Hang around the legal hemp scene long enough and you’ll notice a plethora of federally legal products that contain Delta 9 THC.
Yes, we’re talking about the same Delta 9 THC that’s famous for weed’s psychoactive effects.
Considering marijuana use is legal and heavily regulated, it’s easy to question if all the legal products made with D9 THC are even real weed.
It’s a great question, and exactly what we’ll uncover in this article.
Keep reading to learn more about Delta 9, including where it’s found, how it works, its possible benefits, potential risks, why it’s legal when derived from hemp plants and much, much more.
- Delta 9 THC is the most commonly occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use.
- The various effects produced by Delta 9 on the body and mind occur because of the way the cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
- Delta 9 is federally legal when derived from hemp plants but illegal when derived from marijuana, which remains on the federal government list of controlled substances.
- Because of its therapeutic potential, Delta 9 THC is used for an array of medical conditions and health problems, particularly in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use.
Understanding Delta 9 THC
Delta-9 THC is one of over 100+ cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It’s found in both hemp and marijuana plants and is the most abundantly occurring cannabinoid in marijuana.
Both hemp and marijuana are types of plants in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, and it’s Delta 9 THC levels that are used to differentiate the two.
According to federal law, hemp plants contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC and marijuana plants contain more than 0.3% D9 THC.
It’s Delta-9 THC that’s responsible for the euphoric effects that have made cannabis use so popular. Fun fact: Marijuana is the most popular illegal substance in the world.
D9 might be the most popular, but there are numerous other cannabinoids and some are more abundant than others. Some of the most commonly occurring cannabinoids (known as major cannabinoids) include THC, CBD, CBG and CBC.
All cannabinoids have their own distinct effects on the human body.
Delta 9 THC just so happens to be the most famous. Not only is it the primary cannabinoid molecule responsible for getting over 200 million worldwide cannabis users high, research points to some serious potential when it comes to D9’s medicinal properties.
Delta 9 is widely used for its potential in supporting pain management, sleep problems, mental health and other medical conditions. Individuals with a medical marijuana card can use marijuana in states that have legalized cannabis for medical use.
That said, D9 THC derived from marijuana plants remains illegal under federal law.
The Science of Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 THC (or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
It’s produced in the plant when CBGA (cannabigerolic acid aka the “mother cannabinoid”) converts to THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) when cannabis plants mature. THCA is considered the acidic precursor to THC.
Delta 9 THC only becomes psychoactive when THCA is converted in a process known as decarboxylation, which essentially turns the cannabinoid “on.”
Its myriad of medical and recreational effects are all possible because of the way D9 interacts with the ECS.
Delta 9’s intoxicating effects occur, for example, because of the cannabinoid’s binding affinity to CB1 receptors.
Understanding the science behind Delta-9 THC and its interactions with the ECS is crucial in understanding its prospective benefits and drawbacks.
The Role of Delta 9 THC in Cannabis
Delta-9 THC is just one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis, with each cannabinoid having distinct effects on the ECS. It’s the chemical composition of Delta 9 THC that sets it apart from other various cannabinoids.
Delta-9 THC is famous for its intoxicating effects, while most cannabinoids (such as CBD) don’t get you high. This is because D9 is one of the only cannabinoids that binds directly to CB1 receptors.
That said, there are other types of THC that contain a similar structure to D9 that influence the same ECS receptor that causes the euphoric effects weed is famous for. Delta 8 THC, for example, is less potent and present in smaller amounts in the cannabis plant. But it will still get you high.
Delta 9 THC is suggested to work harmoniously with other cannabinoids and cannabis compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.
Delta 9 THC and The Endocannabinoid System
Ever wonder how weed works?
It’s actually quite fascinating and comes down to the endocannabinoid system (commonly referred to as the ECS). This complex signaling system is found throughout the entire body and plays a critical role in regulating several physiological functions.
At the most basic level the ECS is composed of two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), two endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol) and two enzymes that synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids (FAAH and MAGL).
The ECS is responsible for maintaining immune function, reproductive function, learning, memory, mood, sleep and more.
Cannabinoids such as Delta 9 THC are similar in structure to the body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids and interact with the same receptors.
Understanding how THC, specifically Delta 9 THC, interacts with the ECS is crucial in comprehending its effects on the human body and mind.
CB1 Receptors and the Intoxicating Effects of Cannabis
CB1 receptors are the ones to which THC binds strongly, resulting in its intoxicating effects. If it wasn’t for CB1 receptors, it’s safe to say we probably wouldn’t be getting high.
When Delta-9 THC binds to CB1 receptors, it essentially turns the receptor on, resulting in the intoxicating, euphoric effects revered by cannabis users.
D9 isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however, and is not without its potential risks. When it attaches to CB1 receptors, it can cause adverse effects like mental fog, anxiety, paranoia, impaired judgment, memory impairments, reduced coordination and more.
On the flip side, Delta 9 THC’s affinity for CB1 receptors can also lead to potential beneficial effects like reduced inflammation, sleep support, relaxation, relief from anxiety and depression, chronic pain relief and more.
