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Our blood pressure chart explains what your reading means, including normal blood pressure and the difference between systolic and diastolic. By Glen Szczypka, Jessica K. Pepper & 1 more. See how monitoring social media platforms can help FDA achieve regulatory and consumer protection goals for emerging cannabis products like Delta-8. Sleep aids should make you feel more rested, not less. Here’s why melatonin doesn’t work for everyone and what to take instead.

Normal Blood Pressure Numbers By Age

Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly is an internal and integrative medicine physician with a telemedicine practice serving patients nationwide.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • What Is Blood Pressure?
  • What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?
  • What Is Normal Blood Pressure?
  • Blood Pressure Chart
  • How to Take Blood Pressure
  • What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?
  • What Is Low Blood Pressure?
  • Heart Rate vs. Blood Pressure
  • Blood Pressure Monitor vs. Blood Pressure Cuff
  • When to Call Your Doctor
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Blood pressure numbers are an important health indicator, which is why many doctors recommend monitoring them at home as you age. But there’s little point in doing so if you don’t know what the readings mean or how to gather them correctly.

What’s more, readings vary throughout the day and can depend on factors like hydration and stress. Plus, the ranges of numbers that indicate high, low and normal blood pressure vary based on your age.

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force that drives blood through arteries as the heart pumps, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues throughout the body. A normal blood pressure reading is essential for your organs to work well and avoid damage.

Blood pressure can change depending on your age, health conditions and other lifestyle factors. Keeping an eye on these numbers is important because when your blood pressure rises or falls rapidly—or remains high or low for an extended period of time—it can be a sign of poor health and lead to serious health consequences, including an increased risk of premature death.

One way to easily keep tabs on your blood pressure is with an at-home blood pressure monitor. In fact, many of the at-home monitors on our Best Blood Pressure Monitors of 2022 ranking tout features that make it easy to interpret whether your blood pressure is elevated or within normal range via color-coded readings.

Still, despite many at-home monitors having features that make it easy to interpret your readings, it’s important to understand what your blood pressure numbers mean, and which ones indicate a normal versus high reading.

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What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

A blood pressure reading features two numbers: a top number, which is called systolic blood pressure, and a bottom number, which is called diastolic blood pressure.

What Is Systolic Blood Pressure?

Systolic blood pressure measures how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls. “The pressure within our arteries changes with every heartbeat,” says Ian Del Conde Pozzi, M.D., a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist at the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. When the heart contracts, it pumps extra blood into the circulatory system, increasing the pressure. That increase is measured by systolic blood pressure.

What Is Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Diastolic pressure then measures the pressure within the system when the heart is at rest, says Dr. Pozzi. Systolic blood pressure is the peak pressure during a heartbeat while diastolic blood pressure is the lowest pressure between heartbeats when the heart relaxes briefly.

What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading “indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels,” says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHg [1] Virani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics – 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021;143:e254-e743. .

Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a person’s age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, “The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age (e.g. if someone is considered elderly) and associated co-morbidities (e.g. diabetes).”

Normal Blood Pressure by Age, Race and Gender

Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHg [2] High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .

When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. “Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two,” he says.

The reason for this variance can range from substandard insurance coverage and poor access to healthcare to gaps in the use of medications to treat multiple conditions with “reduced compliance in certain groups,” he adds.

As for gender, there’s increasing evidence for risk of cardiovascular disease in women with blood pressures lower than what is considered normal, says Jennifer Wong, M.D., medical director of non-invasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

“An observational study published in Circulation earlier this year suggested an increased risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure in women starting at systolic blood pressures of greater than 110 mmHg,” says Dr. Wong [3] Ji H, Niiranen TJ, Rader F, et al. Sex Differences in Blood Pressure Associations With Cardiovascular Outcomes . Circulation. 2021;143:761–763. . “The higher risk is comparable to the risk of men at higher blood pressure thresholds.”

Blood Pressure Chart

There are five blood pressure stages: normal and four specific stages of hypertension, which range from very treatable to urgent.

Normal Blood Pressure

People with a blood pressure range of 90 to 120 systolic and 60 to 80 diastolic have normal blood pressure, says Dr. Wong. A systolic reading below 90 signifies low blood pressure.

