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What Are the Effects of Delta 9 THC?

 cannabis molecule

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It is a well-known fact that cannabis consumption can positively and negatively affect the human body. However, some people don’t know that the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabinoid (or simply THC) causes these effects. 

It was discovered in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni, who found delta 9 THC in hashish. This compound is responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana because it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and attaches itself to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. If you’re not familiar with this process, you may want to get better acquainted with your endocannabinoid system.

As interesting as it would be to know all the ways how delta 9 THC affects our brains, we’ll focus specifically on what kinds of short-term effects this cannabinoid has when ingested, smoked or otherwise introduced into the body.

Why Do We Keep Saying “Delta 9”?

We’re specifically referring to delta 9 THC, here, to set it apart from another new-to-the-scene kind of THC. That would be delta 8 THC. What are the differences? Well, the three big ones are:

  1. Where they come from
  2. Their potency and effect on the human body
  3. Their different legal statuses

First, delta 9 THC comes from the cannabis plant, particularly the parts of the cannabis plant known as buds or flowers. Delta 8 THC is generally chemically synthesized in a lab from the related compound cannabidiol (CBD). It does occur naturally in hemp plants, but the quantities are so small that it’s not useful for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Second, the main difference in potency is that delta 9 THC is roughly three to four times more potent than delta 8 THC. As a result, Delta 9 tends to cause paranoia and anxiety, while delta 8 produces a mellower euphoria.

Third, delta 9 is either illegal or heavily regulated in most states and jurisdictions across the U.S. Delta 8, on the other hand, sits in a legal gray area in some locales because it is not explicitly illegal. What does that mean? How is that possible? 

That’s because delta 8 is derived from hemp plants and CBD, which, according to the 2018 Farm Bill, makes it federally legal. However, different states have different positions on what CBD products are allowed to be sold within their borders, which extends to delta 8 products.

More About Delta 9’s Effects

THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, meaning it’s responsible for giving someone a “high” feeling when they smoke or ingest marijuana. Psychological effects include:

  • Altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation or stress relief
  • Enhanced sensory experiences (for example, food tastes better) 
  • “Time slowing” or speeding up 
  • Memory impairment 
  • Impairment of cognitive ability 
  • Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving 
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Vivid nightmares 
  • Psychotic episodes

 Man passed out on floor

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Being under the influence of any drug comes with its own physical effects, which are primarily manifested in the following ways:

  • Impaired body movement 
  • Slow reaction times or coordination problems
  • Muscle weakness or loss of coordination
  • Impaired balance and stability 
  • Unsteadiness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Red eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Dizziness or light-headedness 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Suppression of pain

As you can see, the effects of delta 9 THC are a bit complicated. Some of the psychological effects, such as relaxation and euphoria, can be beneficial for some people. However, others have serious negative consequences, such as anxiety and paranoia.

For some people, the physiological effects can be positive. But for others, these effects may cause health problems, such as the increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Also, when not used in the proper dosage, THC can do even more damage by disrupting normal brain function. 

What About CBD Products with THC?

Many people wonder if it would be beneficial to mix CBD and THC. It’s a common belief that CBD products, such as CBD oils or capsules, can be combined with other cannabinoids to produce synergistic effects due to the entourage effect. What folks are missing here is that the entourage effect considers not just THC, but all the other cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from hemp plants. Therefore, the best way to get those benefits of CBD is by consuming full spectrum and broad spectrum products.

 Cannabis face cream

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CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects on the brain. Therefore it doesn’t really produce any of the adverse effects described above that are associated with THC. In fact, recent studies indicate that CBD may counteract some of the effects of THC. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine if there are other ways in which CBD can be used with THC.

If you’ve decided you’d rather not have products with large amounts of THC in them, or any at all, and you want to stick with CBD exclusively, always check the label on your CBD products. And, when in doubt, always check a company’s third-party lab test results for a full rundown of exactly what’s in the product you’re buying. It’s the only way to be sure!


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