If you’ve ever wondered how delta-8 actually affects our brain and bodies, it really all comes down to the human endocannabinoid system. That’s right—our brains actually produce molecules very similar to those found in cannabis, and we even have receptors designed to receive “messages” from cannabinoids. To understand how delta-8 directly interacts with our bodies, it’s important to first be familiar with the function and purpose of the endocannabinoid system.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
There are three main players in the endocannabinoid system: endocannabinoids, molecules we produce; receptors, that reside in our nervous system; and enzymes, which simply break down the endocannabinoids when they’re done with their duties.
All of these elements work together to regulate our body processes. We have endocannabinoid receptors throughout our entire bodies, and the endocannabinoids we produce travel to the receptor that needs it. It binds directly to these receptors to carry out functions like helping us fall asleep and relieving pain. Additionally, it functions to regulate appetite, motor control, memory, reproduction and overall mood.
How Does Delta-8 Affect Our Endocannabinoid System?
Each of the different cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes in cannabis bind to our cannabinoid receptors, just like our own endocannabinoids do. Delta-8 binds specifically to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are located mostly in the brain, allowing THC to have psychoactive effects. CB2 receptors are mainly located in the digestive and immune systems. Because delta-8 is able to bind to both of these receptors, it can help regulate everything from anxiety to inflammation to appetite.
The main difference in how delta-8 and delta-9 affect us is in their chemical makeup. Delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon chain, making it more difficult to affect CB1 receptors—the ones responsible for triggering psychoactive effects from cannabis. This is why delta-8 is often considered “weed light.” It doesn’t affect these receptors nearly as much as delta-9 THC, but interacts similarly with our CB2 receptors.
The magic of delta-8 isn’t rocket science; it’s simple human anatomy! With the wealth of precious cannabinoids in cannabis and a system to help us enjoy them, it’s like we were built to receive all of the therapeutic benefits.