Elevated Blood Pressure

A blood pressure reading of 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic signifies elevated blood pressure and, thus, a higher probability of developing hypertension.

“As blood pressure elevates, there is increased workload on the heart and arteries,” says Dr. Desai. “This results in [the] thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy), which can lead to heart failure. It also results in [the] micro-tearing of the artery wall, leading to cholesterol deposition (atherosclerosis). This leads to [the] narrowing of the vessel and further elevation of blood pressure.”

Hypertension Stage I

Hypertension Stage I is defined by a systolic reading of 130 to 139 and a diastolic reading of 80 to 89.

Dr. Wong says while doctors initially treat this stage of hypertension by suggesting a healthier lifestyle—eating more vegetables and whole grains, using less salt, increasing physical activity and controlling stress—medications may be needed if blood pressure falls in this range on multiple readings over a period of time in people with other cardiovascular risk factors.

Dr. Wong adds that, per 2017 ACC/AHA guidelines, adults with Hypertension Stage I should consider medication after three to six months of nonpharmacologic therapy. There’s also a risk of atherosclerosis—thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery—if it isn’t treated. Risk factors for atherosclerosis may include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical activity and eating saturated fats.

Hypertension Stage II

Hypertension Stage II is marked by a systolic reading of at least 140 and diastolic reading of at least 90. It’s generally treated with a mix of medications and a healthy lifestyle prescription, says Dr. Wong. Still, this stage of hypertension is more serious than the former and should be watched carefully.

Hypertensive Crisis

A hypertensive crisis is an emergency situation and occurs when the systolic blood pressure reading exceeds 180 and the diastolic reading exceeds 120. “Immediate organ damage can occur and emergency treatment should be sought if there are symptoms of stroke, headache, visual changes, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Wong.

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How to Take Blood Pressure

You can take your blood pressure at home using a wrist blood pressure monitor or an upper arm cuff blood pressure monitor . Experts typically recommend upper arm cuffs because they are the most accurate. Upper arm cuffs can come with either a manual or digital monitor. Both work well, but if you’re measuring your blood pressure on your own regularly, a digital one will likely be easiest to use correctly.

To take your blood pressure accurately with a digital upper arm cuff, start by sitting quietly in an upright position for a few minutes, allowing your body a moment to relax. Be mindful to uncross your legs and ankles, as well as use comfortable support for your back.

With the monitor sitting on a table in front of you, place your arm next to it—at approximately heart level—and place the cuff around your bare upper arm about one inch above your elbow. Secure the cuff so that you can only slide a fingertip under the top edge.

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Next, simply turn on the monitor, press the start button, and take normal breaths as the cuff inflates and deflates, measuring your blood pressure and producing your reading on the screen.

What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is defined by systolic readings of at least 130 mmHg and diastolic readings of at least 80 mmHg, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of 2021, 116 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders,” says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.

“Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers,” says Wong. “Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.”

High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertension [4] Ostchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. In fact, most people don’t even realize they have hypertension until their blood pressure is monitored.

“Symptoms don’t develop until the numbers get very high and organs get damaged, often irreversibly,” says Dr. Desai.

If you have severe hypertension, you might notice the below symptoms, some of which were reported by patients in a study in the British Journal of General Practice [5] Goodhart A. Hypertension from the patient’s perspective. British Journal of General Practice. 2016;66(652):570. :

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Visual changes
  • Blood in urine
  • Mood changes
  • Constipation

Treatment: How to Lower High Blood Pressure

“A healthy lifestyle can help prevent some of the damage that can occur with hypertension, as well as help lower blood pressure to some extent,” says Dr. Wong. He recommends:

  • Limiting your salt intake to 2.3 grams a day.
  • Completing 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
  • Limiting your alcohol intake.
  • Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which can help reduce blood pressure, says Dr. Wong. It’s a diet high in vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. It’s low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats.
  • Managing your stress with practices like meditation.
  • Reducing your total body fat percentage.
  • Appropriately managing associated medical conditions like diabetes.

Side Effects of High Blood Pressure

“Dangers of untreated high blood pressure include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, kidney failure, vascular dementia and sexual dysfunction,” says Dr. Desai. It’s one of the top risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and can lead to stroke, heart failure and reduced quality of life.

