If you are thinking about trying Delta-8 THC for the first time, you may be wondering what the high is like. You may wonder how similar it is to marijuana, and have questions about its legality. But now that hemp has been taken off of the Schedule I list of controlled substances thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, it may be the time to give it a shot. Be sure to research the regulations in your area first as laws continue to shift, and then prepare for the amazing experience that is the Delta-8 THC high.
In this article, we will explore how the high feels, how it compares to Delta-9 THC, and what factors can affect the high.
How the Experience Compares to Delta-9
It is important to first know how a Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol experience compares to the high experience of Delta-9, aka THC. Delta-8 contains 0.3% THC or less. THC is what contributes to the psychotropic effects marijuana is known for. This means that substances with THC can affect your mental state. Since Delta-8 contains much less of this substance, the psychotropic experience is more muted.
Oftentimes people can feel anxious or paranoid during a Delta-9 high. Delta-8 differs in that users do not seem to experience these effects. The D8 high is much more relaxed due to the lack of brain fog. You feel clear-headed and able to function. While D9 users may feel out-of-control, D8 users feel like they’re in control. For many people, this is exactly what they are looking for in a cannabis product.
Be aware, however, though the two may have different effects, D8 can still make you come up dirty on a drug test.
What Causes a THC High?
Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 come from the cannabis plant. Delta-8 is a form of THC that is most often a Cannabis sativa L. derivative. Delta-9 is available in high quantities in other forms of cannabis, commonly known as marijuana.
The reason D8 and D9 conjure similar effects but with gaping differences is due to their molecular structure. This is because Delta-8 is a double bond analog of Delta-9. The double bond is located on the 8th carbon atom instead of the ninth.
Both of these cannabinoids interact in our bodies with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This system helps regulate processes like sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility. All of this is done through the use of cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are two well-known cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. CB1 receptors mostly reside in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are most prevalent in the immune system. Delta-8 activates both of these receptors once it enters our system, causing the variety of effects and benefits that we experience.
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. While THC binds tightly to the CB1 receptor, D8 doesn’t bind as well, which may account for the lower psychotropic potency of a D8 high. Delta-8 also interacts with the CB2 receptors, but less is known about this interaction and its effects. Since Delta-8 is just now stepping into the limelight, more research is needed on these interactions.
The way cannabis interacts with your ECS will determine what your high feels like. People will have varying experiences of Delta-8, and part of this reason may be due to how many endocannabinoids your body produces. If you have a low amount of endocannabinoids in your body, you may experience a more intense high than your friends.
What is the Delta-8 High Feel Like?
Now that we know how it differs from its more well-known cousin Delta-9, let’s focus on Delta-8. What exactly can you expect from the experience?
- Increased body awareness
- Uplifting feeling in the body
- Dreamy introspection
- Mild and clear cerebral high
As mentioned previously, you will experience psychoactive effects. However, users often find themselves completely capable of performing everyday tasks. Delta-8 can engage focus and energy levels. Users can function, but better.
Additionally, there is a “floaty”, uplifting feeling that makes you feel weightless. This helps promote a mellow, calm, and relaxed mood.
We describe the whole experience as a smooth come up, a chill buzz, and then a smooth come down. This is our idea of a good time. No paranoia, just the ability to enjoy your surroundings, the high, and the people you care about.
Not only does the experience allow you to feel an awesome body high and overall feeling of well-being, but it also has additional health benefits. The National Cancer Institute states that the compound is said to have “antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”
So, in plain English, you can experience effects like decreased nausea, anxiety, pain, and it can also bring back a healthy appetite. Additionally, there has been some evidence that Delta-8 can promote better memory retention.
Possible Side Effects of Delta-8 High
Besides all these wonderful benefits of a Delta-8 high, you may also experience some mild side effects such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Reddening of the eyes
- Dry mouth
- Muscle tension or tremor
- Reduced motor control
- Changes in visual or auditory perception
- Time distortion
- Difficulty in thinking, speaking, reading, or remembering
These types of effects can occur if you take too much. That is why it is a good idea to start small and work up to your comfort level. This is especially recommended for first-time users.
Perhaps you are a first time user and you worry you took too much. If you feel like you are experiencing anything unpleasant, the best thing to do is to remain calm. It will pass as the high subsides. You can relax by doing things you enjoy, like listening to music, take a walk, watch TV, or take a warm bath.
How Long Does It Last?
