If you’re new to THC products, you likely have a lot of questions. Is it legal? How much should I take? What if I don’t like to inhale? What’s the difference between delta 8 and delta 9 THC? The good news is that it isn’t that difficult to figure these things out, and once you learn a few basics, it gets even easier. For starters, delta 8 and delta 9 are two types of marijuana, and on a molecular level, they are both almost identical. The differences come into play when you try the products because delta 8 THC generally produces much fewer and much less severe side effects. With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, this is a good attribute to consider because it means that you can use delta 8 THC products for a host of physical and emotional benefits, yet you don’t have to worry about negative side effects.

Is it Legal?

This is one of the first questions people have with both delta 8 and delta 9 THC, and at least with delta 9, the answer is simple. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the U.S. has classified delta 9 THC as a Schedule 1 drug, much the same as cocaine and heroin. On the other hand, delta 8 is not even mentioned by the DEA literature, which means that it is sort of in a gray legal area. This means that on a federal level, delta 9 is illegal, although if you live in a state where it has been made legal, it is legal for you to use delta 9 THC in that state. With delta 8, it is technically legal, but since it is in a gray area, leading brands such as Area 52 and Finest Labs are constantly updating their list of restricted states.

That being said, 11 states have specifically banned delta 8 THC: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. If you do not live in one of these states, chances are good that you can use delta 8 THC products such as vape carts, gummies, and tinctures without repercussions, but again, you need to check with your state first just to make sure.

The Main Differences

As far as the differences go, delta 8 and delta 9 have some subtle and not-so-subtle differences. As mentioned earlier, the side effects of delta 8 THC are much milder and tend to be more relaxing than delta 9 THC side effects. With delta 9 THC, if you do experience side effects, they tend to be extreme and include panic, anxiety, and paranoia. On the other hand, with delta 8 THC, side effects can include lethargy and extreme relaxation, which are things that most people don’t mind and don’t consider serious or unpleasant. Other differences between delta 8 and delta 9 THC include:

  • Daily dosage recommendations: delta 8 – 10 to 60mg; delta 9 – 5 to 10mg
  • Most common side effect: delta 8 – sedation; delta 9 – anxiety.
  • Cost: delta 8 – 6 to 10 cents per milligram; delta 9 – 2 to 8 cents per milligram
  • Potency: delta 8 – moderate; delta 9 – strong

Delta 8 THC also has a much longer shelf life than delta 9 THC does, and if you need an appetite stimulant because you’ve lost your appetite, you’ll want to go with delta 8 and not delta 9. These are just a few of the differences between these two types of THC, so it should give you an idea of which type to choose.

What About the Molecular Differences?

People often wonder why the two types of THC are so different, considering that they are so similar on a molecular level. The odd thing is that on a molecular level, they are almost identical, except for one thing. The location of the double bond on their carbon structures. If you look at the makeup of delta 8, you’ll notice that the double bond is located on the eighth carbon chain, while delta 9 THC has its double bond on the ninth carbon chain. It may seem odd to some people that this one difference can mean so many differences in possible side effects and the effects you feel once you use the product, but the location of the double bond on that carbon chain seems to affect more than just the molecular makeup of the product.

Why Is Delta 8 THC More Expensive Than Delta 9 THC?

If you paid attention to the information above regarding the costs of delta 8 and delta 9, you’ll notice that delta 8, which has fewer side effects and half the potency of delta 9, is still more expensive than delta 9 THC. Why is this? For one thing, delta 8 requires more extracting and processing, in part because delta 8 is found in smaller quantities in the hemp plant – according to Daily CBD. Delta 8 also requires additional testing, which always costs the company a lot of money. When you add to this the scarcity of the product, i.e., the theory of law and demand, this brings up the price even more, so it’s easy to understand why you’ll have to pay more when you choose delta 8 over delta 9 THC.

In fact, if you choose delta 8 THC, you can expect to pay roughly 10% to 20% more than you would for delta 9, but most people find it worth it because they can enjoy the many benefits of THC without some of the possible negative side effects.


If you’re looking for an all-natural way to relieve pain or reduce your depression, delta 8 THC might be just what you’re looking for. You’ll start out using a low dosage and taking small doses, and eventually, you’ll build-up to the dosage that’s perfect for you. Knowing the difference between delta 8 and delta 9 THC is important, especially because the laws are so different from state to state. And the best part is that the differences are easy to learn; once you learn them, it’s super simple to decide which one is right for you. Just consider what you’re using it for and consider the differences as well as the laws in your state, and you should have the right product in no time.