cannabis leavesShare on Pinterest

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

There’s a new kid on the cannabis block that’s been piquing people’s interest these days: delta-8 THC.

This cannabis-derived compound can produce certain psychoactive effects, much like those you get from using smokin’ weed. Unlike weed, however, there’s a lot we don’t know about delta-8. With little research available, many questions linger surrounding its legal status, benefits, and safety.

Wondering what delta-8’s deal is? We’ve gathered the deets on delta-8 to help you understand what it is, what it might do, and what alternatives you might want to consider.

TBH, what we know about delta-8 THC is still pretty TBD.

Delta-8 THC (or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, if you wanna get technical) is a chemical compound — known as a cannabinoid — found in the cannabis and hemp plants. It’s similar to delta-9 THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that’s responsible for giving you that “high” feeling.

You don’t find very much delta-8 in either cannabis or hemp plants, so a lot of products containing this compound use synthetic delta-8 made from cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is another cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant, but it doesn’t get you high like delta-8 and delta-9 THC do.

Despite its rising popularity, there’s not much research available on delta-8. More studies are needed before we know anything for certain about this cannabis compound.

Is delta-8 the same as delta-9 THC?

While delta-8 and delta-9 THC are both psychoactive chemical compounds found in the hemp and cannabis plants, they do have their differences — from their chemical structures to how intense their effects are.

Cannabis is loaded with delta-9, which is the compound people usually mean when they refer to THC. It’s the compound that gives you that “high” THC is known for, which can cause a relaxed or mellow, euphoric feeling.

Delta-8 also produces a “high,” but this high is much milder than the one you’ll get from delta-9 THC.

Does delta-8 get you high?

Yep, it can.

Delta-8 shares several of the same traits as its naturally-derived cousin, delta-9 — including causing a “high” feeling. This high, however, is often much milder than the high caused by delta-9 products.

Will delta-8 make you fail a drug test?

It’s possible.

Any cannabis-derived product can increase your chances of failing a drug test — even products that seem lower-risk, like delta-8 and CBD.

It’s … complicated. Part of what makes delta-8 so appealing is that it lives in a legal limbo of sorts.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp with less than 0.3 percent of *delta-9 THC* is considered legal. This means that if a product contains high levels of delta-8 but still has less than 0.3 percent of delta-9 THC, it may be legal.

Add in the fact that delta-8 products are often made synthetically from CBD — instead of the naturally occurring stuff in the hemp plant — and its legality becomes even more confusing.

The tl;dr of it: the legality of delta-8 is murky, at best. It’s not always legal at the federal level, and some states have restrictions on products that have BOTH delta-8 and delta-9 on their ingredients list.

If delta-8 piques your interest, make sure to check on your local laws before giving it a go.

Real talk: there’s still a lot we don’t know about delta-8, including what all of its benefits may be. The research is limited, and more studies are needed before we know anything for certain.

What we do know, however, is that delta-8 produces many of the same effects as delta-9 — but to a lesser degree. Researchers surveyed delta-8 users and found that it has similar effects as delta-9 THC (including a milder “high”). It can:

Again, this is what users have shared in a self-reported survey. More research and scientific evidence is needed before these effects can be confirmed.

While it looks like delta-8 shares several similarities to delta-9 THC, the research we have so far suggests it could produce fewer adverse effects. Yay!

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any adverse effects. Here are some possible risks associated with using delta-8:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • short-term memory problems
  • alerted sense of time
  • increased anxiety or paranoia

Other risks (based on what we know about delta-9 THC) include:

  • dysphoria
  • hallucinations
  • dry mouth
  • confusion
  • headache
  • hypotension

There’s still a lot we don’t know about delta-8, so it may cause other unique side effects that we’re not aware of (yet!).

It’s important to also keep in mind that delta-8 is synthetically produced. This means we don’t always know all the things — both the good and the bad — that may be in it. Potential red flag alert, friends.

Delta-8 and the FDA

Delta-8 also hasn’t been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is def a sign to proceed with caution.

