What is Delta 9 THC? – 3CHI’s Ultimate Guide

When people think of THC, they think of the main active ingredient in marijuana. Not surprisingly, there are actually several types of THC cannabinoids found in cannabis. Delta 9 THC, (Delta 9, D9) typically referred to as simply “THC”, is the most commonly known cannabinoid. This cannabinoid creates the typical euphoric and psychoactive experience. But there’s more to Delta 9 THC than you may already know about. 

We’ve compiled this article to be your ultimate, go-to guide regarding all things Delta 9 THC. From legality and effects, to products and dosing, we cover all you need to know and what you didn’t know you needed to know in one, easy to understand place. 

What is Delta 9 THC?

The most basic question to answer is, what even is Delta 9 THC? Delta 9 is an abundant and psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It is found in both marijuana (cannabis plants with > 0.3% Delta 9 THC) and in hemp (cannabis plants with < 0.3% Delta 9 THC). Delta 9 is a cannabinoid gaining popularity in recent years. This is due mostly to states legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana usage for adults. Unfortunately, D9 thc derived from marijuana and found in traditional cannabis products remains federally illegal. Fortunately enough, due to the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta 9 from hemp is now federally legal, with come caveats of course.

Is Delta 9 Legal?

Now that we know more about what Delta 9 THC is, let’s take a look at its legal status. This is where the 2018 Farm Bill comes into play.

2018 Farm Bill

Before the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis as a whole plant was placed on the Schedule I drug list under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), classifying it as one of the most dangerous substances around. Under the CSA cannabis was thrown into the same group as meth, heroine, LSD, and ecstacy, making cannabis products, cannabis use and cannabis possession illegal. But all that changed under the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill legalized industrial hemp across the country on a federal level. This means that any plant containing less than 0.3% D9 THC by dry weight volume, would be classified as industrial hemp and made federally legal. By extension, products made from qualifying hemp plants and also contained less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC in their final form were also considered legal. 

As you can imagine, this shook the cannabis industry to it’s core, and opened the hemp industry up to nearly endless possibilities when it came to hemp derived products. Which in turn lead to several similar cannabinoids rising in popularity, including Delta 8 THC, Delta 10 THC, and HHC. But this doesn’t mean that Delta 9 THC is still completely illegal. For hemp derived Delta 9 THC products, such as our industry leading edibles, gummies and baked goods must contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC by dry weight volume to be compliant.

Where is Delta 9 > 0.3% Legal?

Hemp derived Delta 9 THC is federally legal in all states across the country. Regulation and rules for THC from marijuana are typically left to states to decide upon, but hemp derived Delta 9 THC is federally legal. Even beyond the industrial hemp limit, Delta 9 is growing in popularity across the country and many states are legalizing it for medical and recreational uses. The list for medical cannabis greatly outnumbers the list for recreational use legal states but numbers continue to grow. 

The states with legal, recreational Delta 9 THC > 0.3% include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Is Delta 9 Natural?

Yes! Delta 9 THC is 100% natural, found in cannabis plants grown in gardens, labs, and in the wild. It’s an organic compound that is a part of the plant regardless of human intervention and manipulation. There can be confusion when it comes to the extraction process and many wonder if Delta 9 is synthetic or not. Manufacturers extract Delta 9 THC to make a concentrated product. These products have much higher levels of Delta 9 in them than you would find naturally in the wild. However, it is the same cannabinoid, just in a higher dose. 

How is Delta 9 THC Made?

Before Delta 9 is even Delta 9, it’s a different cannabinoid entirely. Most cannabinoids, including Delta 9 THC, begin as CBGA, known as cannabigerolic acid. CBGA then turns into tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. THCA on its own will not get you high. In order for it to do so, it must go through a process called decarboxylation. This process helps change the chemical structure of THCA into THC through heat exposure and time. 

Adding high temperatures to the flower of a cannabis plant will instantly turn THCA into THC, which your body can easily absorb and you can feel those classic, psychoactive effects. But cannabis flower can also be trimmed and laid to dry. Oxygen is also a contributing factor to the decarboxylation process and can help turn THCA into THC over a period of time.  It’s why young cannabis plants have lower concentrations of THC than older plants – for THCA to convert to THC, it takes time. 

