Trying to decide between THC-O and Delta-8? The two hemp cannabinoids have distinct differences to consider when deciding on the right one. We cover how they compare in potency, effects, and legal status here.
- THC-O and delta-8 are both hemp-derived cannabinoids that deliver noticeably elevating effects.
- THC-O is generally much more potent than delta-8, but it also depends on how much you take.
- Both are federally legal, but some states have restricted their purchase and use.
You may have noticed -- the hemp sphere has expanded vastly in the past few years. For that, you can thank the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and its derivatives.
Today, there are more hemp cannabinoids available than ever before. And these newly available compounds have shifted some of the from conventional THC and opened the door for you to enjoy new types of products.
This hugely benefits you, but let's be honest – there is one major drawback. It can be hard to keep up with all the new cannabinoids and how they differ. So, to clear the confusion, let's dive into two of the most popular ones – delta 8 and THC-O.
As is the case with other cannabinoids, THC-O and delta-8 share many similarities. But they also have distinct differences you'll want to know. So here we break those down.
What is Delta 8?
Delta 8 is a THC cannabinoid found naturally in the cannabis plant. You'll find it in marijuana and hemp variants, although its levels tend to be low. It's a close cousin to delta 9 THC, better known as simply THC.
While delta 8 only recently became available, it has already enjoyed a lot of attention. That's because it has a unique type of noticeably elevating properties. Like its cousin, delta-8 has relaxing and mood-boosting benefits that can help you unwind in the evenings and on weekends. But its effects are generally less potent than conventional THC, so it's a great choice if you're looking for milder uplifting benefits and fewer unwanted side effects.
Most people who use delta 8 appreciate it because it delivers a powerful, uplifting effect. Yet, it's less likely to cause a feeling of paranoia or uncomfortable uneasiness like some more potent cannabinoids can.
What Does Delta 8 Feel Like?
While effects can vary from person to person, if you use delta-8, you're likely to have a similar experience to using other THC products, only less intense. Most people who use delta 8 say it has a smoother, more clear-headed, and less powerful version of delta 9. That's why it's been described as " delta-9's nicer younger sibling.” The effects are much milder, and yet at the same time, are potent enough to relax your body and mind. Despite its less powerful effects, you'll want to be mindful as you decide how much delta 8 to take, especially the first time.
Generally, the feeling of taking delta 8 is described as an overall sense of relaxation and calmness throughout the body. Some prefer delta 8 to quiet busy thoughts to unwind at the end of the day.
Potential Benefits of Delta 8 THC
Besides its sought-after elevating effects, delta 8 is associated with other wellness benefits. Remember that your experience can vary from someone else's, which is commonly true with cannabinoids. But some delta 8 benefits are widely reported, like the following:
Calmness and relaxation
There haven't been any official studies released on the effects of delta-8 THC. Still, many growing anecdotal reports indicate people are turning to delta 8 for its superior calming and relaxation effects.
Like delta 9, delta 8 works by activating the CB1 receptors in your body's endocannabinoid system. The activation of these receptors has been shown to play a vital role in the relaxing and stress-relieving qualities of THC when taken in low amounts. Because delta 8 is not as potent, delta 8 can offer calming and soothing benefits to a broader range of people of different tolerances.
Another reason people use delta 8 is to encourage a healthier appetite. Still, most of the findings here are from anecdotal reports and what people have shared. More research is needed. But at least one study suggests delta 8 can make eating more enjoyable.
The natural relief and body relaxing benefits of THC have been widely recognized and studied. But most of the research has revolved around delta-9 THC.
Because delta 8 shares the same elements and characteristics, it can be assumed to have a similar effect of delivering a deep state of relaxation that can make you feel more comfortable. This is further supported by reports from delta 8 fans looking for help when they feel uncomfortable and tense.
What is THC-O?
THC-O, also known as THC-O acetate, is very similar to other types of THC, including delta 8. It is the acetylated version of THC. This means they share a similar chemical profile, but THC-O has an added acetyl group, allowing it to be more easily absorbed.
This efficiency at being absorbed brings about THC-O's most famous trait: it's substantially more potent.
THC-O is thought to be more potent than even delta 9. Because more of it reaches your system, you can expect to experience greater cerebral and body effects.