According to the FDA, there’s been an uptick in people reporting adverse events from using delta-8, as well as an increase in the number of calls about delta-8 to poison control centers.

The FDA also cautions that delta-8 products may contain potentially harmful chemicals. These products aren’t always controlled, meaning manufacturers can put whatever they want in their products — including household chemicals or other potentially dangerous or unsanitary ingredients.

To use delta-8 or to not use delta-8? That is the question … but what’s the answer?

While we can’t make that decision for you, we can give you all the facts you need to know in order to decide for yourself. Some things to consider include what you’re hoping to get out of using delta-8, whether you wanna experience a “high,” and whether it’s legal in your area (yeah, that’s a biggie).

BenefitsPotential side effectsOther considerationsCan it get you high?Is it legal?
Delta-8stress relief, relaxation, pain relief, euphoriadifficulty concentrating,
short-term memory problems,
alerted sense of time,
increased anxiety or paranoia,
dysphoria,
hallucinations,
dry mouth,
confusion,
headache,
hypotension


unregulated, lack of research, hard to know what you’re getting (synthetic) yesnot federally legal, but state laws vary
Delta-9stress relief, relaxation, pain relief, euphoriadifficulty concentrating,
short-term memory problems,
alerted sense of time,
increased anxiety or paranoia,
dysphoria,
hallucinations,
dry mouth,
confusion,
headache,
hypotension
unregulated, but growing research on benefits/risksyesnot federally legal, but state laws vary
CBDstress relief, pain relief, better sleep, reducing inflammation tiredness, weight fluctuations, diarrhea, appetite changesunregulated, but growing research on benefits/risksnofederally legal, but state laws vary

Where can you buy delta-8?

Depending on whether the sale of delta-8 is legal in your area, you may be able to get delta-8 products in many of the same places you can get delta-9 or CBD products. This can include:

  • weed dispensaries
  • holistic health stores
  • natural food stores
  • vape shops
  • certain convenience stores

You can also get delta-8 in a variety of different products, like oils, tinctures, gummies, and softgels.

Want all the benefits of delta-8 without the “high” or all the legal red tape? CBD may be just the thing for you.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol — aka CBD — is one of many (as in over 100) compounds found in the hemp and cannabis plants. CBD has become super popular in recent years, and for good reason: it has many research-backed benefits, including:

CBD products can be broken down into three different types:

  • full-spectrum. This contains all of the natural compounds found in the cannabis plant, including low levels of THC (less than 0.3 percent).
  • broad-spectrum. This is just like full-spectrum CBD — minus the THC.
  • isolate. This is pure CBD, baby. This type has been super filtered to remove all compounds except CBD.

Best CBD products to try

How we chose the best CBD products

We only included products that:

  • are produced by a company that provides a COA and third-party testing results from an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, per the COA
  • are grown in the USA
  • contain passing levels of pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and molds, according to the COA

Other factors we considered in making these selections include:

  • whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
  • whether the company has been subject to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as customer reviews
  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients

You’ll also notice that all of our choices are full-spectrum products. This was intentional on our part. Because full-spectrum CBD contains small amounts of THC, it may be more like delta-8 than other types of CBD.

Best CBD oil: CBDistillery Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

  • Price: $60
  • Type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 1000 milligrams (mg) CBD per bottle (33 mg CBD per serving)
  • COA: available online

Oils and tinctures make it easy to get your daily dose of CBD, and CBDistillery’s full-spectrum oil is a great option for adding CBD to your routine.

The brand is known for creating a super wide range of high quality CBD products. You can find basically any type of CBD product in multiple flavors, potencies, and CBD types.

Oils are ideal if you’re looking to customize your dose or want more flexibility with how you take it. You can either swallow this oil on its own, add it to your fave food or drink, or even mix it in with a lotion to use topically.

Reviewers are super satisfied with this oil, with many sharing that it’s their go-to product for achieving ~Zen~. Others say that these drops also help them catch better Zzz’s at night, especially those who deal with insomnia and other sleep probs.

