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Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC: What’s Better for Pain Relief?

Statistics from the CDC show that as of 2019, over 20.4% of American adults suffer from chronic pain. And, 7.4% of them suffer from high impact chronic pain that hinders their daily life and work activities which may also affect their mental health.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain yourself and you’re reading this article, that means you’ve probably heard about cannabis’ pain relief benefits—particularly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

But did you know that there are different kinds of THC? There’s the famous Delta-9 THC, then there is Delta-8 THC, whose popularity is currently on the rise. Before Delta-8 came into the picture, we usually referred to Delta-9 as just plain and simple THC, assuming it was the only THC in the cannabis plant.

That’s because Delta-9 is the most abundant THC found in cannabis, while Delta-8 only makes up 0.01% of the plant. Although Delta-8 was discovered back in the 1960s, it hasn’t been as studied or used as Delta-9. But recently, researchers found that Delta-8 THC may also help with pain relief, and it might even be a better option than Delta-9.

Delta-8 products are starting to gain more attention in both the cannabis and medical world for their various medical benefits. Tons of Delta-8 brands have started popping up offering different Delta-8 products. After reading the reviews, we gathered the top five Delta-8 products for pain relief and ranked them in order. You can come back to these brands after reading our breakdown of the delta 8 vs delta 9 as it pertains to pain relief.

Top Delta-8 Products for Pain Relief:

  1. Everest (#1 Pick)
  2. Moonwlkr
  3. BudPop
  4. Diamond CBD
  5. Delta Effex

What is Delta-8 THC and how is it different from Delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is a psychoactive compound with the ability to get you high (but not as intense as Delta-9). Because cannabis plants produce scarce amounts of Delta-8 THC, this cannabinoid is usually derived from hemp. This is done by treating the hemp with solvents that allow Delta-8 to be extracted and isolated.

After the extraction, filtration, and distillation process is done, you are left with a readily available solution of Delta-8 THC. It can be used raw or mixed into different products such as edibles, vape cartridges, roll-ons, oils, tinctures, and so on. It even comes in different strains such as Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains.

The Molecular Structure Varies Slightly – Contributing To Big Differences

The main difference between the two cannabinoids lies in their molecular structures. They have the same chemical properties, but they have minor variations in their molecular chain. While Delta-9 THC has a double bond in the 9th chain of its carbon atom, the Delta-8 double bond can be found in the 8th chain.

This minor variation may seem unimportant, but it is the reason we have two different cannabinoids in play. It results in the varying effects each cannabinoid produces.

The benefits of Delta-8 THC are quite similar to Delta-9, but its potency levels are much lower. This makes the side effects of Delta-8 more moderate than Delta-9’s. Some may assume that this is a drawback, but many people agree that Delta-8 THC’s low potency is actually a good thing because it makes it a better use during the day, or for those who don’t have access to legal delta 9 THC. It’s also great for those new to cannabis.

Why Do Some Prefer Delta 8 THC To Delta 9 THC?

Each person’s experience is personal and some actually enjoy the hallucinatory effects of Delta-9. But a majority of people, especially those who are new to THC or are only after it for its medicinal benefits (and not really the “high”), prefer Delta-8 due to its lower potency. Yes, Delta-8 does give you a high, but instead of sending you into a mind-bending state of couch lock, it puts you in a deeply relaxed and mellow state that leaves you feeling elated while relieving your pain.

Delta-9 is also known to trigger anxiety and paranoid delusions. So if you’re turning to Delta-9 for pain relief, it might not be the best idea. It does help get rid of chronic pain but it could send you into hours of extreme anxiety, which in our opinion, is just as bad. It’s much better to stick to Delta-8 for pain relief. Not only do you get rid of the pain (and prevent anxiety), it also helps boost your productivity, provide clearer thoughts, and gets rid of stress.

Plus, Delta-8 is legal at the federal level (state laws may differ), making it more accessible than Delta-9. You can find it in both online and physical stores. It is also currently legal in 39 states, while Delta-9 is only legal in 11 states.

Online retailers of Delta-8 can even ship their products across state lines—as long as it’s legal in your state. Make sure to do research on your state’s marijuana laws before purchasing Delta-8.

How does Delta-8 help with pain relief?

Back in the 1990s, when a couple of scientists were experimenting with THC, they found that our bodies had a natural cell-signaling system that functions just like cannabinoids and was found to bond well with THC – among the other cannabinoids you’ll find in marijuana. This system was named the endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system for short (ECS), and is known to regulate several systems in our bodies 2.

The ECS plays different roles that affect different functions in our bodies such as reproduction and fertility, sleeping patterns, mood shifts, eating habits, memory, and—our main topic of the day—pain relief.

Before we talk about how exactly Delta-8 works with the ECS, it’s good to know the different parts that make up the ECS first.

The Endocannabinoid System Explained

The ECS has two main receptors that can be found throughout our bodies: the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are mostly found in our central nervous system (our brain), while the CB2 receptors are found in our peripheral nervous system.

