Delta-8-THC: A Minor Cannabinoid but With Great Medicinal and Recreational Benefits
Delta-8-THC is an extremely valuable chemical compound derived from cannabis whose benefits serve medical and recreational users, even for conditions like web developers burnout.
It is a cannabinoid that, due to its stability and effectiveness, illustrates the power of the chemical components with less presence within the plant.
Why have we heard so little about this cannabinoid? And how can we use it to enhance our own experience with marijuana?
Of the approximately 80 cannabinoids that the cannabis plant offers us, the most frequently cited is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), commonly known simply as THC. This compound is the one with the highest percentage and the star in the world of marijuana (with the permission of its antagonist, CBD), as it is responsible for its psychoactive effects.
Through an aging process, this compound is oxidized into an isomer known as delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC). These two phytocannabinoids are analogous in that they share the same structural chemical formula, but have a slightly different arrangement at the position of a double bond.
So the “delta” part of the name refers to the double bond, (so both delta 8 and delta-9 contain double bonds), the difference is where that double bond is found. Thus the respective “8” and “9” in the names refer to the location of that double bond in the chain (delta-8 has the double bond on the eighth carbon of the chain, delta-9 on the ninth). It is precisely these molecular similarities that allow this compound provide very remarkable therapeutic effects, but with a psychoactive load much less than that of his brother.
How Is Delta-8-THC Formed?
Like all other major cannabinoids, the synthesis of delta-8-THC begins with cannabigerolic acid or CBGA, the acid form of the cannabinoid CBG, the original molecule from which various cannabinoids are produced and is considered to be “the stem cell. of cannabis “. From this stem cell molecule, THCA is developed in mature cannabis. The harvested plant that contains THCA decarboxylates through exposure to heat or UV light, losing a molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) and becoming delta-9-THC or THC. From there, an aging process takes place through oxidation, transforming the compound into delta-8-THC.
But a big drawback is that, while delta-9-THC exists in total percentages that can reach 30% depending on the variety, delta-8-THC it only exists naturally in minute fractions less than 1%. Therefore, its main value is obtained when it is produced in a refined form, in concentrates. For this reason the molecule has shown promise in several studies, but has yet to see widespread recognition or use.
What Are the Effects of Delta-8-THC?
The main advantages over the use of this cannabinoid focus on its lower potency, which results in less significant psychoactive properties. Delta-8-THC has been observed to be much less prone to inducing anxiety in high doses compared to its sister cannabinoid, delta-9-THC. This lower power, combined with aset of benefits of great medical utility, prompted scientists to further investigate its conversion. And they concluded that delta-8-THC, for the most part, produces psychoactive effects similar to delta-9-THC, but is generally considered to be 50% to 75% less potent.
It is commonly compared to traditional THC but in a more optimistic and sustainable version, producing a semi-sedating physical sensation without much mental stimulation, more discreet effects that the user can work on, concentrate without losing focus, and still feel the calming effects. that are sought after in THC.
In other words, the delta-8 offers a very clear high, with zero anxiety or confusion, making the user feel in tune and less upset than when consuming delta-9, but with the senses amplified, more intense or sharper, being really great for, for example, doing outdoor activities like hiking or biking.
Remarkable Medicinal Effects
According to the US National Cancer Institute, Delta-8-THC can be defined as a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) analog with antiemetic (vomiting or nausea inhibitor), anxiolytic (combats anxiety or panic), appetite stimulants, analgesic (relieves pain) properties and neuroprotective (combats the aging of nerve cells).
As we have discussed, one of the most established uses of delta-8-THC is as an antiemetic (nausea reducer) and appetite stimulant. This solution is particularly useful for patients undergoing cancer treatment they often experience nausea.
Taking advantage of the lower psychoactivity of this substance, the Dr. Raphael Mechoulam conducted a study in 1995 in conjunction with Shaare Zedek Hospital and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where delta-8-THC was administered to eight children between 3 and 13 years of age with various hematological cancers. These children had been treated with chemotherapy for eight months before being given delta-8-THC.
The Israeli researchers also found that they could give high doses of delta-8 to children to take full advantage of its antiemetic effects, without the uncomfortable aspects of delta-9 psychoactivity. Interestingly, while adults generally experience mild psychoactive effects with delta-8-THC, the children in this study appeared to be immune to that particular effect.