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

Delta 8 vs Delta 9: What’s the Difference? by Stephanie Jensen at CBD Origin

Marijuana use is rising, and the demand is only increasing, regardless of sex and age group. The reason why is simple: people like to get high from marijuana. This high is thanks to THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in both marijuana and hemp plants.

While marijuana legality depends on the state, one product is federally legal in the US: Delta 8 THC. You’re likely unsure of Delta 8 THC, especially if you also heard the term Delta 9 THC.

What does all of this mean?

Main Differences Between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC

  • Delta 9 THC is found in both marijuana and hemp, whereas Delta 8 THC is only found in hemp.
  • Many say Delta 9 THC has a stronger high, whereas Delta 8 THC is milder (I personally don’t think so)
  • Delta 8 THC is legal at the federal level, whereas Delta 9 THC is only legal in states that allow recreational and/or medical marijuana.
  • Delta 9 THC usually requires some form of safety testing, whereas Delta 8 THC doesn’t
  • Delta 9 THC is fairly affordable, whereas Delta 8 THC is expensive

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC

First things first, what exactly is this Delta 8 THC substance that’s apparently legal around the country? 

This is a form of the psychoactive THC found in marijuana and hemp. The only way Delta 8 THC is legal is if it’s extracted from hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill legalizes any substance in the hemp plant, a convenient loophole for people who want to use THC legally.

Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC are technically different but actually offer more similarities than you may expect. Look at them like cousins. Next, we will discuss Delta 9 THC in more detail.

What Is Delta 9 THC?

What Is Delta 9 THC

Both Delta 9 and Delta 8 THC is found in the marijuana plant. However, Delta 9 THC is the main form of the cannabinoid you’ll find. This substance results in a more potent “high” compared to Delta 8 THC.

As stated previously, the two have many similarities. They bind to the same receptors, have psychoactive effects, and are found in the marijuana plant. However, they do have differences that affect users on various levels. 

Differences Between These Two Types of THC

While Delta 8 and Delta 9 are similar, they have many differences in their derivatives, structure, effects, benefits, and even legality. Here’s a closer look at each contrast.

Where They Come From

While you can find Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC in marijuana, you can only find Delta 8 THC in hemp. 

When you use Delta 8 THC products, the product you’re using has been grown naturally, and the cannabinoids have been extracted from the plant. You can find both pure and full-spectrum Delta 8 THC products. 

This also means that the THC in full-spectrum CBD is usually Delta 8 THC.

Again, Delta 8 THC is also found in marijuana. Still, it’s a minor cannabinoid. Delta 9 THC is the main component that causes the “high.”

Molecular Structure

Delta 8 is only an isomer of Delta 9 THC. Both types of THC have the same chemical structure, but their carbon atom has double bonds in different places. Even this slight difference can affect your body in different ways. 


Users go into Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC differently. For the most part, Delta 8 THC gives off more relaxing effects than Delta 9 THC. This is why most people prefer taking Delta 8 THC at night. 

Keep in mind, there are Indica marijuana strains that contain Delta 9 THC and produce relaxing effects.

Possible Medical Benefits

While CBD is often touted as a healthy cannabinoid, Delta 8 and 9 THC offer some health benefits. Both provide the same anti-nausea effects, but Delta 8 offers some possible health benefits that Delta 9 THC doesn’t provide, and vice-versa.

For example, Delta 9 THC is an appetite promoter. I personally don’t think Delta 8 THC has ever increased my appetite.



Technically, Delta 8 THC is legal at the federal level. However, specific states are criminalizing its use and possession. Before using Delta 8 THC, know your state’s laws.

Since Delta 9 is only found in marijuana, you’ll want to know your state’s general marijuana laws, as well. 18 states and the District of Columbia all legalized recreational marijuana, and medical marijuana is available in 36 states.


Even though it’s rare to overdose on marijuana, you’ll still want to take a specific dosage. Using too much THC comes with unwanted effects.

Since Delta 8 THC is less potent, you can take it at a higher dose than Delta 9 THC. Start with 10 mg at a time. Take Delta 9 THC in a smaller dose. Start with 5 mg and wait before taking more.

While smoking and vaping come with lung effects, it’s easier to dose THC when inhaling. Take a puff, wait 10 minutes, and take another puff if you feel you need more.

If you would instead take edibles, be very careful about dosing both Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC. When you digest THC, the effects are stronger compared to smoking it.


While I don’t think Delta 8 THC is much milder than Delta 9 THC, they definitely have different effects. You can expect to feel any of these sensations when taking Delta 9 THC:

  • Euphoria
  • Excitement and energy (when using a Sativa strain)
  • Relaxation and sleepiness (when using an Indica strain)

Delta–8 THC makes the user feel calmer. I personally experienced a body high, though not everyone experiences this.


Both are psychoactive, but many people say that Delta 8 THC comes with milder effects. 

That doesn’t mean Delta 8 THC won’t cause a high. Trust me, guys, you shouldn’t drive, work, or do anything important when taking Delta 8 THC. It definitely gets me high the way Delta –9 THC does. You should still carefully dose your THC.

Delta 9 THC is stronger, but every marijuana strain has different THC percentages. In addition, marijuana concentrates are stronger than flower. 

Safety Testing

As far as recreational and medical marijuana is concerned, every state has its own safety testing laws. 

In this case, the marijuana goes through third-party testing to discover the potency, cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides, dangerous solvents, microorganisms, and heavy metals in the strain.