Unlike delta-8, THC-O is not naturally present in hemp. Instead, it's carefully created using natural compounds extracted from the plant. The multistep journey to creating THC-O begins with hemp-derived CBD and involves acids and filtration to convert the compound into THC-O acetate.
What Does THC-O Feel Like?
THC-O has been described as "the spiritual cannabinoid" because of its powerful relaxation effects that stimulate a sense of deep thought. People describe the feeling after taking THC-O as almost spiritual or introspective. Unsurprisingly, most people seeking more profound meditation are turning to THC-O.
What Are the Potential Benefits of THC-O?
Besides the spiritual-like uplifting effects, THC-O is also credited with other benefits. Of course, the strength and types of effects you will experience greatly depend on the concentration of THC-O products you take and various biological factors. But some benefits continue to pop up as people discuss their experience with THC-O, like:
- Appetite stimulation
- Sleep support
Because of the potency of THC-O, you can expect these benefits to be more enhanced when you take THC-O in the same servings as delta 8. It's for this reason that we recommend going slow with THC-O. Start with a small serving and work your way up as needed.
Learn more: How to use THC-O for better sleep.
Similarities Between Delta 8 and THC-O
Now that you're equipped with a background of delta 8 and THC-O and what each offers, let's line them up to compare them so you determine which best suits your needs and preferences. First, a look at the similarities between delta 8 and THC-O, which include:
Both compounds have their roots in the hemp plant. Both delta 8 and THC-O are considered hemp-derived cannabinoids. And both can be created from naturally occurring compounds extracted from the plant.
Delta 8 is naturally occurring and found in the plant itself. But it's at such low levels in the plant that it's sometimes also created from CBD, a more abundant hemp compound. Likewise, THC-O, while not naturally occurring in hemp, is also made from CBD extracted from the plant.
Interaction in the body
As cannabinoids, THC-O and delta 8 interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system, your body's major regulatory network. They are also thought to interact with other receptors and hormones in the body to produce their various wellness benefits.
Both delta 8 and THC-O interact with the CB1 receptors in the ECS system to produce noticeably elevating effects. The nature and strength of these results can vary, but when you consume either compound, you can expect to enjoy some uplifting effects.
As hemp derivatives, delta 8 and THC are federally legal in the United States. However, states can make their laws regulating them, and some have decided to restrict the purchase and use of delta-8.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that THC-O and delta-8 can show up on a drug test, so you’ll want to avoid their use if you face testing at your job or by your sports organization. Cannabinoids like delta-8 can stay in your system for 30 days or more.
Most adults generally tolerate both compounds well, but they can produce some side effects if you take more than your tolerance allows. These side effects are mild and temporary and may include the following:
- Red eyes
- Dry mouth
Differences Between Delta 8 and THC-O
Delta 8 and THC-O share some characteristics, but they're more different than similar. Each makes a case for itself under certain circumstances and considerations.
THC-O is one of the most potent cannabinoids on the market right now. So it's perfect for seasoned delta 9 enthusiasts looking to add a kick to their experience. It is roughly three times the potency of delta 9.
Delta 8, on the other hand, is revered for its milder uplifting effects. Most say its effects are almost half as potent as delta 9. As a result, it's more preferred among beginners, such as those expanding on their CBD and CBN routines to include cannabinoids with uplifting effects.
You should expect more pronounced effects with THC-O than delta 8 because of its stronger potency. So if you're familiar with the results of delta 8 and trying THC-O for the first time, you'll want to make sure to consume a lower overall milligram serving.
In addition, the nature of the effects between the two often varies. For example, Delta 8 tends to have more calming and relaxing effects that quiet a busy mind, while THC-O's more introspective effects are best described as profound and spiritual-like.
Although they begin their journeys as a compound in the hemp plant, THC-O requires more processing than delta 8.
Delta 8 is naturally found in the hemp plant but only in small quantities, so it's often created from CBD.
THC-O, on the other hand, also is converted from CBD. But the CBD is first converted into delta 8 before finally being converted into THC-O.
Both conversion processes should only be carried out in a fully equipped lab by highly skilled scientists and supervisors.
Which is Right for You?
Now that we've compared THC-O vs. delta 8, you can decide which is best for you. Often, it's both! For example, you may turn to delta 8 edibles when you want to relax and find a mellow groove and to THC-O when you're hoping to feel relaxed but simultaneously have deep thoughts.