Best Delta 8 THC for Depression (June 2021)

By | last updated September 9, 2021

Medically reviewed by
Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD

Evidence Based 9

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There has been a lot of buzz about delta-8 THC, the weaker cousin of delta-9 THC.

Although research evidence is scarce, some people using delta-8 for depression have reported improved mood, increased motivation, and other therapeutic benefits.

The only problem is that the delta-8 market is filled with shady companies looking to cash in on the newest trend in cannabis. You have to be extremely careful if you want to find a safe and effective delta-8 THC product, whether it be a vape cart, gummies, tincture, or something else.

That’s why we researched and compared multiple brands to find the best delta 8 products for depression. 

Delta 8 Terminology

  • Delta-9 THC: The most common (and federally illegal) form of THC.
  • Delta-8 THC: A less potent form of THC that can be made from hemp-derived CBD, which makes it legal.
  • CBD: A non-intoxicating cannabinoid that’s been shown to have many potential benefits.
  • Hemp: A federally legal variety of cannabis with high CBD and low delta-9 THC levels (0.3% or less).
  • Terpenes: aromatic compounds with a wide variety of beneficial properties (1).
  • Full-spectrum: whole-plant hemp extract containing CBD, THC (both forms), and other beneficial hemp cannabinoids and terpenes. This form of CBD is up to 4 times more potent than pure CBD (2).
  • Isolate: The pure form of delta-8 or any other cannabinoid.

Extract Labs Delta 8 Extract Tank (Best Overall & Best Cart)

extract labs delta 8 extract tank cartridge

Pros: 

  • Full-spectrum formula
  • Four terpene-infused flavors
  • High potency
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • Organic Colorado hemp source
  • Most reputable delta 8 brand

Cons:

  • No pure delta-8 formulas

Use coupon code GET15 for 15% Off

Our top pick for depression goes to the delta 8 tank from Extract labs. This high-strength cartridge is full-spectrum and contains roughly 500 mg of delta-8 THC, CBD, CBG, and other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. The addition of CBD is particularly helpful as it’s been shown to have antidepressant properties (3).

Each 0.5-gram cartridge is compatible with any 510 thread battery and Extract Labs also sells its own vape battery.

The cartridges come in four unique, terpene-infused flavors: martian candy, el jefe, ogre berry, and sour ghost. They cost about $0.08 per mg of cannabinoids, which is a reasonable price.

Unlike most delta-8 brands, Extract Labs has its products tested for both potency and contaminants. Founded in 2016, it offers both CBD and delta-8 products sourced from organic Colorado hemp.

Moonwlkr Delta-8 THC Gummies (Best Gummies)

Moonwlkr delta 8 THC gummies

Pros: 

  • Six flavor options
  • Most extensive third-party testing
  • Also contains plant-derived terpenes
  • Organic Colorado hemp source

Cons:

  • Only one potency

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Our top pick is the delta-8 gummies from Moonwlkr. They contain 25 mg of pure delta-8 THC and plant-derived terpenes.

These gummies are available in five delicious flavors: sour strawberry, blue dream berry, pineapple express, mango kush, and watermelon zkittlez. There’s also a mixed “Asteroids” flavor.

There are 25 vegan-friendly gummies per bottle for a total of 625 mg of delta-8. They cost $0.06 per mg of delta-8, which is cheaper than the average price for delta-8 gummies.

Moonwlkr is a relatively new brand specializing in delta-8 THC. Its products are sourced from organic Colorado hemp and go through the most comprehensive third-party testing we’ve seen from any delta-8 vendor, including terpenes, pesticides, mycotoxins, and vitamin E acetate.

If you want to be 100% sure you’re getting a safe, accurate product, Moonwlkr is an excellent choice.

Note: delta-8 edibles affect everyone differently and can have variable effects depending on how much you ate and other factors.

Hometown Hero Delta 8 THC Tincture (Best Tincture)

hometown hero delta 8 tincture

Pros: 

  • High Times Hemp Cup 2nd place
  • Two potencies
  • Three flavors
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • Organic Texas hemp source

Cons:

  • Not as cheap as some other brands

Delta-8 tinctures are a great choice when you’re looking for longer-lasting effects. Our top pick is the delta 8 tincture from Hometown Hero.

This tincture is available in berry, mint, and natural flavors. The berry-flavored version got 2nd place for best tincture at the High Times 2021 Hemp Cup.

