Drug and Alcohol

How Long Does a Delta-8 High Last?

What is Delta-8? How Long Does a Delta-8 High Last? Is Delta-8 Addictive? We examine these questions and more in our blog.

How Long Does a Delta-8 High Last?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

July 7, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

In the past few years, there has been a rise in the use of Delta-8 in the USA. It has risen in popularity mainly due to the psychoactive effects it offers after consumption. Due to the lack of effective regulations around its production and selling, it has become readily available to most Americans.

There has been a rise in challenges associated with it. However, various therapies can provide effective treatment.

Stats About Delta-8:

According to data from a recent study, 16.7% of cannabis users who had used it during the prior 30 days had used Delta-8 THC. Vaping concentrated formulations of Delta-8 THC (41.2%) was the most popular way of ingestion. Its legal status and expected therapeutic benefits were the main drivers of use. Men more commonly reported the use of Delta-8 THC than women.

What is Delta-8?

The naturally occurring cannabinoid delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, also called D8 or Delta-8, is present in small concentrations in cannabis plants. Along with its better-known Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives cannabis its psychoactive properties, it is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids found in the plant.

Delta-8 has a similar chemical structure to Delta-9, with a slight difference in the placement of a double bond in the molecular chain. This small structural variation leads to differences in how these two compounds interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, resulting in distinct effects.

How Does Delta-8 Work?

Like Delta-9, Delta-8 also binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the body, particularly the CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system. This interaction with the CB1 receptors produces the psychoactive effects commonly associated with cannabis use. However, Delta-8 is reported to have a milder psychotropic potency than Delta-9, meaning its effects may be less intense for some individuals.

Delta-8 is often derived from hemp, a variety of cannabis plants with low levels of Delta-9 THC. The 2018 Farm Bill in the United States legalized the cultivation and production of hemp, allowing for the extraction of Delta-8 from hemp plants. It can also be synthesized from CBD (cannabidiol) through a chemical process called isomerization.

The availability of Delta-8 products has increased in recent years, with various forms such as oils, tinctures, edibles, vape cartridges, and topicals becoming more popular. However, it is important to note that the legality of Delta-8 can vary by jurisdiction, as some countries or states have specific regulations regarding its production, sale, and use.

When consumed, Delta-8 can produce various effects, varying from person to person. Users often report experiencing a clear-headed and uplifting high accompanied by feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and reduced anxiety or paranoia. In addition, some individuals find that Delta-8 provides a more functional and less sedating experience than Delta-9.

Research on Delta-8 is still limited compared to other cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9. However, preliminary studies suggest that Delta-8 may have potential therapeutic properties, including antiemetic (anti-nausea), analgesic (pain-relieving), and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. Further scientific investigation is needed to understand the potential benefits and risks associated with Delta-8 fully.

As with any cannabis-related product, it is crucial to approach Delta-8 with caution. Depending on your jurisdiction, it may interact with certain medications, and its use may have legal implications.

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How Does Delta-8 Affect the Brain?

Cannabis plants contain the cannabinoid chemical delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC). Although it has minor structural differences, it shares many chemical properties with Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Although there is not much information on the exact mechanisms of action of delta-8 THC, it has attracted attention for its potential effects on the body and brain.

When Delta-8 THC is consumed, whether, through inhalation, ingestion, or other methods, it interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS); the ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that regulates various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain sensation, and memory.

Delta-8 consists of three main components: endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced naturally in the body), cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors), and enzymes responsible for the synthesis and breakdown of endocannabinoids.

Delta-8 THC primarily interacts with CB1 receptors, predominantly in the brain and central nervous system. CB1 receptors are involved in modulating neurotransmitter release, affecting the transmission of signals between nerve cells. When Delta-8 THC binds to CB1 receptors, it triggers a series of cellular responses that can lead to various effects on the brain.