Once THCA is converted to THC, it’s then time to extract the THC from the plant. One extraction process commonly used is known as supercritical CO2 extraction. This extraction process places cannabis with CO2 under extremely high pressure and low temperature. This creates a phase where carbon dioxide is both a liquid and a gas, called ‘supercritical.’ This phase of CO2 acts like a solvent. The CO2 separates the Delta 9 from the rest of the plant material for easy extraction. Then, the CO2 is depressurized, which turns it back into a gas, leaving the Delta 9 behind. This makes for a quick, safe, and chemical free extraction process to create better and purer products.

What are the Effects of Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 offers a full body experience to its consumers, so defining everything specifically is not always possible. Each individual processes Delta 9 THC in their body differently, so each experience is unique. There are common experiences reported by several Delta 9 users, so it’s easier to note what is common and what is not. 

Mental Effects

One of the first things most people, including avid cannabis consumers notice, is the psychoactive effects they experience. Delta 9 is a known psychoactive cannabinoid that affects both the brain and an individual’s cognition. Most of the time, it’s reported to be a euphoric and uplifting experience. Some consumers report an altered sensory perception, which includes vivid colors, heightened senses, and an overall mood improvement. This isn’t the same as hallucinations. These are simply more intense feelings from your standard senses. 

With an improved mood comes laughter and giddiness along with the potential for an altered perception of time. Some people could swear only a few minutes have passed when it’s actually been a few hours. The brain isn’t fully aware of its perception but continues to enjoy the experience anyways.

Physical Effects

With the full body Delta 9 experience comes physical feelings and effects as well. Most commonly associated is the euphoria and what are commonly called “the munchies.” Most consumers report an increase in their desire for food, even if they just ate. This ties back to the mental effects as the brain is not fully aware of how full someone’s stomach is and continues to encourage the individual to eat because it creates positive feelings. 

Other physical effects include a full body relaxation. Say you’ve had a long and stressful day at work and you carry your stress on your shoulders. Consuming D9 is reported to help those muscles decompress. This is where the lazy stoner conception comes into play as the body calms down, which can help you fully relax and even potentially fall asleep shortly after consuming D9. Full body relaxation is said to help recover both a person’s mind and body. 

Side Effects

With every positive there is a chance for a negative. And Delta 9 THC isn’t without negatives. While reported effects are positive, they can also be harmful or concerning to other consumers. Which is why each Delta 9 experience is unique to each individual. 

Commonly reported side effects include anxiousness, paranoia, a clouded head, potential headaches, and disorientation. However, many of these reported instances come from those who consume large amounts of D9 THC, most of the time by accident. 

How Does Delta 9 Work?

We touched on it earlier, but D9 THC works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This body system regulates many important aspects to keep each individual’s body functioning the way it should. The goal of the ECS is to create a “homeostasis” feeling – overall healthy balance. This includes balanced hormones, satisfied hunger, no discomfort, and an ideal body temperature to name a few. 

Inside the ECS there are two primary receptors, called cannabinoid receptors. There are type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) receptors. Depending on which receptor or receptors a cannabinoid interacts with tells us how each cannabinoid will make an individual feel. CB1 receptors are predominantly present in the nervous system of the human body, along with connective tissues and glands. CB2 focuses more on the immune system and its associated structures. 

Delta 9 THC interacts heavily with CB1 receptors. With this heavy interaction with the nervous system, it’s easy to see how the mental effects of Delta 9 are created. D9 has been shown to signal the body’s serotonin system, which creates the good, positive, and chill feelings after consuming D9 THC. Compare this to CBD, which heavily interacts with CB2 receptors. It explains why CBD has more of a bodily effect than a mental effect because of the receptor it primarily interacts with. 

Will Delta 9 Get You High?

Absolutely! Because D9 is a psychoactive cannabinoid and primarily interacts with CB1 receptors within the ECS, even small amounts of Delta 9 will get you high to various degrees.

But if you eat raw marijuana flower, you actually won’t get high. D9 THC is derived from THCA, which in itself isn’t psychoactive. However, smoking will turn raw flower into THC, creating the psychoactive experience. 

What is a Normal Dose of Delta 9 THC?

Deciding what is and is not a normal dose of Delta 9 really depends on the consumer. If they are new to trying D9, then they may want to look at starting with a small dose of 5mg. For someone who consumes D9 on a regular basis, a higher dose closer to 30mg-40mg may be warranted. The typical dosage from most retailers of hemp derived D9 is 5-25mg. This range keeps products under that required 0.3% Delta 9 THC by dry weight volume as required under the Farm Bill. 

