Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
What is THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol)?
When someone talks about about THC, they are typically referencing Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Since the 2018 Farm Bill, there has been a cannabinoid revolution with a variety of new THC isomer products like Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCV, THCO, HHC and others.
Delta 9 THC is often referred to as simply “THC.” It is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces its high. Although it is a naturally occurring part of the cannabis plant, it has a long and complicated legal history across the globe. Today, Delta 9 THC can be obtained as part of many states’ Medical Marijuana programs, a few states’ recreational marijuana programs, and found in trace amounts in hemp-derived products.
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Delta 9 THC creates physiological effects by mimicking the function of the body’s own endocannabinoids. These molecules are associated with memory, pleasure, hunger, coordination and more. Delta 9 works by engaging the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These receptors are scattered throughout the body, but most prevalent in the brain and spinal cord. Delta 9 THC also causes the brain to release dopamine, which creates the euphoric sensations associated with the cannabinoid.
Although it remains federally illegal, Delta 9 THC has been the most used illicit substance in the United States for decades. Americans have consistently sought Delta 9 THC for its recreational benefits, including a psychoactive high that inspires feelings of euphoria and relaxation, as well as for medicinal reasons. Although it is illegal, federal allows the sale of hemp products that contain less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC by weight.
To learn about other cannabinoids go to our Cannabis Hemp Dictionary page.