Did you know that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is not the only psychoactive found in cannabis? Research suggests that a few of the cannabinoid’s closest relatives may also have some minor mind-warping effects. One of these compounds is delta-8-tetrahyrocannabinol (delta-8-THC). But, what is this obscure cannabinoid and what can it do?
What is delta-8-tetrahyrocannabinol (delta-8-THC)?
Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabis compound very similar to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Delta-9 is the most abundant and famous psychoactive in the herb. Delta-8-THC is a close cousin to delta-9. In fact, they are differentiated only by a couple of bonding electrons.
Delta-8-THC is one of the four major cannabinoids present in dried. In total, some experts estimate that there are 113 cannabinoids. While delta-8-THC may be one of the most common, it still often makes up far less than 1 percent in dried flower. In fact, there’s often only about 0.01 percent delta-8-THC in dried cannabis flower.
Apart from THC, the other common cannabinoids include cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN). Like “regular” THC, delta-8 is psychoactive. Though, it is considered slightly less psychoactive than it’s more famous relative.
In terms of potency, research suggests that the psychoactive strength of delta-8 can be compared to THC in a 2:3 ratio. This means that it is more potent than tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which is thought to be responsible for the zippy, energetic high present in some strains. THCV only has a potency of about 25 percent of THC.
Delta-8-THC connects with the same primary landing sites as the traditional THC. This landing site is known as cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and facilitates a wide variety of bodily functions, including mood, memory, pain, movement, sleep, and more.
The cannabinoid has also been found to connect with the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), which lends a hand in immune system communication.
Rodent studies show that delta-8 also boosts a particular chemical in the brain that plays a role in learning and memory. That chemical is the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Deficiencies in acetylcholine are thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and other memory and cognitive problems.
Potential benefits of delta-8-THC
Unfortunately, there is not much information available on the potential benefits of delta-8-THC itself. Yet, since this molecule is so closely related to THC, it can be assumed that it has some very similar effects. according to the
In fact, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, early research on delta-8-THC has shown that the chemical may have several beneficial effects. These include:
- Pain relief
Researchers have also looked into the benefits of non-psychoactive derivatives of this molecule. This shows that the compound may be useful for the potential creation of new pharmaceutical drugs.
Some delta-8-THC derivatives, researchers speculate, may be helpful in conditions asthma, systemic anaphylaxis, and septic shock. Others are being studied for interstitial cystitis, as well as for inflammation and pain-relieving effects. Unlike delta-8-THC, many derivatives are thought to be non-psychoactive.
1. Nausea and vomiting
Some of the most promising research on delta-8-THC itself is in regards to the cannabinoid’s anti-emetic properties. Anti-emetic is a softer term for anti-vomiting.
A 1995 study conducted by Shaare Zedek Hospital, Bikur Holim Hospital, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem gave delta-8-THC to 8 children with cancer. One of the study authors was Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the man who lead the team that first discovered THC.
The children suffered from nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy. Delta-8-THC successfully eased vomiting in all cases.
Interestingly, the study authors mentioned that delta-8-THC may be given to children in higher doses than to adults, as children are seemingly less susceptible to the anxiety-inducing effects of psychoactive THC and its relatives. In this study, children in the age range of 3 to 13 years old did not show psychoactive effects with the cannabinoid.
Already, two US patents have been awarded involving delta-8-THC for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. The both went to Indevus Pharmaceuticals, Inc, who sought exclusive rights to a delta-8-derivative for this purpose.
2. Appetite stimulation
Like traditional THC, delta-8-THC may also be helpful for increasing appetite. A 2004 study in rodents showed that animals treated with very low doses of delta-8-THC ate more after weight loss. Interestingly, delta-8-THC seemed to make the mice more hungry than the traditional stuff.
Coupled with the fact that delta-8-THC eases nausea and vomiting, this cannabis compound is perhaps another worthwhile future treatment for ailments like chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.
Should further investigations of the analgesic qualities of this compound pan out, delta-8-THC may one day be another valuable cannabis medicine.
Where do I find delta-8-THC?
Unfortunately for patients, there aren’t any high delta-8 strains out there to try. One of the best ways to find delta-8-THC is by simply encouraging plants to produce more of the cannabinoid. To do this, they need a happy and nutrient-rich life. At least, according to a study entitled “Seasonal Fluctuations of Cannabis Content In Kansas Marijuana.”
The study was published in 1975 and it found that found that levels of delta-8-THC are more varied later on in the growing season.
The study authors, R. P. Latta and B. J. Eaton, also found diminishing levels of iron and copper in cannabis plants was correlated with a lower production of delta-8-THC. Healthy plants with long roots and some weight were more likely to have higher levels of the cannabinoid.
High levels of magnesium and iron in leaves were associated with greater delta-8-THC production and overcrowding the cannabis plants was thought to limit levels of the cannabinoid.
While information is limited, this old study suggests that keeping plants healthy and nourished can encourage delta-8-THC production. Adding trace minerals to soil or potentially supplementing with magnesium in early to mid flowering may give plants the nutrients boost they need to produce more cannabinoids.
Adding trace minerals to soil or potentially supplementing with magnesium in early to mid flowering may give plants the nutrients boost they need to produce more cannabinoids. Using organic compost teas and ensuring that the soil remains in an optimal p.H. for nutrient absorption (5.5 to 6.5) may also help.
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