Always be aware of other factors that can add or take away from your experience. Metabolism is a huge factor in dose sizes and one of the main reasons each person has a unique response to Delta 9. Sometimes metabolism moves items through a person’s body faster than others. Sometimes its slower. That’s why we always recommend starting with the recommended 3CHI dose to begin, maybe even smaller if you haven’t had positive experiences with D9 in the past. This way you can gauge how your body is reacting and adjust your intake from there. If you aren’t feeling something, take a little bit more. Go slow to start and increase from there. It will help create a smooth and comforting experience. 

Can You Take Too Much Delta 9?

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. That’s not to say it’s a bad experience. There is no lethal dose of Delta 9 THC – if you take too much or feel like you’re having a bad experience, you won’t die. Most consumers take anywhere from 5mg to 50mg depending on past experience, body size, and what euphoric state they would like to reach without many negative reactions or experiences. 

But sometimes too much of a good thing can have negative consequences. Remember those side effects we mentioned earlier? Well consumers report having those side effects of anxiousness, paranoia, and disorientation when they consume too much Delta 9. Extreme cases have even reported hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis, but those cases are very rare. 

To best combat your body’s reaction to consuming too much Delta 9 is to sleep. This allows the mind to sort of turn off and the body’s digestive system and the ECS to work together to process the Delta 9 within the body and filter it out of the bloodstream. After sleeping for a while, users have reported feeling refreshed and better than they were before. 

How Do You Consume Delta 9 THC?

There are several ways consumers can take Delta 9 THC. The most common are: inhaling, eating, and topical application of Delta 9 THC to experience the euphoric effects of this abundant cannabinoid. 

Inhaling Delta 9

There are actually two separate ways people inhale Delta 9. The first, and oldest avenue is through smoking. This can be done with a bong, a pipe, or joint. Most commonly, individuals smoke THC rich marijuana flowers. The heat converts the standard THCA into THC and the body can process the THC faster. Typically when smoking Delta 9, consumers say they feel the effects faster than any other type of consumption form. 

The second and most popular way to inhale Delta 9 is through vaping concentrated oils extracted from the plant. Vaping avoids some of the negative effects of traditional smoking including inhaling combusted materials as well as the smell. Alternatively, vaping cartridges are small and electronic. There’s no need to keep a lighter on you. You attach your compatible cartridge to its vaping device and breathe. The heating elements inside a vaping pen convert the inside oil into vapor for easy consumption. 

Learn More about the best way to consume Delta 9

Eating Delta 9

The other common way to consume Delta 9 is through eating, or orally consuming a product. This category of Delta 9 products tends to offer the largest variety. These include oils, tinctures, edibles, gummies, and even drinks. Typically, eaten Delta 9 THC products tend to take longer to feel the effects of, but when you do, they can hit harder than expected. Most people actually recommend vaping or smoking first to see how your body feels and reacts to Delta 9 THC before switching to eating it. People are most likely to accidentally take too much Delta 9 when they eat it compared to smoking it.

Topical Delta 9

Finally, Delta 9 can be absorbed through the skin through lotion or cream. This is commonly found with CBD based products, but is a viable option for using Delta 9. However, standard topicals will not allow Delta 9 to penetrate the skin enough to reach the bloodstream and create a psychoactive effect. It only works on the cannabinoid receptors found locally in the skin. In order for Delta 9 to fully penetrate the skin and reach the bloodstream, special “transdermal” compounds need to be added. Some states where Delta 9 is legal for medical purposes can’t smoke the cannabinoid, but can apply it through a cream to get their prescribed amount of marijuana.

Comparing Delta 9 to Other Cannabinoids

Delta 9 THC isn’t the only cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It’s not even the only THC type cannabinoid in the plant. So how does it compare to some of the other cannabinoids?

Delta 8 vs Delta 9

These two cannabinoids have been compared to each other countless times over the past few years. Delta 8 is also a psychoactive cannabinoid, but it’s much rarer than Delta 9. It’s also considered to be less potent. Many have called Delta 8 “diet weed” or “Delta 9’s nicer little brother.” The biggest difference between these two cannabinoids is a single difference in their molecular structure. Double carbon bonds exist along a chain for THC molecules. Delta 8 has a double carbon bond on the 8th carbon chain whereas Delta 9 has its double carbon bond on the 9th carbon chain. It’s how each THC gets its individual name and can easily be distinguished from the other. 