What Is Low Blood Pressure?

While hypertension can be problematic for your overall health, blood pressure that’s too low can also be cause for concern. With that said, the American Heart Association doesn’t recognize a specific day-to-day blood pressure reading as “too low.” Instead, it’s a matter of what symptoms you may be experiencing due to low blood pressure, how these symptoms affect you and how long they persist.

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:

  • Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
  • Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
  • Dehydration
  • Sepsis from severe infection
  • Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinson’s disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
  • Massive weight loss
  • Blood loss or anemia

Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Low blood pressure symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Rapid heart rate

Treatment: How to Increase Low Blood Pressure

Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause. “Certain medications may need to be adjusted or discontinued if they are contributing to the low blood pressure,” says Dr. Wong. “Certain lifestyle modifications, as well as sometimes pharmacological treatment, can be helpful as well.”

Side Effects of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure may not be discussed as often as high blood pressure, but it should be addressed, as prolonged low blood pressure can negatively affect your organs.

“A certain amount of blood pressure is needed to maintain blood flow to the organs,” says Dr. Wong. “The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to these organs. If the blood pressure is too low, an adequate blood supply cannot get to these organs.”

If left untreated, low blood pressure can increase your risk of fainting, heart attack and organ damage, adds Dr. Desai.

Heart Rate vs. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and don’t necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.

A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.

Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.

Blood Pressure Monitor vs. Blood Pressure Cuff

“Blood pressure monitor” and “blood pressure cuff” are two phrases often used to describe the same blood pressure measurement tool. The blood pressure cuff is the element that wraps around either the upper arm, wrist or finger to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure monitor is the element in charge of inflating and deflating the cuff, as well as providing your blood pressure reading on an easy-to-read display.

Most experts recommend using a blood pressure monitor with an upper arm blood pressure cuff for at-home readings because they tend to be more accurate than wrist cuffs and finger cuffs.

When to Call Your Doctor

The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHg—even if you have no other symptoms.

“You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Wong.

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Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid that has recently grown exponentially in popularity across the United States (Fletcher, 2020). It has a similar psychotropic effect on the brain as the more common and federally illegal Delta-9 THC and is commonly referred to as “weed light” with users reporting less intense effects and less paranoia than Delta-9 THC (Lyden, 2021). Delta-8 THC is packaged as vaping cartridges (informally called “carts”), edibles, and tinctures at recreational and medical dispensaries; the products are sold at gas stations, vape shops, and at online retailers, often at inflated prices (Richtel, 2021; SF Weekly, 2021; Zhang, 2021).

Delta-8 THC is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), and CBD can be extracted from hemp (Leafly, 2021). The 2018 Farm Bill reclassified hemp, removing it from the list of controlled substances and allowing the sale of hemp products in states where cannabis is illegal (Richtel, 2021). Thus, Delta-8 THC derived from CBD is federally legal. However, Delta-8 THC only occurs naturally in very small amounts within CBD. Therefore, producers extract Delta-8 from hemp at such high levels that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) considers it to be synthetically produced and, consequently, under its enforcement. Both producers and retailers have seen Delta-8 THC’s quasi-legal status as an opportunity to supply a market for individuals who want to “get high” legally (Fletcher, 2020). Some states have stepped in to enforce their own rules about cannabinoids and have explicitly banned Delta-8 THC. As of 2021, these states included Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah (Vaper Whole Supply, 2021).

There are few studies on the potential adverse effects of Delta-8 THC on humans when vaped, smoked, or eaten. Most Delta-8 products are sold at smoke shops and gas stations and not controlled by a state-licensed cannabis system. Use of Delta-8 THC is a risk, especially given its lack of regulation, wide availability, and questionable legality (Wenzke, 2021).


Social media can be an important data source to understand emergent health behavior not captured by traditional public health surveillance systems. Surveys have limitations such as low response rates and time delays between data collection and data availability whereas social media is collected in real time and can therefore provide more up-to-date information on emerging trends. Paul et al. notes that because emerging drugs cannot be included in surveys until (typically several years) after initial use by the public, social media is more suited for the identification of rising interest in emerging drugs and the observation of fine-grained trends in real time.

