Will Delta 8 Get You High? Understanding Delta 8 vs Delta 9

delta 8 get you high

Posted on July 25th, 2021

Are you debating delta 8 vs delta 9 in the THC market? Well, you’re not alone! Over the past few years, Delta-8 THC has joined a growing list of popular cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG and CBN. Why is that the case?

Well, when comparing Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC (that’s the active compound in marijuana plants) there’s a potency difference. Basically, Delta 8 – which comes from hemp – supposedly has similar effects to THC; they’re just less powerful.

So, if you’re wondering, will Delta 8 get you high? The simple answer to the question is, yes. But those psychoactive effects won’t be as noticeable as those of a similar dose of Delta 9 THC. More importantly, you shouldn’t feel paranoid or anxious as you would when using regular Delta 9 THC. 

To find out everything you need to know about Delta 8 THC, from an in depth description of what it is, to whether it will show up on a drug test, read on below. 

How Do Producers Make Delta-8?

Simply put, Delta 8 is a form of THC present in hemp plants. Since the levels of Delta 8 in hemp plants tend to be very low, producing useful levels of the compound requires extensive processing. Producers choose to use hemp plants because they are legal in the US, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. It is also worth noting that since it is more difficult to create this compound, it’s more costly to produce than CBD. 

weed leafDelta-8 vs Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol 

D8 and D9 are two different forms of THC. Most of the Delta 8 available on the market is a product of hemp plants. However, D9 (or regular THC) normally comes from marijuana plants. 

Though Delta 8 is quite similar to Delta 9, the unique chemical structure of these compounds also makes them different. In terms of their chemical structure, both D8 and D9 are made up of a chain of carbon atoms. However, the placement of the double bond in their structure is a huge distinguishing element. The double bond is on the 8th carbon atom in Delta 8, and on the 9th carbon atom in D9. This double bond is responsible for the intoxicating effects of both of these compounds.

Once in the body, both D8 and D9 interact with the ECS (Endocannabinoid System) by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors. The location of D8’s double bond alters the way in which the compound interacts with the ECS. This leads to similar, but milder effects. D8 also plays a role in homeostasis – a balance in the biological processes in the body. It does this by binding to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, while Delta 9 only binds to CB1 receptors. We still need more research on this relatively new cannabinoid, but so far its potential is promising.

Will Delta 8 Get You High? 

From the available anecdotal evidence, the effects of Delta 8 are generally similar to those of THC; though, less potent. The potential effects of this substance include pain relief, and feelings of euphoria and happiness, among others. D8 may also help with cases of insomnia. Additionally, in a 1995 study, Delta 8 helped prevent vomiting in children undergoing treatment for specific types of cancers. 

On the flip side, Delta 8 also has similar side effects to Delta 9 THC. Some of the most common ones include red eyes, dry mouth and short-term memory issues. While it is true that D8 may cause some paranoia and anxiety, the intensity of these effects is much lower. In fact, one of the main reasons why some people are choosing to switch over to Delta 8 is less intense feelings of paranoia and anxiety. In general, all Delta 8 effects (whether positive or negative) are less potent than those of Delta 9. So will Delta 8 get you high? Maybe a little bit, but not as much as Delta 9.

Delta 8 and Drug Tests

If you have an upcoming drug test, or undergo periodic drug tests, you might want to know whether they will detect this substance. Considering the growing popularity and availability of Delta 8, many people probably wonder the same. To understand the answer to this question, one must first understand how drug tests work. 

While it is true that D8 does not contain regular THC, drug tests do not simply look for THC in the body. Whenever THC (in any form) enters the body, it breaks down into tiny molecules (THC metabolites). These tiny molecules then travel to different parts of the body. When investigating THC in the body, drug tests usually look for the presence of these metabolites. In simple terms, THC metabolites are the tell tale signs of THC use, as far as drug tests are concerned. 

Therefore, Delta 8 does show up on drug tests in the form of THC metabolites. When it comes to drug tests, the amount of THC involved does not matter. Typically the tests only look for signs of the substance in the body, not the levels. 

If you have been using Delta 8, and have an upcoming drug test, you’ll need to stop using it for long enough for the body to get rid of it if you want to pass the test. The body needs anywhere between 3 and 4 weeks to naturally get rid of THC. The specific length of this cleansing period varies from person to person; and depends on their D8 consumption habits and metabolism rate.  

man with cbdDelta 8 Dosage Tips 

As with any cannabis/hemp product out there, proper dosage is essential if you want to enjoy the best experience. As a rule of thumb, Delta 8 is generally about half (at most) as potent as regular THC (Delta 9). This also applies when it comes to dosing. If you are switching from regular THC use to Delta 8, be sure to remember this information. Since D8 is less potent, experienced THC users may need to start with higher dosage levels to get the effect they want. 

However, if you are new to THC, you should start with lower doses. You can then increase the amount gradually, until you reach a suitable dosage level. Always wait for the effects of the initial dose to kick in before taking more of the substance. Will Delta 8 get you high? Well, the amount you take, your tolerance levels and the profile of the specific product in use, all play a role in determining how you will feel after taking Delta 8. As such, it is always wise to ease yourself into this substance with lower doses at first. 

Legal Status

The legal status of Delta 8 is quite confusing in most parts of the country. For the most part, the law does not address D8 specifically. Only a few states that outlaw it even mention it specifically in their state laws.

The DEA suggested a law that would make Delta 8 a Schedule I controlled substance. However, the law, which would make the substance illegal at the federal level, is yet to be finalized. To make a confusing situation worse, most of the Delta 8 available on the market comes from legal hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC content. Since Delta 8 does not contain THC (Delta 9), it is technically legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Most producers and retailers focus on selling D8 products to buyers in states where the law(s) mirrors the language in the 2018 Farm Bill. To avoid any problems with the authorities, be sure to check the legal status of Delta 8 in your state before ordering any products. 


A milder form of Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 causes similar but less potent effects. This makes it a great alternative for anyone looking to experience the effects of D9, but milder. Since it breaks down into THC metabolites once it enters the body, it may show up on drug tests.

All in all, there have been very few studies on the effects of Delta 8 on the human body and mind. More research is needed to further clarify the potential of this compound amongst the most popular cannabinoids out there.   

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