Odds are good that you've recently heard about Delta-8. Local dispensaries have joined popular wellness influencers in letting the world know about this cannabis alternative over the last several months.
Delta-8 is short for Delta-8 THC or Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol. Why is it so very popular right now? Advocates claim that it offers similar medical and health benefits you could get from the 'classic', Delta-9 THC, but without negative side effects, including paranoia.
We have previously covered the impact cannabis has on sleep. We've also gone over how you can use CBD for better sleep. Naturally, we needed to get the lowdown on whether or not Delta-8 also has potential sleep benefits to it.
Keep reading to learn everything you should know regarding Delta-8 and a great sleep, ranging from the specific form of cannabis this is to what you should know prior to using this as a potential sleep aid.
What Is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a kind of THC. That's the cannabis plant chemical responsible for any psychoactive effects. When many people talk about the chemical THC, they're usually talking about Delta-9, which is an abundant and popular form of THC. One thing that distinguishes the two is that Delta-8 happens in a lot smaller quantities as compared to Delta-9.
Another huge difference, according to NCI, the National Cancer Institute, is that Delta-8 is far less psychoactive than Delta-9. In practical terms, this means you won't get the traditional THC 'high', even though you'll still certainly get a decent buzz. The NCI states that Delta-8 has properties that relieve pain, suppress nausea and anxiety, and stimulate appetite.
The majority of Delta-8 comes from hemp plants. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized certain cultivations of hemp and the products derived from them. Any hemp-derived product is considered legal so long as they have only 0.3 percent of THC or less, so they're not technically classified as psychoactive substances or materials.
You should know, however, that a handful of states are still outlawing Delta-8 products. Binoid is a dispensary based in Los Angeles and has a list of the various states where it's legal to have Delta-8. Conversely, Delta-9 THC is illegal at a federal level, even though many states are now legalizing both medical and even recreational cannabis.
Leafly is a cannabis company that states most known dried cannabis flowers have under 1-percent Delta-8 THC, which means that getting any product with a lot of this particular cannabinoid only happens through the extraction, isolation, conversion, and then refinement of dried cannabis flowers.
Even though Delta-8 naturally exists in just fractions of a single percent, there are enterprising businesses discovering ways they can concentrate the cannabinoids in a particular volume to get the more potent effect. This effect still falls short of Delta-9 THC levels, but they achieve it by spraying their dried hemp buds, ones that look just like your standard garden variety of cannabis buds, with concentrations of Delta-8.
Will Delta-8 help you get better sleep?
Cannabis, CBD, cannabidiol: Whatever you call it, the non-psychoactive component of the plant is something that's been a natural sleep aid for quite some time. Research is emerging that shows how CBD can calm anxiety, which helps people not only fall asleep but stay asleep.
The NCI says that Delta-8 binds uniquely twice with the human body's cannabinoid receptors throughout the nervous system, specifically the ones that play a crucial role in sleep functions, as they govern the process of calming down physically, including respiration, heart rate, and even mental activities. Given that, you might be able to regulate your own sleep cycle with it, getting a serious sense of calm which engenders better rest.
Having said that, there are some potential drawbacks. Research focusing on sleep and cannabis, in particular Delta-8, is limited to say the least.
What research is around focusing on cannabis and sleep offers a mixed bag of results, per reviews of studies that were published through Current Psychiatry Reports. Some studies indicate that THC sleep benefits are short-term, as chronic use might actually make your sleep quality worse.
Delta-8 does show promise in having far less of Delta-9's psychotropic impact while still providing the upside.
Ian Bush is the marketing director for a Delta-8 company called Hii Stick. They offer a lot of products, and he says that once he falls asleep, he's usually good to go. The problem is getting to sleep. He uses Delta-8 for physical relaxation and to still his mind. Both are elements to successfully falling asleep and then staying that way. The review in Current Psychiatry Reports does show that THC is able to lower sleep latency, the technical term for how long it takes you to fall asleep.
Bush has anecdotal evidence of friends that were light sleepers before Delta-8 changed things for them. A number of consumers even report how Delta-8 is helpful in their attainment of lucid dreaming, which is when you dream but know you're dreaming while you're asleep.
Delta-8 also has pain-relief properties that can help with sleep. One user had a mother struggling with her pain to the point of having a hard time getting to sleep. Delta-8 helped mitigate her pain as her muscles truly relaxed.
How to use Delta-8 for better sleep:To start with, always check with your doctor before trying a new supplement. Delta-8 isn't known for side effects, as with CBD, so overdose is unlikely. Still, you need to work with your physician to be sure it won't have negative interactions with any medications that you're currently taking already.
Delta-8 is rather new to the broader market, but Weed.com says that it's already demonstrating specific properties that can help with sleep. Weed.com is a cannabis product and information portal based in Los Angeles, and they offer specific tips for using Delta-8 for better sleep:
Time The Dosage: You want the effects to hit their peak around the time that you go to bed.
Pick The Best Delivery Method: A vape usually gets you to sleep faster, but a gummy might need more time in delivering effects over several hours. That might work better for anyone who tends to wake up throughout the night.
Use The Best Strength: As with CBD, products with Delta-8 have various strengths in terms of milligrams. Cannabis experts suggest that you start slow and go flow in order to find the best results from the lowest possible dose.
Mix Delta-8 And Other Cannabinoids: CBD and THC together form a synergy that makes the most of each other's maximum effects. Think about Delta-8 formulations that blend this particular cannabinoid with other cannabinoids happening in nature.
Mix Delta-8 And Various Naturally Active Ingredients: Businesses coming up with Delta-8 products using plant-based compounds are showing effect in engendering sleep and relaxation. Melatonin and lavender stand out.
Remember, This Doesn't Work For Everyone: Delta-8 doesn't actually prove to be a sedative cannabinoid for all people. Everyone has their own endo-cannabinoid system response, and it might just not gel with Delta-8 the way you want it to.
Terpenes are aromatic oils giving cannabis its distinct smell. These usually have more influence than anything else on how sedative-powerful a cannabinoid strain is. Indica strains with more linalool terpenes tend to have more impact.
If you choose to experiment with Delta-8 gel caps, gummies, or isolate drops, then try them a few hours before you go to bed. You might get an initial burst of some creative energy, but the psychoactive impact tapers off soon leading you into deep relaxation and natural sleep for many people.
Delta-8 is one of the hot items in cannabis markets right now. Still, it's a lot like Delta-9 THC, CBD, and other various cannabinoids already known to us. Consult your doctor before you do anything, pick a high-caliber formula, and then time your dosage for the best impact on getting some great sleep at night.