You can choose between strengths of 20 or 40 mg/ml, with 600-1200 mg of delta 8 in total.

Hometown’s tincture is comprehensively tested for potency and contaminants. It costs $0.08 per mg of delta 8, which is an average price point.

Hometown Hero is a Texas company known for donating to veterans’ organizations. Its hemp is grown locally with organic practices.

Moonwlkr Delta 8 THC Disposable Vape (Best Disposable)

moonwlkr disposable delta 8 thc vape

Pros: 

  • Great price and bundle deals
  • Organic Colorado hemp source
  • Most extensive third-party testing

Cons:

  • Only two flavors

Use coupon code CBDTHINKER for 10% Off

If you’re new to vaping or simply prefer the convenience of disposable pens, we recommend Moonwlkr. Its disposable vapes contain about 800 mg of delta-8 THC, the same strength as most delta 8 carts on the market.

They’re available in two delicious flavors: Mimas watermelon and Prometheus strawnana.

These disposables cost about $0.05 per mg of delta-8, which is a fairly low price for a disposable pen. You can also get 20-30% savings by buying a pack of two or more.

All Moonwlkr products come with comprehensive third-party tests verifying their potency and lack of contaminants.

Extract Labs Delta 8 THC Chocolate Bar (Best Chocolate)

Extract Labs Delta 8 THC Chocolate Bar

Pros: 

  • 1:1 ratio of delta-8 to CBD
  • Organic Colorado hemp source
  • Third-party tested
  • Most reputable delta 8 brand

Cons:

  • Lacks third-party contaminant tests

Use coupon code GET15 for 15% Off

If you’re a fan of chocolate, you should check out the delta 8 dark chocolate bar from Extract Labs. It has a 1:1 ratio of delta-8 to CBD (52 mg of each), which is notable since CBD also has antidepressant properties (3).

This delicious, vegan-free treat costs $0.15 per mg of cannabinoids, which is a reasonable price. It’s a great alternative to delta-8 gummies, especially if you’re new to delta-8 and concerned about anxiety and other potential side effects.

Extract Labs is a reputable CBD brand out of Colorado that uses local organic hemp and has all of its products tested by a third-party lab. It was founded by army veteran Craig Henderson.

How We Choose the Best Delta 8 Products

You have to consider several factors to find safe, effective delta 8 products. Delta 8’s rapid rise in popularity means that many shady manufacturers are offering low-quality products to make a quick buck.

Here are the criteria we use to find quality products:

  • Third-party test results (to verify the delta-8 content and lack of contaminants)
  • Product formula (to get the best effects)
  • Product potency (to make sure it’s strong enough to provide a benefit)
  • Company reputation (to verify that the company can be trusted)
  • Price (to get a good deal)

Read on for a detailed explanation of these criteria, especially if you want to choose delta-8 products on your own.

Look for Third-Party Tested Brands

Third-party tests are necessary to confirm the potency and safety of delta-8 products. They help protect consumers from products that contain less delta-8 than advertised, illegal delta-9 THC levels, or carry contaminants.

Performed by an independent lab, these tests check the levels of delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and other cannabinoids. They can also check for pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and other contaminants. 

Contaminant tests are especially important for delta-8 because it’s usually made from CBD through a chemical process that uses solvents that must be removed afterward.

Any delta-8 company worth its salt sends its products for independent testing and posts the test results on its website. A lack of these test documents is a major red flag.

We check the test results for all of the products we review to make sure they contain the advertised levels of delta 8 and no contaminants.

We also check the delta-9 THC levels, because the process used to make delta-8 from CBD can produce a sizable amount of delta-9 THC. Unless this extra delta-9 is removed, it can end up in the final product, making it both illegal and potentially unsafe.

Product Formula

Similar to CBD, delta-8 products can come with different formulas. Some products contain delta-8 isolate: pure delta-8 THC without any other active compound.

Many others carry delta-8 with a smaller amount of delta-9 THC because delta-9 is produced when you convert CBD into delta-8.

You can also have full-spectrum delta-8, which will carry delta-8 plus the full range hemp cannabinoids (CBD, delta-9 THC, and minor cannabinoids) and terpenes. 

Full-spectrum cannabis products are considered more effective than those containing only one cannabinoid thanks to the entourage effect: the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes (1). 