While most people love this product, many don’t like the price. While a little goes a long way, the high price point for a small bottle can put a strain on tight budgets.

Best CBD softgel: Papa & Barkley CBD Releaf Softgels

  • Price: $99.99
  • Type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 60 mg CBD per softgel
  • COA: available online

With the Papa & Barkley CBD Releaf Softgels, you get a concentrated dose of CBD oil in an easy-to-swallow capsule.

Papa & Barkley uses what it calls a “whole plant infusion process” when making its products, which basically means it soaks cannabis in a base oil to extract the CBD (rather than using ethanol or CO2 extraction). The brand says this makes for a super clean full-spectrum CBD product.

Users are big fans of Papa & Barkley and its high quality products. They know they’re in good hands, and most rave about the company’s superior customer service. Many reviewers are especially fond of how these softgels help soothe pain, finding it especially helpful in reducing various types of chronic pain, including arthritis.

Despite how highly this product is rated by users, several folks wish they were more affordable for how few capsules are in each bottle.

Best CBD gummy: Bluebird Botanicals CBD Gummies

Bluebird Botanicals’ CBD Gummies make it extra easy to add CBD into your daily routine. Simply pop one of these sweet little gummies into your mouth and you’ll be ready to face the aches, pains, and stresses of the day head-on!

Not only do these gummies come in three fruity flavors (lemon, strawberry, and watermelon) and contain organic cane sugar for extra sweetness, but they were created in partnership with a professional confectioner (aka an IRL Candyman!) — so you KNOW they’re tasty! (We’ve actually tested these ourselves and can confirm they’re tasty AF.)

Users are big fans of the delicious flavors packed into these yummy gummies. Several users also say that these gummies don’t have the weird aftertaste some other brands do, which was a pleasant surprise.

Most reviewers also say that they feel the mellow-ing effects of the Bluebird gummies fairly quickly, and love either starting or ending their day with these candy-like edibles. Despite how much they enjoy the product, however, many users find the price to be fairly steep, especially considering how small the package is.

What does delta-8 do to the body?

Delta-8 may have a calming effect on your body. It produces that “high” feeling, which can help your body and mind relax, potentially ease any pain, and promote a feeling of euphoria.

Like delta-9 THC, there’s still potential for adverse side effects, including difficulty concentrating, short-term memory problems, alerted sense of time, increased anxiety or paranoia, dysphoria, hallucinations, dry mouth, confusion, headache, and hypotension.

Will delta-8 get you high?

Yes, it will. Much like delta-9 THC, delta-8 does cause a “high” effect. However, it may likely be a bit less intense than the high you’d get from a delta-9 product.

Does delta-8 make you test positive for THC?

Honestly? Probably.

Any cannabis-derived product puts you at risk for testing positive for THC, and seemingly “lower-risk” products like delta-8 or CBD are no exception — especially when used habitually or taken in higher doses.

Is delta-9 legal?

This is another one of those tricky questions. Delta-9 THC is not legal at the federal level, but it is legal in certain states. It’s important to check your local laws before using delta-9, to see if you’re good to go … or if you should just say “no.”

Where can you buy delta-8?

You can get delta-8 from many different places, including weed dispensaries, holistic health stores, vape shots, natural food stores, or even at some convenience stores.

Keep in mind that different states may have different laws about the sale of delta-8 (as well as CBD and delta-9) products, and this can affect if and where you can buy them.

Delta-8 is a chemical compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. It produces a mild “high” or euphoric feeling and may help reduce stress, relieve pain, and promote better sleep. It may also lead to certain side effects, including dry mouth, increased anxiety, or memory problems.

While delta-8’s been gaining in popularity, there’s still more we need to learn about it. Current research is limited, and more studies are needed to understand its benefits, side effects, and potential risks.

There’s also some confusion concerning whether delta-8 is legal. While it’s not technically federally legal in certain amounts, state laws regarding delta-8 vary.

Choosing to use delta-8 is a personal choice — but there are alternatives to consider. CBD is a popular option that may not produce a “high” feeling but can give you similar, evidence-based benefits.