Is delta 8 addictive? Can I become dependent on delta 9? As more products containing these substances appear on shelves across the country, it is understandable for consumers to wonder if they are as safe as some people claim.
What is Delta 8 and Delta 9?
Before we explore whether or not delta 8 or delta 9 is addictive, we should take a moment to review a few key terms that are relevant to this discussion.
Let’s start with the actual names of the substances that are the focus of today’s post:
- Delta 8 is an abbreviated version of delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol.
- Delta 9 is a shortened way to refer to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is typically referred to as THC, is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.
Now, here’s where things can get a bit confusing. (But don’t worry, all will be made clear soon.)
When people refer to THC in marijuana, they are almost always talking about delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9 THC). In other words, delta 9 is responsible for the high that people experience when they use marijuana.
As their names suggest, delta 8 and delta 9 share similar (but not identical) chemical structures. Because of this slight difference, delta 8 is far less potent than delta 9. Also, a typical cannabis sativa plant (which is where marijuana comes from), contains much less delta 8 than delta 9.
So, to summarize what we’ve addressed thus far:
- Delta 8 and delta 9 are both versions of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC).
- Delta 8 and delta 9 both have psychoactive properties – but delta 9 is much more powerful than delta 8.
- When dispensaries identify the amount of THC that is present in a specific strain of marijuana, they are referring to delta 9.
Now that we have (hopefully) explained what delta 8 and delta 9 are, let’s move on to the main questions in today’s post: Do either or both of these substances pose a risk of dependence? Is delta 8 addictive? Can you get addicted to delta 9?
Is Either Delta 8 or Delta 9 Addictive?
Many people mistakenly believe that marijuana is a harmless substance that can be safely used without risk of addiction. This is unfortunately not completely true.
While marijuana is not as addictive as meth, heroin, or certain other drugs, people can and do develop what clinicians refer to as cannabis use disorder (marijuana addiction). The reason they can become addicted to marijuana is the same reason that they can experience a disorienting high when they use this drug: Because marijuana contains delta 9 THC.
So, can you get addicted to delta 9? Yes, you can.
Since delta 8 is similar to delta 9, is delta 8 addictive, too? Yes, it is.
This may come as a surprise to many people, because delta 8 is typically viewed as a much more benign substance than delta 9. This is probably due to the fact that there is much less delta 8 in marijuana than delta 9 – so unless delta 8 was extracted from a cannabis sativa plant and turned into a concentrate, a person would be unlikely to ingest enough to either experience a high or become addicted.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening.
Manufacturers are extracting cannabidiol (CBD) from a version of the cannabis sativa plant that’s known as hemp, then synthesizing delta 8 from the CBD. They then put the delta 8 into gummies, vapes, oils, and various other delivery mechanisms.
What makes this such a concerning development is that marijuana laws in the U.S. are applied to cannabis sativa plants that contain more than 0.3% delta 9 THC. Plants with less than 0.3% delta 9 THC are considered hemp.
Since delta 8 is usually derived from hemp, it is not restricted by marijuana laws. Thus, delta 8 products can be sold in gas stations, convenience stores, and many other places where the sale of marijuana (with delta 9 THC) is banned.
Signs & Symptoms of Delta 8 & 9 Addiction
The following signs and symptoms may indicate that someone has become addicted to delta 8 or delta 9:
- They have powerful cravings for delta 8 or delta 9.
- They spend large amounts of time acquiring and using delta 8 or delta 9.
- When they can’t acquire or use delta 8 or delta 9, they become angry, agitated, or irritable.
- They have failed to meet personal, academic, or job-related responsibilities because of their delta 8 or delta 9 use.
- They have become secretive about how much delta 8 or delta 9 they use, or how often they use these substances.
- They continue to use delta 8 or delta 9, even after prior use has caused physical, psychological, or social problems.
- They use delta 8 or delta 9 in a way that is clearly hazardous, such as by using them in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
- They need to use larger amounts of delta 8 or delta 9 to achieve the effects they are seeking.
- When they try to end or reduce their use of delta 8 or delta 9, they find that they are unable to do so.
Are There Treatment Options for Delta 8 & 9 Addiction?
The good news for anyone who has become addicted to delta 8 or delta 9 is that these are treatable conditions. Therapy can help you stop using these substances and establish a healthier, drug-free lifestyle.
Depending on the full scope of your needs – including if you have any co-occurring mental health concerns – one or more of the following programs may be right for you:
- Residential treatment
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Outpatient care
Within these programs, treatment for delta 8 or delta 9 addiction may include a range of services, such as:
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Holistic therapies
- EMDR and other trauma-focused therapies
There is no single perfect course of treatment for people who have become addicted to delta 8 or delta 9. What’s most important is finding the provider that can best meet your unique needs.
Contact Renewal Health Group About Treatment for Delta 8 or 9
Renewal Health Group offers a full continuum of personalized care for adults who have become addicted to delta 8, delta 9, and other substances. We can assess your needs and develop a customized plan to help you begin your recovery. Don’t let compulsive delta 8 or delta 9 abuse prevent you from living the healthier life you deserve. For details about how we can help you, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.