Delta 9 THC, which is technically known as Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, is a chemical compound in the cannabis plant that has gotten a bad rap over the years, to say the least.
For decades, the compound has been practically demonized, as its psychoactive nature has made it an illicit substance.
Many of us have memories of school programs and television shows warning us of the dangers of it.
But, has all of this hate really been warranted?
Well, we’re gonna say no.
Even during the height of anti-cannabis campaigns, medical researchers were quietly studying this chemical compound, and finding some pretty exciting properties that could play a positive role in maintaining our overall well being.
Nowadays, of course, society has relaxed about cannabis, which means that more people are taking it for its various effects that relate to wellness.
What this also means is that we now have a fairly good idea of the potential therapeutic value of THC, as well as many other compounds that naturally occur in cannabis.
So today, we’d like to help you see delta 9 THC in a whole new light, as maybe you too had written it off as an illegal drug with no real usefulness.
We could spend hours talking about the questionable motivations behind making it one of the most vilified substances in our country’s history, but instead, we’d like to simply share what science has to say about this cannabinoid.
Its well-researched properties are promising enough that we can let the science speak for itself on the matter.
What is Delta 9 THC?
Cannabis is a genus, to which both hemp and marijuana belong.
For those who don’t know, hemp and marijuana are two different species with different chemical makeups, although they do share many of the same compounds.
The male and female cannabis plants have delta 9 THC, but the female plants produce this compound more abundantly, which is why products containing the compound come from the female.
Delta-9 THC and the Chemical Composition of Cannabis
So, how much delta 9 is in cannabis?
Well, we said earlier that hemp and marijuana are two different plants that belong to the cannabis genus.
They have different chemical makeups, while ultimately sharing many of the same specific compounds in common.
If you’ve wondered why hemp is federally legal while marijuana is not, it’s because of the amount of delta 9 THC in each plant.
In marijuana, there’s anywhere from 12% - 25% of delta 9, and in rare cases, more or less as a result of specialized crossbreeding methods.
Meanwhile, in the hemp plant, only about 0.3 percent delta 9 THC naturally occurs.
Remember that in both plants, delta 9 is only one of many cannabinoids present.
And, with over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids, cannabis has a lot more than just THC.
Delta-9 THC and the Endocannabinoid System
If you’ve been studying CBD, then you know about why it offers such unique and widespread effects.
It’s because of the endocannabinoid system, and how it processes cannabinoids like CBD.
The endocannabinoid system is a bodily system that is found in every mammal.
It is tasked with the role of maintaining equilibrium throughout the body by regulating every process carried out by the bodily systems.
These processes include inflammation levels, function of the digestive system, respiratory health, mood, sleep, pain and more.
The way in which the endocannabinoid system does this is by sending cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors.
These receptors are found all throughout the body, and each one corresponds with a different bodily process.
A binding process takes place when a cannabinoid is sent to a cannabinoid receptor, and this forces regulatory actions to take place, which essentially balances the function of the overall system.
For example, cannabinoid receptors in the brain can regulate cortisol production so that stress and energy levels remain healthy and balanced throughout the day.
We said that cannabis has over 100 cannabinoids.
This is because each cannabinoid has slightly different effects on our body’s many processes.
As cannabis has all of these cannabinoids naturally within its chemical composition, it’s safe to assume that nature has intended for us to take them all together for a more complete experience.
Because of this fascinating relationship between cannabinoids and homeostasis, you can recognize that THC has some unique properties that make it potentially worthwhile.
Delta 9 vs Delta 8 THC
Before we get into the various studied properties of delta 9 THC, we first want to make the distinction between delta 9 and delta 8 THC.
As delta 8 becomes a more popular cannabinoid to take, we wanna make sure that people understand the differences between the two types of THC.
Both of these cannabinoids are THC, and they both produce psychoactive effects in addition to unique effects that can be quite useful.
But delta 8 is far less prominently occurring in cannabis than delta 9.
Further, delta 9 tends to produce stronger psychoactive effects than its little sibling compound.
Delta 8 can also be a hemp derived product by taking hemp derived CBD isolate and converting it into delta 8 with a delta 9 concentration of <0.3%.
Properties of Delta-9 THC
Let’s now take a look into delta 9 THC in terms of its properties that have been explored by medical researchers.
Are you feeling low in terms of your mood?
Or is your mood feeling less stable than it usually does?
Mood is a complicated process determined by brain architecture and the balance of neurotransmitters like serotonin and cortisol.
Our mood is never static, as it can change dramatically due to ever-changing stimuli.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily normal for our mood to feel erratic and beyond our control.
One major key to managing mood is ensuring a healthy balance of neurotransmitters.
For instance, cortisol is a hormone that is released during times of stress.
But, regular exposure to stress can cause cortisol to take over, leading to feelings of anxiety and uneasiness, as well as agitation.
Meanwhile, serotonin is a hormone that is associated with feeling happy and uplifted.
There are various factors though, that can lower serotonin levels, potentially leading to feelings of depression.
While also offering potential benefits to the hpa axis, which is an area of the brain which, among other things, deals with the processing of thoughts, emotions and events.
Specific studies have shown that THC may be able to potentially help with mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Further, delta 9 THC may play a role in regulating energy levels thanks to its effects on cannabinoid receptors located in the region of the brain that controls cognition and energy balance.
