CBD and delta-8 are well-known hemp-derived cannabinoids that are used by thousands of people for managing many issues including stress and anxiety. Both cannabinoids are very similar and have natural anti-anxiety properties (1, 2).
However, due to the similarity in benefits, people often get confused between these two, especially when it comes to managing anxiety.
CBD and delta-8, both have been effective against anxiety. However, CBD is a safer option considering it is naturally made and well-researched. While delta-8 has anti-anxiety potential, commercial delta-8 THC is synthesized from CBD, and unlike CBD, there isn’t much research on its safety profile.
Nevertheless, many people often find delta-8 to be more effective than CBD for managing anxiety due to its mild psychoactive nature.
In this article, we will delve into the characteristics of CBD and delta-8 THC, examining their respective effects on anxiety to help you determine which can be the better option for your needs.
CBD, derived from the hemp plant, is a non-psychoactive compound renowned for its various therapeutic benefits. It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which plays a crucial role in regulating mood, stress, and anxiety.
Unlike its counterpart, delta-8 THC, CBD does not induce a “high” sensation, making it a popular choice for people seeking anxiety relief without the associated psychoactive effects.
Additionally, research suggests that CBD can influence serotonin receptors in the brain, promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation, while its anti-inflammatory properties further contribute to its potential in managing anxiety-related symptoms (3).
How does CBD help with anxiety?
According to WHO, anxiety happens due to the imbalance in homeostasis or the hyperactivity of the central nervous system. This imbalance leads our nervous system into a constant state of hyperarousal, in other words, “anxious”.
When a person with anxiety takes CBD, the cannabinoids reach the digestive system and metabolize in the body, and further interact with the endocannabinoid system especially the CB1 receptors in the brain, and help in rebalancing the wound-up nervous system, further reducing mental and physical fatigue, and thus managing anxiety.
Learn More: CBD for anxiety
Delta-8, short for “delta-8 THC or delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol” is a minor cannabinoid that shares structural similarities with delta-9 THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the traditional marijuana “high.”
However, delta-8 exhibits milder psychoactive effects, and many people consider it a more balanced option for anxiety relief.
Delta-8 also works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, similarly to CBD but with a subtle euphoric twist.
According to research done on more than 500 people regarding the effects of delta-8 on anxiety, it is found that 71% of users experienced a great deal of relaxation, and 74% of users experienced relief from anxiety.
How does delta-8 help with anxiety?
Delta-8 works similarly to CBD, it also balances the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is centrally involved in the regulation of anxiety and fear responses.
When a person takes delta-8, the cannabinoids metabolize, reach the ECS, and bind to the CB1 receptor similar to CBD, this regulates brain function and helps balance the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety.
However, delta-8 also interacts with other receptors, which results in altering the prescription of mind and body. In other words, it makes you feel “high”. Although, it is milder, as compared to delta-9.
Nevertheless, the mild psychoactive effect of delta-8 can be a good thing for some people in managing stress and anxiety.
CBD vs delta-8: are they safe for anxiety?
Having a safety concern with any cannabinoid is common and justified. They are fairly new and not a lot of research has been done in this area.
Many studies have supported the safety of CBD. It is a naturally extracted and well-tested compound. The same can’t be said about commercially available delta-8 because it is synthetically extracted from CBD. Although there are safe extraction processes, not all manufacturers are inclined to follow them.
It all comes down to the quality of the hemp and raw materials, how safely the cannabinoids have been extracted, and what kind of material has been used in preparing the products.
When shopping for CBD or delta-8 products, purchase from genuine brands that are transparent about the manufacturing process and provide the COA (certificate of analysis) of each batch of the product.
If you shop from a genuine company with a high user satisfaction rate, both CBD and delta-8 products will be safe to use for anxiety.
How to use delta-8 and CBD for anxiety?
Most CBD and delta 8 products come with their dosing guidelines, and following them is recommended, but they don’t always work for everyone. Every person’s endocannabinoid system is different, and for an issue like anxiety, the symptoms are going to vary from person to person.
