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Delta-8 vs Delta-9: What’s the difference?

“What the hell is Delta-8?” is what you’re probably thinking right now - am I right? Delta-8 and Delta-9 are different forms of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, as it's commonly known. And for you virgins out there (you know who you are), THC is an active ingredient in marijuana, which is what makes you feel “high”. What most people don’t know is that there are many types of THC.

Delta-9 THC is the most popular form of THC and is well known for causing psychoactive effects when taken in large enough doses, like intensified auditory and visual sensations. Yeah, you know what we’re talking about – that wasn’t a talking unicorn you saw on the sidewalk last week! You’ve probably heard of Delta-8 THC before too, it’s sometimes called “Diet Weed” or “Delta-9 Lite”. Delta-8 is a relatively new type of THC, and it’s caused quite a stir for the government and regular users of the Devil’s lettuce.

There are quite a few differences between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC, so let’s clear up any confusion you have about these two cannabinoids.

What’s in this article?

  1. What is Delta-8 THC?
  2. What is Delta-9 THC?
  3. Delta-8 vs Delta-9: what’s the difference?
  4. Are Delta-8 and Delta-9 addictive?
  5. Are Delta-8 and Delta-9 legal?

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive substance found in the cannabis sativa plant – it’s one of over 100 cannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant. Still with us? Delta-8 isn’t found in large amounts in the cannabis plant, so concentrated amounts are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD). Its popularity is increasing and can now be found everywhere, from convenience stores to boutique weed dispensaries.


Man taking THC using a tincture


But why is it so popular? Delta-8 THC has a similar chemical structure to Delta-9 THC – think of them as cousins – which is the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana. It still produces that “high” feeling like its cousin, it’s just less potent, hence the name “diet weed”. Additionally, Delta-8 isn’t as tightly regulated as Delta-9.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC (or Δ-9-THC to the more experienced users out there) has long been recognized as the main ingredient that causes people to feel high, and unlike Delta-8, is a major cannabinoid. And there’s lots of it in cannabis! It’s typically extracted from marijuana plants and works in the same way as other cannabinoids, which means that it affects the receptors in our nervous systems.

Due to its potency, Delta-9 has a much stronger effect on your body compared to its cousin, Delta-8, and the effects are often far more intense. The intensity of the side effects isn’t the same for everyone – it all depends on how you use it, how frequently you use it, your metabolism, and your age etc. So, whether you’re a virgin, a devil dabbler or a pro, everyone will experience a different intensity and variety of side effects.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9: what’s the difference?

Although Delta-8 and Delta-9 are almost identical, the location of a double bond in their molecular carbon structure is what sets them apart. Brace yourself, it’s about to become a science lesson! Their names, Delta-8 and Delta-9, reflect the location of these double bonds (stay with us!). Delta-8 has the double bond at the eighth carbon chain, and Delta-9 has the double bond at the ninth carbon chain. Are you still with us?

Yes, the structure of these compounds is largely the same, but there are a lot of differences between these two molecules that may make one better than the other. Here are the main differences between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC.


Delta-8 THC

Delta-9 THC


Legal in 32 States and often sold in unregulated markets

Federally illegal in most States





10-60 mg

5-20 mg


$0.06-$0.10 per mg

$0.02-$0.08 per mg

Adverse Side Effects



Appetite Stimulant



Shelf Life

Up to 2 years

Less than 12 months


Delta-8 vs Delta-9: potency

I know what you’re thinking – which one is more potent, right? Well, there haven’t been any official tests to identify the relative potency of Delta-8 THC compared to Delta-9 THC, but many pro Delta-8 users have given their opinions. It’s generally thought that Delta-8 THC is about half as potent as its cousin, or at least when it comes to the psychoactive side effects.

There are some effects that are thought to be on a similar level to Delta-9, or even stronger, for example, Delta-8 is a far more powerful appetite stimulant. However, if you’re wanting the psychoactive effects you would normally experience with other THC products, you’ll need to take almost twice as much Delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9: dosage

The typical dosage range of Delta-8 THC is between 10 mg and 60 mg per dose, but, as you pros will know, it varies depending on the form you are taking it in. For example, if you’re using capsules or gummies, they will normally come with either 10, 20 or 30 mg each. But, if you’re using tinctures, the dosage could range from a few drops to a few milliliters, it all depends on how potent the oil is.

Delta-9 THC is roughly twice as strong as Delta-8, and most people find that a dose between 5 mg and 25 mg to be more than sufficient. Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC can be used in the same ways, whether that’s in the form of a tincture, vape, gummies, capsules, or even seltzers.

Delta-8 vs Delta-9: cost

When it comes to cost, there’s no way of sugar coating it – Delta-9 is more expensive than Delta-8 THC. And there are a few reasons for this!

  1. Delta-9 THC is typically only sold in recreational markets, where there’s usually a 30% tax levied.
  2. Delta-8 requires more steps to produce, but can be done in larger quantities.
  3. Delta-8 THC is primarily derived from CBD from hemp, which is cheaper to grow than cannabis.


THC gummies held in a woman's hand


Delta-8 vs Delta-9: side effects

The THC compound has very low toxicity, and you’ll be glad to know, there has never been a death attributed to THC in any form on its own. In other words, you’d have to drink over a liter of pure distillate (obviously this is not recommended – please do not do this!) to reach the toxic levels that could be fatal.

When it comes to the side effects, there are some differences between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC.

  • Delta-8 THC is more likely to cause a feeling of lethargy or a level of sedation.
  • Delta-8 is less likely to cause anxiety or paranoia compared to Delta-9 THC.
  • Delta-9 THC can leave people feeling a sense of panic, especially in high doses.
  • Delta-9 THC is more stimulating in high doses and can impact your sleep.

Are Delta-8 and Delta-9 addictive?

Yes. Delta-8 and Delta-9 are addictive, like with other substances (alcohol or drugs) that affect the body and brain function. Misusing these cannabinoids can lead to a dependency, and trying to curb its use can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Like with alcohol or other drugs, repeated and sustained use can result in a change in your tolerance level. Simply put, you can gradually become more resistant to the pleasurable effects of Delta-8 or Delta-9 THC. So, it's important to be responsible when using Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC recreationally.

Remember, always start with a low dose, and increase gradually – you should never feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable when taking THC recreationally.


A hand touching a cannabis plant


Are Delta-8 and Delta-9 legal?

When it comes to the legality of cannabinoids in the States, it can be confusing, so it’s important to be aware of the restrictions surrounding the consumption of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC. The marijuana plant itself is illegal on a federal level, while the hemp plant is legal as it contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC in dry weight (thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill).

Hemp-derived Delta-8 THC is considered legal on a federal level, however, there are restrictions around the usage of Delta-8 products across the following States:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Whether they contain Delta-8 or Delta-9, you’ll be glad to know that all Cycling Frog products are federally legal. Our products are 100% hemp-derived and contain less than the federal limit of 0.3% Delta-9 THC by dry weight, so you can kick back, relax, and enjoy.

Whether you’re new to Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC or you’re already a seasoned pro, savor the good times with our THC + CBD gummies. Try our best-selling BlueRazz Gummies with 10 mg Delta-9 THC and 10 mg CBD, or try the tropical taste of our Mango Pineapple Gummies with 25 mg Delta-8 THC. 

For more information, get in touch with us today!

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FDA DISCLAIMER The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act require this notice.

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