Meacham et al. notes that online discussion platforms like Reddit are a novel tool to understand the temporal trends of and user experiences with emerging cannabis forms and can inform public health and regulatory practices to reduce potential adverse effects related to cannabis use. Furthermore, Chen et al. describes Reddit as having an enthusiastic hobby culture of sharing the latest information on methods of consuming tobacco products, such as vaping and using hookah pipes, and providing insight on health problems that might occur when engaging in such activities.

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In October 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Data Acceleration Plan, which described the importance of using new approaches to address the rapidly growing market of cannabis-derived products (US Food and Drug Administration/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, 2021). As part of that plan, FDA specifically noted that consumer-generated online data from Reddit can provide rich sources of information to identify safety issues and adverse events from products like Delta-8 to complement its traditional surveillance systems. To better understand how Reddit data could help FDA achieve its goal of responding to rapidly evolving products and use patterns, we characterized the content of Reddit posts about Delta-8.


Using data from Reddit, we conducted an exploratory study of online conversations about Delta-8 THC that can provide researchers early knowledge about users’ experiences, perceptions, and reactions to Delta-8 THC. Additionally, we examined Reddit conversations about novel products that contain Delta-8 THC and how and where Delta-8 THC products are sold and purchased.

As of 2021, an estimated 18% of US adults use Reddit, with an estimated 36% of US adults aged 18 to 29 years using the platform. Reddit users were more likely to be male, have higher income, be college educated, and live in suburban areas (Auxier & Anderson, 2021). This social media platform is structured as a forum divided into various subreddits, or channels of content focused on specific topics; many of the subreddits are focused on knowledge-sharing, education, and establishing community among users rather than the branding of individuals or companies, which is more common for other social media platforms that include paid advertising and influencers. Compared with Twitter’s 280-character limit, Reddit allows up to 40,000 characters in a single post or reply. This provides a robust volume of long-form text to analyze on a topic of interest.

Reddit users post content that often includes questions or requests for recommendations or information, responses, and follow-up conversation between users. Thus, Reddit may facilitate more honest sharing because it allows for greater anonymity than platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which encourage or necessitate more personal information sharing through one’s real name, photos, and other personal information. Additionally, Reddit includes features (e.g., downvotes by which users express dislike or disagreement toward a post; no reposts allowed, which minimizes the duplication of content and encourages more original content to be posted) that allow for more diverse reactions and subsequent conversations to be shared than what is generally seen on other social media platforms.

Brandwatch is a commercially available social media listening platform that connects directly to multiple social media platforms’ and forums’ application programming interfaces (APIs). Users can access all publicly available social media conversations using tailored keyword queries. Brandwatch provides users with access to Reddit posts, replies, comments, and other metadata in historic and real time, provided that the post, reply, or comment was not deleted by the account user.

We queried Brandwatch to capture Reddit post mentions of Delta-8 THC using keywords “Delta 8,” “Delta-8,” and “Delta8.” Initially, we examined the period from January 2020 through April 2021, but we discovered that after November 2020, the moderators of popular subreddit r/delta8 categorized it as NSFW (i.e., Not Safe for Work), making this subreddit inaccessible for data collection. Because of this, we narrowed our study period from January 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020. All mentions were filtered for English to limit social media posts to the United States as much as possible. However, captured posts may not have originated in the United States.

We applied Brandwatch’s topic clustering module to our collection of posts using their natural language processing tools. This identifies groups of recurring words and phrases within bodies of text and arranges them into topics. Each topic represents a group of posts with similarities in text. The module identifies each group by a frequently mentioned word or short phrase that best describes how that group differs from the others. We summarize the top topics in Reddit posts about Delta-8 and provide sample posts for these top topics.


Posts and Subreddits

We collected approximately 47,556 Reddit posts from 11,333 unique users across 708 subreddits. The subreddit r/delta8, which was started in 2020, is specifically dedicated to discussions about Delta-8 THC; this subreddit had 28,019 posts, which accounted for 58.9% of all posts during this period. The next most popular subreddits were r/fakecartridges (3,316 posts/7.0%), r/hempflowers (2,640 posts/5.6%), r/oilpen (1,900 posts/4.0%), r/cleancarts (703 posts/1.5%), r/cbd (638 posts/1.3%), and r/weed (591/1.2%). The remaining 701 subreddits contained less than 21% of all posts related to Delta-8.