Both cannabinoids come in many forms, such as:
- Tincture and oils
- Edibles (gummies, capsules & soft gels)
- Vape concentrates
- Flowers and pre-rolls
For anxiety, using tincture, oils, and edibles is recommended.
CBD or delta-8 oils and tinctures are easy to dose and titrate, and you will feel their effects within an hour of use. However, they can have a bad aftertaste.
If the taste is something that matters to you, then try the CBD or delta-8 gummies or capsules. Their dosages are pretty fixed and they are easy to titrate but it can take up to 2 hours for the effects to kick in.
However, if you are trying cannabinoids for the first time, the best thing you can do is use a product for which you can manually increase or decrease the dose, like a tincture or oil of a standard dosage bottle, which typically offers 5 mg to 25 mg of cannabinoid content per day.
Start with the lowest amount, and gradually increase the dose within weeks, if you don’t feel the desired effects. Monitor yourself as you go through and stop if you find the dose that works for you.
What are the risks of CBD and delta-8?
While both cannabinoids have a strong safety profile, in rare cases, they may cause side effects like dry mouth, dehydration, tiredness, fatigue, and appetite change.
However, CBD is fairly safe and its side effects are generally rare, well-tolerated, and pass with time.
For delta-8, more studies are needed, but it exhibits psychoactive effects which can be habit-forming for some people, but when taken as a quality product in controlled dosage, its side effects are also well tolerated.
However, if you are using CBD or delta-8 for anxiety and experience side effects, it is possible that two things could be wrong.
- The product you are using could be at fault. Make sure whatever product you are using is free from any allergic ingredients and it comes from a reputable company that provides a COA and has a high user satisfaction rate.
- The dosing could be wrong. CBD and delta-8 come in many sizes, and they can be effective at different dosages ranging from 10mg to 6000mg per day, depending on various individual factors.
However, the major issue with these cannabinoids is they can interact with certain prescribed medicines, especially the one with a “grapefruit warning”. So, if you are using any prescription medication, talk to your doctor before using CBD or delta-8 products.
CBD vs delta-8: are they legal?
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal for sale and use in the US. Most CBD and delta 8 THC that are available in the market are derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% THC, making them a federally legal substance.
However, the legality status of delta-8 currently lies in a gray area and needs further clarification.
To sum it up, currently, both cannabinoids are legal in the US, but there a certain restrictions from the states:
- While THC-free CBD products are completely legal, full-spectrum CBD products that contain THC are restricted in the states of Idaho and Kansas. For more details check the current CBD law of your state, here.
- Delta-8 is also technically legal in the US because commercial delta-8 is extracted from hemp and contains less than 0.3% of THC. However, due to limited research, states like Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont have imposed restrictions on delta-8 products.
CBD vs delta-8: which is better for anxiety?
In the ongoing debate between CBD and delta-8 THC for anxiety relief, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best choice depends on your preferences, tolerance, and the desired effects.
While CBD’s non-psychoactive nature and broad acceptance make it a preferred choice for many working professionals. It is also a versatile option that allows you to use it without concern about impairment.
Delta-8, while still relatively new in the spotlight, has gained popularity for its unique profile and psychoactive nature that is not overpowering.
Many people find its mild psychoactive effects to be an advantage, providing a sense of relaxation even at smaller dosages while avoiding the cognitive impairment associated with higher levels of THC.
Both CBD and delta-8 are fair options for managing anxiety. However, more studies are needed regarding the long-term use of delta-8 products.
If you live in a state where delta-8 is restricted or have a job where you are required to test for drugs, then CBD is your only choice.
In any case, we would recommend you try CBD as it is naturally used, well-researched, and has a strong safety profile. However, if you don’t feel the effect, try a different, stronger product. Remember that CBD takes time to work so even if you don’t feel anything after a couple of days, stick to it for at least a month.
Keep in mind the side effects, and consult a doctor if you are using other medications.
The information in this article is intended for general use only and may not always be appropriate for everyone’s needs. Your health and wellness are unique to you, so before acting on anything we say, seek personalized advice from a medical professional.
We value the accuracy and editorial integrity of all our articles, and we strive to ensure that the content we publish is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge.