Delta 8 vs. Delta 9: What’s the Difference?

If you’re wondering how this substance can elicit that ‘high’ effect, that’s mainly because of the THC substance itself. To recap, THC is a psychoactive compound you can find in cannabis. Between marijuana and industrial hemp, THC is found in higher concentrations in the former. 

The mechanism of THC is simple. It binds itself to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. After which, it exhibits various effects. Upon binding to the first receptor (CB1), it starts making the user feel ‘high.’ The CB2 binding, on the other hand, makes the user feel relaxed. 

Although tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is more famous for its recreational use, people are looking for it for its different benefits. Unfortunately, there are much confusion as to THC’s different available types. 

Now, since there are different types of THC, we’ll settle their similarities and differences in today’s article. Hopefully, this will clear the confusion and help you decide better which THC substance to use. 

Extraction Process

While there are different types of cannabinoids, Delta 8 and Delta 9 are often compared because of their structural similarities. Because of this, they are also often confused as the same. They are different, and one of their main differences is their extraction process. 

Since Delta 9 is abundantly found in cannabis, extracting it is cheap and straightforward. They are explicitly derived from marijuana plants. Whereas the extraction of Delta 8 requires more effort since it’s not a major cannabinoid. The cannabis plant only produces small portions of Delta 8.

Since extracting it naturally doesn’t yield the ideal result, Delta 8 production can also be done differently, like synthesizing them entirely from cannabis by utilizing solvents. The conversion process is expensive, but it’s more convenient and simpler. The output makes Delta 8 trace its source from hemp instead of marijuana. And to ensure that it passes the legality standard, the extraction process ensures that Delta 8 only contains below 0.3% of Delta 9. 

Effects on the Users

Another main difference between Delta 8 and 9 is the substances’ effects on those who used them. This is usually the reason that makes people choose one over the other. If you’re unsure which of the two substances to use, check out the effects in the discussion below. 

Between Delta 8 and 9, the latter has a more potent effect. Users and experts even said that the effect of the former is twice as strong as the latter. Specifically, it can make one feel more anxious and experience impaired motor skills, mental fog, and paranoid delusions. 

On the other hand, Delta 8 proves to yield a more relaxed feel. Users explain its effects as more calming and relaxing. This explains why those seeking a more leisurely experience and those aiming for clarity choose Delta 8. Although there were reports of people experiencing a ‘definite high,’ none reported impaired ability to focus or think coherently. Specifically, Delta 8 makes you feel unbothered by stress and completely relaxed. 


The availability of these compounds highly depends on the state where the user lives. If you live in a state where it’s legal and safe to buy and use Delta 9, then go ahead. Enjoy yourself! You can find a dispensary that will deliver your needs. Although you can also access and buy from online stores, this might cause an issue with shipping your items as not all states legalize its use for any purpose. 

On the other hand, you would be happy to know that Delta 8 enjoys a more liberal situation. Since they are legal at the federal level, you can order them online and ship them across states. You will find numerous retailers of this compound than Delta 9. 

If you are not fond of having your Delta 8 shipped, you can always get it from physical stores. However, you need to be careful in doing so. Never buy it from sketchy sellers. Since they are not FDA-regulated, you might find low-quality Delta 8 flooding the market. The impurities could yield unfavorable results that might compromise your safety. As a rule of thumb, only buy from trustworthy brands and legit sellers.

End Product

When it comes to end products, both Delta 8 and Delta 9 are pretty similar. They can be consumed in edible form, inhaled by vaping, and even smoked as plants or flowers. You can do whatever floats your boat. They also come in a variety of forms like edibles, tinctures, capsules, and even topicals. 

Legality in States

As most people know, the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana is still illegal at the federal level in all US states. Although there have been many backings for its legalization, only 34 states have completely legalized its use for leisure and medication. There are still many states that are opposed to its legalization because of the possibility of abuse and addiction. 

Consequently, the legality of Delta 9 has also been directly thwarted by these oppositions. Generally, over 0.3% of Delta 9 THC is illegal at the federal level. This only means that the legality of Delta 9 is directly dependent on the legality of marijuana. 

On the other hand, since there are ambiguities to the 2018 Farm Bill, the use of Delta 8 is technically legal, even on the federal level. Even if you read within the lines of the bill supposedly regulating its usage, you can never find anything that directly attributes to the prohibition of hemp-derived Delta 8 and its derived compounds. 

As you can see in the results and effects, Delta 8 is more on the relaxing and taming side; hence, the lesser regulation on its usage. However, its psychoactive nature also contributed to the number of state bans on the use of the compound. Currently, around 15 states prohibit its use and selling. There are also other six states where laws regulating its usage are still pending. 

The Takeaway

Now that you know the main differences between Delta 8 and 9 THC, we hope you’ll be cautious and vigilant when using any of these compounds. Apart from that, ensure that it’s legal in your state. Otherwise, you might have problems with the law. Lastly, always protect your interest by buying your THC only from trustworthy brands. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your THC to the fullest.

FAQ: Delta 8 vs. Delta 9

Q1. What are Delta 8 and Delta 9?

A1. Delta 8 and Delta 9 are two different forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis. Delta 8 is an isomer of Delta 9 THC, which is the most commonly found form in cannabis plants. Delta 8 has a lower psychotropic potency than Delta 9 and is gaining popularity as a legal form of THC.

Q2. How is Delta 8 different from Delta 9?

A2. Delta 8 has a lower psychotropic potency than Delta 9, meaning it produces milder effects. Additionally, Delta 8 is more stable than Delta 9, which means it is less prone to degradation when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen.

Q3. Is Delta 8 legal?

A3. Yes, Delta 8 is legal in the United States as long as it is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. It is important to check with your local laws before purchasing Delta 8 products, as some states may have additional regulations.

Photo of author

Evan Weston

Evan Weston is a contributor to Reefer Posts, a growing community for exploring the developing market of Cannabis and CBD-related products. He spends a lot of time researching the development of health-related products that utilize Cannabis and CBD oils. He also keeps tabs on the developing legal environment regarding medical, recreational cannabis use, and production.

Leave a Comment