The peripheral nervous system is composed of several sensory nerve receptors that are responsible for responding to different types of stimuli. These are the thermoreceptors, photoreceptors, chemoreceptors, mechanoreceptors, and nociceptors. Out of all these sensory nerve receptors, the most important are the nociceptors that are responsible for responding to pain 3.

Basically, our nociceptors are responsible for telling our brain that our body is in pain. It tells your brain exactly how severe the pain is and where the pain is coming from. This allows the brain to send back signals to your nociceptors that block them from sending more pain signals to the brain. By doing so, your body experiences minor pain relief.

Our ECS can only do so much, and it isn’t capable of getting rid of all the pain in the body. Instead, it sends signals to show us how to avoid causing more pain. For example, if you were to break a bone, your brain will tell you to stop moving a certain way to avoid feeling more pain. But it doesn’t really relieve the pain entirely—this is where Delta-8 THC can help.

How Delta-8 Affects the Endocannabinoid System

Our ECS continues to work even without cannabinoids, but consuming these cannabinoids will further activate it. When we dose Delta-8 THC, either through inhaling or ingesting it, it floods our ECS, activating the entire system and its various receptors 4.

THC bonds particularly well with the CB1 receptors in our brain. Remember, these receptors are responsible for sending signals that help block pain signals coming from our nociceptors. By binding to our CB1 receptors, the THC helps alleviate pain even further, becoming an analgesic, while the high helps the mind and body relax.

Several studies on both humans and animals have proven the pain-relieving effects of Delta-8. However, it was also found that Delta-8 particularly works better in relieving chronic pain rather than acute pain. Take one study which was conducted on people with fibromyalgia, a chronic musculoskeletal pain. Researchers found that those who dosed 8.3 grams of cannabis for 11 months straight had a significant improvement in their condition thanks to the analgesic properties of cannabis5.

Another placebo-controlled study was conducted on 21 patients between the ages of 25 to 69 years old suffering from chronic neuropathic pain. Results showed that patients taking 40 to 80 mg of Delta-8 THC relieved the chronic pain these patients were experiencing. The analgesic effects were much greater three hours after dosing. And, they were much greater at solving mild chronic pain than severe chronic pain 6.

Other studies conducted on mice found that Delta-8 showed not only analgesic properties but anti-inflammatory properties as well (7, 8, 9).

More studies need to be conducted—particularly on humans—to fully understand the potential of Delta-8 THC for pain relief and its anti-inflammatory effects. Current studies already show that Delta-8 THC is effective and has the potential to be a legitimate medical treatment for people suffering from chronic pain. Delta-8 would also be a much safer pain relief medication than the opioids we use today because it has a lower potency and a lower chance for addiction and abuse.

Are there any risks with taking Delta-8?

As with any drug or substance, there will always be a risk of unwanted side effects. So, it’s always best to stay informed about what you’re putting into your body and the possible adverse effects it can bring.

There are several side effects that you may experience when smoking or ingesting marijuana and they tend to be pretty mild.

Cottonmouth and Red Eyes

An example of mild side effects would be the usual cottonmouth and red eyes that you get from smoking or vaping Delta-8 THC. Cottonmouth can happen with any substance as long as it’s smoked because cottonmouth is essentially dehydration. The easy and obvious solution to this would simply be to stay hydrated while you smoke. In fact, stay hydrated all the time, even if you aren’t smoking!

Red eyes, on the other hand, aren’t caused by irritation as most people assume. It happens because Delta-8 THC is a vasodilator. This means it widens your blood vessels causing your muscles to relax. It just so happens that blood vessels are also found in your eyes and so when you smoke or even ingest THC, your eyes become red.

Triggers Anxiety

Another mild risk that can feel severe is anxiety. At the beginning of this article, we mentioned how Delta-9 is more likely to trigger anxiety and paranoid delusions due to its high potency. Delta-8 rarely causes these side effects, but if you happen to overdose on Delta-8, you can still get a similar side effect.

You can easily avoid triggering anxiety from Delta-8 if you stay within the recommended dosage. For Delta-8 THC the average recommended dosage is between 10 mg to 20 mg. Of course, this will also depend on your personal tolerance for THC.

Just remember that if you’re new to Delta-8 THC, it’s best to start with small doses and then gradually increase the dosage. Better yet, consult your doctor and ask them what the best dosage for you specifically would be. Always consult your doctor before trying out any form of substance.

Cannabis Psychosis

Moving on to more severe side effects. Let’s start with what we call cannabis psychosis. This is basically acute psychosis that is caused when you smoke or ingest cannabis 10. With that said, these instances of cannabis psychosis tend to be limited to those with pre-existing conditions, like schizophrenia. And, there are a lot of contradicting studies on cannabis psychosis. But it’s worth mentioning.