In particular, we recommend using a product that contains significant amounts of CBD alongside delta-8, because early studies suggest that CBD may have antidepressant effects (3).

Product Potency

Also known as strength, potency is the concentration of cannabinoids in a product. 

For example, if your delta-8 vape cart has a potency of 95%, that’s very high as it translates to 950 mg of delta-8 per gram/ml. Similarly, a tincture with 50 mg of delta-8 per ml is stronger than one with 25 mg.

We look for high-potency products to make sure they’re strong enough to give everyone the desired effects. They also allow you to use smaller doses (fewer puffs, gummies, tinctures, etc.) to get an effect.

Company Reputation

Brand reputation is another critical factor when shopping for delta 8.

This is even more true for delta-8 than CBD because it’s in a legal gray area. That’s why we do thorough research to find the best delta-8 brands.

We look for brands that have positive customer reviews, make it easy to check third-party lab test results to verify the safety and efficacy of their products, list their hemp source, and provide other info to build trust with customers.

Price

Delta-8 products are not necessarily cheap. We try to find high-quality products that are reasonably priced. We also help you see if the prices you’re paying are low, average, or high by providing the price per milligram (mg) of delta 8. 

Generally speaking, the average prices for delta-8 products are:

  • Tinctures :$0.08 per mg of delta-8 THC
  • Gummies: $0.10 per mg
  • Capsules: $0.10 per mg
  • Cartridges: $0.08 per mg
  • Distillate: $0.03 per mg
  • Disposable vape pens: $0.08 per mg

This means prices below these points are considered low, so you’re getting a good deal, whereas those above are expensive.

Delta 8 for Depression: What Does The Research Say?

Delta-8 THC has seen little scientific research. Having said that, we do know that many cannabinoids have antidepressant properties. 

In particular, there’s evidence that delta-9 THC (what most of us know as “regular” THC) has antidepressant effects (4). Since delta-8 has a similar structure to delta-9, it’s likely that it shares this effect.

Aside from that, there are many anecdotal reports of delta-8 THC users who report that it improved their depression. 

In particular, delta-8 is reported to have euphoric and mood-lifting effects. Many people also find that delta-8 can reduce anxiety, which is a common co-occurring mental condition in people with depression. 

Using Delta 8 for Depression: Product Options

You can either take delta 8 regularly or as needed to manage your depression symptoms.

Similar to CBD, delta-8 can be used in three main ways:

  • Inhalation via smoking flower or vaping a cartridge
  • Orally, as capsules, gummies, or other edibles
  • Sublingually, as a tincture

If you’re looking for immediate depression relief, inhalation is the best method of taking delta-8. However, it will also last shorter than other methods, typically about 1-4 hours (5).

The most popular inhalation method is to vape a delta-8 cartridge, although you can also use hemp flower that’s been coated with delta-8.

If you want the longest-lasting effects (6+ hours), oral products such as gummies can be a good option. However, they can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in depending on when and how much you ate.

Also, keep in mind that edibles affect everyone differently and have the most inconsistent effects of any administration method.

The third option is to use a sublingual (under-the-tongue) tincture, the same method used by CBD oil. This route will give you longer effects than inhalation and kick in faster than edibles — usually about 15-40 minutes (6). 

You can also buy delta-8 distillate, the purest form of delta-8 THC, and use it to make your own vape juice, tinctures, edibles, and more.

Delta 8 Dosage for Depression

The ideal dosage of delta-8 and any other cannabinoid varies from person to person. Many factors can influence it, such as your body weight, genetics, familiarity with cannabis, the severity of your depression, and the type of product you’re taking.

That’s why healthcare experts recommend starting with a low dose and slowly raising it (7). 

For example, you might start with one puff of a delta-8 vape cart or 10 mg of a gummy or tincture and see how you feel over the next two hours. You can then gradually raise your dosage over time until you get the desired effects.

If you’ve previously used regular THC, you can also use those dosages as a starting point. For example, if you normally take 10 mg delta-9 THC gummies, you can start with a 10 mg delta-8 gummy.

Safety and Side Effects

There haven’t been many studies of delta-8 so we don’t know too much about its side effects. 

Having said that, one of the only studies on the effects of delta-8 THC reported that it caused similar but weaker side effects to delta-9 THC, including dizziness, dry mouth, red eyes, and impaired memory (8).

