What’s the Difference Between Delta-8 THC and CBD?

Is delta-8 stronger than CBD? Which is better for anxiety? Can you take them together?

Delta-8 THC compared to CBD

Delta-8-THC, often shortened to delta-8, is an intoxicating analog of delta-9 best used for pain, inflammation, sleep, and appetite stimulation. CBD is a popular non-intoxicating cannabinoid best used for pain, depression, PTSD, appetite suppression, and general health and wellness.

CBD is better for mild anxiety symptoms, while delta-8 is better for moderate anxiety. They’re also useful for anxiety when combined. CBD has no known side effects or addictive properties, whereas Delta-8 research is TBD on its longer term effects for regular use.

Delta-8 vs CBD: What are the main differences?

Delta-8 and CBD are both naturally occurring cannabinoids present in cannabis (hemp and marijuana). Delta-8 is intoxicating and will induce a euphoric high. CBD is non-intoxicating and won’t cause a high. CBD’s therapeutic benefits are gentle and subtle, while delta-8’s are stronger and more noticeable. Both are good for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and sleep but also have unique benefits of their own. 

  • Cannabis carries up to 1% delta-8 THC and up to 20% CBD 
  • Delta-8 is an analog of delta-9 THC, meaning it has a similar molecular structure and affinity with your cannabinoid receptors (causes a euphoric high). CBD’s molecular structure is similar to CBG and won’t bind to your cannabinoid receptors (no euphoric high).  
  • Delta-8 and CBD have anti-anxiety, pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and sleep promoting qualities (separately or together). 
  • CBD is federally legal in all 50 US states and protected under the 2018 Farm Bill. 
  • Delta-8’s federal legality is in a grey area and is illegal in several states, under State review

What is delta-8 THC good for?

Similar to delta-9 THC, delta-8 is good for many health and wellness benefits. While scientific research on delta-8 is lacking, some preclinical studies and lots of anecdotal stories suggest delta-8’s effects are good for the following:

  • Anxiety and stress reduction (with CBD and CBG)
  • Pain relief and anti-inflammation (with CBD)
  • Nausea and vomiting (on its own or with THC)
  • Appetite stimulation (with or without THC)

What is CBD good for?

CBD boasts a huge array of health and wellness benefits. There are thousands of research papers spanning decades suggesting CBD’s effects and interaction with your body might help you with the following:

  • Anxiety, stress reduction, and relief from PTSD symptoms (with CBG and THC)
  • Pain relief and anti-inflammation (with delta-8, THC, and CBG)
  • Acne, psoriasis, and skin inflammation 
  • Neuroprotection 
  • Appetite suppression 
  • Substance abuse and addiction

Is delta-8 stronger than CBD? Does it get you high?

Yes, delta-8 THC is stronger than CBD. Delta-8 binds to both cannabinoid receptors, resulting in a euphoric high similar to THC but with roughly half the potency. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t bind to either of the cannabinoid receptors, thus causing no euphoric high or intoxicating effects.

Delta-8 THC pre-roll product infused with CBD
Delta-8 THC products cause a euphoric high that’s similar to a THC high. Photo: Elsa Olofsson/Oracle

However, CBD can reduce the effects of a delta-8 high. CBD is known as a negative allosteric modulator of CB1 similar to CBG. This means it attaches itself to the receptor but in a different location than delta-8. This modulatory activity causes the receptor to change shape, thus preventing delta-8 from fully binding to it, resulting in less potent effects. 

Is delta-8 or CBD better for anxiety?

In general, CBD is better for mild anxiety, while delta-8 is better for moderate anxiety. CBD’s subtle balancing effects can gently soothe your mind and body, especially when consumed daily. Delta-8’s effects are stronger and far more noticeable, particularly in moderate doses, which is great for stubborn, longer-lasting anxiety symptoms. 

How do delta-8 and CBD work for anxiety?

CBD’s calming anti-anxiety effects work via serotonin receptor activation. CBD’s activation of serotonin receptors allows your body to utilize already existing serotonin molecules more efficiently. Serotonin is the happiness molecule responsible for anxiety and stress reduction. 

Delta-8 for anxiety works differently. It binds to and activates CB1 receptors. While CB1 activation doesn’t necessarily cause anti-anxiety benefits, the moderate euphoria is enough to induce short-term happiness, relaxation, and feelings of overall mental satisfaction.

Delta-8 THC vs CBD for sleep 

While delta-8 and CBD are decent cannabinoids for sleep and sleep-related problems on their own, we believe they’re more effective when combined. Delta-8’s euphoric and mildly sedating effects at CB1 receptors combined with CBD’s calming qualities at serotonin receptors are a perfect mix for a restful night’s sleep. 

Conclusion: Is delta-8 better than CBD?

Delta-8 and CBD share very similar benefits but their effects on your mind and body are totally different. Therefore, comparing the two and choosing which one’s better for your health and wellness needs is difficult.

If you’re looking for gentle and subtle therapeutic effects, CBD should be your go-to, particularly if you combine it with other soothing cannabinoids such as CBG and CBC. A high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil with additional terpenes and a spice of THC is a good option here. 

However, if you’re looking for something stronger and more powerful, delta-8 is a powerhouse addition to your daily health and wellness regime. Beginners should start with a decent delta-8 oil or expertly crafted, high quality delta-8 gummies. Be cautious from buying “street products” and ensure all products are Third Party Tested before trying.