CBD vs Delta-8: Which One is Better for Pain?

CBD vs Delta 8 THC for pain

Cannabinoids like CBD and delta-8 are the new normal. People are using CBD to deal with their stressful lives, then comes a new player in the game, delta-8. According to Forbes, there were more than 22 million delta-8 searches on google in the US alone in the year 2021.

Delta 8 or “delta 8 THC” is available in most places where CBD is available, and it’s selling in the market as a milder version of delta-9 THCThis leaves many people questioning, Is delta-8 works better than CBD for an issue like pain?

CBD is better than delta-8 for pain because CBD has the capability to minimize pain sensation by binding and regulating with a body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and immune system to decrease the sensation and provides ease in all kinds of pain.

While the commercial delta-8 is artificially made from hemp extracts and does not have a strong binding power to CB receptors, so its effects on pain are milder than CBD.

However, some people have reported that delta-8 THC has been more effective in providing quick relief in certain kinds of pain than CBD. Let’s understand this more clearly. 

How can CBD help with pain?

CBD, short for “cannabidiol” is a natural molecule found in hemp and cannabis plants. CBD is famous for offering multi-level benefits to its users, including ease in all kinds of pain, stress, anxiety, inflammation, and insomnia. 

CBD works by regulating the complex cell signaling system of a body also called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a signaling system majorly made up of two types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are scattered throughout the body, CBD interacts with these receptors and helps balance them.

An issue like chronic pain is only felt when the signals from the pain-affected area are traveling through the CB1 and CB2 receptors and reach the brain, giving it the message about pain, and if untreated, these pain receptors become unstable which results in pain. 

Now if you take CBD, it metabolizes, binds with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and helps regulate them. It further activates a variety of biological processes in the body and provides all kinds of benefits. 

While the CB1 receptor is mostly concentrated in the brain. With CBD, these receptors that were carrying the pain sensation get into disarray. It further helps regulate the receptors to reach a state of equilibrium.

In short, with CBD, the CB1 receptors that were carrying the pain signals to the brain got disrupted and the pain sensation got diminished.

CBD further maintains the CB2 receptors that are present all over the body. Chronic pain causes the CB2 receptors to increase the inflammatory response within the body. With CBD, this inflammatory response reduces significantly, which further provides ease in nerve pain, physical pain, and phantom pain.

CBD also helps you recover better and faster from muscle soreness and various kinds of injuries.

Not long ago, CBD can only be found in a cannabis plant, and the only way to take CBD was to consume weed. However, with the legalization of hemp-derived CBD, it’s become easy to shop for CBD products.

How can delta-8 help with pain?

Delta-8 is also a cannabinoid that is naturally found in the cannabis and hemp plants in extremely rare quality (less than 0.1%) so the natural extraction for commercial use of delta-8 is impossible. 

So, the commercialized delta-8 that you see in the market is artificially created from the hemp-extracts like CBD.

Now talking about its effects, a delta-8 molecule also has some capability to interact and regulate the CB receptors. However, for an issue like pain, it works more effectively in masking the pain signals and replacing them with the psychoactive sensation, rather than minimizing the pain. 

In short, when you are in pain and you take a delta-8 product, the pain you are feeling will be temporarily gone and will be replaced by a feeling of intoxication or “high”.

You can also get the same effects with delta-9 THC that we typically know as “THC”, and it will be more intoxicating and more effective in masking pain and inflammation than delta-8 because, the artificially made delta-8 has less affinity to bind with CB receptors compared to delta-9 or CBD which are naturally found.

So, delta-8 can help with pain and inflammation, but it’s not as effective as compared to CBD or even delta-9.

How is CBD better for pain than delta-8?

There are many reasons why CBD is a better choice than delta-8 for pain:

CBD is a safer option because it is naturally made, well-researched, non-psychoactive, and widely used as compared to delta-8. 

CBD has a stronger binding affinity to the CB receptors that help regulate and minimize all kinds of pain better as compared to delta-8. 

CBD products are legal in the US as long as it is extracted from hemp and contains less than 0.3% of THC with certain restrictions on full-spectrum CBD products in a few states. 

However, commercial delta-8 is only legal in the US on the technicalities, and 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.

