More people than ever are experimenting with cannabis use for various purposes. Some turn to the cannabis industry for medical use and treating pain, while others partake for recreational use. However, many people aren’t familiar that cannabis comes in different variants based on the cannabinoids and types of THC they contain.

Three Types of Delta THC

Several variations of THC, called chemical analogs, work to distinguish various types of THC from one another. These unique THC compounds are all slightly different. These differences impact how the human body’s endocannabinoid system reacts to them. Some of these analogs are federally illegal, while another active ingredient may be allowed.

Let’s take a look at the family of compounds beneath the delta THC umbrella so you’ll be able to identify what’s in your recreational or medical cannabis products and how the compounds can affect your mental and physical health. Join us as we dive deeper into delta 8, 9, and 10 THC differences.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant and are produced naturally by the human body. We have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that internally produces cannabinoids. These compounds are essential to maintaining internal balance through many different body systems.

Cannabinoids interact with our ECS to help maintain functional balance through messenger molecules and receptors. Their beneficial effects can help to regulate sleep, energy, cardiovascular function, reproduction, relieve stress, manage anxiety, chronic pain relief, motivation, appetite, and digestion.

The two well-known cannabinoids in cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). A common misconception is that there are only two, however, there is actually a broad range of many other cannabinoids.

The word cannabinoid can refer to THC or any chemical that acts on cannabinoid receptors. Even a synthetic cannabinoid called HU-210 delivers no adverse side effects, meaning that it could be helpful for pharmaceutical companies in developing new drugs.

As usual, this would require more research which is difficult due to marijuana being illegal to study and use under federal law.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Unlike CBD, delta-8 THC produces euphoric effects similar to but milder than delta-9 THC, the well-known psychoactive compound in cannabis. Delta-8-THC occurs naturally and is an isomer of delta-9 THC, and the difference between the two molecules is simply the location of a carbon double bond.

Delta-8 THC’s popularity, began when an oversupply of CBD extracted from hemp grown in the United States caused the price of CBD to fall dramatically. Producers began looking for ways to convert CBD into delta-8 THC. The cannabis industry marketed the resulting products to those looking for pain relief and stress management, those not looking for an intense high, and those living in illegal areas.

Physical Effects

Similar to delta-9 THC, delta-8 can provide feelings of body relaxation and pain relief, but with milder psychoactive effects. For people who don’t want to experience a high, the lower potency of Delta-8 THC may be beneficial. However, it will produce more mental effects than CBD oil and other CBD products.

Psychoactive effects

There’s a lack of research and empirical evidence regarding Delta-8’s impact on your overall mental health. Many survey participants recently reported that they use Delta-8 along with their prescription medications (with medical authorization) to help with depression and substance use disorder symptoms.

Potential Benefits

Users say Delta-8 THC can help to:

  • Reduce nausea
  • Boost appetite
  • Ease chronic pain
  • Boost mental health

Adverse Effects

With little to no regulatory oversight and limited lab testing on a federal level, many products are not pure delta-8 THC. These products typically contain a high percentage of delta-8 THC and delta-9 and unknown reaction by-products.

Delta 8 THC can produce side effects such as:

  • red eyes
  • dry mouth
  • rapid heart rate
  • slow coordination and reaction time
  • increased anxiety
  • short term memory loss

What is Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 THC is a significant cannabinoid found in abundance in cannabis. Extraction is usually relatively cheap and straightforward as a result. It is derived explicitly from marijuana plants.

When someone talks about THC, they are more than likely referring to Delta-9 as it is considered “regular THC.” It is a cannabinoid molecule in cannabis that is the primary psychoactive ingredient within the plant.

Physical Effects

Many weed users have expressed that delta-9 THC products have helped improve sleep quality, treat body aches, improve appetite, decrease physical discomfort, etc. Delta 9 is commonly used for its potential medical benefits, reducing symptoms of anxiety and PTSD and helping people combat symptoms of glaucoma, seizures, and other chronic conditions.

Psychoactive effects

The THC cannabinoid interacts with the CB1 receptors located in the human brain. This area is responsible for many mental processes including decision-making and retaining memories.

This powerful compound is said to provide effects such as excitement, euphoria, focus, calm, and more. The results can be intense for some cannabis users, while others enjoy certain strains’ relaxing qualities or creativity boosts.

Public Health Benefits

Marijuana with THC has been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries. However, due to federal prohibitions, scientific research on its use to alleviate and treat illness is still relatively recent. 

Some of the health conditions that THC may help with include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable/Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Chronic Pain
  • Low appetite
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Seizures and Epilepsy

Safety Concerns

  • Altered perception of time
  • Increased appetite
  • coughing fits
  • anxiety and paranoia
  • chest or lung discomfort
  • hallucinations 
  • cold sweats
  • Coordination issues

What is Delta 10 THC?

Delta-10 is a cannabinoid found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant. Like delta 9 THC, it can get you moderately high, but it is much less potent. It is better compared to Delta-8 THC in its effects.

Delta-10 is commonly processed from hemp-derived CBD, as is delta-8. Because hemp is federally legal in America, delta-10 is legal in all 50 states. However, specific state laws have outlawed delta 8- and delta-10 independently.

