What is Delta 9 THC?

12 min read
What is Delta 9 THC 1

If you’re part of the 420 community and know a thing or two about cannabis use, you’re probably wondering what there is that you don’t know about Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the most prevalent and prized cannabinoid of them all. Well, hemp-derived Delta THC has changed the game and there’s been a push for Delta 9 THC extracted from the hemp cannabis plant. Yes, it’s true, you can purchase Delta 9 online for medical or recreational use without having to go to a dispensary and it will give you a near identical high. The same goes for other minor cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC, Delta 10, HHC, and THC-O. In this article, we will answer the overarching question of what is Delta 9 and discuss its chemical structure, effects, legality, potency, safety, differences between other cannabinoids, and a few products to try.

What is Delta 9?

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known simply as THC, Delta 9, or Delta 9 THC, is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It is one of the most prevalent natural cannabinoids and is responsible for the euphoric and mind-altering effects (i.e. high) associated with marijuana use that stoners know and love. Delta 9 is a complex organic compound that is just one of possibly hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which are naturally produced by each cannabis plant to keep predators away. When answering the question, “what is Delta 9?,” it’s crucial to understand the basics regarding cannabinoids and their effects on the human body and brain. Most cannabinoids are produced in very trace amounts, making it very hard to study them, however Delta 9 (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the most prevalent, the most popular amongst cannabis users, and also the most studied of the bunch. Delta 9 THC is the only naturally produced cannabinoid that causes psychoactive effects and will get users high. Today, with advancements in the field, it’s possible to extract minor cannabinoids or create synthetic cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC, Delta 10, HHC, and THC O, which cause similar effects. All of these can be natural and synthetic cannabinoids depending how they are produced.

At a more scientific level, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol has a molecular formula of C21H30O2 and a molecular weight of 314.46 g/mol. This cannabinoid is a yellow, sticky, resinous substance that is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as ethanol, which is sometimes used for extraction purposes. The chemical structure of Delta 9 THC is characterized by a central cyclohexene ring, which is fused to a hydroxyl group (-OH) and a linear alkyl chain. The alkyl chain contains a double bond and a methyl group (-CH3) at the third carbon atom, which gives Delta 9 THC its name.

What is Delta 9 THC made from hemp?

What is Delta 9 THC 2

You may be wondering, if Delta 9 THC is the normal THC everyone is consuming, what is Delta 9 THC made from hemp? Hemp derived cannabis products are gaining traction across the U.S. due to changes in the legal landscape. Instead of selling cannabis products like dry herb, from marijuana as usual, which is deemed illegal by the federal government and legal for recreational or medical use on a state by state basis, some businesses are switching to federally legal hemp to skirt the rules. Hemp plants naturally have low Delta 9 THC content, so many manufacturers end up extracting CBD and converting it into THC by using a chemical process that transforms the molecular structure called isomerization, which allows them to reach higher potency levels. InfiniteCAL Labs conducted a research study of 53 popular brands found that most (64%) used the isomerization method to obtain Delta 9, 19% added THC from cannabis to increase the potency, and just 17% actually extracted their THC from natural hemp material. This means that most hemp-derived Delta 9 THC on the market is non-natural and synthetic, despite being made from legal hemp.

Now for the big question. If it’s derived from federally legal hemp plants, what is delta-9 thc’s legal status? In 2018, former President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill (officially called H.R.2 - Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) into law, which legalized industrial hemp cultivation at the federal level. CBD manufacturing skyrocketed since it is found in high levels in hemp and could now be sold online or at smoke shops legally. The new bill legalized all hemp products containing less than 0.3% THC (the definition of THC was not clearly defined), which is why minor cannabinoids derived from legal hemp such as Delta 8, THC-O, and Delta 9 came about. These other cannabinoids have high demand in states that have not yet legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use. While marijuana continues to be listed as a Schedule I drug according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, these minor cannabinoid products made from hemp remain in a sort of legal gray area.


So technically Delta 9 THC made from hemp is legal at the federal level, but several states have already placed regulations or full bans on hemp THC products. Surprisingly, just because marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use in a certain state, it doesn’t mean that synthetic cannabinoids or hemp derived cannabinoids are also legal. Keep this in mind and always check with state and local laws when you buy cannabis products online as state and county rules are constantly changing. Even though it’s technically legal, to ensure we remain within the law, we will not sell Delta THC products including Delta 9 to customers located in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Does Delta 9 THC get you high?

What is Delta 9 THC 3

When marijuana lovers talk about getting blazed, that’s all thanks to Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, so yes, Delta 8 THC will get you high. For a long time, cultivators and breeders focused predominantly on obtaining flower with the highest levels of THC. Because of this, dry herb is much stronger than in the past with the average strain from your local dispensary testing at around 15% to 25% with high THC strains sitting at 35%. When it comes to hemp-derived Delta 9 potency, it is still higher than most of the other cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC and Delta 10.

