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Delta-9 vs Delta-8: Which THC Isomer is the Best Choice for You?

Nov 21, 2022

Delta-9 vs Delta-8: Which THC Isomer is the Best Choice for You?

If you’ve been shopping for CBD gummies online, you may have also seen Delta-8 THC for sale. You might be wondering what Delta-8 THC is, and how does it compare to the same THC you would buy in a recreational dispensary?

Traditional THC (one of the high-inducing cannabinoid in cannabis) is actually called Delta-9 THC, and it is different from the new Delta-8 THC in several ways. Read on to learn more about Delta-9 vs Delta-8 in terms of structure, effects, dosage, and more. 

What’s the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9?

It is understandable to experience some confusion when looking into the myriad of cannabinoids that are currently available in the federally legal marketplace. The first of the extracted and amplified THCs to hit the market for purchase was Delta-8 THC and it continues to be a widely used cannabinoid. So, let’s get the basic fact out of the way. Delta-8 and Delta-9 are both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). So what’s the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9? And how does Delta-8 meet the requirements for federal legality while Delta-9 does not? 

There are actually several ways that these two types of THC differ from each other. These differences include their chemical structure, legality, the way they are produced, as well as their potency, dosage, effects, and cost.

Read on for more details about THC 8 vs 9!

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 Chemical Structure

The main way that Delta-8 and Delta-9 differ is just a tiny swap in how their atoms are arranged. They are isomers of each other. 

The chemical formula for THC is C21H30O2, because every THC molecule contains 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Each of these atoms is like a building block, and they can be put together in different ways. All of these possible arrangements are the different isomers of THC.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 chemical structure and medical benefits are nearly identical, as seen here.

In the case of Delta-8 and Delta-9, they differ only in the placement of their double carbon bond. Traditional THC has its double carbon bond on the 9th chain, while Delta-8’s is on the 8th chain.

This microscopic difference in the Delta-8 vs Delta-9 molecule is what gives them their names, as well as causing changes in their potency and effects.


What is Delta-8 vs Delta-9 made from? Both of these types of THC come from the cannabis plant, but go through vastly different processes before they can go to market and into the hands of consumers.

Delta-9 THC is the most prominent cannabinoid in cannabis and can thus be extracted directly from the cured flower of the plant. 

Delta-8, on the other hand, exists naturally in cannabis in very small amounts. For this reason, most of the Delta-8 on the market today is crafted in a lab from hemp flower used to create CBD products, through a process called isomerization. When CBD is extracted from hemp flower in a lab, the isolate created from the process can be converted back into Delta 8, allowing the amplification of this trace cannabinoid to directly experiential levels. 


Because Delta-8 is made from hemp, as opposed to dispensary marijuana, it is federally legal. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, making hemp and hemp products legal throughout the United States. Since Delta-8 is a hemp product, its production and sale is allowed in the USA.

How is Delta-8 different from Delta-9 in terms of legality? Hemp-derived THC (Delta-8) is legal at the federal level. However, because Delta-9 THC comes from whole, unprocessed cannabis, it is only legal in states that have legalized marijuana, either medically or recreationally.

The difference in legality between these two types of THC has nothing to do with how much THC is in Delta-8 compared to Delta-9. While Delta-8 comes from a plant which has little to no THC, and Delta-9 comes from a plant that is high in THC, the amount of THC in the extracted products is the same. As long as those Delta-8 products contain less than 0.3% by weight of Delta-9 THC they are approved for sale on the commercial market. 

Keep in mind that even though Delta-8 is technically legal throughout the United States, there are more than twenty individual states that have banned its sale, most notably those with recreationally legalized marijuana, including Colorado and New York. Be sure to look into your own state’s policies before you purchase Delta-8.


How strong is Delta-8 vs Delta-9? While they are both forms of THC, Delta-8 vs Delta-9 potency is definitely different, according to users. Delta-8, sometimes called “diet weed,” provides a milder high, with less unease. This makes it an excellent choice for those new to cannabis culture or for those that find the effects of traditional THC too intense. 

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 feeling is similar, but not quite as strong. And while Delta-8 may take a bit longer to take effect, some users claim that Delta-8’s high lasts longer than Delta-9’s.

Just because Delta-8 vs Delta-9 strength is different, that doesn’t mean you should take more Delta-8 to feel the effects. Just like with any new substance, you should start with a low dose in a safe space to see how your body reacts.


You may be wondering about your recommended Delta-8 THC dosage vs Delta-9. If you have never used Delta-8 before, you should take a low dose to start– 5-10mg ideally. Wait 2-3 hours to see how it affects you before taking more. If you are an experienced Delta-9 THC user, you will probably have built up a tolerance for Delta-8 as well as it does exist naturally alongside Delta-9 THC, so start with a 10 mg dose.

Cannabis buds spill out of a jar onto a wooden counter. THC 8 vs 9 come from hemp and cannabis.

While some users say a Delta-8 high is milder, too much Delta-8 can cause uncomfortable worryness, so start low and slow! Take the time to learn your appropriate dosage.

In case you’re wondering, a Delta-8 vs Delta-9 drug test is the same. Drug screenings test for THC and their metabolites, so both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC will cause a positive result.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9 Effects  

The effects of Delta-8 and Delta-9 are very similar, but Delta-8 high vs Delta-9 high is said to be milder, longer-lasting, and more uplifting, with less worryness and “couch-lock.”

If you are accustomed to using THC, your Delta-8 tolerance vs Delta-9 is probably similar. You may need more Delta-8 to achieve the same desired effects of your normal amount of Delta-9.


Delta-8 Compared to Delta-9

All in all, Delta-8 THC is a comparable option to Delta-9 THC. If you are considering Delta-8 vs Delta-9 edibles or carts, consider the following:

  • Is Delta-9 THC legal where you live?
  • Does Delta-9 THC make you feel anxious or paranoid?
  • Is Delta-9’s high too intense for you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Delta-8 may be the best option for you! Check out the Delta-8 selection at PharmaCBD. 

At PharmaCBD, we manufacture our Delta-8 products in our own innovative, state-of-the-art lab – Why? Cutting out the middle man saves you money! 

We are always up front and transparent about our manufacturing processes and ingredient lists so you can be assured that your products are pure and safe. 

And we give every customer, no matter how big or small, the same individualized attention and support. Shop PharmaCBD’s extensive Delta-8 selection today!