Using delta-8-THC for pain — how effective is delta-8 for pain management?
If managing pain becomes harder and harder, you are not alone. Approximately one in five Americans suffers from chronic pain on a regular basis, facing limited treatment options for pain management. If you are dealing with pain and are keeping your options open, let’s look how effective delta-8 is for pain.
Should you try delta-8 THC for sleep? Let’s weigh the pros and cons of this cannabinoid and its effectiveness on sleep.
Exploring delta-8 THC? Check our comprehensive user guide on delta-8 THC.
Exploring delta-8 THC? Check our comprehensive user guide on delta-8 THC.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a secondary hemp cannabinoid that naturally makes about 0.01% of the hemp plant. Similarly to cannabinol (CBN), delta-8 THC is a degraded form of THC produced when the hemp flower is exposed to oxygen during storage. Because there is no delta-8 THC-rich hemp flower, manufacturers extract, convert, and refine delta-8 using cannabinoids like CBD. That’s typically how we get readily-available delta-8 THC tinctures, oils, sprays, and edibles.
Does delta-8 THC get you high? Delta-8 THC is mildly psychotropic, meaning it will get you high. Delta-8 THC’s psychotropic intensity is about two-thirds of delta-9 THC’s. Users report feeling a clear-headed body high without the racing thoughts and paranoia typically produced by delta-9 THC.
Delta-8 for Pain Relief — How Does it Work?
Using different pathways, cannabinoids influence your body’s cell-signaling system, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system regulates vital bodily functions, including: 
- Chronic pain
- Learning and memory
- Appetite and digestion
- Reproductive system function
As a newly discovered system, scientists don’t have the ins and outs of the ECS. But, several studies show that it has an essential role in the regulation of pain.
What do we know about the way delta-8 interacts with the endocannabinoid system to activate its analgesic abilities?
The endocannabinoid system comprises three major parts, including cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (or cannabinoid-like compounds produced by the body itself), and enzymes. Delta-8 THC influences the endocannabinoid system by binding with one of its core cannabinoid receptors, also known as the CB1 receptor. As per the official delta-8-THC definition by the National Cancer Institute, “Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC) binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, located in the central nervous system .”
Located in the central nervous system, the CB1 receptor regulates major physiological and central neural activities. Some of them include pain, energy metabolism, appetite, learning and memory, anxiety and depression, etc.
Extensive research shows that the CB1 receptor plays an important role in pain regulation. This receptor is strategically located in the regions of the nervous system that control pain signaling. By binding to the CB1 receptor, delta-8 THC alleviates pain and produces its mild mind-altering or psychotropic effects. Similarly, delta-9 THC also binds to the CB1 receptor, but due to a slight difference in chemical structure, delta-9 produces a much more potent “high” effect .
What the Research Says About Delta-8 THC and Pain
The analgesic (pain-relieving) effects of delta-8 THC in humans need further exploration. For now, we know of several animal studies on delta-8 THC and pain that provide novel evidence for the effectiveness of this cannabinoid.
One 2018 animal study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research explored the effects of delta-8 THC (and CBD) on mice with corneal injury. The results of the study showed that the sole application of delta-8 THC reduced the pain score in mice. The study also revealed that delta-8 THC mediated its antinociceptive (pain-blocking) and anti-inflammatory effects through the CB1 receptor. Although humans react differently to treatments than animals, the authors of the study conclude that delta-8 THC could be an effective agent in treating ocular pain and inflammation .
Another preclinical animal study looked at delta-8 THC’s effects on pain. The study confirmed the analgesic effects of delta-8 THC, revealing that the rats developed tolerance to the cannabinoid rapidly .
There is no doubt that the cannabis plant offers a viable option for pain. In fact, one study showed delta-9 THC’s promising effects in the treatment of central neuropathic pain in 172 patients. The patients treated with 7.5mg of delta-9 THC noticed a significant improvement in symptoms and a drop in opioid use over the course of seven months .
The study also found that about 25% of patients did not tolerate the treatment because of delta-9 THC’s side-effects. This raises an important question because delta-8 THC shows nowhere near the same side-effects delta-9 THC does. But, it can potentially offer the same pain-relieving benefits.
How to Use Delta-8 THC for Pain
Delta-8 THC comes in a few different forms, and you can experiment with it before finding the product that works for you the best. Delta-8 THC comes as:
- Vape concentrates
- Oils and tinctures
- Edibles (gel capsules)
- Hemp flower pre-rolls enriched with delta-8 THC oil
- CBD-rich hemp flower sprayed with delta-8 THC oil
In general, people prefer vaping delta-8 THC over other forms. Vaping and smoking delta-8 THC gets the component into your system faster than other forms. It’s important to note that these methods of consumption pose certain respiratory risks.
To get optimal results from this cannabinoid, you will have to go through trial and error. As a rule of thumb, always start low and increase your dose slowly.
Before you take any cannabinoid for pain, please consult your doctor. Especially if you are already taking pain medication. Your doctor is likely to help you dose based on weight and metabolism, as well as adjust to the pain medicine you might be using.
Side Effects and Safety Concerns of Delta-8 THC
As a secondary cannabinoid, we know very little about delta-8 THC. This means you should be cautious before using it for pain. While some products come as delta-8 THC isolates, others are full spectrum products that combine CBD and other cannabinoids with delta-8. Check the labs before buying any delta-8 THC product just to be sure what other cannabinoids the product contains.
Several studies performed on humans show that delta-8 THC is a generally safe compound. A major study on delta-8 THC in pediatric cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy found that even when administered in larger doses, delta-8 THC’s side-effects are negligible compared to the benefits. The study found that delta-8 THC shows powerful antiemetic effects in children — unmatched in preventing nausea and vomiting .
Most of the current knowledge of delta-8 THC’s side-effects is based on animal studies.
- One 2018 systematic review found that delta-8 THC significantly slowed heart rate in animals, but increased heart rate in humans .
- Another study on delta-8 THC (and delta-9 THC) in animals found that the component increased blood pressure — followed by a drop in blood pressure and a slower heart rate .
This goes on to show that the effects a compound has on animals can be completely opposite of the effect it has on humans. People who tried delta-8 THC in a pure form or entourage with other components report experiencing insignificant side effects.
Where to Buy Delta-8 THC for Pain?
Mr. Hemp Flower offers a line of top-shelf delta-8 THC products. We make our products using ethanol (food-grade) extraction and organic ingredients. Our products represent delta-8 THC’s remarkable healing properties. We are all about whole-plant health and the benefits of the entourage effect, which is why we offer CBD-rich hemp flower sprayed with delta-8 THC.
There is no flower form of delta-8 THC, but the next best thing is our Delta-8 Flower Stormy Daniels or Elektra Delta-8 Hemp Flower. Get the full-blown effects of hemp with CBD-rich hemp flower sprayed with delta-8 THC. We also offer delta-8 pre-rolls, a convenient option for those who want to avoid the hassle of rolling their hemp flower.
Delta-8 produces a mild “high” without the anxiety and paranoia caused by delta-9 THC.
Yes. Studies show that delta-8 THC can potentially help with pain.
Delta-8 THC is an effective pain-reliever, anti-anxiety agent, appetite-stimulant, neuroprotectant, and prevents nausea and vomiting.
Federally, delta-8-THC that’s naturally occurring in the hemp is legal. Synthetically produced delta-8 THC remains illegal.
A urine test detects THC’s byproducts for a longer period of time, typically from a few days to a few weeks.