Does Delta 8 THC Get You High?

by William Goodall February 15, 2021

THC molecule with a cannabis leaf in the background.

If you are just hearing about Delta-8, you may have a ton of questions. How does itcompare to Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol? What sort of effects does it have? Can it work for your ailments? Let’s dive into the world of Delta-8, touching on the topic everyone wants to know:

Does Delta-8 Produce a High?

The short answer: yes, Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol can get you high. It has a comparable experience to the high produced by Delta-9, aka THC, but with some very big differences. Delta-8, a form of THC, has psychoactive effects but has alower psychotropic potency than Delta-9 THC. In this article, we will go into further detail about what the Delta-8 high experience is like, how it works, as well as touch on some side effects and benefits associated.

The Experience

For most people, Delta-8 produces a clear-headed high compared to traditional THC. The experience can be something like a semi-sedated body feel without heavy mental stimulation. You won’t feel jittery, anxious, or have the racy mind of a THC high. There will be no overwhelming emotions, paranoia, or panic attacks. The intensity of the high is about 50% to 70% of a THC high, making it less intense, more gentle, and completely manageable. Some effects you may feel are:

  • Increased body awareness
  • Uplifting feeling in the body
  • Euphoria
  • Tranquility
  • Dreamy introspection
  • Mild and clear cerebral high

If ingested, the effects can take 30 minutes to an hour and a half to set in. When using vape products, you can expect the onset of effects after about 6 minutes. The time it takes can vary from person to person as well as what product is used. Once the effects have started, they tend to last about half as long as a THC high. But keep in mind that you also won’t feel drained or exhausted. The entirety of the trip is a smooth come up, a chill buzz, then a smooth come down.

Many cannabis users find Delta-8’s high much more pleasurable as opposed to a THC high. Some people liken the D8 high to somewhere between a marijuana high and a cannabidiol (CBD) experience. If you don’t like how THC makes you feel, but still enjoy its therapeutic benefits, D8 might be a better fit for you. And if you like CBD products but would like a little more stimulation, D8 may be for you. Delta-8 THC allows for a high that enables you to still function. You will feel like yourself, but better.

Keep in mind that people can experience the effects differently. It also depends on the dosage you take. Starting small and going slow is the best way to find your tolerance level. Take it easy.

With Terpenes

If you’d like a little more personalized experience for your D8 high, you can choose a product with terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic oil compounds found naturally in cannabis, as well as other plants. These compounds produce a variety of tantalizing scents and flavors. When terpenes are used in combination with Delta-8 THC, this can create an entourage effect.

This effect refers to the phenomenon of higher individual compound effectiveness when compounds are working in fusion and harmony with each other. This may be because the fusion is emulating the way the compounds work synergistically together in nature. Out of hundreds out there, here are a few of the most common terpenes and their effects:

  • Myrcene: This terpene is the most common one found in hemp. It smells herbal, musky, and earthy and may help calm and relax.
  • Linalool: Also known as the lavender terpene, this one has a floral aroma with a bit of spice. It may help manage stress.
  • Pinene:This terpene can be found in pine needles, orange peels, rosemary, and parsley. It smells of pine and may promote alertness. Pinene has the opposite effect of linalool.
  • Humulene: You can find this terpene in hops, basil, and cloves, and has a hoppy scent. It may help with fighting inflammation.
  • Limonene: Found in citrus peels, this one has a natural citrus scent. It may help boost mood.
A doctor holding medical marijuana and CBD oil.

    How it Works

    So now that we know a little bit about what the Delta-8-THC high is like, let’s go behind the scenes. We will discuss how this high is created and how it causes the sensations we feel. Understanding the compound and how it affects us allows us to ascertain if it is right for us.

    Both THC and D8 come from the cannabis plant, though Delta-8 is derived from hemp orCannabis sativa L. D8 is either smoked or ingested into your system, and then the fun begins.

    Delta-8, like Delta-9, interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) after we’ve consumed it. The ECS is a biological system within our bodies that is still not completely understood to this day. We do know, however, that the ECS influences appetite, sleep, mood, and memory through the mingling of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. THC affects the system by attaching to the CB1 and CB2 receptors which then produces its bodily effects. CB1 receptors involve the central nervous system and things like psychoactivity, pain regulation, motor control, and memory processing. CB2 receptors involve the peripheral nervous system and have to do with pain and inflammation.

