Humans have used cannabis for at least 2,500 years to treat numerous ailments. However, it was not until the mid-18th century that serious scientific research into marijuana’s therapeutic claims began. These studies have found that the cannabis plant contains over 100 medically useful compounds known as cannabinoids.
This article will serve as a comprehensive guide to two cannabinoids – delta-9 THC and delta 10 THC – with a particular focus on the differences between the two compounds.
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Introducing Delta-9 and Delta-10 THC
Delta-9 and delta-10 are derivatives of tetrahydrocannabinol. So, the best way to introduce these compounds is to start by understanding tetrahydrocannabinol.
Commonly abbreviated as THC, tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the numerous cannabinoids in marijuana. Although most cannabinoids are famous for their therapeutic benefits, THC is probably best known for its mind-altering properties. The primary cannabinoid in cannabis induces the ‘high,’ which is slang for a range of psychedelic reactions experienced from consuming recreational marijuana products.
Now, tetrahydrocannabinol exists in numerous compounds called isomers. Isomers are compounds that share identical chemical formulas but differ in the arrangement of atoms in their molecular structures. Delta-9 and delta-10 are examples of the various THC isomers.
What Are The Similarities Between Delta-9 And Delta-10 THC?
Before we delve deeper into a delta 9 vs. delta 10 comparison, it would be best to start by looking at the similarities between the two cannabinoids.
The main similarity between delta-9 and delta-10 is that they’re both tetrahydrocannabinol derivatives. And since they’re all THC isomers, it goes without saying that both delta-9 and delta-10 are inherently psychotropic. Besides, these cannabinoids also boast THC’s therapeutic properties.
Another similarity between delta-9 and delta-10 is that they can both be administered in similar ways. You can smoke or vape either compound if looking for a faster onset time. Alternatively, you may consider edible products for long-lasting effects. There’s also the option of topicals, which are more suitable for managing pain and inflammation in a localized area of the body.
Differences Between Delta-9 and Delta-10 THC
Delta-9 is the most popular tetrahydrocannabinol isomer. The compound has been around for decades, unlike delta-10, whose popularity has only exploded recently.
Delta-9 is so popular that it’s widely used to denote tetrahydrocannabinol in general, albeit inaccurately.
Both delta-9 and delta-10 THC are tetrahydrocannabinol derivatives. Interestingly, the compounds come from different plants.
Note that the term ‘cannabis’ isn’t a distinct plant species but a genus comprising numerous species.
Much of the industrially-manufactured delta-9 comes from Cannabis sativa, the cannabis species that produces marijuana cultivars. On the other hand, delta-10 mainly comes from Cannabis indica, the species that produces hemp variants.
The Cannabis sativa plants delta-9 come from are famous for their higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol than cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is the most famous non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis. On the other hand, the Cannabis indica plants where delta-10 THC comes from are higher in CBD than THC.
Therefore, delta-9 THC can be obtained directly from THC extracts. For comparison, delta-10’s extraction process involves obtaining CBD from hemp. The resultant compound then undergoes further chemical reactions to yield delta-10 THC.
Delta-9 and delta-10 THC derive their names from the location of the double bonds on the compounds’ respective carbon chains. As the names suggest, delta-9 has its double bond located in the 9th carbon chain, while the double bond in delta-10 occurs in the 10th carbon chain.
These structural differences may sound insignificant. But they can influence how each of the two cannabinoids impacts the body.
Delta-9 is famous for delivering powerful euphoria marked by intense giggling and elevated energy levels. According to most users, delta-9’s psychedelic effects can easily border on paranoia and intoxication.
On the other hand, delta-10 produces a more pleasant high characterized by mental relaxation and elevated moods. Delta-10 users report enjoying the compound’s psychoactive properties while going about their routines undisrupted.
The fact that delta-9 THC delivers a more intense high than delta-10 also means the compound presents worse side effects. Some adverse reactions to delta-9 include hallucinatory experiences, bloodshot eyes, disconnected thoughts, changes in perception, and irritability.
Delta-10 may also trigger certain adverse events. But those effects won’t be as severe as those of delta-9.
The saving grace is that you can mitigate the adverse reactions to either delta-9 or delta-10 THC by consuming these compounds in moderation.
Note that both delta-9 and delta-10 are biphasic. In other words, the compounds produce positive effects at relatively low doses and adverse effects at high doses. That underscores the importance of keeping your serving amounts low.
If you’re new to THC, start with lower doses of either compound and then work your way up gradually.
Delta-9 is federally illegal in the United States. Compounds formulated with more than 0.3% delta-9 THC are also illegal at the federal level.
On the other hand, delta-10 THC is legal. That’s primarily because the compound comes from hemp.
For reference, the passage into law of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized all hemp-derived compounds provided that they contain a maximum delta-9 concentration of 0.3%.
Delta-9 and delta-10 may derive from the same cannabinoid. But the two compounds differ across several parameters.
Whichever compound you prefer, remember to talk to your doctor before integrating it into your wellness routine.