Delta-8 and Neurotransmitters

One of the main ways Delta-8 THC influences the brain is by affecting the release and activity of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow communication between nerve cells. Delta-8 THC can increase the release of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, reward, and motivation.

This increase in dopamine activity may contribute to the euphoric and mood-lifting effects reported by some individuals who consume Delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 THC can also influence the activity of other neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Acetylcholine is involved in cognitive processes such as memory, learning, and attention, while norepinephrine is associated with arousal and stress response. By modulating the activity of these neurotransmitters, Delta-8 THC may affect cognition, focus, and alertness.

How Long Does a Delta-8 High Last?

For most, a Delta-8 high can last from three to 10 hours. This depends on many factors, though. A person’s physiology, the way they consumed Delta-8 and the amount of Delta-8 they took all determine how long a Delta-8 high can last.

Smoking or vaping a Delta-8 product results in feeling the effects almost immediately. Effects last around five hours.

Edibles containing Delta-8 can take some time to kick in. Most people feel the effects of Delta-8 edibles and tinctures after around a half-hour. The delay is because the liver has to metabolize Delta-8. Effects from these edibles peak around two hours after the drug was eaten.

What is a Delta-8 High Like?

Most people claim that Delta-8 produces a less-intense high than Delta-9 THC. It’s why this drug is often described as a “mild high.”

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Are There Benefits to Delta-8?

Also, Delta-8 THC has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may impact brain health indirectly. Inflammation involves various neurological conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. By reducing inflammation, Delta-8 THC might potentially exert protective effects on brain cells.

Although Delta-8 THC has psychoactive properties, its potency is generally lower than Delta-9 THC. This means that the psychoactive effects of Delta-8 THC may be milder, but individual sensitivity can vary.

Finally, more studies need to be done on Delta-8. While this drug may have medical benefits for some, it’s still a substance that can be addictive.

Are There Risks to Delta-8?

Every drug has inherent risks, and Delta-8 is no exception. As Delta-8 is legal, it’s easier for teens to purchase online. THC has been shown to harm developing brains, especially in teens.

Another risk of Delta-8 is counterfeit products. Delta-8 manufacturers often mislabel their products, failing to list the amount of Delta-8 in them. Also, some counterfeit drug products may not contain Delta-8 at all.

What are the Symptoms of Addiction to Delta-8?

Like other cannabinoids, delta-8 THC may, in some people, cause addiction or a substance use disorder (SUD). The complicated condition of addiction is marked by obsessive drug usage, even when it has negative effects.

The common symptoms of Delta-8 THC addiction have been mentioned below in detail:

Compulsive Drug-Seeking and Use

A person addicted to Delta-8 THC may find it difficult to control or stop their substance use, even when they desire to quit or reduce consumption. They may spend significant time and effort obtaining and using Delta-8 THC.

Tolerance

With continued use, tolerance to Delta-8 THC can develop. This means that higher doses are required to achieve the desired effects previously achieved with lower doses. Increased tolerance can contribute to escalating consumption patterns.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person addicted to Delta-8 THC stops or reduces their use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can vary but may include irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, decreased appetite, restlessness, and cravings for Delta-8 THC.

Withdrawal symptoms are an indication of physical and psychological dependence on the substance.

Neglecting Obligations and Activities

Delta-8 THC addiction can lead to a neglect of important obligations and activities in various areas of life, such as work, school, relationships, and personal responsibilities. Individuals may prioritize obtaining and using Delta-8 THC over fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations.

Social and Relationship Problems

Addiction to Delta-8 THC can strain relationships and lead to conflicts with family, friends, and colleagues. The person may withdraw from social activities not involving Delta-8 THC use and spend less time with loved ones who do not support or participate in substance use.

Continued Use Despite Consequences

Despite experiencing negative consequences due to Delta-8 THC use, such as legal issues, financial problems, deteriorating physical or mental health, or strained relationships, individuals with addiction may continue using the substance.

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What are the Causes of Addiction to Delta-8?

