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Delta 8 vs. CBD: What’s Best for Experienced & Novice Users?

Published May 09, 2022
Delta 8 vs. CBD: What’s Best for Experienced & Novice Users? - Secret Nature

Both delta 8 and CBD are widely available on the internet. There are significant differences between these cannabinoids, though, that might make one option better for new users and the other ideal for experienced cannabis consumers. Learn more about both delta 8 and CBD in this guide to find out which cannabinoid fits your level of experience with cannabis the best.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a fully non-intoxicating cannabinoid derived from hemp. Researched for its potential to relieve pain, help with anxiety, and facilitate sleep, CBD appears to have immense therapeutic potential despite its inability to get you high. For some people, the non-intoxicating properties of CBD are a good thing—this cannabinoid allows you to experience the benefits of cannabis without becoming intoxicated.

What does CBD do?

While scientists still aren’t sure exactly how CBD exerts its observed effects, we’ve gotten somewhat closer to understanding how this cannabinoid works in the human body. It appears, for instance, that CBD shuns your conventional cannabinoid receptors and instead primarily binds with neuroreceptors in the 5HT and TRP groups.

Your 5HT receptors control the flow of serotonin throughout the body, a critical neurotransmitter involved in everything from mood to neuropathic pain. Receptors in the TRP family, on the other hand, control inflammation. Combined, the activity of CBD at these two receptor groups helps us better understand this cannabinoid’s reported effects.

Why do people use CBD?

One of the most common reasons people use CBD is to help with pain. Since pain can keep you up at night, it only makes sense that people also use CBD for sleep, and whether you’re in pain or not, CBD has relaxing qualities that some users find to be sedative. It’s also commonly believed that the relaxing properties of CBD also apply to mood, which is why this cannabinoid is commonly used to soothe anxiety and assuage depression.

Is CBD good for beginners?

CBD is an excellent cannabinoid for beginners—people who haven’t used any kind of cannabinoid before. The intoxicating properties of substances in the THC family can be overwhelming for new users, so the fact that CBD doesn’t get you high makes this cannabinoid ideal for individuals who are curious about the benefits of cannabis but either don’t want to get high or are concerned how using THC might affect drug testing.

What is delta 8?

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 8 or D8) is a cannabinoid in the THC family, so it has intoxicating properties. Scientists have determined that the effects of delta 8 are milder than those of delta 9, potentially making this version of THC more useful from a therapeutic perspective. Even though it won’t get you quite as high, delta 8 will still provide a considerable buzz, making it a great alternative to delta 9 for habitual users.

What does delta 8 do?

So far, delta 8 appears to act almost exactly the same as delta 9 THC in the human brain, though it might show slightly less affinity for your intoxicating CB1 receptors. Overall, though, the effects of delta 8 are essentially the same as those of conventional THC: By stimulating your CB1 and CB2 receptors, delta 8 makes you feel high and provides a sense of bodily relaxation.

In the human endocannabinoid system, the CB1 receptors are the neuroreceptors responsible for THC’s intoxicating effects. Stimulating your brain’s CB2 receptors, on the other hand, doesn’t make you feel high. Instead, these neuroreceptors appear to be involved in the body’s inflammatory response, perhaps explaining why so many THC users report pain relief.

Why do people use delta 8?

People primarily use delta 8 for the same reason they use the original version of THC—to get high. The intoxicating effects of delta 8 THC are very pleasant, and they lack some of the most notorious side effects of delta 9. For people who use THC for medicinal purposes, this makes D8 highly desirable. Access to delta 9 THC remains highly limited in most states, which has contributed immensely to the popularity of delta 8.

Is delta 8 good for beginners?

Delta 8 might be a good cannabinoid for beginners—but then again, it might not be. While it’s true that delta 8 is considerably more mild than THC’s conventional form, it’s still THC. It will get you high, and if you use too much of it before your body has developed a tolerance, it might get you extremely high. As long as you proceed with caution, delta 8 is a cannabinoid that can be used by individuals with any level of cannabis experience.

