Delta-9 Vs. THC-O: A Comparative Analysis Of The Two Cannabinoids
If there’s one word that could accurately describe the hemp industry, it would likely be “innovation”. The hemp industry really took off with CBD, but now it seems like there’s a new cannabinoid being discovered and integrated into hemp products every minute. From the more wellness-focused CBN, CBG, and CBD products to recreational and medically-focused delta-8, delta-10, and hemp-derived delta-9 products, there’s no shortage of hemp goodies for you to explore.
One cannabinoid that you may not be as familiar with, however, is THC-O. THC-O, despite sharing its name with the more well-known delta-9 THC, is different in numerous ways. As someone who’s potentially interested in THC, taking the time to learn more about each of these substances is one of the most important things you can do before you purchase either for yourself.
In this article, we will explore the distinctive characteristics, benefits, and effects of delta-9 and THC-O. By comparing and contrasting the two, we hope to equip you with the knowledge necessary to make informed purchasing decisions around some of the major THC types currently making the rounds in the hemp industry.
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What Is Delta-9?
Delta-9 is a shorthand term for delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Delta-9 is responsible for the high that you experience when you smoke marijuana or use cannabis-based products. While delta-9 is typically illegal on the federal level when derived from cannabis, hemp-derived delta-9 has made it much easier for the average consumer to try out this compound for themselves.
Benefits Of Delta-9
Delta-9 offers a range of potential benefits, making it a sought-after cannabinoid among those seeking wellness products. While research is still ongoing, several studies suggest that delta-9 may help with:1
Feelings of euphoria
Effects Of Delta-9
Despite delta-9's many potential benefits, some evidence suggests that it may also have some adverse effects, including:2
Rapid heart rate
Changes in perception
What Is THC-O?
THC-O is an acetylated form of THC. Essentially THC-O begins its life in a lab as cannabidiol (CBD). The initial CBD is taken and converted into delta-8 THC. Afterward, acetic anhydride is added to delta-8 in order to create the finished product: THC-O acetate. THC-O, despite having been discovered in the early 1900s, is still an extremely new addition to the hemp industry, and very little is known about how it functions or what type of benefits it may have to offer.
Benefits Of THC-O
It’s extremely important to preface this section by stating that THC-O, while we understand how it’s formed, is still relatively new and uncharted territory when it comes to understanding benefits and risks/effects. We can speculate based on anecdotal evidence, but we can’t necessarily back some of the claims being made by those who have tried THC-O for themselves.
With all this in mind, some of the reported benefits include…
Pain And Inflammation Relief
Some users of THC-O report that they receive the same kind of pain and inflammation relief that they get from similar THC compounds, with some stating that the results can often be stronger as a result of using the synthetic compound.
Nausea And Vomiting Reduction
THC-O should be taken cautiously, as too much can end up lending itself to experiencing nausea and potentially vomiting. However, those who take lower doses specifically for the purpose of feeling less nauseous have said that it has been helpful for them.
It’s important to remember that THC-O, like other forms of THC, may offer different effects depending on the type of strain used to formulate it. In the case of strains like Indica, THC-O may serve to help users experience muscle relaxation, although to what extent is often the subject of debate and concern.
THC-O, like THC, may help some users experience an improved quality of sleep when they take THC-O. THC-O does tend to take a bit longer to be metabolized by the body, so this should be taken into consideration if you plan on trying THC-O for sleep.
Effects Of THC-O
Despite the fact that THC-O is often accompanied by a similar type of high that one may experience when they use regular THC products (delta-8, delta-9, etc.), there are actually several effects of THC-O that are unique to this specific compound. Let’s take a closer look at what these are and what role they may play in your experience.
Euphoria And Relaxation
THC, as a whole, is generally known for being euphoric and relaxing. However, THC-O seems to kick that up to the next level. Being stronger than other forms of THC like delta-9, THC-O can produce intense feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Exercise caution when you’re dosing THC-O to avoid effects that are too intense.
THC-O is often referred to as the “psychoactive cannabinoid” or the “spiritual cannabinoid”. This is due to the fact that, while psychoactive, THC-O is also known to be somewhat “psychedelic”, with some users saying that they experience a change in visuals or, at the very strongest, hallucinations. Granted, this may be due to the fact that it’s stronger than delta-9, and not everyone necessarily reports this experience. The best way to test how THC-O works for you is to take a low dose and see what changes, if any, you experience.
Impaired Coordination And Memory
Impaired coordination and memory are a natural consequence of using THC, but the degree to which you experience it is dependent on the dose. Higher doses are naturally going to impact cognition and make it more difficult for you to get around. THC-O may impact your ability to move and recall things more significantly than delta-9.
THC-O, like delta-9, has a reputation for giving people the munchies. As such, consuming or otherwise absorbing THC-O may cause you to experience an increase in appetite.
