Kristina Etter   |   November 13, 2019

What is Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC)?

A growing body of research and the proliferation of information are some of the most beneficial aspects of the legal cannabis movement and the age of information. While cannabinoid education is a new territory for the average consumer, research began decades ago. 
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

∆-8-THC, or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a great example. A study published in 1975 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed CBN and ∆-8-THC had the potential to reduce the size of cancer tumors. So, although rare, this cannabinoid isn’t new to the scientific community.

While most cannabis consumers are well-educated on the effects of ∆-9-THC, the cannabinoid known for creating the cerebral effects of cannabis, few understand the medical benefits provided by the compound. Additionally, despite the popularity of CBD and THC, there are dozens of other minor cannabinoids that few have ever heard of, so, it’s no surprise, ∆-8-THC is far-less renowned by the general public.

 

What We Know About ∆-8-THC

This cannabis compound is similar to delta-9-THC, except that the double bond is on the 8th carbon rather than the 9th. Delta-8-THC, a variant of THC, is found in only fractional concentrations in cannabis. Therefore, extensive lab processing is required to extract this cannabinoid separately and in usable quantities. Although considered less psychoactive than ∆-9-THC, according to studies ∆-8-THC is only about 30% less psychotropic than the more common form of THC.

The National Cancer Institute defines ∆-8-THC as, “An analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”

Besides binding with the CB1 receptor in the central nervous system to produce psychoactive effects, this form of THC has also been found to bind with CB2 receptors to aid the immune system, as well. Because of this versatility ∆-8-THC presents a wide array of medical benefits:

  • Powerful Antiemetic – Nausea is a common symptom of multiple disorders and a side effect of many different treatments, including chemotherapy. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam used ∆-8-THC in clinical trials in children with cancer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1995. In all cases, the children saw a marked improvement in nausea and vomiting. Interestingly, they also did not experience psychotropic effects expected from THC.
  • Potent Anxiolytic – ∆-8-THC is said to produce the effects of THC without the paranoia or anxiety-inducing effects, which are commonly reported with ∆-9-THC. The psychoactive effects of ∆-8-THC are reported to be uplifting and alert, yet calm and relaxing. Many consumers report a robust and body-relaxing effect from this cannabinoid isolate.
  • Appetite-Increasing – Multiple treatments for cancer and other ailments frequently cause a loss of appetite and chronic wasting. ∆-8-THC has been shown to increase appetite in consumers to help patients get the nutrition they need. A study on mice in 2004 supports these results.
  • Pain Relieving – ∆-8-THC is thought to have the same pain-relieving abilities as its more potent cousin, ∆-9-THC without the same potent cerebral effects. 
  • Anti-Cancer – Animal studies from 2006 suggest that delta-8-THC, delta-9-THC, and even cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells.

 

Who is Producing It?

Finding a ∆-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol isolate in the legal cannabis market is a rare find. Guild Extracts out of California is currently offering a concentrate for dabbing, while Oleum Extracts out of Washington state is selling a blend of ∆-8-THC and ∆-9-THC in a vape cartridge branded under Aquatek.

As research and technological advances start to provide more insight into the potential of this little-known cannabinoid expect to see ∆-8-THC continue to climb the charts as a cannabinoid in high demand.

 

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