What’s the difference between delta 8 and full-spectrum CBD?

Since it contains small concentrations of THC, some people believe that full-spectrum CBD is more similar to delta 8 than other types of CBD extracts. The concentrations of THC in full-spectrum CBD are so low, though, that they won’t cause intoxication while using delta 8 will certainly get you high. Delta 8 also comes in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum options, however, which are superior to delta 8 isolate due to the benefits of the entourage effect.

What is the chemical difference between CBD and delta 8?

As is the case when comparing most cannabinoids, the chemical differences between CBD and delta 8 are far from profound. The two cannabinoids have the same chemical formula, but their structures are arranged differently enough to exert widely disparate effects.

When observing the CBD and delta 8 molecules, the primary differences are observable near the “heads” of the two molecules, where delta 8 is mainly composed of oxygen and carbon while CBD features a more complex hydrocarbon structure. While the differences between CBD and delta 8 may seem slight, rest assured that CBD cannot convert into delta 8 under normal circumstances.

Is delta 8 stronger than CBD?

Yes, the effects of delta 8 are considerably stronger than the effects of any form of CBD extract. No matter how much CBD you use, you’ll never get high, but even a small amount of delta 8 is enough to cause intoxication in users who haven’t developed a tolerance to this cannabinoid. You might find CBD to be “stronger,” though, if your goal is to fight inflammation or reduce pain—not get high.

Should I use delta 8 or CBD?

If you’re not sure whether you use delta 8 or CBD, just ask yourself a simple question: Have I smoked weed before? If the answer is yes, then you might prefer the effects of delta 8 since they’re similar to conventional THC.

If you’ve never even smoked conventional weed, however, starting things off with delta 8 could possibly be a little bit more than you can handle. Thankfully, CBD gets you used to the effects of cannabis to some degree, so starting off with CBD will prepare you to use delta 8 at a later date.

D8 vs. CBD for beginners and experts: The bottom line

Both delta 8 and CBD might be appropriate for a beginner—depending on which type of beginner you are. And, some of the most experienced cannabinoid users still decide to stick with CBD for a variety of reasons. In the end, what matters most is the type of experience you’re looking for.

It might not be necessary to shy away from delta 8 just because you’ve never used cannabis before. The intoxicating effects of this cannabinoid might be just what you’re looking for, and the high delta 8 provides will certainly be stronger if you’ve never encountered this cannabinoid before.

Similarly, there’s not necessarily any reason to move on from CBD to delta 8 if you’re already happy with what you have. Intoxication isn’t for everyone, which is why it’s such a blessing that cannabis comes in so many varieties.

Once you become a true expert, you’ll learn the secret of cannabis—using one cannabinoid on its own is great, but combining them is even better. Perhaps you’ll start with just delta 8 or just CBD, but over time, try combining these cannabinoids for even greater effects. And, don’t forget that there are many other cannabinoids to combine as well—such as THCV, CBG, and CBN.

CBD vs. delta 8 FAQ

If you still aren’t sure which cannabinoid you want to try first, learn more about CBD and delta 8 from the answers to these commonly asked questions:

1. How long does it take for delta 8 to work?

Depending on the type of delta 8 product you use, this cannabinoid might kick in within a minute, or it might take more than 30 minutes to feel its effects. Inhaled cannabinoids—delta 8 included—generally take effect within 1-2 minutes. If you orally ingest delta 8 in the form of a capsule, gummy, or tincture, however, it might take around half an hour to experience the benefits of this cannabinoid.

2. How long does the delta 8 high last?

When you inhale delta 8, the effects will peak after around 30 minutes and start dissipating after about an hour. Orally ingested delta 8 lasts considerably longer (up to 3 hours), but the overall effects aren’t quite as intense. To maintain a consistent state of delta 8 intoxication throughout the day, take a puff of this cannabinoid every hour or so.