Because of the diversity of Delta 8 and what it can offer people, 3CHI’s research and development team worked tirelessly to perfect it and be the first company to bring Delta 8 products to the general hemp market. We currently offer Delta 8 in vapestincturesgummiesbaked goodssauces, and oil both individual size and bulk size. 

Delta 10 vs Delta 9

Similar to how Delta 8 and Delta 9 are different, Delta 9 and Delta 10 differ in that double carbon bond location. Delta 10 has a double bond on the 10th carbon chain. 

The other significant difference is how people react to Delta 10. It’s less potent than Delta 9, similar to Delta 8, but it is known to offer to energize and stimulate psychoactive effects. This creates an uplifting experience to want to get things done compared to Delta 9 which is much calmer and even slightly sedative in feeling. 

Standard Delta 10 vapes are available to purchase through our 3CHI store. 

THC-O vs Delta 9

Also known as THC-O acetate, this hemp derived cannabinoid is virtually the same as Delta 9. Some even say it’s better than Delta 9 because it can cross the blood-brain barrier very effectively. This helps THC-O absorb faster into the body. Experts guess THC-O is 2-3 times stronger than Delta 9 simply because of that quicker absorption rate, though it can take longer to activate in the body than Delta 9. 3CHI became one of the first companies to bring THC-O to the market as well through our vapes and oil.

HHC vs Delta 9

Another relatively new cannabinoid offered on the hemp market is HHC. This is a hydrogenated form of THC that may have a longer shelf life than THC. HHC is, again, similar to the psychoactive properties of Delta 9 but there is still debate over whether HHC is stronger than Delta 9 or sits somewhere between Delta 8 and Delta 9 in regard to its potency.

3CHI offers HHC products in vapessauces, and gummies. Since bringing HHC to market, 3CHI has actually won 2 awards for our outstanding HHC disposable vapes. Consumers and judges can’t seem to get enough.

CBD vs Delta 9

With Delta 9 as the most common psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD sits on the opposite end of the spectrum, as the most common non-psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD gained tons of popularity a few years ago because of its supposed healing properties, though the FDA has not conducted its own research on it yet. 

CBD doesn’t interact with the CB1 receptors like Delta 9 does. It strictly interacts with CB2 receptors, which researchers say promote healing in the body overall. CBD supposedly helps heal joints, smooth out skin, and calm the mind among other things without any of the psychoactive properties. 3CHI is proud to offer CBD products in vapestinctures, and even a topical relief cream.

Learn more about CBD vs Delta 9

CBG vs Delta 9

CBG, known as cannabigerol, is a decarboxylated form of CBGA, the precursor to THC as we mentioned earlier. Not much is known about this cannabinoid, but it has shown some affinity to binding to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This has led scientists to think CBG has psychoactive properties, but not as intense as Delta 9. These are speculations, however, as little research has been conducted officially. 3CHI does offer a CBG: CBD tincture combo for those who would like to experience this unique cannabinoid themselves.

CBN vs Delta 9

The last common cannabinoid on our list is cannabinol (CBN). This cannabinoid is typically found in most cannabis plants but in small amounts. CBN has been shown to interact with both CB1 and CB2 receptors but not as strong as other cannabinoids, like Delta 9 with CB1 or CBD with CB2. Consumers report a relaxing and sedative effect when consuming CBN, but there is so little research on this that everything known about CBN is anecdotal or reported by experiences. 

3CHI does have an award-winning combo of CBN and Delta 8 THC, which creates our Comfortably Numb series of products, from vapes and tinctures all the way to gummies

Delta 9 THC Takeaways

Through research, Delta 9 has been shown to be an effective cannabinoid for both recreational purposes and medical purposes. A majority of states have legalized D9 to varying degrees when derived from marijuana. But hemp-derived D9 is federally legal as long as products don’t go above that 0.3% threshold. 

The most common way to consume D9 is through inhaling, such as smoking or vaping, though other consumption methods are just as viable, like eating or drinking. Everyone reacts to Delta 9 differently based on past experiences and their natural body. You can’t overdose on D9, but it can create a bad experience if too much is consumed. 

Delta 9 is such a unique cannabinoid and experience for consumers that the industry continues to grow. 3CHI now offers our dispensary grade, hemp-derived, and federally complaint D9 THC in five unique gummy flavors: Blue Raspberry, Black Raspberry, Strawberry, Orange Dreamsicle, and Watermelon. And don’t count us out there, we always have something in the works and up our sleeves.

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