The FDA does not regulate both cannabinoids. However, the CBD industry has become smarter with time as more CBD companies have self-regulated and standardized their products to an extent that it causes an almost similar effect in every batch of the product. 

However, the delta 8 THC industry is still new and evolving, so the trust for a delta 8 company hasn’t built up yet.

The side effects of CBD are minimal and they are generally well-tolerated and there is no potential for abuse and dependency with CBD. While delta-8 THC may cause certain levels of dependency and needs more research on other matters to say anything for certain. 

CBD can be taken anytime for pain, as it does not exhibit psychoactive properties, While delta-8 THC causes you to get mildly “high” at any decent dosage.

Delta-8 THC can test positive in a cannabis drug test screening, However, except for full spectrum CBD products, CBD does not cause a false positive in any kind of drug test.

CBD is “lipophilic”, meaning it stores in the body fat and gets more effective with time. For an issue like pain, you may see some effects of CBD with one or two dosages, but it will take a few days or even weeks to see the best results. The same can’t be said about delta-8. And it is safe to take CBD every day.

Both cannabinoids may interact with other medications, especially the ones with the “grapefruit” warning. It is advised that you consult your healthcare provider before trying any cannabinoid product if you are on a certain medication.

Why do some people prefer delta-8 for pain than CBD?

If a person has tried both cannabinoids and prefers delta-8 over CBD for pain, there could be one of two reasons: 

Delta-8 causes you to get stoned, and in some cases, this feeling of intoxication could be helpful in eliminating or masking the feeling of pain better than CBD. 


This may come as bliss for some people. Although delta-8 does have pain-reducing properties, it does not have a binding capability to the CB receptors that minimize the sensation of pain.

Another reason delta-8 can be better than CBD for pain is when the dosing of CBD is not accurate. For CBD to be effective for any ailment, accurate dosing is required and unfortunately, many people have trouble finding the right CBD dosage

Without the FDA regulation, there are no fixed guidelines that govern the CBD space, and it’s really difficult to do so. For delta-8, the dosing is also complex but it’s more likely to get you to feel mildly intoxicated even at a lower dosage and this may feel like it’s working and providing relief in pain better than CBD.

The only reason to stick to delta-8 THC over CBD for pain is if you like the intoxicating effects that come with it. Otherwise, it’s better to try a good quality CBD product at a dosage that is more accurate to you, as it will be beneficial in the long run.

How to use CBD or delta 8 THC for pain?

Both cannabinoids come in many product forms, but they can be classified into four categories:

  • Tinctures and Oils: CBD and delta-8 come in a dropper bottle that needs to be sublingually administered under the tongue for a minute and then swallow. It takes 30 minutes to 1 hour for the effects to kick in and it generally lasts for up to 6 to 8 hours. The exact dosing can be a hassle and you can titrate easily, but tinctures and oils administration can be a good choice for onset pain relief.
  • Edibles (Gummies, Capsules & Softgels): Edibles are one of the most preferred methods of Cannabinoid ingestion. They are easy to dose and titrate. It takes up to 2 hours for their effect to kick in and can last up to 10 hours. CBD edibles or delta-8 edibles are also good options for managing pain.
  • Topicals (Cream, Balm, Roll-on): If you are suffering from arthritis or a targeted inflammatory pain in any part of your body then Topicals products are the best option for you. In this case, finding the exact dosing is not necessary, just take a decent amount and apply it to the affected area. You will see the effects in less than 1 hour.
  • Flower and Vapes: Inhaling the cannabinoids in the form of flowers or vapes is the fastest way to feel the effect, they generally kick in within 5 minutes of use. They are perfect for immediate pain relief. However, their effect also dissipates within a few hours.

If you are looking for decent CBD and Delta 8 Products, Check out brands like Diamond CBD and Green Roads

Final thoughts

Both cannabinoids have their benefits, CBD is clearly better than delta-8 for dealing with pain, moreover, CBD has better receptor-binding power and is legal in most states.

However, some people may find delta-8 more appealing and effective for pain because it also causes you to get “high”. However, delta-9 is a better choice than delta-8 if you prefer the stoned sensation because, hemp-derived delta-9 is naturally extracted and is legal in all 50 states of the US.


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.

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