Delta 9 effects

Delta 9 THC has a wide range of effects on the human mind and body, which can vary depending on the dose, method of consumption, potency, and individual tolerance. The chemical compound acts on the endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that are part of the central nervous system and is involved in regulating numerous physiological functions such as mood, appetite, pain, and inflammation. When Delta 9 THC is consumed, it binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and body, leading to a variety of effects.

High on Delta 9, what is it like?

What is Delta 9 THC 4

The high from regular Delta 9 vs hemp derived Delta 9 is essentially the same, so if you’ve eaten edibles or smoked cannabis before, you already know what you’re in for. When smoking, the intoxicating effects will set in quickly, if not immediately, while Delta 9 edibles will take anywhere between 30 minutes to over an hour to start. If you’re new to the 420 world, always start out slow, since you can always have more, but you’ll have to just ride out a powerful high if you overindulge. According to smokers, marijuana use may have the following effects, however these effects often differ from person to person and even for the same person at different times:

    • Euphoria - Delta 9 THC is known for its ability to induce feelings of pleasure, intense joy, and happiness.
    • Altered perception - Many 420 lovers experience distorted sensory perception, leading to changes in vision, hearing, and touch. This is often why smokers will say that movies and music are better when stoned. Delta 9 can also alter a person’s sense of time and some people may find themselves doing things like taking a shower or brushing their teeth for what feels like a normal amount of time, but is actually a lot longer.
    • Increased appetite - You’ve almost certainly heard of the munchies. Delta 9 THC is known to stimulate appetite and some things may even seem like they taste better when high.
    • Impaired memory and cognition - Delta 9 THC can interfere with short-term memory and cognitive function, making it difficult to concentrate or retain information and it’s common to lose your train of thought. Never partake in Delta 9 THC products when you have responsibilities.
  • Mind and body buzzing - If you want a wake and bake that will get you up and energized for the day ahead, cannabis sativa extracts or dry herb will do just that. This strain type is best for daytime toking, concerts, and social gatherings It’s known for producing an energetic mind and body buzz.
  • Extreme relaxation and a sense of calm - Many people experience couch lock, where a person feels like they don’t want to move and are glued to the couch or chair. Unlike cannabis sativa, which is categorized as producing an energetic mind and body buzz, indica strains are well-known for producing full body relaxation, sleepiness, and fatigue.

  • There are also several potential risks that could occur. These often happen when a smoker gets too high or for new stoners that have a low tolerance level. Negative Delta 9 effects may include:

    • Paranoia
    • High levels of anxiety
    • Disorientation or dizziness
    • Extreme fatigue or sleepiness
    • Dry mouth and eyes
    • Vomiting 
    • Hallucinations

    What is Delta 9 THC vs Delta 8 THC vs Delta 10 THC?

    You may think that you know everything about marijuana and cannabis use, but there are new innovations happening all the time. Some of the top names in the hemp game are Delta 8 THC and Delta 10, but if you live in a legal state, you may never hear about these cannabinoids at all. In short, the main difference between the three is the potency level. If you’re a seasoned toker and enjoy a potent strain, stick with Delta 9 THC. Even the hemp-derived variety is more potent than the others. Delta 8 THC has a lower potency level than Delta 9 and Delta 10 THC is the weakest of the bunch. But you shouldn’t count out the less potent cannabinoids just yet. A large number of 420 enthusiasts who are sensitive or have experienced some of THC’s negative effects in the past such as paranoia or anxiety prefer weaker cannabinoids since there’s less potential risks for a negative experience to occur. All three of these cannabinoids are very similar in all aspects, but have slightly different molecular structures and produce subtle differences when it comes to mind and body effects. Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 are found naturally in cannabis plants at very low levels, so they are almost always created in a lab for commercial use. When it comes to research studies, there is far more about Delta 9 (though not hemp-derived Delta 9) versus Delta 8 THC and Delta 10, which are still pretty much unstudied.

    Is Delta 9 stronger than Delta 8 THC?

    What is Delta 9 THC 5

    Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC) and Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 8 THC) are both naturally produced cannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants, but Delta 8 THC only occurs in small amounts. Because of this, commercial Delta 8 THC is typically created by extracting hemp-derived CBD and converting it at the molecular level. Both chemical compounds have a similar molecular structure and produce very similar effects when consumed. A typical strain sold at a dispensary will range from 15% to 25% Delta 9 THC with some top-shelf high THC strains testing at roughly 35%. Cannabis concentrates come in many types such as budder, wax, or shatter, which are used for dabbing and usually have a potency of 60% to 90% Delta 9 THC. According to cannabis users, Delta 8 THC is approximately 50% less potent than Delta 9, so about half as strong. Like normal THC, Delta 8 THC is also used for recreational purposes and medical purposes and it will absolutely get you blazed, however the high will be less intense than what you’ll achieve from Delta 9 THC. This is believed to be because Delta 9 THC specifically binds itself better to CB1 receptors in the human brain, which causes a more intense high.  Some cannabis enthusiasts also report that a Delta 8 THC high comes on slowly and feels more calming and relaxing compared to a high from Delta 9 THC. Some cannabis smokers have an increased risk of developing anxiety or other unpleasant effects when smoking Delta 9 and prefer the soft, mellow high of Delta 8 THC. Since effects vary from person to person and are slightly different based on the type of Delta THC, it is very important to partake in cannabis responsibly and refrain from consuming high doses that could potentially lead to an anxiety filled negative experience. If you’re just starting out on your cannabis journey or thinking about switching over to a new type of hemp-derived THC for therapeutic purposes or medical conditions, first speak with your healthcare provider.

