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CBD and Delta-8 THC – What is the Difference?

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

The difference between CBD and Delta-8 THC



More and more consumers are discovering the medicinal and recreational benefits of hemp. While many people are now informed about CBD, which is legal in all 50 states, we are now often asked what the difference between CBD and Delta-8 THC is. Hemp derived Delta-8 THC is legal in the state of Florida and many others. There have been many recent news stories about states moving to limit or outright ban Delta-8 THC. This has happened most frequently in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Many of these efforts to ban it have been led by the marijuana industry stakeholders. This is not because of safety concerns or worries about underage use. Rather, it is because of concerns about some of the profits going to the hemp industry rather than the marijuana industry. We support reasonable legislation to increase safety, consumer confidence, and prohibit purchases by those under 21.

As of this writing, the Florida Department of Agriculture has indicated that Delta-8 will not be the target of bans.  However, they are making efforts to make sure available Delta-8 THC is safe and under the legal limit of Delta-9 THC (less than 0.3%).



CBD nor Delta-8 THC have been approved by the FDA for the treatment or cure of any disease. This information is provided as informational and educational only and should not be considered medical advice. That said, it has been our observation that most people find great benefit in using one or both. We therefore hope that long term changes in the law allow this amazing cannabinoid to be readily accessible to consumers of legal age.

There are many ways to utilize CBD and legal THC. These methods include sublingual oils, CBD gummies and Delta-8 THC candy, vape options, vaporizing and smoking flower, and topical applications. People who are looking for “as needed” relief for inflammation and discomfort might prefer a topical option. These provide local relief. Those looking for longer term relief from systemic issues like anxiety and pain might benefit from using CBD and/or Delta-8 THC oil 2 or 3 times daily. Sleep may be improved with a single evening dose of one or both cannabinoids. Whatever your preference, there are Delta-8 THC and CBD options for almost every adult.

The difference between CBD and Delta-8 THC



CBD is one of the most common cannabinoids in hemp. Researchers have studied CBD for many years to find out how helpful it is in treatment of anxiety, stress, inflammation, and trouble sleeping. CBD can potentially help with these concerns and more. It interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which is present throughout every vertebrate body (people and pets). CBD interacts with receptors (CB1 and CB2) in many different areas the body. For a complete explanation of this process, visit our Endocannabinoid System article. Just like our body’s natural endocannabinoids, CBD helps regulate our wellness through improving homeostasis. CBD achieves pain relief through reducing inflammation and offers some analgesic relief.

The human endocannabinoid system


Delta-8 THC can also be sourced from hemp. This is currently the only way to legally derive Delta-8 THC in most states.  Manufacturers convert CBD from hemp into Delta-8 THC. This form of THC interacts readily with our body’s endocannabinoid system. Thus, Delta-8 THC may be a useful option for pain, nausea, and anxiety relief (in correct doses). Delta-8 THC achieves pain relief primarily through analgesic action. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

The big difference between these two cannabinoids is their psychoactive effects.  CBD has no intoxicating effects and will not show up on a drug test. Full spectrum CBD contain very small amounts of Delta-9 THC and may show up as trace amounts on a drug test – though this is rare.  However, Delta-8 THC will show up on a drug test.  Also, it causes a mild “high” in most people. This is because it acts directly on the CB1 receptors in the brain.  Users consider it the “mellower cousin” of the infamous Delta-9 THC for which marijuana is known.  Similar to alcohol (but without as many health risks), Delta-8 THC can be consumed for relaxation and euphoria. Therefore, some people use it recreationally in addition to medicinally.

Delta-8 THC’s molecules have double bonds, which are in the eighth position in the chemical sequence.  This creates its “Delta THC” label.  Also, this creates its unique intoxicating effects. Compared to Delta-9 THC, this legal THC creates a subtle high that is about 70% as psychoactive as the former.  This makes it an ideal option for consumers wanting less chance of paranoia or the feeling of being “too high.” Many of our clients describe the feelings as “happy, euphoric, and very relaxing.”


In a 2018 Clinical Pharmacy study, a group of researchers analyzed the results of multiple cannabis studies conducted from 1975 to March 2018.  They sought to find out how CBD could help relieve different types of chronic pain. With daily dosages of CBD oil, the team of researchers discovered an increase of endocannabinoids within the spine and brain area, resulting in less back pain, migraines, and neuropathic pain. The scientific review also showed a significant increase in relieving the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and more.

