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January 25, 2023
Delta 9

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is the form of THC found naturally in cannabis plants in larger amounts. Anytime you buy THC products, chances are excellent that it’s delta 9 THC that’s in there—at least mostly.

But there’s more than one way to find delta-9 THC, and D9 itself is one of many cannabinoids that exist. If you’re curious about cannabinoids and want to learn more about delta-9 THC, you’re in the right place!

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • The chemical structure of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids
  • The psychoactive effects of delta-9 THC
  • How and where to buy delta-9 THC
  • And other FAQ about delta-9 THC

What is Delta-9 THC?

The Cannabis sativa plant, classified as either marijuana or hemp plants based on a legal distinction, naturally produces many different cannabinoids in at least trace amounts, depending on the type. Cannabinoids are chemicals that interact with the body in different ways.

Two better-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Some lesser known cannabinoids include cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabigerol (CBG).

THC takes a few different forms in cannabis plants. Usually, the form of THC it takes in nature is delta-9. Almost anytime anyone talks about feeling “high” from cannabis, or otherwise mentions the effects of THC, they’re typically referring to delta-9.

What is the Chemical Structure of Delta-9 THC?

The chemical formula of delta-9 is C₂₁H₃₀O₂. This is the same as delta-8 THC, except that one of the carbon-carbon double bonds is in a different position. However, other forms of THC have similar chemical structures to delta-9, such as delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) and delta-10, although their effects are generally different.

THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9 THC. Sometimes also notated with the Greek letter delta as follows( Δ-9 THC), this cannabinoid molecule is generally recognized as the primary psychoactive substance responsible for the high from marijuana use.

THC is among over 500 different components and 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. And though THC may be the most famous, other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) are now also drawing interest.

How THC Works

THC binds with the body’s cannabinoid receptors, located throughout the brain and central nervous system (CNS). This network of receptors make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cannabinoids such as delta-9 THC interact more with the CB1 receptors. These are mostly in the brain and central nervous system and produce more psychoactive effects.

Although its psychoactive effects only last a few hours, THC can be detected in the body much longer than most other drug compounds. A hair follicle drug test may identify THC after about 90 days for heavy users.

Forms of THC

Although people often smoke dried flowers of the cannabis plant, there are many different ways to consume cannabis:

Inhalation. The most rapid means of delivery for psychoactive effects, sometimes in minutes. Inhale THC via smoking, dabbing, or vaping.

Oral ingestion. Eating THC in the form of capsules, edibles like gummies, oils, or tinctures is slower to have an effect, but also lasts longer and can feel more intense.

Topical. THC taken topically in balms, lotions, oils, salves, and bath salts are not likely to have psychoactive effects, but may offer local pain relief and inflammation.

Sublingual. Take THC under the tongue as spray, lozenges, or dissolvable strips for a fairly rapid effect.

Avoid vaped or smoked cannabis If you have a lung condition or allergies and instead opt for cannabis edibles or tinctures. Bear in mind that the edible version takes longer to kick in than.

THC Content in CBD Products

There is a huge variety of CBD products such as CBD oils and tinctures on the market. Some of these products do contain traces of THC depending on the brand and formulation, usually between 0.3% to 0.9%.

Trace amounts like this are unlikely to produce psychoactive effects, and some scientists believe that CBD offsets some of the side effects of THC such as paranoia. However, if you are looking for a particular type or formulation or you’re concerned, shop at a dispensary or online retailer that proves product purity.

(Remember, the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] does not regulate hemp products or any natural supplements, so it’s best to go with reputable vendors who test their products.)

Is Delta-9 THC Safe to Use?

Like CBD, most people can tolerate delta 9 THC products well, and many people associate delta-9 THC products with various medical benefits. In fact, this is why at least 33 states have medical marijuana programs in place. Furthermore there have been no proven deaths caused solely by delta-9 THC.

However, as we reported above and elsewhere, this cannabinoid can cause some unpleasant side effects. It is also the position of the US government that as 30% of cannabis users develop cannabis use disorder, and in any case if this is a concern for you, you can and should consult a healthcare provider about using cannabis for general wellness.

Cannabis withdrawal syndrome has been reported by some people who have gone from heavy, regular cannabis use to stopping cold turkey. For details on cannabis withdrawal syndrome and symptoms, see: The cannabis withdrawal syndrome: current insights, DOI: 10.2147/SAR.S109576 [link].

Is Delta-9 THC Legal?

The legality of all things cannabis is confusing.

Delta-9 THC products are illegal at the federal level in the United States. The federal government classifies cannabis, along with other drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, as Schedule I controlled substances with the high potential for abuse and little to no medical benefit. Nevertheless, the law in each state is different.

In some states, cannabis and derivatives of cannabis like delta-9 THC are legal only for medical use, while in others they are legal to all adults over a certain age (usually 21) for recreational use. Check Norml’s map to see the current state of the law.

FAQ: Delta-9 THC

What’s the difference between delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC?

Chemically, delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC are both C₂₁H₃₀O₂ , but they each have a carbon-carbon double bond in a different location. This means that although both delta-9 and delta-8 are intoxicating, delta-8 THC is less potent than its relative, delta-9.

Due to the different pharmacology of the cannabinoids, they may have fewer side effects with delta 8 THC compared with delta-9, according to this 2022 study and some people who use them. But experts need more research to determine the exact differences between the effects of delta-9 and the effects of delta-8 THC.

How should I shop for cannabis products?

Because the FDA does not regulate delta-9 THC products (just like with most natural products) it’s critical to purchase from reputable companies that test with a third-party lab and post lab reports on their website. Cannabis from local growers might also be high-quality, even if it isn’t lab-tested, but this will be much more reliant on reputation and methods.

Beyond this, look for flavor, real customer reviews, choice, convenience, and overall quality.

Can delta 9 THC get you high?

Yes! That is basically its claim to fame. Delta 9 is the most abundant form of THC and the compound that makes cannabis plants intoxicating.

Final Thoughts on Delta-9 THC

Delta-9 THC is the most common and well-studied form of THC. It’s also the foundation of most cannabis products.

If you’re eager to find some high-quality hemp-derived delta-9 THC, you’ve come to the right place! Browse our shop and blog to learn more.