It’s essential to consider both benefits and risks associated with D9’s interaction with CB1 receptors. Truth be told, all cannabinoids influence the ECS, as they all interact with cannabinoid receptors in one way or another.
While D9 THC is known for its psychoactive effects, CBD does not produce intoxication, simply because it doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors. This has made CBD a popular option for those seeking the potential medicinal properties of cannabis that don’t want to get high.
On the other hand, Delta 8 THC also binds to CB1 receptors, which is why it’s known to produce intoxication. That said, its binding affinity isn’t as strong, as such its effects are much milder than D9 THC.
The diverse effects of different cannabinoids on the ECS showcase the intricate nature of cannabis and all the potential it contains.
By understanding how each cannabinoid interacts with the ECS, researchers can explore various therapeutic benefits and potential drawbacks, ultimately guiding individuals in making informed decisions when using cannabis products.
Is Delta 9 THC Legal?
Navigating the legal landscape surrounding Delta 9 THC can be challenging. Let’s simplify D9 THC legality in a way that’s easy to understand.
Delta 9 THC found in hemp at concentrations less than 0.3% is considered legal at the federal level. Delta 9 THC found in marijuana at concentrations of more than 0.3% is illegal at the federal level.
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived products that contain less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis are federally legal. This has created a legal loophole that’s made it technically legal to get high on hemp products.
When it comes to marijuana use (including products that contain over 0.3% D9 THC on a dry weight basis), Delta 9 is definitely illegal under federal law.
That said, state laws vary and some allow the use of Delta 9 THC derived from marijuana for medical purposes. There are also 23 states that have passed laws for recreational marijuana use.
Understanding the legal status of D9 is essential to any cannabis consumer interested in it’s potential medical benefits and/or intoxicating effects.
Marijuana laws vary widely across the country and knowing where D9 is legal and in what context can make it easier to source safe, legal hemp and marijuana products and avoid potential legal repercussions.
Where To Buy Delta 9 THC Products
Delta 9 THC marijuana products can be obtained at cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized marijuana medical or recreational weed. Hemp derived D9 can also be purchased online from several different online retailers.
When shopping for Delta 9 THC products, it’s crucial to choose reputable companies that provide test results from an independent third-party lab to ensure the product’s quality and potency.
The most trustworthy brands will include a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that allows consumers to see these lab results for themselves.
If you can’t find third party lab test results for a particular product, look for another product. There are plenty of legal Delta 9 gummy options to choose from.
Delta-9 THC VS Other Cannabinoids
Comparing D9 THC to other cannabis cannabinoids reveals differences in potency and effects.
For instance, CBD is non-intoxicating and offers many similar benefits to Delta-9 THC, but without the intoxication.
Delta-8 THC, on the other hand, is less potent than Delta 9 and offers a milder high.
With an overwhelming amount of cannabis products available, understanding the distinctions between cannabinoids and how they interact with the ECS can help consumers choose the right cannabinoid for their needs and preferences.
D9 VS CBD
The biggest difference between Delta 9 and CBD is their psychoactive effects. While D9 THC is famous for its intoxicating effects when taken in high doses, CBD doesn’t get you high.
Both compounds have similarities, such as offering prospective benefits for pain management and mental health, but they’re much different in the way they effect the body and mind.
Individuals seeking the advantages of cannabis without the psychoactive effects often opt for CBD.
D9 THC VS D8 THC
Delta8 THC is similar to Delta 9 but is less powerful.
It is naturally present in smaller amounts in the cannabis plant and produces similar effects to Delta 9, such as increased relaxation intoxication but it’s much milder.
This milder effect makes Delta 8 THC a popular choice for individuals curious about cannabis products that desire a less intense experience than D9 THC. Especially first-time users or individuals with a low THC tolerance.
While Delta 9 is the most well-known and widely used form of THC, understanding the distinctions between D9, D8 and other various cannabinoids can help individuals make informed decisions about the best cannabis products to support their individual needs.
What Are The Medicinal Properties of D9 THC?
Cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries.
While more studies are needed, there is research to suggest cannabis compounds like THC may provide pain relief, may contain antidepressant and anxiolytic properties, support neurological disorders and more.
While cannabis research is still fairly limited (a result of years of criminalization), there is a handful of clinical and preclinical research to support the potential it contains for medical use.
As with any substance, it’s important to understand both potential health risks and benefits of using cannabis. Always consult with a medical professional before using any cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, no matter what the THC content.
Some research indicates that D9 THC can significantly reduce pain intensity and improve mood in patients who respond to the therapy.
It’s also been found to reduce opioid use in some patients, highlighting its potential as an alternative treatment for pain management.
This is huge considering the current, ongoing opioid crisis, as it suggests that cannabis compounds like D9 may be able to offer a safer and more effective option for managing chronic pain.
Keep in mind, though, it’s important to recognize that not all individuals respond equally to D9 for pain relief. This means its effectiveness can vary depending on the individual, the specific cause of the pain and how they respond to cannabis-derived products.
Again, as with any treatment for anything, consulting with a medical professional and carefully considering what risks and benefits might be involved with cannabinoid use is essential before using D9 THC as something to help with chronic or acute pain management.
