A neon sign reading "CBD" hangs in a smoke shop window.

Alternative Cannabinoids Explained & Our Favorite THC Alternatives

Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law, alternative cannabinoids have exploded in popularity.

Delta 8 was the first such cannabinoid to make a major impression in the marketplace. However, many other cannabinoids have become available in the years since.

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to alt cannabinoids. Wondering where to start? Keep reading to learn more about our favorite alternative cannabinoids.

What are Alternative Cannabinoids? The Basics

First, let’s briefly define what a cannabinoid is in general.

Cannabinoids are chemicals found in cannabis and hemp plants, as well as in the human body itself. They have a range of effects. On a practical level, a key feature of cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp plants is their interaction with the human endocannabinoid system.

Our bodies have a natural system that includes cannabinoid receptors in our brains. Additionally, we naturally produce endocannabinoids that act on these receptors. Harvard Health Publishing explains the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in daily function, from memory to mood and hunger.

Cannabinoids from hemp and cannabis plants also act on these receptors. That can lead to effects like pain relief and reduced inflammation, which are common with CBD. Elevated mood and an altered sense of perception are common with cannabinoids like Delta 8 and many others.

Understanding THC Alternatives

An alternative needs a standard with which it can be compared and contrasted. In the case of cannabinoids, the standard is cannabis-derived Delta 9 THC.

Cannabis-derived Delta 9 has been used for its psychoactive effects for many centuries. Use cases include recreational, religious, and many other contexts. It’s by far the most well-known cannabinoid.

Some alternative cannabinoids were discovered decades ago. That includes Delta 11, which was first identified in the 1970s. Others came about following a major event we’ll discuss in the next section.

However, these cannabinoids were only of limited interest. Laws restricting cannabis use, among a variety of other factors, meant these alternatives weren’t well-known or widely used.

Federal Law Change Paves the Way for Alt Cannabinoids

In the US, the 2018 Farm Bill made a major change to the legality of hemp-derived cannabinoids. This federal legislation legalized the commercial production of hemp. The only relevant restriction was a limit on the total amount of Delta 9 THC present (up to 0.3% by dry weight).

That change in federal law meant alternative cannabinoids could be produced from hemp. Examples include Delta 8, Delta 11, and THC-A, among many others. Plentiful cannabinoids found in hemp, like CBD, can be extracted from those plants. Then, those starter cannabinoids are chemically converted into other cannabinoids that have desirable psychoactive effects.

In the big picture, these alt cannabinoids have similar effects to Delta 9 THC. However, because they come from a different source (hemp as opposed to cannabis) and/or have a slightly different chemical structure, federal laws related to Delta 9 THC do not apply. That includes hemp-derived Delta 9.

It’s important to note that, despite being federally legal, these cannabinoids may be restricted or prohibited on the state or municipal level. Always check into applicable local and state laws before purchasing or using alternative cannabinoids.

How Do People Use Alt Cannabinoids?

Alt cannabinoids come in many forms. Vapes and edibles are especially popular because they’re convenient and discreet. Flower, tinctures and oils, and infused drinks also have plenty of fans.

A lab worker places filled cartridges into a styrofoam block.

Our Favorite Alternative Cannabinoids

Looking for an alt cannabinoids list? Keep reading for a rundown of some of our best-selling alternative cannabinoids. We believe they’re among the best alt cannabinoids available for two reasons:

  1. They’re especially popular with our customers. We’ve gathered many positive reviews from users who find products containing these alt cannabinoids to be effective and enjoyable.
  2. We only partner with industry-leading brands who demonstrate a commitment to product safety and quality. When you buy the cannabinoids listed below from us, you can count on a high-quality product.

Delta 8

Delta 8 was the first alt cannabinoid to have a major impact following the 2018 Farm Bill. It’s easily among the most recognizable and widely used THC alternatives.

As is the case with many other alt cannabinoids, Delta 8 has effects similar to those of Delta 9 THC. The major difference is potency. Delta 8 is less potent than Delta 9.

However, users report enjoyable effects with doses large and small. Because Delta 8 is less potent than Delta 9, it can be easier to find the perfect dose for your needs, too.

Delta 11

Delta 11 has been around since the 1970s but has only recently become well-recognized. It’s available in a wide variety of products, from vapes to edibles and more.

What makes it unique? Delta 11 is thought to be about three times as potent as Delta 9. If you’re in the market for a higher-strength alt cannabinoid, Delta 11 can be a great choice.

Hemp-Derived Delta 9

Delta 9 is the standard when it comes to cannabinoids, so hemp-derived Delta 9 is an intriguing alternative. Created from cannabinoids found in hemp plants, this Delta 9 is otherwise very familiar to those who have used cannabis-derived Delta 9 in the past.

Hemp-sourced Delta 9 is available in a wide range of products, too. That makes it easy to enjoy it in exactly the way you want to.


HHC was first discovered in the 1940s. Similarly to Delta 11, it remained obscure until federal laws changed following the 2018 Farm Bill. It’s quickly grown to become a popular option that’s available in many ready-to-use products.

HHC falls in between Delta 8 and Delta 9 in terms of potency, based on user reports. If you’re looking for something stronger than Delta 8 but not too strong, HHC might be for you.

High-Quality Alt Cannabinoids From Delta 8 Resellers

Delta 8 Resellers is committed to delivering high-quality alternative cannabinoids to each and every one of our customers. From exclusively partnering with leading brands to sharing the results of independent lab testing for our inventory, we take quality seriously.

Shop our full range of alternative cannabinoids, accessories, and more!


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