    The high is produced when Delta-8 binds to the CB1 receptor. It binds to CB1 similarly to THC, but since it has a slightly different chemical structure, there is a different effect. This is because Delta-8 is a double bond analog of Delta-9. The double bond, however, is located on the 8th carbon atom instead of the ninth. Additionally, whereas THC binds tightly to the receptor, D8 doesn’t bind as well, creating a more mellow effect.

    Delta-8 also has an affinity for CB2 receptors, but less is known about this interaction and its effects.

    Benefits of Delta-8

    Not only can you experience a delicious high from Delta-8, but there are tons of potential added benefits. 

    Side Effects of Delta-8

    Before you try, make sure you are aware of any side effects that can occur. You may experience:

    • Increased heart rate
    • Reddening of the eyes
    • Dizziness
    • Dry mouth
    • Paresthesia
    • Tinnitus
    • Weakness
    • Muscle tension or tremor
    • Reduced motor control
    • Fatigue
    • Changes in visual or auditory perception
    • Time distortion
    • Difficulty in thinking, speaking, reading, or remembering

    Since Delta-8 THC still produces a mellow high, just like with THC it is best to avoid driving or any situation where you could put yourself or others in danger.

    Additionally, this is a compound that we are still learning about. So it is a good idea to consult your doctor to see if Delta-8 is right for you. And remember to keep your starting dose low, and then increase gradually to your comfort level.

    Everything that we have learned about Delta-8 so far indicates that it is generally safe. The side effects are much milder than THC, so there seems to be much less risk involved with its consumption.

    Different forms of cannabis on a yellow background.

    How to Get a Delta-8 High

    So now that you know the fine points of this fun cannabinoid and you are ready to take the plunge, how do you use it? Let’s go over some of the common ways to consume Delta-8 THC.

    • Delta-8 infused hemp flower: This variety is produced when hemp flowers have been infused with Delta-8. Although a small amount of D8 is already present within cannabis, it is not enough to perceive its presence. Therefore growers spray hemp flowers with Delta-8 distillate, sometimes adding terpenes to reduce their viscosity. The resulting D8 infused flower can provide a satisfying feeling of relaxation. Since there are a large variety of these kinds of hemp flowers, you can pick out the one that offers the specific health and wellness benefits you are looking for. 

    • Delta-8 tincture: A tincture is a liquid extract produced when growers soak the hemp in alcohol. This process causes the D8 to release. Typically a hemp strain high in CBD and low in THC. The tincture often comes as flavored drops, which you simply drop onto your tongue. You will feel the effects faster than other methods due to the body’s quick ability to absorb this substance. You will also feel the effects for longer. Due to these reasons, this kind of product may be best for those experiencing chronic pain or insomnia.

    • Delta-8 gummies: D8 gummies are edibles that are a great alternative to those who have respiratory problems or are non-smokers. The high takes longer to take effect but lasts longer than the regular D8 high. Gummies are made from distillate that is without flavor or odor. The distillate is infused into the gummies through oil or butter. 
    • Delta-8 vape cartridges: This is probably the most popular of all the options. Vape cartridges contain D8 distillate combined with flavonoids, terpenes, and other hemp properties. You can choose cartridges with blends of cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabichromene (CBC), which enhance all the cannabinoids’ benefits through the entourage effect. The best quality vapes keep their products natural, only including those properties that are already in the hemp plant. People tend to like the ease of use for vaping and the ability to use cartridges that are universally compatible with different vape batteries. 

    • Delta-8 distillate: This is a hemp-derivative concentrate that has been thoroughly refined through distillation. It is highly potent because the high heat from distillation has fully activated the compound. Be sure to check the color, potency, brand, and clarity before buying to determine if it is a high-quality Delta-8. You can use it in a variety of ways including dabs, putting on cannabis flower, adding to a joint, or putting a drop on the tip of a preroll joint.

    Enjoy Your High

    There are multitudes of Delta-8-THC products popping up on the market. Simply take your pick! But first, we encourage you to research the laws in your area. Since thelegality of Delta-8 and other cannabis products are constantly shifting, you must stay informed to keep yourself out of legal trouble. After all, Delta-8 can come up on adrug test. TheFarm Bill of 2018 took hemp off the list of Schedule I controlled substances, but everything can still vary on a state-to-state basis.

    Yes, Delta-8 can get you high. But make sure your high is in a controlled, safe, and legal environment. And enjoy!

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