3. How does delta 8 affect heart rate?

The cardiovascular effects of delta 8 have not been adequately researched. The delta 9 form of THC, however, can sometimes increase your heart rate.

Despite sensationalized news coverage of dramatic heart rate decreases after using delta 8 products, there is no specific evidence that delta 8 was the culprit behind these incidents. Due to the massive profusion of low-quality and contaminated delta 8 products on the market, non-cannabinoid contaminants could easily have been the cause. That’s part of the reason it’s so important to select delta 8 products wisely.

4. What’s the difference between CBD and delta 9?

CBD and delta 9 THC are even more different than CBD and delta 8. While most users report that delta 8 shares CBD’s mild and relaxing qualities, the conventional form of THC is this cannabinoid at “full throttle,” providing a much more intense experience. If you like CBD but want to try a form of THC, delta 8 is a much better cannabinoid to choose.

5. What’s the difference between CBD and delta 10?

Despite being available on the internet, scientists still don’t know much about the rare THC analog delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol. Based on limited anecdotal evidence, however, delta 10 appears to have a more energizing effect than delta 8, making it quite different from THC.

6. Is HHC or delta 8 stronger?

When it comes to which cannabinoid delivers stronger effects, it’s a tossup between delta 8 and hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), a synthetic form of THC that has recently become available on the internet. Regardless of which cannabinoid is stronger, HHC is the less-reliable option since it is synthesized, not naturally derived.

7. Is delta 9 from hemp?

No, from a legal perspective, delta 9 is derived from “marijuana,” not hemp. The amount of delta 9 THC in cannabis is, in fact, the factor that determines the difference between hemp and marijuana. If cannabis contains more than 0.3% THC, it is marijuana, and if it contains less than that threshold, it is hemp.

8. CBD vs. delta 8 vs. delta 9 for first-timers

If this is your first time using cannabis in general, the best cannabinoid to start out with is definitely CBD. While CBD won’t get you high, it will provide you with enough of an idea of the effects of cannabis to prepare you for using a form of THC later on. When you’re ready to explore the intoxicating side of cannabis, start with delta 8 since it is less intoxicating, and then move on to delta 9 if desired.

9. Why does delta 8 get me so high?

If the high provided by delta 8 is feeling more intense than you expected, keep in mind that this cannabinoid is only very slightly different from the conventional delta 9 form of THC. If you were expecting a completely different experience, it would be natural if you’re slightly taken aback by the intensity of delta 8’s effects. Delta 8 products should not make you feel more high than delta 9 products, though, so contamination could also be an issue.

10. Why does delta 8 make me feel so good?

If you were expecting another CBD, it’s natural to be floored by how good the intoxicating effects of delta 8 can feel. This cannabinoid isn’t all that different from the traditional form of THC, after all, which certainly makes users feel good.

Neurochemically, the mechanism behind the intoxicating, euphoric effects of both delta 8 and delta 9 THC is the dopamine secretion that occurs when your brain’s CB1 receptors are activated. Dopamine makes you feel incredibly good, and using any form of THC is a great way to increase levels of dopamine in your system.

11. Is delta 8 better or worse for you than CBD?

We don’t know enough about the effects of either cannabinoid to know whether CBD or delta 8 is better for you on a long-term basis. The quality of the cannabis products you consume, though, seems to have a lot more to do with the health effects of cannabis than the cannabinoids it contains.

In terms of acute or short-term effects, it would be reasonable to say that CBD is better for you than delta 8 since it is not known to have any serious side effects. While rare, on the other hand, delta 8 can trigger cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), an allergic response to cannabis that can result in nausea, uncontrollable vomiting, and severe dehydration.

12. Is delta 8 good for a first-timer?

In comparison to CBD, delta 8 may not be the best cannabinoid to try for a first-timer. While delta 8 is considered to be gentler than CBD, it’s a fact that this cannabinoid is intoxicating while CBD is not. If you aren’t at all accustomed to the intoxicating effects that cannabinoids can sometimes provide, it’s best to start with something simpler and work your way up to getting high.

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