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Key Takeaways:

  • THC-O and Delta 8 differ significantly in potency and effects, with THC-O being much stronger and inducing intense experiences, whereas Delta 8 offers milder effects.
  • Both cannabinoids hold therapeutic potential, with THC-O showing promise for pain relief, antiemetic effects, and anxiety reduction, and Delta 8 being a candidate for pain and inflammation management, mood enhancement, and sleep improvement.
  • Safety considerations and legal status are crucial when using or purchasing THC-O or Delta 8, requiring users to be aware of side effects, recommended dosages, and the ever-changing legal landscape.


Interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids is on the rise. Among the various compounds, THC-O and Delta 8 have emerged as significant players. While both derive from the hemp plant and share some similarities in their effects, they are distinct in potency and therapeutic applications. 

It is crucial to navigate these differences to make informed decisions about their use. In this discussion, we will discuss what these compounds are, their potential benefits, and the safety considerations you should be aware of when considering them as part of your wellness regime.

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What is THC-O?

Description of THC-O and its chemical makeup

THC-O, also known as THC-O acetate, is a synthetic analog of THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. It is not found naturally in the plant; instead, it is produced in a lab through a chemical process that acetylates THC, enhancing its potency. THC-O is known for its high bioavailability, which means a greater amount of it gets absorbed into the bloodstream compared to other cannabinoids.


Origin and Legal Context of THC-O

Although THC-O has been on the radar of chemists since the mid-20th century, it has only recently garnered attention in the consumer market. Its legal status is somewhat ambiguous due to variances in state and federal laws regarding analogs of THC. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives, but THC-O often falls into a grey area due to its synthetic nature.


General Effects Associated with THC-O Use

THC-O is typically more potent than Delta 9 THC. Users report a deep sense of relaxation, altered visual and auditory perception, and sometimes a spiritual or introspective experience. However, these anecdotal claims lack the depth of clinical research available for more common cannabinoids.1


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What is Delta 8?

Description of Delta 8 and its Chemical Composition

Delta 8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in hemp, but in very small amounts. Like THC-O, it can be concentrated and extracted for use. Chemically, it is similar to Delta 9 THC, the well-known psychoactive component in marijuana, but with a few atomic bonds altered. These changes in structure result in differences in potency and effects.


Origin and Legal Context of Delta 8

Delta 8 THC has been studied for decades, but it surged in popularity after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. While not as potent as Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 is federally legal if derived from hemp that contains less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. Nonetheless, some states have enacted their own restrictions.


General Effects Associated with Delta 8 Use

Users generally describe Delta 8 THC as a smoother, more mellow psychoactive experience than Delta 9 THC. It is often chosen by those seeking to avoid the intensity of marijuana while still benefiting from its therapeutic properties.


Comparing Potency Between THC-O and Delta 8

The main difference between THC-O and Delta 8 lies in their potency. THC-O is reputed to be several times stronger than even Delta 9 THC, requiring smaller doses to achieve comparable effects. In contrast, Delta 8 offers a milder experience, often labeled as "Delta 9's gentler sibling." This variance influences how each compound is used, affecting everything from dosing to the intensity of the effects. Proper dosing is critical, especially with THC-O, due to its enhanced strength.


The Benefits of THC-O

Analgesic Effects

Users report that THC-O can offer significant pain relief, possibly even more so than other cannabinoids. Its potent effects may potentially make it a powerful analgesic for chronic pain patients.2


Antiemetic Properties

THC-O might also function as an effective antiemetic, helping to reduce nausea and vomiting, which is particularly beneficial for those undergoing chemotherapy.5


Potential Neuroprotective Benefits

Early research suggests that THC-O could possess neuroprotective properties, potentially aiding in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.6


Anxiety and Stress Relief

Though highly potent, THC-O has been reported to help with anxiety and stress, providing a calming effect when used responsibly.7


Anxiety and Stress Relief


Appetite Stimulation

Like many cannabinoids, THC-O may stimulate appetite, which can be advantageous for those with eating disorders or those losing weight due to illness.


The Benefits of Delta 8

Pain and Inflammation Management

Delta 8 may offer pain and inflammation relief, making it a possible alternative or complementary therapy for patients with joint pain or inflammatory conditions.3


Anti-Nausea and Vomiting

Evidence suggests Delta 8 may help reduce nausea and vomiting, which could be particularly beneficial for patients undergoing treatments that produce these side effects.8


Mood Enhancement

Users often report that Delta 8 can help elevate mood and reduce feelings of depression or anxiety.4


Improved Sleep Quality

For those struggling with sleep disorders, Delta 8 could potentially help improve sleep quality due to its sedative effects at higher dosages.9


Improved Sleep Quality


Neuroprotective Potential

Similar to THC-O, there is preliminary evidence to suggest that Delta 8 might have neuroprotective properties, offering potential applications in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.4


Safety and Side Effects Of THC-O and Delta 8 

While both THC-O and Delta 8 are considered to have good safety profiles, they are not without potential side effects. The most common include dry mouth, red eyes, mood alterations, and in the case of THC-O, potentially overwhelming psychoactive experiences due to its high potency.