    Does Delta 9 show up on a drug test?

    One common concern among individuals who consume cannabis is whether or not Delta 9 THC will show up on a drug test. If there’s a possibility that you will be drug tested, it’s important to understand how a marijuana drug test works and if CBD or Delta THC products will produce a positive result. Drug tests are used to detect past cannabis use by looking for the presence of specific substances in a person's system. There are several types of marijuana drug tests available, including urine, blood, saliva, and hair tests. Urine tests are the most commonly used type of drug test since they are typically the least expensive and most accessible. Urine drug tests work by detecting the presence of specific metabolites in a person's urine. When a person consumes Delta 9 THC, it is metabolized in the liver and converted into a variety of metabolites, including Delta-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH). THC-COOH is then excreted from the body through urine, where it can be detected by drug tests. Keep in mind that marijuana drug tests do not detect if a person is currently under the influence like an alcohol breathalyzer test. They simply show if a person has consumed THC products within a certain period of time prior to the test.

    What is Delta 9-THC detection window

    The detection window for Delta 9 THC depends on several factors, including the individual's metabolism, frequency and amount of use, gender, height, weight, body fat percentage, and the type and sensitivity of the drug test. In general, Delta 9 THC can be detected in urine for up to 30 days after use, although this can vary based on the factors mentioned above. Several factors can impact the accuracy of drug test results, including:

    • Sensitivity of the test - Different drug tests have different cutoff levels for detecting Delta 9 THC. Tests with lower cutoff levels are more sensitive and can detect smaller amounts of the compound.
    • Individual metabolism - The rate at which Delta 9 THC is metabolized and excreted from the body can vary based on an individual's metabolism, body weight, body fat percentage, and overall health. Cannabinoids attach to fat cells in the body, so those with a higher body weight and body fat percentage will take longer to flush THC from their system. Because of this, women will generally take longer than men to test clean.
    • Frequency and amount of use - Individuals who use cannabis frequently and in larger amounts are more likely to have higher THC levels in their system and therefore may test positive for a longer period of time than those who smoke infrequently.
    • Timing of the test - Drug tests are most accurate when performed during the detection window for Delta 9 THC. When it comes to marijuana, timing matters. If a person knows about the test and has enough time to detox, but decides to smoke right before taking the drug test, it can result in inaccurate or negative results, despite being high at the time of the test. The same goes for a test taken after the detection window has ended. For example, if a person smoked at a music festival and is tested 30 or more days later, not having smoked cannabis within those 30 days, they will probably test negative.

    Is Delta 9 THC safe?

    Marijuana is considered by the CDC and most people as a relatively safe drug in comparison to many others such as opioids. This doesn’t mean that a person can’t have a negative experience or get way too high. Hemp derived cannabis products are not regulated the way marijuana products sold at legal dispensaries are. The only way to ensure that the Delta THC products you’re purchasing are free from harmful contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides is to only buy from reputable companies that send their products for third party lab testing. These lab tests should be easily accessible for customers to view at any time. On our website, you can click the Certificate of Analysis link in each product description to view these lab tests. As always, it is important to consume Delta 9 THC responsibly and in moderation, and to consult with a healthcare provider before using cannabis for medical conditions or other therapeutic reasons such as chronic pain, improving sleep onset latency, or chemotherapy induced nausea. It is also important to note that despite being legal in many states, Delta 9 THC is still illegal under federal law in the United States and in many other countries.

    Delta 9 THC products

    • Delta 9 Gummies - If you prefer to save your lungs and want to be discreet about your cannabis use, choose an oral THC product like the Good Vibez Delta 9 Gummies, chocolate, lollipops, or dissolvable oral strips.
    • Delta 9 THC Drinks - Another oral THC option are drinks. There are several brands that make cannabis infused beverages including some made from hemp-derived Delta 9 that can be purchased online.
    • Delta 9 Vape - Vaporizers have changed the game, making it more convenient and discreet to toke while on the go. Like other hemp-derived cannabinoids, there are disposable vape pens that are pre-filled with Delta 9 concentrate and ready to smoke at a moment’s notice.
    • Delta 9 Vape Carts - If you have your own rechargeable vape battery that uses universal 510 thread, pick up a Delta 9 vape cart and you’re ready to go!

    Now that you know the ins and outs of Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol and can explain the answer to “what is delta-9” when a buddy asks you, it’s time to pick some up for yourself. After adding some Delta THC products to your virtual shopping cart, don’t forget to browse our selection of smoking accessories. We’ve got some of the best prices around for character bongs, rolling trays, herb grinders, vaporizers, dab rigs, heady glass bongs, e-rigs, and more!

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