Trends in Volume of Post Mentions of Delta-8 THC

Reddit user posts about Delta-8 THC from January through March 2020 were low, averaging four per day. From April 1, 2020, through August 20, 2020, the average number of posts increased to 87 per day. The largest peak in conversation occurred on August 21, 2020, with 670 posts. On that day, 60% of posts discussed a DEA interim ruling regarding CBD and the 2018 Farm Bill (Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department of Justice, 2020). Reddit users voiced concerns that the ruling was a potential pathway toward prosecuting hemp processors and producers of CBD and Delta-8 THC products. After August 21 through the end of the study period, posts continued to increase, with a daily average of 215 posts. (See Figure 1. Trends in Volume of Post Mentions of Delta-8 THC.)

Frequent Topic Phrases for Delta-8 THC

Prominent Delta-8 THC discussion topics included products that contain Delta-8 THC; how and where Delta-8 THC can be sold and purchased; overall safety and legality, including discussion of the Farm Bill; and users’ reactions to and experiences with Delta-8 THC. Table 1 includes the top 10 topic phrases and a representative post for each phrase. These topic phrases fell into four primary categories: description of available products, commerce and safety, the Farm Bill, and reactions and experiences. Some topic phrases were relevant to more than one category.

Topic Phrase (Number of Posts) Category Typically Associated with Topic Phrase Excerpt from Representative Post
Hemp flower
(n = 236)
Available Products If this is in reference to D8 sprayed hemp flower, VERY FEW VENDORS provide a residual solvent laboratory on the final sprayed hemp product. It is highly recommended to only buy from sources that provide residual solvent tests on the final sprayed flower.
First time
(n = 202)
Reactions and Experiences, Available Products I bought two packs of treetop d8 gummies (159mg each, should get most people baked) but my first time I took some the night and the rest later and felt nothing. Second time I took them all and also felt nothing.
D8 carts (cartridges)
(n = 171)
Available Products What are the effects compared with delta9? For a daily heavy smoker? And also do y’all have any recommendations on best d8 carts?
Farm bill
(n = 152)
Farm Bill To everyone freaking out that there is a legal cannabinoid: They are all FEDERALLY legal (D8, CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG, etc) except d9 under the 2018 Farm Bill. D9 is what you’re used to when you smoke. D8 is very similar but has a slightly different high, it’s like an indica without many negatives except dry mouth and that it can be harsh asf.
Body high
(n = 147)
Reactions and Experiences Effects – ok so its been 55 minutes, Took 3 gummies wich is 60MG, and honestly im stoned as actually shit right now and yea im very high really high and yk its fun . id say its 60% Head high, 40% body high, Honestly i feel like my head is being gripped by a mothers arms, and my body feel like im a washer machine.
Delta 9 THC
(n = 121)
Reactions and Experiences It’s similar to delta 9 thc just one molecule off. It’s effects aren’t really as heavy but you will notice very close similarities. It’s often claimed to cause less anxiety and paranoia. It also lasts shorter, two tops would have effects lasting 30min to an hour. It is derived from cbd and therefore is not synthetic.
Test results
(n = 119)
Commerce and Safety Huh? Where you see poison in carts bud (other than bm). And you would have to name some of these companies “faking test results” seen 3chi? And it doesn’t matter if its cannabis derived Its isomerised from cbd isolate lmao.
Black market
(n = 93)
Commerce and Safety Another fake cart brand now switching from “d9” on the black market to “D8” sold openly?! I thought CannaClear was an aberration but this just goes to show that there is a lot of overlap since the online d8 industry is as shady as the fake brand industry.
Harbor City Hemp
(n = 84)
Commerce and Safety There are a lot of good brands out there but if you want tried and true stuff, aside from the one you have, try Skyhio or 3Chi or Triangle Trading Company or Harbor City Hemp. Those tend to be the most popular in the community and for good reason.
Clear headed
(n = 70)
Reactions and Experiences The clear headed feeling is definitely true, but 1/4 strength? I’ve been smoking for 25 years and d8 gets me just as blasted as d9. This is my experience of course, but I’d estimate it at 50 or 60% the strength without the fear inducing paranoia of high d9 concentrates.

