THC: The Same, but Different
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Of the 100-plus compounds in a cannabis plant, Delta-9 THC is the most well-known and most researched cannabinoid, and it is responsible for most of the plant’s varied psychoactive effects. Delta-9 THC is often referred to simply as “THC,” but this can be misleading, as there are actually several different THC isomers, each with slightly different chemical structures and effects. The THC isomer family includes Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10 and THCV.
The THC Family: Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10 and THCV
Like most families, the THC isomer family shares some traits while others are unique to each. Delta-9 is like the more reliable, older sibling. The Delta-8 middle child is still working to find its place in the cannabis world. As the newest family member, there’s still much to learn about Delta-10. Rounding out the group, THCV, the half-sibling, appears to have been influenced by both their THC and CBC relatives.
Let’s take a closer look at the THC family album.
Delta-9 THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate various physiological processes such as mood, appetite, pain and immune function. When consumed, THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, releasing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, resulting in the euphoric “high” often associated with cannabis use.
Over the past few years, studies to understand Delta-9’s effectiveness and safety for treating various conditions have expanded significantly, including chronic pain relief, reducing nausea and vomiting, and reducing muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. Additionally, reported anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties may make Delta-9 THC a promising candidate for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy – exciting and encouraging news for patients (and their loved ones) who suffer from these conditions.
As more controlled studies are conducted, researchers may uncover more of Delta-9 THC’s therapeutic potential.
And here’s more great news for Delta-9 THC consumers – not only is it the most popular cannabinoid, but it’s also the most regulated. Delta-9 THC products are subject to rigorous quality control measures and testing, which means they’re more reliable in providing the intended effects – an important distinction for savvy consumers who care about what they’re putting into their bodies or rely on consistent dosages to manage symptoms. KAVVA Delta-9 THC gummies are crafted to deliver an exceptional experience. If you’re looking for a reliable experience, KAVVA Edibles Delta-9 THC gummies are ideal.
Delta-8 naturally occurs in such small quantities it is typically synthetically made. Though there are a lot of Delta-8 THC products flooding the market, many are created using unregulated processes that are often untested. This lack of regulation means D-8 products can contain impurities and by-products with unknown health effects. Because of this, Delta-8 is under increased scrutiny. We recommend avoiding it.
Delta-10 THC is a much less studied isomer of THC. It has a slightly different chemical structure than Delta-9 THC and may have a less potent psychoactive effect. However, little scientific research is available on the impact or potential medical benefits of Delta-10 THC. As more studies evolve, you can expect to hear more about this isomer used in products.
THCV is another minor cannabinoid found in cannabis. Unlike the other THC isomers, THCV is non-psychoactive, meaning it alone does not produce the euphoric high associated with cannabis use. Dubbed the “diet weed,” THCV may have potential medicinal benefits, including pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and anxiety reduction. It is also being studied for its potential use in treating conditions such as fatty liver disease, obesity, and diabetes. Research continues to understand the potential benefits of THCV alone and when used with THC.
As research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis and its THC isomers continues, we may discover more about how they can be used to promote health and well-being. So, it’s an exciting area to keep an eye on!
What’s the best way to experience THC? The preferred method is personal and varies based on several factors, including how each person’s body processes THC, the desired effect (fast or gradual onset), and the environment at the time of use. It’s important to know that because THCV is found in much lower concentrations in cannabis plants than THC, it may not be as widely available in the forms described below.
Edibles: typically slower and longer. THC in edibles is absorbed through the digestive system, so the onset of effects is much slower than vaping. It can take up to two hours to feel the effects, and they can last much longer than vaping or tinctures. Edibles can produce a more gradual, relaxing high but can also be more unpredictable. When trying edibles, treating each brand as a new experience is essential. For the best experience, we recommend starting low (5mg or 10mg) and taking it slow (wait for 24 hours before increasing your dose).
Delta-9, Delta-8 and Delta-10 can be infused into various edibles, including gummies, chocolates and beverages. Because THCV is found in much lower concentrations in cannabis plants than THC or CBD, it may not be as widely available.
Smoking/Vaping: Because THC enters the bloodstream quickly through the lungs when inhaled through smoking or vaping, THC effects are often felt almost immediately and peak within a few minutes. Inhalation can produce a strong and intense high but also wears off quicker than edibles or tinctures. Former smokers may be more comfortable smoking dried flowers, concentrates and vaping than non-smokers unused to the burning/coughing that can accompany inhalation methods.
Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10 and THCV can be consumed through smoking or vaping.
Tinctures: THC tinctures are absorbed under the tongue. This method of consumption can result in a faster onset of effects than edibles but slower than vaping. The effects of tinctures can last longer than vaping but shorter than edibles. With trial and error, adjusting the tincture dosage can produce a more controllable and predictable high. Delta-9, Delta-8, Delta-10 and THCV can be consumed through tinctures.
Topicals: Delta-9, Delta-8 and THCV can be added to topical products, such as creams, lotions or balms, for localized relief. Currently, Delta-10 THC is less commonly used in topicals.
The effects of THC can vary depending on the method of consumption, the dosage, and the individual’s tolerance and sensitivity to the compound. It is important to note that THC can have side effects, including impaired cognitive function, increased heart rate, and paranoia, particularly at high doses.
Regardless of how you choose to experience THC, use the products responsibly, in a safe situation and only use THC products from trusted sources. How? Look for the Certificate Analysis. COAs provide detailed information about the product’s composition, including the cannabinoid and terpene content and information about potential contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents. This information is essential for consumers to make informed decisions about the quality and safety of the products they are considering purchasing. COAs should be available from the manufacturer or seller of the product and are often found on their website or available by request.
Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on cannabis and its various compounds!
Curious about something else? If you are, likely others are, too! Let us know your questions – we’re thrilled to help you on this journey of discovery. Email us at [email protected].