Legal and Regulatory Considerations Of THC-O and Delta 8 

Understanding the legal context of THC-O and Delta 8 is key for consumers. While federally legal under specific circumstances, these compounds can face distinct legal challenges at the state level. This situation not only affects consumer access but also impacts the scope and development of ongoing research into these substances.


Final Thoughts on THC-O vs Delta 8

In the realm of cannabinoids, THC-O and Delta 8 represent fascinating chapters in the ongoing story of cannabis exploration. Our journey through the compounds' potency, therapeutic promises, safety considerations, and legal.

The allure of THC-O's intense potency is balanced by Delta 8's nuanced approach, providing a spectrum of options for those seeking the therapeutic embrace of cannabinoids.


Want to learn more? Check out our latest blogs: 


Frequently Asked Questions 

Can THC-O or Delta 8 cause dependency or addiction? 

Both THC-O and Delta 8 have been reported to have a lower risk of dependency compared to Delta 9 THC; however, more research is needed to fully understand their potential for addiction.


Are THC-O and Delta 8 safe for use during pregnancy? 

The use of any cannabinoids, including THC-O and Delta 8, is generally not recommended during pregnancy due to the lack of substantial research on their effects on fetal development.


Can I use THC-O or Delta 8 along with other medications? 

As with any substance, it's important to consult a healthcare provider before combining THC-O or Delta 8 with other medications due to potential interactions.


Do THC-O and Delta 8 show up on drug tests? 

Due to their similarity to Delta 9 THC, both THC-O and Delta 8 could potentially result in positive drug tests, especially since tests often look for metabolites of THC in general.


Are there specific medical conditions that THC-O or Delta 8 are particularly good for treating?

While research is ongoing, anecdotal evidence suggests both compounds may help with conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and nausea. Always consult a healthcare provider for medical advice.


How long does the effect of THC-O and Delta 8 last? 

The duration of effects varies depending on individual metabolism, delivery method, and dosage, with some users reporting several hours of lasting effects.


What modes of consumption are available for THC-O and Delta 8? 

THC-O and Delta 8 can be consumed through various methods, including vaping, tinctures, edibles, and more. The choice depends on preference and the desired onset time of effects.


Is it legal to drive after consuming THC-O or Delta 8? 

Driving under the influence of any psychoactive substance, including THC-O and Delta 8, is illegal and could impair driving ability.


Can THC-O or Delta 8 be used for recreational purposes? 

While some users report using these cannabinoids recreationally for their psychoactive effects, legalities may vary, and such use should always consider safety and legality.


Are there any long-term health risks associated with using THC-O or Delta 8? 

Long-term studies on the health effects of THC-O and Delta 8 are limited, underscoring the need for more research to determine their long-term safety profile.



  1. Schlienz, N. J., Lee, D. C., Stitzer, M. L., & Vandrey, R. (2018). The effect of high-dose dronabinol (oral THC) maintenance on cannabis self-administration. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 187, 254-260.
  2. Johnson, J. R., Burnell-Nugent, M., Lossignol, D., Ganae-Motan, E. D., Potts, R., & Fallon, M. T. (2013). Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC:CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 45(2), 167-179.
  3. Thapa, D., Toguri, J. T., Szczesniak, A. M., & Kelly, A. E. M. (2017). The Cannabinoids Delta(8)THC, CBD, and HU-308 Act via Distinct Receptors to Reduce Corneal Pain and Inflammation. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 11-20.
  4. Kruger, D. J., & Kruger, J. S. (2020). Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC's Nicer Younger Sibling? Journal of Cannabis Research, 2(1), 35.
  5. Tramèr MR, Carroll D, Campbell FA, Reynolds DJ, Moore RA, McQuay HJ. Cannabinoids for control of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting: quantitative systematic review. BMJ. 2001 Jul 7;323(7303):16-21. doi: 10.1136/bmj.323.7303.16. PMID: 11440936; PMCID: PMC34325.
  6. Kim J, Choi P, Park YT, Kim T, Ham J, Kim JC. The Cannabinoids, CBDA and THCA, Rescue Memory Deficits and Reduce Amyloid-Beta and Tau Pathology in an Alzheimer's Disease-like Mouse Model. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Apr 6;24(7):6827. doi: 10.3390/ijms24076827. PMID: 37047798; PMCID: PMC10095267.
  7. Sharpe L, Sinclair J, Kramer A, de Manincor M, Sarris J. Cannabis, a cause for anxiety? A critical appraisal of the anxiogenic and anxiolytic properties. J Transl Med. 2020 Oct 2;18(1):374. doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02518-2. PMID: 33008420; PMCID: PMC7531079.
  8. Parker LA, Rock EM, Limebeer CL. Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Aug;163(7):1411-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01176.x. PMID: 21175589; PMCID: PMC3165951.
  9. Vaillancourt R, Gallagher S, Cameron JD, Dhalla R. Cannabis use in patients with insomnia and sleep disorders: Retrospective chart review. Can Pharm J (Ott). 2022 Apr 15;155(3):175-180. doi: 10.1177/17151635221089617. PMID: 35519083; PMCID: PMC9067069.