Compared to THC, Delta-8’s effects seem to take longer to set in and last about half as long. You won’t feel drained or exhausted afterward. Depending on the method of consumption, the compound will take effect at varying times. It is also important to remember the compound affects people differently and varies from person-to-person. Here are the common ways of consuming D8, and possible times of onset, peak, and total duration:
When vaping Delta-8 cartridges or pods: From vaping, you can expect the onset of effects to begin in about 6 minutes. This will vary depending on the person and what kind of product was taken. Effects last up to five hours and the peak of the effects can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours in.
- When consuming Delta-8 edibles or tinctures: This method takes a little longer due to the time needed to metabolize the compound. The effects may begin about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours in. It will hit you pretty much all at once. You may feel the effects up to 5 hours later, with the peak happening 1 to 2 hours in.
Keep in mind that the method you use and your tolerance level are the major factors that contribute to when the product sets in, and how long it lasts. Your previous history with cannabis and other intoxicants will affect the D8 experience. If you have a higher tolerance due to chronic cannabis use, you may need to take a higher dose or even wait longer for the compound to set in.
Depends on Experience
First Time Users: It is important to be more cautious if you are a first time user. When we say first time user, we are referring to someone who has no experience with any cannabis product, including marijuana. Those who have experienced a marijuana high will have some idea what to expect. But for someone with no experience, the effects can feel more intense since there is nothing to compare it to.
If you have tried CBD products, for example, the Delta-8 high can feel more intense. This is because cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t contain THC (or may contain trace amounts that aren’t detectable). Though it is mood-altering, CBD is not psychoactive like D8 or D9.
If you are a true first-timer, we recommend that you start slow with Delta-8. Make sure you are in a comfortable place and do not need to drive and do not have any responsibilities to take care of. The more relaxed you are, the more fun you will have. Take a small dose and enjoy! As you get used to the feeling, you can gradually increase the dosage to your comfort level.
Experienced Cannabis Users: If this isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to cannabis, you will more than likely not be hit hard by the effects. This is especially the case if you are a chronic cannabis user. Since Delta-8 is much less potent, you may find yourself increasing your dose.
It is common for marijuana users to switch to D8 because they enjoy the more mellow effects it brings, without the anxiety and foggy brain.
Variations to Customize Your Experience
There are a variety of Delta-8 products out there, each with its only potential benefits and effects. We will break them down by varying contents and methods of consumption. Knowing the variations out there can help you customize your experience.
- Different strains: Like Delta-9, D8 can be derived from different cannabis strains including Indica, Sativa, and hybrids. Indica strains tend to have a more body high, while Sativa strains tend to be more uplifting and euphoric. Hybrids are somewhere in between.
- Delta-8 hemp flower: 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 or breed strains that are richer in D8. The resulting D8 flower has analgesic properties and can provide a satisfying feeling of relaxation. These flowers contain a high amount of CBD which contributes to the relaxing effects. Strains high in cannabichromene (CBC) magnifies analgesic effects. Strains high in cannabigerol (CBG) also have analgesic properties and can increase energy and focus. Strains high in cannabinol (CBN) are more sedative. 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. It might be an especially good choice for people undergoing cancer treatment.
- Terpenes: Terpenes are phytonutrients that can produce a variety of tastes and aromas to the Delta-8 THC products. They also include antioxidants that can enhance skin, joint, and heart health. Hundreds of terpene varieties can play a part in hemp’s healing qualities. Myrcene is a common terpene that helps provide relaxation and sleep. Pinene promotes energy and memory retention. Humulene is great for fighting inflammation and relieving pain.
Combining a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes can create what is called an entourage effect. This theory states that when combined, these components are more powerful because they are working synergistically together. This may be because they are mimicking the way the compounds are found in nature.
Methods to Consume:
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: Delta-8 THC 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, but lasts longer. Gummies are made from distillate that is without flavor or odor. The distillate is infused into the gummies through oil or butter. This is a great choice for people with inflammation. Edible highs tend to produce more of a body high than smoking.
- 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. 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. We recommend this method for relaxing. It also works to reduce nausea, increase appetite, alleviate pain, and help with anxiety.
- 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. Dabs tend to hit hard and fast, so this method is not recommended for first-timers.
Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy
As with any substance, Delta-8 THC can provide a variety of effects for different users. This depends on dosage, the method used, and what combination of compounds the product is made of. We are confident that now armed with the knowledge of these factors, you can plan a rewarding Delta-8 experience. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!