If you’re taking any prescription antidepressants, it’s best to consult your doctor before using delta-8 THC.

Buying Delta 8: Red Flags

We want to stress that delta-8 products are more likely to be unsafe, illegal, and inaccurate than their CBD counterparts. 

Delta 8 became popular almost overnight and is currently in a legal gray area because lawmakers never expected the cannabis industry to find a way to make intoxicating products from hemp. 

This means the delta-8 market has attracted plenty of shady companies who want to make quick money without much regard for product quality.

If you’re going to shop for delta-8 on your own, you should buy from online shops instead of physical stores. We also recommend watching out for these red flags:

  • Lack of third-party test results. This is the best and only way to confirm you’re getting a safe product with the advertised amount of delta-8.
  • Lack of a website. If you can’t even find a company’s website online, that’s a good indication they can’t be trusted. 
  • Wild health claims. Steer clear of brands that promise to cure symptoms and conditions with their delta-8 products. 
  • Products with illegal delta-9 THC levels. It’s always best to read over a product’s third-party test results to make sure they match not only the advertised delta-8 content but also contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC, which is the legal limit for hemp products.

As a final note, always favor brands that do third-party testing for contaminants (heavy metals, pesticides, mold, and more) over those that only test for potency (the levels of cannabinoids).

Delta 8 FAQs

What is Delta 8?

Delta-8-THC is another form of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis. Delta-8 has similar but weaker effects (8).

Can Delta 8 Get You High?

Yes, delta-8 can get you high, causing euphoria, sedation, and other effects. However, it’s not as strong as regular (delta-9) THC and is less likely to cause anxiety and other common THC side effects.

Where Does Delta-8 Come From?

Delta-8 is naturally present in cannabis but in small amounts. However, delta-8 can also be made from CBD through a special chemical reaction. This is the most common method because it’s legal and makes it easy to produce large amounts.

Is Delta 8 Legal?

Delta-8 is federally legal because the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and any hemp-derived products legal. This law was made because hemp contains too little regular THC to make you high. However, the legislators never expected the hemp industry to find a way to make intoxicating products from hemp. That’s why many individual states are choosing to ban or regulate delta-8 THC. Here’s a complete breakdown of the legality of delta-8 THC in each state.

What are the Benefits of Delta 8?

There’s little research on delta-8 because it’s usually present in cannabis in small quantities. Having said that, early studies have shown that delta 8 has similar effects to delta 9 THC, including euphoria, sedation, reduced nausea and anxiety, pain relief, and increased appetite (9).

Does Delta 8 Show Up on Drug Tests?

Marijuana drug tests look for the metabolites of THC: the molecules that it breaks down into after it enters your body. Since any form of THC (delta-8, delta-9, and others) can produce metabolites, you can test positive when you use a delta-8 product.

References

  1. Russo, Ethan B. “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects.” British journal of pharmacology 163.7 (2011): 1344-1364.
  2. Pamplona, Fabricio A., Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, and Ana Carolina Coan. “Potential clinical benefits of delta 8-rich cannabis extracts over purified delta 8 in treatment-resistant epilepsy: observational data meta-analysis.” Frontiers in neurology 9 (2018): 759.
  3. Oberbarnscheidt, Thersilla, and Norman S. Miller. “The Impact of Cannabidiol on Psychiatric and Medical Conditions.” Journal of clinical medicine research 12.7 (2020): 393.
  4. El-Alfy, Abir T., et al. “Antidepressant-like effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 95.4 (2010): 434-442.
  5. Borodovsky, Jacob T., et al. “Smoking, vaping, eating: is legalization impacting the way people use cannabis?.” International Journal of Drug Policy 36 (2016): 141-147.
  6. Russo, Ethan B. “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.” Therapeutics and clinical risk management 4.1 (2008): 245.
  7. Lucas, Catherine J., Peter Galettis, and Jennifer Schneider. “The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 84.11 (2018): 2477-2482.
  8. Hollister, Leo E., and H. K. Gillespie. “Delta‐8‐and delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol; Comparison in man by oral and intravenous administration.” Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 14.3 (1973): 353-357.
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information. “PubChem Compound Summary for CID 638026, delta8-Tetrahydrocannabinol” PubChem, https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/delta8-Tetrahydrocannabinol. Accessed 23 July, 2021.

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