What’s the difference between Delta 9 THC vs. Delta 8 THC? Here’s the short answer: CBD and THC are two of the main compounds in the cannabis plant. Both are cannabinoids, which affect the body’s endocannabinoid system (a sort of parallel to the body’s nervous system). CBD is legal at the federal level and in Alaska and does not make a person “high.” Delta 9 THC and Delta 8 THC are two different types of THC with very slightly different molecular compositions, and both have intoxicating effects. Delta 8 THC is legal at the federal level. Because of this, many retailers market Delta 8 THC as a “legal way to get high.”
It may seem like this topic is really getting down into the weeds on scientific technicalities of cannabis, but it matters because measurement of THC levels is how both governments and employers determine if a cannabis-derived product is legal or allowed on the job. Let’s get into some of the details, shall we?
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First Things First: Is Delta 8 THC legal?
No. Delta 8 THC is not legal in Alaska, anyway. (At least for now.)
But that said, things are a bit complicated. The language in the 2018 federal law making hemp legal again, stated that “hemp has been removed from schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and is no longer a controlled substance. Hemp is defined under the 2018 Farm Bill to include any cannabis plant, or derivative thereof, that contains not more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) on a dry-weight basis.”
That’s a lot of legal mumbo jumbo, but just from that short excerpt, we can see the government says nothing about Delta 8 THC and defines whether or not a cannabis plant is legal only by its content of Delta 9 THC. So, that means anything made from hemp plants, such as CBD, is legal throughout the nation (unless a state government enacts a law specifying that it is not legal in that particular state).
Here’s the gray area: Delta 8 THC can also be produced from legal hemp plants. And the federal law seems to indicate that Delta 8 THC is legal simply because its language doesn’t mention that specific type of THC. In fact, the authors of the law go out of their way to specify that only Delta 9 THC will be used to judge a cannabis plant’s or product’s legality.
Even though the federal government has left Delta 8 THC in a legal gray zone, here in Alaska, our state government specified in law AS 11.71.900(14) that Delta 8 THC is considered a controlled substance and illegal as an isolate, even though Delta 8 THC is in marijuana, which has been legalized in Alaska for both medical and recreational use.
Bottom line is, Alaskans cannot make or purchase Delta 8 THC as an isolate taken out of the marijuana or hemp plants. Reaching for an analogy here, it’s a bit like saying sugar on its own is illegal, but it is legal to consume sugar if it is included in a cake or cookie, etc., along with many other ingredients.
Confused yet? Keep reading. We’ll try to clear things up for you.
A Quick Note on Legality in Alaska
Frankly, it’s probably a good thing Alaska outlawed Delta 8 THC. Scientists are unconvinced it can be produced safely. For one example, Christopher Hudalla, president and chief scientific officer of analytical testing firm ProVerde Laboratories stated, “So far, I have not seen one that I would consider a legitimate delta-8-THC product. There’s some delta-8 in there, but there’s very frequently up to 30 [chromatographic] peaks that I can’t identify.”
And there are many other statements from legitimate cannabis researchers that make us nervous, including the chief scientist at Elevation Distro, a California-based cannabis manufacturing and distribution firm, who said, “…a lot of people are doing a poor job of cleaning up their reaction products, which results in quite a soup of by-products and other unwanted compounds.”
The problem is isolating Delta 8 THC requires a fairly advanced pharmaceutical process that requires aggressive synthetic conditions using strong acids. At this point, there is very little oversight or testing of Delta 8 THC products to verify the levels of acids or residual metals left behind and ensure they are safe for over-the-counter, consumer use.
Safety of our CBD
Unlike Delta 8 THC, CBD can be sourced safely.
Here at Red Raven CBD, we are dedicated to the safety of our customers and the reliability of our products. Fortunately, we know exactly where our hemp comes from, who grows it, and the THC/CBD content of our products. In fact, our strict laboratory testing and quality-control protocols may be why so many of our customers live in other states.
Nitty Gritty: What Are the Differences?
The difference between Delta 9 THC and Delta 8 THC is their molecular compositions. They both have the same chemical formula, but one has a double carbon atom on its 9th chain of its molecular structure. The other has a double bond on its 8th chain. Very small difference, but that difference leads to unique pharmacological effects.
Delta 9 THC is the stronger of the two and is largely responsible for marijuana making a person “high.” But Delta 8 THC also has intoxicating effects but at much less intense levels.
Whereas Delta 9 THC affects a person more or less immediately, and therefore, can also result in some paranoia or anxiety. But Delta 8 THC comes in more gently, more slowly, and users generally report feeling relaxation, contentment, clearer thoughts, and a better outlook on life.
Users report Delta 8 THC helps them maintain a mellow and calm state but doesn’t leave them impaired physically or mentally, so they can still go about a usual day. The high of Delta-8 also reportedly lasts longer than the Delta-9 high.
Bottom line is people who are fans of Delta 8 THC believe it is somewhat similar in effects to CBD but also makes a person high – but not as high as Delta 9 THC (i.e. regular, old marijuana). That said, we’re not entirely convinced. Delta 8 THC is still illegal in Alaska, so it’s a moot point for Red Raven CBD. But if it ever is made legal, we will likely want more reliable scientific evidence that it is safe before we produce it.
For now, we’re all in on a product that has been proven safe and scientific evidence proves is effective for both physical and mental health with every new study: safe, legal, reliable Alaska CBD.
Discover the Potential of CBD Products
If you believe CBD may be right for you, Red Raven CBD products give you the confidence of knowing you’re getting pure CBD sourced from legal, American hemp. You can shop our collection of CBD oil, including both full spectrum and THC-free options, gummies, and topicals.
Want to learn more about what CBD can do? Contact us with any questions.