Cannabis can be tricky.
On one hand, it’s known to help individuals that suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. On the other hand, cannabis use can make anxiety, depression and other mental health problems worse.
Delta-9 THC has shown potential benefits for mental health.
Many people report that using marijuana products that contain D9 THC helps them cope with anxiety, especially social anxiety. There’s a catch, though. Lower doses of D9 show to decrease anxiety, while higher doses can make anxiety worse.
There’s also research to suggest that medical cannabis may be beneficial in supporting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD), although more studies are needed to make any real claims.
On the other hand, some reports indicate that prolonged exposure to marijuana during adolescent and teen years can lead to an increase in mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. This is particularly true when D9 THC is taken at higher concentrations.
The National Institutes of Health also suggests that regular users of marijuana can develop problematic use, known as cannabis use disorder. Associated with cannabis dependence, this may lead to symptoms like irritability, sleep difficulties, restlessness and more.
Did you know that cannabinoids are patented antioxidants and neuroprotectants?
It’s true. And this is exactly why Delta 9 and other cannabinoids are suggested to have such a positive impact on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s and more.
Cannabis may also play a role in supporting neurological disorders such as migraine, neuropathic pain and motor neuron disease.
There is also research that discovered some compounds in the plant (particularly D9 THC) have been observed to reduce inflammation and enhance motor function in individuals with multiple sclerosis.
Understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of Delta-9 THC for neurological disorders can help guide individuals and medical professionals to make informed decisions about using cannabis plant derivatives and products.
Risks and Side Effects of Delta-9 THC
While Delta 9 has numerous prospective benefits, it’s essential to be aware of its potential risks and side effects.
Some of the short-term side effects can include dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, impaired coordination, increased anxiety and temporary memory impairment.
Some of these side effects, however, can be managed or completely avoided by ensuring you stay plenty hydrated and other self-care measures. Definitely don’t drive when consuming cannabis, especially if D9 causes a noticeable impairment in coordination or motor skills.
If you start to feel anxious after consuming D9, consider taking deep breaths, putting on some soothing music or grabbing a snack. There’s also evidence to support CBD may help counter the negative effects of THC.
It’s important for users to understand their personal tolerance levels and adjust their Delta-9 THC consumption accordingly to minimize the risk of adverse effects.
There’s also a potential to experience effects like paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations and more. These effects can be particularly concerning for individuals with a history of mental health issues or those who are prone to anxiety.
This is why it’s crucial to start with a low dose of D9 and gradually increase the dosage as needed until you feel the effects you desire. This is commonly referred to in the cannabis industry as “start low and go slow.”
Taking it slow when consuming various cannabis products that contain psychoactive compounds such as D9, D8 and others can help reduce potentially negative effects so you can better enjoy your experience.
Weed is meant to be enjoyable, but like any of the controlled substances, it can come with both short and long term side effects.
Some of the long-term side effects of consuming D9 THC include cannabis use disorder, cognitive decline and an increased risk of psychosis.
It’s important to carefully consider these potential risks before use, especially individuals that have a history of mental health issues or addiction, as it poses an increased risk of experiencing unwanted effects.
Long-term use of cannabis can also lead to recurrent nausea, severe vomiting, dehydration, and abdominal pain. This condition, known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), is rare and tends to be associated with chronic cannabis consumption.
By understanding the possible risks and side effects of Delta-9 THC, users can make informed decisions about their cannabis use and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Additionally, Delta-9 THC may interact with other drugs and cause adverse reactions.
If you’re considering using D9 products for medical or recreational use, it’s always wise to consult with a medical professional to discuss the potential of any risks.Doing so ensures the cannabinoid molecule doesn’t interact negatively with other medications or treatments.
The intoxicating effect of Delta 9 is what made marijuana one of the most commonly used substances in the world.
Although the federal government has legalized Delta 9 THC when derived from hemp that contains THC levels less than 0.3%, marijuana with THC levels over 0.3% remains illegal at the federal level.
Equipped with a better understanding of Delta-9 THC and the way it interacts with the ECS and the human body, it’s easier to make informed decisions about cannabis use, including what the best cannabinoids might be for your personal needs.
There is some real power to this plant to enhance our lives and support mental and physical wellbeing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Delta 9 and weed?
Delta-9 THC is the active compound in weed responsible for producing the classic high that’s led to the wild popularity of cannabis.
Is D9 natural or synthetic?
Delta 9 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in abundant concentrations in cannabis plants.
While some variants of Delta 9 are created through a chemical conversion process that make them considered synthetic or semi-synthetic compounds, Delta 9 on its own is completely natural.
Hemp manufacturers are able to make use of the Delta 9 that naturally occurs in hemp because it’s a byproduct of the CBD isolation process.
On the other hand, Delta 9 THCO acetate is not found naturally in cannabis plants and must be created artificially.
Is Delta 9 safer than Delta 8?
Compared to Delta 8, there’s been more research done on Delta 9. But that doesn’t mean Delta 9 is necessarily safer.
The safety of each cannabinoid ultimately depends on how it’s sourced, the product manufacturing process and if products contain any other potentially harmful compounds.