Delta-9 THC: What Is It and Why Do People Use It?

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Have you ever heard of cannabis constituents, namely delta-9 THC, CBD, and delta-8 THC? Although manufacturers extract all of these types from the famous cannabis plant, each compound has a wide variety of properties, benefits, and side effects. This article will guide you through one of these important cannabinoids: delta-9 THC.

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What’s Delta-9 THC?

THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9 THC), a cannabinoid that has long been considered the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This cannabinoid is responsible for the high associated with marijuana.

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Cannabis plants, which come in a wide variety of strains, contain a wide range of molecular compounds – i.e., over 100 different cannabinoids and as many terpenes and flavonoids. Although THC is the best-known cannabinoid, another major cannabis constituent is known for its therapeutic benefits. This compound is called cannabidiol (CBD) and is primarily responsible for the medicinal benefits of this flowering plant.

THC works by interacting with the body’s cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and nervous system. When detecting this compound (drug testing), delta-9 THC can be tracked in the body much longer than other substances, but the psychoactive effect wears off after the first few hours.

Delta-9 THC vs. Delta-8 THC

Delta-9 THC is an effective cannabinoid abundant in many cannabis plants and species. Extraction of THC is relatively cheap and easy. 

In addition to delta-9 THC and CBD, there is another minor but important constituent, delta-8 THC, which requires much more effort to extract. Fortunately, there is science! It has been shown that delta-8 THC can be synthesized entirely from CBD using solvents.

Why Do People Use Delta-9 THC? 

THC is mainly used for recreational purposes. However, like CBD, THC can also have various medicinal benefits. Although marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, scientific research on THC and other cannabis components is still limited.

Some ailments that cannabis components, including THC, can help with are

  • Anxiety & depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammation & inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Insomnia & migraines
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • MS (multiple sclerosis)
  • Nausea
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Pain & poor appetite
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Seizures
  • Symptoms associated with HIV

Side Effects of THC

The effects of THC on the body are very complex and vary from person to person. But we already know that THC acts as a stimulant that promotes the release of a dopamine neurotransmitter in the brain – dopamine causes feelings of euphoria.

People who use THC may experience the following:

  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Altered perception of time
  • Increased sensory perception
  • Increased appetite

While THC generally has pleasurable effects, it can also lead to adverse reactions. Some of the most common side effects of using delta-9 THC include.

  • Coughing fits
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Chest or lung discomfort

Hallucinations, fainting, or cold sweats may also occur after too much THC use.

Is Delta-9 THC Addictive?

The matter is complex and controversial. Marijuana, which contains higher concentrations of THC, is perhaps the most commonly used illegal substance in the United States. Despite the widespread belief that the substance is not addictive, tolerance and dependence have been widely documented. However, it is difficult to directly link this tolerance to THC or any other cannabis constituent.

Bottom Line

Delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, which naturally produces more than 100 cannabinoids or active components. Most cannabis plants contain significant amounts of delta-9 THC, while delta-8 THC, a less important cannabinoid, is present only in low concentrations. 

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