Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is a THC isomer found in abundant quantities in marijuana plants. This naturally occurring cannabinoid is often referred to simply as THC, and is responsible for the euphoric feeling experienced after consuming marijuana. It readily binds with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce psychoactive effects such as euphoria, relaxation, elation, talkativeness, and laughter.
Delta-9 THC can be found in hemp and marijuana. It is more abundant in marijuana than hemp plants. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a report in 2020 analyzing the percentages of Delta-9 THC found in cannabis products seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from 1995 to 2019. The report revealed that the samples tested had a maximum of 15% Delta-9 THC, with an average of 14%. However, several marijuana strains containing more than 40% Delta-9 THC can be found in cannabis stores. Delta-9 THC products are available in different forms, such as vape cartridges, tinctures, oils, concentrates, gummies, and flowers.
Delta-9 THC can be used for recreational and medical purposes. Recreational users consume Delta-9 products to get high. It also helps to stimulate appetite. Medically, Delta-9 THC is used to manage certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, seizures, and HIV/AIDS. Side effects of Delta-9 THC include low blood pressure, anxiety, hallucinations, nausea, numbness, drowsiness, panic attacks, and paranoia.
Marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC is illegal in North Carolina. Marijuana is listed in Schedule VI of the North Carolina Controlled Substance Act, and federally, it is classified as a Schedule I substance. However, North Carolina passed the North Carolina HB 766 law to permit marijuana-derived products containing no more than 0.9% Delta-9 THC to be used to treat epilepsy. Therefore, registered patients with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services can possess Delta-9 THC products with a maximum of 0.9% Delta-9 THC content.
On the other hand, hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is legal in North Carolina. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the possession and use of hemp, including hemp-derived Delta-9 THC, at the federal level provided it has no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC content on a dry weight basis. North Carolina adapted the Farm Bill and passed SB 352 to legalize hemp and its derivatives. Residents can buy all THC products from convenience stores in the state as long as they do not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. They can purchase hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products from online stores and ship them into the state, provided their Delta-9 THC content is not above 0.3%.
Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC are naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Delta-8 THC is a Delta-9 THC isomer found in trace amounts in cannabis plants. Therefore, it is often synthetically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) while Delta-9 can be easily extracted from cannabis plant materials.
Delta-8 THC has a double bond in the eighth position on its carbon ring, while Delta-9 THC has a double bond in the ninth position on the same ring. This slight structural variation produces distinct psychoactive profiles. Delta-8 THC’s affinity to bind with endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the brain is lower than that of Delta-9 THC, resulting in a less intense feeling for users. Delta-8 THC is about 50-66% as potent as Delta-9 THC. It is reported to produce energetic feelings, heightened concentration, and mild elation. Delta-8 also possesses neuroprotective, appetite-stimulating, and analgesic properties. Persons that want to avoid the intense euphoric effects of Delta-9 THC would prefer Delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 THC is usually produced from hemp-derived CBD, which is legal in most states and at the federal level due to the 2018 Farm bill. On the other hand, Delta-9 THC products with more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC are illegal at the federal level but legalized for medical and recreational uses in several states.
Delta-10 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid and also an isomer of Delta-9 THC with the same chemical formula but a slightly different molecular structure. Delta-10 has a double bond in the tenth position of its carbon ring. This small difference in molecular configuration makes Delta-10 less potent and less intent than Delta-9.
Unlike Delta-9 THC, it is found in trace amounts in cannabis plants. Therefore, it is often synthesized from hemp-derived CBD. Delta-10 relaxes consumers without the intoxicating feeling associated with Delta-9 THC. While little research has been conducted on the effects of Delta-10 THC on users, anecdotal evidence suggests that it has energizing effects on users and behaves like a stimulant. When taken in moderation, users report improved focus.
Delta-10 THC products are available as gummies, vape carts, tinctures, and edibles. Delta-10 THC is legal in most states and at the federal level due to the 2018 Farm Bill, while Delta-9 THC is illegal (Schedule I status) at the federal level.
The effects of Delta-9 THC can be felt within minutes of its use and will wear off after a few hours. However, its metabolites will remain in the body for several days after. How long it stays in the body depends on some factors including:
Delta-9 THC can be detected with urine, hair follicle, saliva and blood tests. These drug tests typically detect metabolites that are byproducts of the breakdown of THC in the body. Note that these tests cannot differentiate between metabolites of Delta-9 THC and other THC isomers.
THC can be detected in the saliva up to 36 hours after use. Blood tests can detect THC for up to 48 hours after use and up to 30 days for habitual users. In addition, THC can be detected in the urine for up to 30 days after use and in hair follicles for up to 90 days after use.
Residents can easily purchase Delta-9 THC gummies and other Delta-9 THC products with a maximum of 0.3% Delta-9 THC content from hemp shops, convenience stores, and online stores in North Carolina. There are no limitations in the state on the possession and consumption of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC gummies. However, some stores may require buyers to be 21 years or older before they can buy Delta-9 THC products. Registered patients in the state’s medical marijuana program can purchase marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC gummies from approved dispensaries, provided they do not contain more than 0.9% Delta-9 THC.