Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as Delta-8-THC, is a psychoactive cannabinoid found within the Cannabis sativa plant, of which marijuana and hemp are two varieties. It is an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with the chemical difference lying in the location of a double bond on the chain of carbon atoms; in Delta-8-THC, this bond is on the eighth carbon, whereas in Delta-9-THC, which is the most abundant form of THC found in the cannabis plant, the bond is on the ninth carbon. This slight chemical shift significantly influences how the compound interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, with Delta-8-THC having a lower psychotropic potency than Delta-9-THC. Despite this, Delta-8-THC still binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the nervous system, though it does so differently due to its altered molecular structure, leading to its unique effects on cognition, anxiety, and appetite. The compound has gained popularity due to its reported reduced anxiety effects and a clearer high in comparison to Delta-9-THC, as well as its legal status in certain regions where traditional cannabis products remain illegal. It is typically extracted from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and is available in various forms, including edibles, oils, and vapes. However, research into Delta-8-THC’s benefits, safety profile, and long-term effects is still in its infancy, and its regulatory status is evolving as more is understood about its pharmacology and potential therapeutic uses.
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