Many of us find ourselves feeling unusually fatigued at various points of the day.
This can often be attributed to issues relating to diet, stress, and daily routine.
Fatigue can prevent us from fulfilling important tasks throughout the day, and as a result, many give into the temptation of relying on stimulants like sugar and caffeine, which, in the long run, can lead to dependency while also potentially causing health problems.
THC may be a more natural option due to its regulatory nature.
Medical marijuana has become a massive industry over the last decade, and a huge portion of participants in this program are seeking out a natural treatment for pain.
For centuries, cannabis has been used as a natural pain reliever.
Now, thanks to a variety of scientific studies, we’re beginning to see why this is the case.
Again, cannabinoids provide regulatory actions.
Some of these regulatory actions include managing inflammation and regulating overall pain tolerance.
That being said, THC seems to have two unique properties that give it the potential to help with various forms of pain.
One is that THC seems to offer potential anti-inflammatory activity, which can reduce the inflammation causing pain, which results from a natural immune response in which cytokine cells are sent to an area that is perceived to be injured.
The other potential property is analgesic, which refers to a disruption in the communication between the nerves of the body and pain receptors in the brain.
Various studies have shown that delta 9 THC may play a big role in suppressing nausea, which can be a more problematic symptom than many people realize.
We’ve all experienced nausea, and know how unpleasant it can be, but those who suffer from chronic nausea may struggle to consume enough calories each day, which can lead to a wide host of issues.
Cannabinoids have been found to play a role in maintaining overall wellness in a holistic manner, due to the widespread nature of the endocannabinoid system’s function.
Now, we can’t talk about delta 9 THC without talking about its psychoactive properties.
Of the 100 or so cannabinoids in cannabis, only a couple of them are psychoactive, and delta 9 THC is the most psychoactive of all.
What this means is that it gets you high when you consume it.
So, before committing to a regimen with delta 9, be aware that these effects will occur, and plan accordingly.
The way in which THC supports the regulation of neurotransmitters means that it may be useful among those who struggle to sleep each night.
A large majority of insomnia sufferers have a neurotransmitter imbalance, which suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, while keeping cortisol levels unnaturally elevated in a way that prevents proper relaxation.
Side Effects of Delta 9 THC
We’ve talked about the potentially helpful properties of delta 9 THC, so now let’s talk about the potential side effects.
The good news is that cannabinoids are considered nontoxic to humans, so it’s not believed that one can experience a toxic overdose as a result of taking too much.
Bear in mind that the potential for side effects is largely dependent on how much you take.
Those who take particularly high doses may experience anxiety or paranoia during the time that the psychoactive properties are present.
Furthermore, delta 9 THC may cause dry mouth and dry eyes for a short period of time and may cause the blood pressure to temporarily drop.
How to Get Delta 9
Considering the properties of delta 9 listed above, you are probably wondering how you can obtain it in a way that is safe and compliant with the law.
Allow us to break it down.
Full Spectrum Hemp Products
Remember that we said that delta 9 THC levels in hemp are minuscule compared to those in marijuana?
But that doesn’t mean that the 0.3 percent or so that’s present in hemp won’t do anything.
Thanks to the entourage effect, even that trace amount may let you in on its many properties.
This effect refers to the synergistic properties experienced when all of hemp’s chemical composition are consumed all at once.
It means that the trace amounts of delta 9 may be more bioavailable and effective.
To get the entourage effect, and delta 9 in general, you need to opt for a product made with full spectrum hemp extract.
This is the only type of hemp extract that contains the amount of THC that naturally occurs in hemp.
Medical/Recreational Cannabis Products
Of course, marijuana products have a high level of THC naturally.
Bear in mind, though, that where you live determines whether or not you can legally access them.
In some states, marijuana is fully legal, meaning that you can legally purchase and use it without requiring some special license or certificate.
In other states, you must obtain it through a medical marijuana program, in which a doctor determines whether or not your particular condition makes you eligible for getting a medical marijuana card, which allows you to legally buy it in dispensaries.
Pure THC extract does exist.
However, its legality varies depending on where it is obtained from.
It’s also extremely potent and intended to be diluted.
Raw Hemp Flower
The pure hemp flower will have the naturally occurring trace amount of THC present.
This type of product is most often smoked.
However, it can also be cooked with, or vaped via a vaporizer device.
Hemp concentrates provide more potent levels of the compounds in hemp, as they are concentrated plant material.
Taking THC Along with Other Hemp Compounds: What Happens?
Well, we spoke of the synergistic properties found within hemp.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that THC is meant to be taken in a complementary manner with other cannabinoids and compounds that exist in the plant material.
As the plant is often consumed all together, there are no negative interactions between various compounds that exist in the same plant.
Final Delta-9 Thoughts
Delta-9 THC is a chronically misunderstood cannabinoid that has suffered a bad reputation for generations.
But finally, scientists in the medical field are beginning to change their tune, and laws are changing to make it easier to obtain it for wellness-related purposes.
Understanding delta 9 THC on a scientific level can help us better personalize our cannabis experience according to our own goals and needs.
Did you enjoy this guide? Drop a comment below with how you incorporate delta-9 THC and other cannabinoids into your daily wellness routine!