When it comes to all of the different THC compounds in the cannabinoid industry, it can get confusing.
In this article, we’re going to dive into the most popular chemical compounds derived from the cannabis plant.
What is delta-8 THC?
Delta 8 THC is federally legal due to the 2018 Farm Bill. While some states have banned delta-8, it is still legal in most states.
The molecular structure of delta-8 THC is extremely similar to delta 9 THC (the main psychoactive substance in cannabis plants).
Delta-8 THC’s different chemical makeup can be explained in its carbon chain.
In delta 9 THC, there is a double bond on the 9th carbon in the chain; with delta-8 THC, the double bond occurs on the 8th carbon—hence the name.
Delta 8 THC occurs in trace amounts in both the cannabis plant and hemp plant in trace amounts, but most manufacturers use a special CBD conversion process to produce delta-8 THC.
This process involves CBD isolate and crude CBD, but the final product is pure delta-8 distillate.
It’s important to make sure you know where your hemp-derived products are coming from because some brands put synthetically-derived delta-8 THC in their products instead of hemp-derived THC.
How does delta 8 THC feel?
In terms of the effects of delta-8 THC, it’s basically the same as delta 9 with a less potent high.
Because of the different molecular structures, delta-8 doesn’t bind as effectively to the cannabinoid receptors in the human body.
Anecdotal reports say that delta-8 feels like a more “mellow” version of regular THC (delta 9). This means the munchies, sedative effects, pain relief, anxiety relief, and other effects are still there—just a little weaker.
However, the story is different when delta-8 THC is ingested. When D8 is consumed, the resulting THC metabolites are more structurally similar to metabolized delta 9.
What is delta 9 THC?
Delta-9 THC, also known as delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most psychoactive component of cannabis (aside from THC-O, which isn’t naturally occurring).
It is responsible for the “high” feeling that people experience when they use cannabis.
Delta 9 THC is one of the most studied and popular cannabinoids found in cannabis products.
Unfortunately, it is illegal at the federal level, but some local laws (state laws) have made it legal.
Despite the legal issues, delta 9 is probably what you’re referring to when you talk about cannabis.
The hunger, calming effect, relaxation, and other effects people talk about are all characteristics of delta 9 THC.
Delta 9 THC is probably one of the few out of all the other cannabinoids that you will consistently find in its natural form. Unlike the other cannabinoids, delta 9 isn’t usually extracted from hemp plants.
Scientifically speaking, delta 9 has slight differences from delta 8 and 10. Delta-8, for example, has a double covalent bond on its 8th carbon, while delta 9 has it on its 9th.
How does delta 9 THC feel?
Delta 9 THC has the most psychoactive properties out of the three cannabinoids in this article.
This means it will impair your cognitive abilities the most. It is also the strongest out of the three.
The most common effects you hear about when people talk about cannabis are most likely describing delta 9 THC.
The best way to describe delta 9 THC is that it makes time seem to slow down. It has also been reported to help with sleep, chronic pain, and anxiety.
This is why users with a medical condition have been turning to delta 9 as a possible medicine or for better sleep quality.
What is delta 10 THC?
Delta 10 THC is another cannabinoid found in many hemp products today. Like delta-8 THC, it occurs in trace quantities in the hemp plant.
It differs from delta 8 and delta 9 THC compounds because the double covalent bond happens on the 10th carbon.
Delta 10 THC is the newest out of the bunch to hit the market, but it is becoming extremely popular—especially for new users or people coming from CBD products or minor cannabinoids.
Delta 10 THC has the weakest binding affinity to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, making it the weakest out of the three.
Like delta-8 THC, it is allowed by federal law, because it is usually hemp-derived but this also depends on what state you’re in.
Delta 10 THC is legal in most states, but just do a quick search to see if delta 10 THC is legal in your area. This way, you don’t run into legal issues.
How does delta 10 THC feel?
Out of the three cannabinoids, delta 10 THC is the weakest and least psychoactive. However, it does have qualities that set it apart from the other two compounds.
Delta 10 THC has been reported to have more energizing effects and an uplifting feeling compared to the other two cannabinoids.
Because of this difference, many users prefer using delta 10 THC throughout the day for a euphoric head buzz.
Delta 10 THC can be a little misleading, though, so we’ll break it down a little more. Many people assume that delta 10 THC is the strongest out of the three because the number 10 is higher than 9 or 8.
However, this is untrue. Many brands have marketed delta 10 THC as being extremely strong, but that’s because they only put trace amounts of delta 10 THC in their products and fill the rest with delta-8 or 9.
This is why it’s so important to check for third-party testing. If you’re able to get your hands on legitimate delta 10 THC, you’ll see what we’re talking about.
Are the different THC molecules legal to consume?
This is a little bit of a tricky question. On the federal level, delta 9 THC is illegal while delta 8 THC and delta 10 THC are legal.
However, some states allow delta 9 THC, just like some states don’t allow delta-8 or delta 10 THC.
You can think about delta-8 and delta 10 THC being around the same level as other CBD products because they’re all protected under the Farm Bill.
These laws are always subject to change as more long-term effects come to light through research.
What’s the best THC cannabinoid?
This answer is going to vary depending on what effects you’re looking for from your cannabinoids.
If you’re looking for psychoactive effects, delta 9 THC is going to be your answer.
Delta 9 THC has the strongest psychoactive effects out of the three cannabinoids, so if you’re looking for the highest high or best THC experience, D9 THC is your best bet.
If you’re looking for something in the middle and you live in an illegal state (for D9 THC), hemp-derived delta-8 THC is going to be your answer.
D8 THC is also a great option if you’re looking for something closest to D9 THC because the difference isn’t too far off.
If you’re looking for something that won’t completely impair you throughout the day, delta 10 THC is your answer.
Delta 10 THC is more uplifting and motivating with a less potent high. Even for more seasoned users, delta 10 THC has become a popular option for day time sessions.
We would exercise caution when using any of these three THC variants, though.
They’re still THC, so you’re going to test hot on drug tests that test for THC metabolites.
If you have a drug test coming up, we highly recommend staying away from these compounds.
How to find the best THC products
If you’re wondering where to find these THC products near you, the fastest way to find out is through Google.
If you’re in a cannabis-legal state, you should be able to purchase D9 THC at your local dispensaries (assuming you’re 21 or older).
For delta 8 and delta 10 THC products (legal in most states), you can call your nearest smoke shop to see if they carry the THC products you’re looking for.
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All three THC compounds have at least one difference that makes them suitable for different people.
At the end of the day, the most important part is to make sure there are third-party testing done for any product you purchase.
All three compounds go through similar protocols for testing (even flower), so make sure there are tests done.
Lab reports are not only the best way to avoid unwanted effects, but also it’s the best way to conduct potency tests.
Keep this in your thought process when you look for THC products near you.