Researchers have studies Delta-8 THC as well.  This research shows that Delta-8 THC  not only helped relieve chronic pain,  but can possibly reduce cancer cell growth. In a 2013 study by the National Cancer Institute, scientists were able to slow the growth of cancer cells in mice. With the blend of Delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids, the researchers saw a significant reduction in Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells as well as other forms of cancerous tumors.

Depending on the person’s metabolic and absorption rates, Delta-8 THC oil can provide long-lasting medicinal effects for over 12 hours. Just like with CBD, users should start with a small dosage of 5 to 10mg of Delta-8 THC once or twice a day. After two or three days, consumers can increase their dosage by a few mg at a time.  This allows people to find the right dosage to help relieve symptoms of chronic pain and other issues.

How cannabis can help joint pain


Delta-8 THC edibles digest through the liver.  When this happens, the Delta-8 is broken down into 11 Hydroxy THC metabolites, which could increase the edible’s psychoactive effects. As the liver processes these Hydroxy metabolites, these edible molecules can be up to 10 times more potent than the original Delta-8 THC. In a study of THC Pharmacology, a research team analyzed blood samples from nine individuals to see how long Hydroxy molecules lasted in their system. After six hours from the original dosage, the scientists found 50% to 75% of the Hydroxy THC molecules.  This means consumers could possibly retain (and feel effects from) THC edibles for over 10 hours.

The effects of Delta-8 THC edibles last longer than those from vapes.  However, edibles can take up to 1-2 hours for users to feel the effects. Vaping Delta-8 THC usually takes only 10 to 15 minutes for consumers to feel the effects. But, rapid in, rapid out.  This means vaping could only last 2 to 3 hours before the effects wear off. Therefore, many Delta-8 consumers prefer an edible option for more lasting symptom relief. In contrast, those who want a more rapid onset option for acute conditions, Delta-8 THC inhalable products may be a better choice.


Using CBD and Delta-8 THC together


The reality is that THC and CBD come together in the cannabis plant.  It stands to reason then, that they would work best together.  See our article about the “Entourage Effect” for a full description of this phenomenon.  It is impossible to know exactly how much THC and CBD occur naturally in an unaltered “wild” cannabis plant.  This is because so much cross-breeding, and fine tuning of genetics have occurred in the last several decades.  

One study in Biol Psychiatry from 2016 looked at THC and CBD amounts from 1975 forward.  This study indicates that the THC amounts in cannabis were below 4% and CBD below 1% in 1975.  Today, it is not uncommon to find the cannabinoids in excess of 20% in cannabis. Plants containing more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC are legally classified as “marijuana,” while those containing less are classified as “hemp.”  It is important to understand that these are the same plants.  They look the same, smell the same, smoke the same and grow the same.  However, the amount of each cannabinoid that can be extracted from them is different based on their legal classification.  


Authentic, scientific research is very limited about combining the benefits of CBD and Delta-8 THC at this time.  However, one study has confirmed how THC may provide pain relief for cancer pain while keeping overall inflammation lower through CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties. In a 2010 Journal of Pain and Symptom Management study, 177 patients with advanced cancer were studied.  Researchers gave one third of the group between 20 and 60 milligrams of CBD combined with THC, one third only THC, and one third placebo.  The study ran for two weeks with the objective of seeing which group experienced more relief. The study concluded that the patient group using the CBD/THC combination were able to find more relief from both pain and inflammation. Their results were better than both placebo and THC alone.

Many of our clients find relief from CBD alone, while others find Delta-8 THC or blends of the two to be more effective. This is likely because of differences in cause and severity of conditions. Each user’s particular preferences and tolerances also come into play. The bottom line is that there is no “single solution” for everyone. Personal trial and error is often needed to find the perfect solution for each person. Some users find taking CBD to combat pain and inflammation symptoms but may also use some Delta-8 THC to combat nausea and stomach upset and assist with sleep.

Sublingual oils are often the most effective ways to take CBD and THC, while vapes provide ease of use and rapid onset of effects. Therefore, using them together may work best. That is, an oil for longer lasting benefits and inhalation for acute symptoms. Some consumers also add topicals to their routine for “as needed” relief during flare-ups.

Whichever option interests you, we are available to answer questions and help you find the right solution for your particular needs.

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