Unfortunately, Delta 8 THC isn’t regulated the same way legal marijuana is. Some companies do opt for third-party testing, even if it isn’t required by law. Only use Delta 8 THC from companies that test all of their products.

Side Effects

Side Effects

Both Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC share some side effects, such as anxiety and panic. Delta 9 THC personally makes me feel more sedated than Delta 8 THC, especially if I smoke an Indica strain. However, Delta 8 THC does come with side effects, including:

  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Trance-like state

The best way to avoid Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC side effects is by using both in moderation. You should also know that this isn’t a complete list of side effects. Both Delta 8 and Delta 9 need to undergo more testing before we fully know the risks when taking these products.


Delta 8 THC is more expensive than Delta 9 THC. That’s because cultivators use special hemp strains that are bred to produce more THC. 

Since marijuana is more diverse and cultivators don’t have to breed specifically plants, Delta 9 THC is typically cheaper. However, there are different types of Delta 9 THC. The flower is fairly affordable, but marijuana concentrates are more expensive since they’re extremely potent. 

Marijuana edibles are also more affordable than Delta 8 THC edibles, though the costs vary based on cannabis quality.


While there are states that ban Delta 8 and Delta 9, it’s safe to assume that Delta 8 THC is more accessible than Delta 9 THC. Only 18 states legalized marijuana. Even states that legalized medical marijuana usually have strict requirements on who qualifies for the products.

Which One Should You Choose?

Delta 8 and Delta  9 THC will attract different users. Both have pros and cons; Delta 8 THC is milder but more expensive, and Delta 9 THC is cheaper and more versatile. 

I’ll be honest, even though people say Delta 8 THC is milder, it still got me high. The high isn’t drastically different from the high that Delta 9 THC offers.

In all honesty, I prefer using the real thing. I love the taste and smell of marijuana and I just feel better when I smoke my favorite strains. However, I’m in Canada now, where adult marijuana use is legal on the federal level. If marijuana isn’t legal where you live, don’t break the law. 

If marijuana is legal in your state and/or you qualify for medical marijuana, I suggest trying both. But if Delta 8 THC is the only legal option you have, you might as well try Delta 8.

No matter which one you use, please remember these are psychoactive substances and you should use them in moderation.

How to Choose the Best Delta 8 or 9 Product?

Best Delta 8 or 9 Product

Something that doesn’t change with Delta 8 and 9 THC is that you should choose a high-quality product. Here’s how to know you’re choosing the best cannabis.

Reputable Company

The cannabis you buy should always come from a reputable company. 

Find a company that has positive reviews, a sizable following, has excellent customer service, and conducts safety testing (even if it’s not required). Keep in mind, many companies you may buy from will likely be new. 

Delta 8 THC really only appeared at the forefront a year or two ago, and many states only legalized cannabis within the past few years. This doesn’t mean they don’t produce high-quality cannabis.

Customer Service

A good way to quickly know if a company is reputable or not is to see how they treat customers. Any company that answers all of your questions and overall makes the buying process easy is a company you’ll want to support.

When researching a business, look up customer service reviews. See if customers have raving reviews about the customer service or if they have complaints. You can also see if the brand responds to customer reviews.

Safe Ingredients

You don’t have to worry about this when using flower, but you’ll want to read the ingredients list when taking any edible. Refrain from using marijuana products made with artificial flavors and colors.

You’ll also want to know the cultivators’ extraction method when taking concentrates. CO2 is the safest extraction method. Avoid using products that were extracted using dangerous solvents such as petroleum, naptha, benzene, and hexane.

Type of Product

As you can see, you can find marijuana products of various types. Flower concentrates, vape, and edibles are some of the most common products. Weigh out the pros and cons of each before purchasing a marijuana product.

Where You Buy

There are limited places where you can purchase marijuana products. Buyers really only have two options:

  • Dispensary
  • Buying online

The benefit of buying marijuana from a dispensary is you know the products are safe. 

Dispensaries build trust and rapport with marijuana manufacturers, so you know you’re buying some of the best products. If marijuana is illegal in your area, you may be able to find CBD dispensaries that sell Delta 8 THC.

With online shopping, you can buy cannabis at lower prices. That’s because online stores don’t have dispensaries’ overhead costs. While shipping time varies, you can get your cannabis quickly with local marijuana delivery.


Question: Why Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

Answer: Because Delta 8 THC is derived from the hemp plant, it’s considered legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. Delta 9 THC comes from marijuana, still considered a Schedule 1 substance.

Question: Can I Travel With My Delta 8 THC Products?

Answer: Technically, it is legal to fly on an airplane with Delta 8 THC. However, some airlines may prohibit Delta 8 THC products, so I would be safe and not travel with them. You should also be careful when crossing state lines, even when driving.

Question: Is Delta 9 THC Really That Much Stronger?

Answer: I read different blogs saying that Delta 8 THC is milder than Delta 9 THC. In reality, Delta 8 THC still gets you high, and the high that Delta 9 produces is not that much stronger. 

I personally think the high feel of Delta 8 THC is slightly different, very similar to the effects of smoking an Indica. I get the body high more than the head high. But I still experience some of the same side effects as Delta 9 THC, such as rapid heartbeat. 


With more people using marijuana, you may be interested in trying cannabis. However, you may not know the difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC and which one you should use. 

If you’re in an area where marijuana is illegal, I would try Delta 8 THC. However, if marijuana is legal in your area, try the real thing. While Delta 9 THC is technically stronger, both get you high. 

The best course of action is to dose carefully, use both in moderation, and don’t drive or operate machinery when using any THC product.

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