Origins And Natural Sources Of THC-O And Delta-9
The cannabis plant has been cultivated and used for various purposes for thousands of years. THC is concentrated in the flowers, buds, and leaves of the female cannabis plant.3 The chemical synthesis of THC takes place in the trichomes, which are small, resinous glands present on the surface of the cannabis plant. These trichomes hold the greatest concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids.
But while delta-9 THC is natural, THC-O is not. THC-O is synthesized in a lab by transforming CBD into delta-8, then adding acetic anhydride to get the final product.
Interested in learning more about THC? Reach out to our experts today to begin your hemp journey!
Differences In Chemical Structure
THC-O and delta-9, despite being two fundamentally different products, are actually quite similar in structure. The difference between the two THC compounds lies in the added acetate group that THC-O has. This added acetate group allows THC-O to bind to more cannabinoid receptors in the brain, accounting for the increase in strength that users experience when they take THC-O.
Differences In Psychoactive Effects
The experience that you have while taking THC will vary based on numerous factors. This includes your individual response to THC, the type of product you’re using, and the strength and strain of said product. With all this in mind, it’s likely that you will experience stronger psychoactive effects with a THC-O product than you would with a delta-9 THC product. This can result in a greater change in perception, a stronger body high, and greater changes to the way you move around and think.
Differences In Therapeutic Benefits
While delta-9 still requires more research to better understand how it functions, the reality is that it’s one of the more well-researched cannabinoids out there. That means that there’s greater support backing for the potential use in helping users reduce feelings of nervousness, alleviate discomfort, and maybe even experience better quality sleep.
On the other hand, we know very little about THC-O, and there is a cause for concern with the added acetate group. At the moment, the only known therapeutic effects are largely anecdotal, and the long-term effects of THC-O are still unknown.
Legality And Regulation Of THC-O And Delta-9
The 2018 Farm Bill plays a significant role in the legality and regulation of THC-O and delta-9. According to the bill, hemp-derived products (and synthetics, like THC-O, although sometimes a bit of a legal gray area) are legal as long as products contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. By setting the threshold at 0.3%, the legislation allows for the cultivation and production of hemp and hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil and similar cannabinoid goods, without violating federal laws.
However, it's important to note that cannabis strains with higher THC concentrations exceeding the legal limit still fall under the category of marijuana and are subject to different regulations. State laws regarding the cultivation, distribution, and use of cannabis products can also vary. Do your due diligence to make sure any product you wish to purchase is legal in your area.
Final Thoughts On Delta-9 Vs. THC-O
The use of THC has become more widespread with the development of hemp-derived products and synthesized cannabinoids. Today’s consumers have plenty of THC products to choose from if they’re looking for something that they can use recreationally or aid in targeting certain symptoms. That being said, understanding all of the different choices is critical to your health and well-being. THC-O and delta-9 are two very similar products, but when it comes to finding something that’s best suited for you, you will likely be better off with delta-9. If that’s the case, BATCH is here to help you kick off your journey.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Delta-9 Vs. THC
Which delta is the strongest?
The potency of different deltas, such as delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10, can vary, but delta-9 THC is generally considered the most potent and psychoactive.
How much delta-9 should I take?
The appropriate dosage of delta-9 THC can vary depending on factors such as individual tolerance, desired effects, and the method of consumption. It is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it to find the optimal amount that provides the desired effects while minimizing potential side effects.
Should I buy delta-8 or delta-9?
Whether to buy delta-8 or delta-9 ultimately depends on your personal preferences, goals, and the legal status of these substances in your city or state. Delta-8 THC may be better suited for those who are looking for a less intense substance, while delta-9 may be better for those who are already experienced with using it.
Which delta is best for anxiety?
Delta-8 THC has gained attention for its potential benefits in managing anxiety. While research on delta-8 is still limited, anecdotal evidence and some preliminary studies suggest that it may provide a milder psychoactive experience and potentially cause less anxiety or paranoia compared to delta-9 THC.4
Can you take CBD and delta-9 together?
Yes, it is generally safe to take CBD and delta-9 together. They complement each other's effects and may provide a synergistic experience.5
- Cooper, Z. D., & Haney, M. (2009, April). Actions of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis: Relation to use, abuse, dependence. International review of psychiatry (Abingdon, England). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2731700/
- EA;, C. (n.d.). The good and the bad effects of (-) trans-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC) on humans. Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15302527/
- Cannabis drug profile | www.emcdda.europa.eu. (n.d.). Www.emcdda.europa.eu. Retrieved July 5, 2023, from https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-profiles/cannabis_en#:~:text=Cannabis%20sativa%20is%20dioecious%3A%20there
- Kruger, J. S., & Kruger, D. J. (2022). Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC's nicer younger sibling? Journal of Cannabis Research, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8
- Al-Ghezi, Z. Z. (n.d.). Combination of cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), mitigates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by altering the gut microbiome. Brain, behavior, and immunity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6866665/