Descriptions of Available Products

These Reddit posts described products with Delta-8 THC, including a combustible hemp flower sprayed with Delta-8 THC, vape cartridges with extracted Delta-8 THC, and edibles (e.g., gummies) infused with Delta-8 THC.

Commerce and Safety

These Reddit posts included descriptions of retail sales of Delta-8 THC. Users posted about trustworthy brands, including Skyhio, 3Chi, Triangle Trading Company, and Harbor City Hemp. These posts often included product photos. We noted from these posts an overall concern about the safety of Delta-8 THC products, given the lack of testing. Users compared the open sales of Delta-8 THC carts to black market purchases of Delta-9 THC counterfeit carts, because both types of products are untested.

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Farm Bill

These Reddit posts contained discussion of the legality of Delta-8 THC as it relates to the 2018 Farm Bill. Most posters believed that Delta-8 THC is federally legal.

Reactions and Experiences

These Reddit posts included reports of intoxication, altered consciousness, and physiological effects after consuming Delta-8 THC. Users often reported their first-time experiences. Many observed a “body high” and clear-headedness, which they described as different from the effects from Delta-9 THC.


In the first 11 months of 2020, there were almost 60,000 Reddit posts about Delta-8 THC, primarily concentrated in the r/delta8 subreddit. The peak in daily posts occurred after a DEA interim ruling regarding CBD and the 2018 Farm Bill, suggesting widespread interest among users in the legal status of Delta-8 products. Main topics of posts included descriptions of available products, commerce and safety, the Farm Bill, and user reactions and experiences. These topics reflect a wide range of consumer interest in the products themselves (e.g., types of products, user experience) and the contexts in which they are sold (e.g., legality, locations for purchase).

Delta-8 THC products should be a concern for health officials, given their wide availability at retail and online locations, the lack of product regulation and testing, and Delta-8’s questionable legality. There is precedent for unregulated THC vaping products causing serious disease and death. In 2019, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported numerous cases of severe lung illness related to e-cigarette and vaping products, known as e-cigarette or vaping product use–associated lung injury (EVALI) (Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department of Justice, 2020). As of February 18, 2020, there have been a total of 2,807 EVALI cases reported across the United States. The CDC identified Vitamin E acetate (an additive in some THC vaping cartridges) as “strongly linked” to EVALI (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). Dank Vapes, a counterfeit brand of THC-containing cartridges, was linked to EVALI outbreaks in Wisconsin and Illinois. Officials reported the Dank Vapes brand was widely available online and used by black market distributors to market THC cartridges (Aubrey, 2019). Although scientists linked EVALI only to Delta-9 THC products, the unregulated and untested nature of Delta-8 THC products puts users at risk for future problems like EVALI. Like Dank Vapes, Delta-8 THC products are cheaply produced, do not undergo required testing, and are sold in unregulated markets with conditions similar to a black market. As with Delta-8, Reddit users frequently discussed use of (and concerns about) Dank Vapes, reinforcing the value of this platform for getting up-to-date information on cannabis products (Pepper et al., 2022).

Monitoring social media posts about available Delta-8 THC products and users’ experiences can inform future research, regulations, and health surveillance, particularly given the substance’s questionable legal status. Social media posts can shed light on what populations (e.g., youth or adult) are most interested in Delta-8 THC products and reasons for use. For example, are Delta-8 THC products more popular because of their legality in markets where Delta-9 THC products are illegal? Do users prefer products with lighter psychotropic effects than those of Delta-9 THC? Additionally, if the legality of Delta-8 THC changes, will the marketplace evolve, causing Delta-8 to become more of a public health concern?


This study has several limitations. First, although Reddit has become more popular in the United States, with use growing from 11% of adults in 2019 to 18% in 2021 (Auxier & Anderson, 2021), Reddit users are not representative of the general population. Second, this study does not represent all Delta-8 THC users because not all are on social media or use Reddit in particular. Third, some posts may have been deleted by Reddit users or moderators before we began our query of Reddit posts.


