 Pro Tabs by LEVEL, an orally swallowed tablet processed through your liver and digestive pathways. Extra strength and fast acting, infused with steam distilled Delta-8 terpenes for relaxation of body and mind. 10 tabs per box, 25 mg of Delta-8 per tablet.
  • Soothe Delta-8 Tablinguals by LEVEL, Level has created the Tablingual, a sublingual tablet designed to fully dissolve in your mouth with delivery through blood vessels under the tongue. Sublingual delivery gives you a faster onset. 15 tabs per box, 3 mg of Delta-8 per tablet.

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