Just like anxiety can be avoided by moderating your dose of Delta-8 THC, the same goes with cannabis psychosis. However, if you have been diagnosed or have a history of mental health issues that can result in psychosis it’s best to consult your psychiatrist before dosing Delta-8 THC.

What other medical benefits does Delta-8 THC provide?

Delta-8 THC also provides several other medical benefits aside from its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Antiemetic Properties

Studies have shown that Delta-8 THC also has antiemetic properties that help aid digestive and abdominal problems such as nausea and vomiting.

Appetite Boosting Effects

Delta-8 THC is also known to help boost our appetite or give us “the munchies” since our CB1 receptors are also responsible for regulating our eating habits. It is said to benefit people with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, in particular, to help them gain weight.

But aside from helping them gain weight, they are also said to help improve their psychological well-being. Studies have shown that it significantly improved their bodily self-care and reduced negative feelings.

Anticonvulsant Effects

Another medical benefit that Delta-8 is known to have is its anticonvulsant effects that aid people with epilepsy. One survey that gathered data from parents with children who had epilepsy showed that the frequency of their children’s seizures went down significantly after dosing with THC. Some say it lowered the frequency as much as 25% to 60%, some have said as much as 80%, and others said it stopped the seizures from happening completely.

So – Which Is Better For Pain Relief, Delta 8 THC or Delta 9 THC?

By now, the answer should be pretty obvious—Delta 8 is better for pain relief. When you have chronic pain, it can take a toll on your mental health. You don’t want to risk putting your mind and body through more stress by taking Delta-9. For a stress-free, anxiety-free, 100% relaxing, and pain-relieving experience, go for Delta-8!

What Delta-8 products can you try for pain relief?

Delta-8 THC comes in several kinds of products, from topicals to edibles to vape cartridges and even flower buds.

It comes in all forms that any other cannabinoid would. But different products are dosed differently, and have different pain-relieving effects. We’ll do a quick rundown of each Delta-8 product to help you understand which one is best for you.

Inhalable Products

Inhalable products such as flower (either in bud form, moonrocks, or pre-rolls), concentrates, and vapes have fast-acting effects. You usually feel the analgesic effects of inhalable Delta-8 products within minutes of inhaling them.

The only downside to these products is that the effects fade within an hour or two. Nonetheless, this form of Delta-8 would be a great option if you’re looking for immediate pain relief.

Edibles and Capsules

Edibles and capsules are favored by a lot of people. This is mainly because they’re the easiest to dose and they prolong the analgesic effects of Delta-8 much longer than other types of products do.

Although it takes about an hour or two for them to take effect, the effects last for as long as 8 hours. Another great thing about edibles is you can track exactly how many grams you’re dosing. This is because each edible or capsule comes with a fixed dosage. And thus, makes it easier for you to keep track of how much Delta-8 you’re ingesting. Oh—and they’re tasty too.

Tinctures

Tinctures come in dropper bottles that make it easy to administer tinctures into your sublingual tissue – which is the tissue below your tongue. It takes 30 minutes to an hour for tinctures to take effect and their effects last for as long as 6 hours.

Topicals

Topicals such as creams, gels, and oils are used for targeted pain relief rather than full-body pain relief. Delta-8 topicals do have analgesic effects but they are not as potent as when you inhale them or ingest them. So if you are suffering from severe chronic pain, it’s best you go for inhalable and ingestible products. With that said, these will work great for targeted inflammatory pain – such as arthritis.

Where can you get Delta-8 products for pain relief?

Delta-8 has so many medical benefits aside from its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s no wonder its popularity has grown so much in the past year. At this point, you’re probably wondering where you can get Delta-8 products for pain relief and we’ve already listed the top brands at the beginning of our article.

But if you really want one of the absolute best delta 8 brands for pain relief, we highly suggest Everest—they’re #1!

Everest – the #1 Brand for Delta-8 Products for Your Pain Relief!

Although Everest offers different products, the #1 crowd favorite would definitely be their Delta-8 Gummies. These blue raspberry-flavored gummies are packed with 20mg of pure Delta-8 THC! Each container of Delta-8 Gummies comes with 30 pieces, which sums up to 600mg per container.

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Because these are edibles, the effects can take as long as one to two hours to hit. Some say that it’s definitely worth the wait because of their prolonged effects. It can last for as long as 8 hours, depending on how fast your metabolism is. Everest also sells Delta-8 Vape Cartridges if you’re looking for fast-acting pain relief.

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Everest is #1 for several reasons. Aside from providing you with great variety, they also sell the highest and purest quality Delta-8 products you’ll find on the market! Their THC is extracted from high-grade hemp through the use of advanced extraction technologies that yield higher percentages of Delta-8 THC.

The best part? Their Delta-8 THC is tested twice by third-party labs to ensure that no contaminants, toxins, residual solvents, and other unnecessary compounds are present in their products. So when you buy from Everest, know that you’re buying products filled with pure unadulterated Delta-8 THC!

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