Compulsive drug-seeking behavior, taking drugs despite negative effects, and difficulty quitting or managing drug use are all characteristics of the complex illness known as addiction.

It is crucial to remember that data on Delta-8's risk for addiction is a handful because of how recently it has become popular. Some of the causes of addiction commonly observed among individuals have been stated below. However, they may vary from person to person depending on various factors. 

Psychoactive Effects

Delta-8 can induce psychoactive effects, albeit to a lesser extent than Delta-9 THC. These effects can include euphoria, relaxation, altered perception, and mood changes. For some individuals, these psychoactive effects can be pleasurable and lead to repeated use, which may contribute to the development of addiction.

Reward System Activation

Delta-8, like Delta-9 THC, interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the brain. This system regulates physiological processes, including reward, motivation, and reinforcement. For example, activation of the reward system by Delta-8 can lead to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This reinforcement mechanism can create a cycle where individuals seek out Delta-8 to experience pleasurable effects, potentially leading to addiction repeatedly.

Tolerance and Dependence

Prolonged and frequent use of Delta-8 can lead to the development of tolerance, where higher doses are required to achieve the desired effects. Additionally, dependence can occur, characterized by the body adapting to Delta-8 and experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. These factors can contribute to a compulsive pattern of use and difficulty in quitting, both of which are hallmarks of addiction.

Psychological Factors

Addiction is influenced by various psychological factors, including stress, trauma, mental health conditions, and social environment. If an individual deals with underlying psychological issues, they may be more vulnerable to developing addictive behaviors, including addiction to Delta-8.

Marketing and Accessibility

The marketing and accessibility of Delta-8 products can also influence the likelihood of addiction. The availability of Delta-8 products in various forms, such as edibles, vapes, and oils, along with aggressive marketing strategies, can contribute to increased use and potential addiction in susceptible individuals.

Treatment of Delta-8 Addiction

Treatment of Delta-8 requires specific therapies. Some of them have been listed below in detail: 

Detoxification

A supervised detoxification process may be necessary if an individual has developed a physical dependence on Delta-8. Detoxification involves safely managing withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to the absence of the substance. If necessary, medical professionals can provide appropriate support and medications to alleviate discomfort and ensure safety during this period.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is a cornerstone of addiction treatment. It helps individuals understand their addiction, identify triggers and underlying issues, and develop strategies to cope with cravings and avoid relapse. Different approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, or contingency management, may be used.

Therapy can be conducted individually or in group settings, depending on the individual's needs and preferences.

Supportive Therapies

Supportive therapies can complement behavioral therapy and provide additional tools for recovery. These may include family therapy, which involves educating and involving family members in the treatment process and addressing any family dynamics that may contribute to addiction.

Support groups like 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous can also offer a sense of community, shared experiences, and ongoing support.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If an individual with Delta-8 addiction has co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, it is essential to simultaneously address both the addiction and any underlying mental health issues. Integrated treatment that addresses both aspects is known as dual diagnosis treatment. This approach ensures comprehensive care and reduces the risk of relapse.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment may sometimes be beneficial. Medications approved for treating opioid or alcohol addiction, such as buprenorphine or naltrexone, may have potential applications in managing certain aspects of addiction, but this would require further research and professional guidance.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention strategies are crucial for maintaining long-term recovery. These may include developing healthy coping mechanisms, stress management techniques, and lifestyle changes. Identifying and avoiding triggers, establishing a supportive network, and engaging in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being are all critical components of relapse prevention.

Delta-8 Abuse is Treatable. Reach Out Today to The Forge Recovery Center

If you feel like you can’t control your Delta-8 use, there’s hope. The Forge Recovery Center uses proven, evidence-based techniques to free people from the cycle of drug and alcohol use. Our treatment center is a safe, welcoming place where the roots of addictive behaviors can be safely explored and treated.

Don’t let Delta-8 take over your life – with us, you can reach your true potential. Call The Forge Recover Center today to learn more about or Delta-8 treatment program and more.

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