Physical Effects

Delta 10 THC tends to have mild relaxing, calming qualities that are mainly body-centered. Many people use it to feel comfort and stress relief at the end of a long day or when feeling anxious.

Psychoactive effects

Delta 10 is psychoactive but significantly less potent than regular THC and even milder than delta 8 THC. Its uplifting effects make it popular for people who want to get high and get things done; the experience is often reported to feel creative, focused, and energetic.

Community Health Benefits

  1. Protects the Brain- Delta 10 THC can aid in memory-related issues, cognition, and neuroplasticity.
  2. Stimulate Appetite- Delta 10 THC helps stimulate an individual’s appetite due to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
  3. Increase Energy – Delta 10 THC offers a Sativa high sensation with a boost in energy and motivation.
  4. Relieve Pain- Cannabinoids possess anti-inflammatory properties to help alleviate the chronic pain you experience. 
  5. Stress Control – Delta 10 THC affects the limbic system and thus can help in dealing with conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. 

Adverse Events

The most common side effects of delta-10 THC include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Increased appetite
  • Over-active mind

Delta 8 vs Delta 9 vs Delta 10

The main distinction between the three delta THC molecules is their physical and mental effects. Scientific research can distinguish one from another under a microscope due to genetic composition. Still, most cannabis consumers will be able to spot them upon consumption by the differences in how each makes them feel.

A mild, relaxing effect is the most noticeable effect of Delta-8 THC. On the other hand, a feeling of a moderate euphoric high is sure to be an effect equated to Delta-9 THC. And if you were to feel more joyful than usual, you would more than likely be experiencing the subtle impact of Delta-10 THC.

THC-O and Delta-8 THC

THC-O is basically a chemical replica of THC and shares the basic genetic structure. However, THC-O is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid and must be synthesized in a lab. THC-O begins with naturally occurring CBD that has been extracted from less than 0.3% THC hemp. The CBD is extracted from raw hemp. From there, something called delta-8 THC is removed from the CBD.  

Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive chemical compound present in both hemp and cannabis. D8 THC is not as potent as THC; however, it can have some of the same psychoactive effects on a smaller scale. Delta-8 THC is more similar in structure to THC than CBD. It binds to the human body’s endocannabinoid system and, unlike CBD, can have some mildly intoxicating effects.  

Types of Cannabis plants

  • Indica plants produce airy, more developed buds than Sativa. It originates from the Kush region near Afghanistan and is from a colder, mountainous climate. Indica leaves are shorter and bushy and have dark, full leaves, and clumpy buds. It has higher THC and lower CBD and is known for its relaxing high. This type of weed is excellent for nighttime due to its body-high and pain-relieving effects.
  • Sativa weed plants are from warmer climates, producing tall, long leaves and dense, thick buds during the flowering stage. It has more CBD cannabinoids and less THC and is the perfect strain to consume in the morning due to its energetic, cerebral high.
  • Hybrids are cross-germinated from two different strains to form a combination of Indica and Sativa. Typically, one or the other will be dominant and will, in turn, produce the effects experienced by the user. Hybrid strains are prevalent and offer a more balanced high.
  • Hemp is legal in the US, thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018. Hemp is similar in looks to Indica and Sativa, but it doesn’t produce much THC causing little to no psychoactive effects. Hemp is used in the textile industry and for its production of alternative cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBG.


CBD oil is extracted from hemp, while THC comes from marijuana plants. CBD and THC cannabinoids are present in both the hemp flower and marijuana plant matter, but hemp tends to have more CBD and a less potent level of THC. This results in minor psychoactive effects and more medicinal benefits.

Delta 8 THC

  • Abacus Diesel
  • Sour Diesel
  • Bubba Kush
  • White CBG
  • Grape Abacus  

Delta 9 THC

  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Amnesia Haze
  • Durban Poison
  • Pineapple Express
  • Maui Wowie

Delta 10 THC

  • Delta Extrax
  • Hyper
  • Hometown Hero
  • Mellow Fellow
  • Extrax Tropical

Where is THC legal?

THC is a derivative of the cannabis Sativa plant, including marijuana and hemp. The cannabis plants are siblings but are not exact, so they have slightly different genetic makeup.

Hemp is naturally low in THC and typically higher in CBD which doesn’t have psychoactive properties, while marijuana contains a much higher concentration of the psychoactive compound THC.

Per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived products with no more than 0.3% THC content are federally legal in the United States for adult purchase and consumption.

Final Thoughts

When delta-8 THC hit the weed market, it was welcomed to bring on a smoother and less euphoric high than delta-9 and other THC variants. And now, with the emergence of lower potency delta-10, people can experience milder effects than with a more potent THC without giving up the therapeutic benefits. The key is to know your specific needs and to experiment to find the best THC products for your life.

Leafy Mate is a resource here to help you navigate your cannabis experience. From connecting consumers with medical marijuana providers to providing up-to-date information on dispensaries, products, and cannabis news, Leafy Mate is here to help. Connect with us today to see how we can help make your delta THC experience as beneficial as possible.

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