Reddit users post about Delta-8 frequently, sharing valuable insight about health concerns and experiences with use and giving advice on brands to use or avoid. Given that Reddit’s enthusiastic community openly and anonymously shares information in long-form text, Reddit is a valuable social media platform to identify novel cannabis, hemp, and CBD consumer products and brands and their potential misuse and health effects. Social media monitoring can be advantageous relative to traditional, survey-based social science research because it can follow conversations in real time in a rapidly changing market with less concern about the impact of social desirability bias. Continued surveillance of subreddits to detect consumers’ concerns about health effects and brands could provide early intelligence about Delta-8 THC and other emerging products. Monitoring discussions of Delta-8 on Reddit could help FDA achieve its goals of understanding the market landscape to inform enforcement and rapidly identifying safety issues.


This work was supported by NIDA and FDA Center for Tobacco Products (Award number: 3R33DA044377-04S1). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the Food and Drug Administration.

3 Melatonin Alternatives That Won’t Make You Groggy in the Morning

Sleep aids should make you feel more rested, not less. Here’s why melatonin doesn’t work for everyone and what to take instead.

Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She’s written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Women’s Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.

Melatonin is one of the first supplements you’ll be advised to grab over the counter if you have trouble sleeping . And like so many others, I’ve tried it in an effort to get better rest at night .

However, the few times I’ve taken any amount of melatonin, I’ve felt groggy and “hungover” for hours the next morning. My body’s negative reaction to melatonin seems to defeat the purpose of taking it in the first place: to feel more rested during the day . Clearly, melatonin’s not the best sleep aid for me.

Turns out, I’m not alone.

Below, Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, shares the best alternatives to melatonin if you decide it’s not for you. Plus, he breaks down why melatonin can make you feel hungover — and how to prevent that effect if you choose to keep taking it. (For better sleep, also check out our rundown of the best mattresses , the best pillows and the best alarm clocks of the year.)

Melatonin takes about an hour to work and lasts for about five hours, according to Josh Axe.

3 sleep supplements to try instead of melatonin

If you have a similar reaction to melatonin, how do you find a natural sleep aid that doesn’t make you feel groggy? Axe recommends the following sleep supplements next time you want help catching Z’s.

  • Adaptogenic herbs: “Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and kava help your body cope with stress and support your nervous system. They can also lower cortisol release, which is a stress hormone that can disrupt sleep,” says Axe.
  • Magnesium: “Magnesium is an electrolyte mineral that can have calming effects and can reduce muscle tension and headaches,” he says.
  • CBD or CBN: “CBD oil, made from the hemp plant, is nonpsychoactive but has calming and pain-soothing effects,” says Axe. CBN is a type of cannabinoid that is being used in more sleep supplements since it’s the most sedative compound found in cannabis, according to Sandland Sleep.

Why does melatonin make me feel hungover?

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced naturally in the body, and it helps tell you when to sleep and when to wake up. Taking melatonin is thought to improve sleep because it can help your body produce more of the hormone.

“Melatonin is generally thought to be safer to use than other sleep medications and less likely to cause side effects such as daytime grogginess the next day. That being said, taking too much and taking it too late at night or in the middle of the night might cause its effects to linger into the next day,” says Axe. “Continuous release melatonin tablets might also linger in someone’s system and lead to side effects in some cases.”

Even though melatonin is different from sleep medications and considered generally safe, some people simply may not be able to tolerate it well. “For reasons related to people’s metabolisms and possibly genetics, some might be more prone to experiencing side effects from melatonin, such as nausea or low energy,” says Axe.

27 tips to help you sleep better, starting tonight

How to prevent a melatonin hangover (besides not taking it)

If you experience side effects like next-day drowsiness when you take melatonin, does that mean you should never take it? According to Axe, you might be able to try a few adjustments first. To start, he says to avoid taking it in the middle of the night. “After you take melatonin it starts working within about an hour and lasts for about 5 hours in your body, so taking it in the middle of the night isn’t the best idea if you want to wake up with energy,” he explains.

“Try taking a low dose to start, taking it about 60 minutes before sleep and skipping continuous release melatonin if this seems to apply to you,” he advises. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a low dose is generally considered 0.5 mg and 5mg is on the higher side.

For those who do take melatonin daily, Axe says it doesn’t hurt to take a break from it every now and then. “It’s typically intended to be taken for short periods of time, such as several weeks or months, but not continuously forever (unless you’re working with a doctor),” says Axe.

“That being said, it isn’t known to cause dependency, so taking it for longer may not be a problem unless you experience side effects,” he says.

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