Delta 9 THC is easily one of the most controversial plant derivatives in history. Known for its psychoactive effects, it has been criminalized around the world for many decades, although all of that has slowly been changing in recent years. Native to the cannabis genus, delta 9 exists in both hemp and marijuana, but which of the two plants this cannabinoid is derived from makes a huge difference in terms of legality, availability, and other variables.
Delta 9 THC: The Same Cannabinoid from Two Different Plants
Delta 9 THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is a compound that was first discovered in 1964, by a Bulgarian chemist who was analyzing the hemp plant. Long before delta 9 was isolated and analyzed, cultures all around the world were using the cannabinoid in the marijuana plant for its many unique and useful properties. The discovery of delta 9 allowed us to learn more about its properties, and also the nature of the cannabis plant in general.
Cannabis is a genus to which both hemp and marijuana belong. Both of these plants contain delta 9 THC, but in different amounts, which is why only the former is federally legal (more on that later). It’s important to note that the delta 9 in marijuana is the same as the delta 9 in hemp – in other words, if you were to extract the delta 9 out of each plant and compare them side by side, there would be zero difference in molecular structure, properties or characteristics.
Hemp is the first member of the cannabis genus that we have historical records of for reference. It was believed to have first been cultivated for the production of fibers and textiles, and it originated in Central Asia, with historical records dating back to 8000 BC. Archaeologists also have discovered mummified marijuana from 2500 BC. From this point forward, cannabis quickly spread around the world, and began to see its earliest utilization as a medicinal. In 2700 BC, we find the first recorded observations of the psychoactive nature of cannabis in Chinese documents, which were ultimately describing the effects of delta 9 THC.
The hemp plant also has a fascinating history here in the United States. In 1616, Jamestown, the first established English settlement in the United States, began to cultivate hemp for the production of rope. By the early 1700s, farmers were required by law to grow hemp due to its versatility, to offer self-sufficient agriculture. These early settlers were not even aware that their crops contained a trace amount of delta 9, as the plant was not being used as a medicinal, at least primarily. Meanwhile, marijuana didn’t make its way over to America until the early 20th Century, and its only use in the United States was recreational.
What is Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 THC is a cannabinoid, and one of over 150 found in the flowering buds of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are extremely unique plant compounds only found in cannabis. They are the only compounds that work with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for keeping the body in a state of homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of various cannabinoid receptors located in each system of the body. When cannabinoids attach to these receptors, regulatory actions take place that work toward systemic equilibrium. CB1 receptors in the brain are also responsible for the psychoactive effects of certain cannabinoids.
Delta 9 THC is a fairly potent psychoactive cannabinoid, and its high is quite sought-after. It is often described as both uplifting and soothing, offering feelings of euphoria and mellowness that are quite enjoyable. But, that’s not all that delta 9 is capable of.
Delta-9 has been found in studies to offer many valuable properties such as the following:
- Potential mood balancing
- Potential sleep regulation
- Potential help with physical discomfort
- Potential help with nausea
- Potential help with appetite
How Much Delta 9 THC Exists in Hemp vs Marijuana?
Delta 9 is present in both hemp and marijuana, but as we said, the amount found in each plant is very different. In hemp, there’s only about 0.3% delta 9 THC. This is such a trace amount that even high doses of pure hemp will not cross the psychoactive threshold. This is why hemp cannot get you high despite the fact that it contains delta 9.
In marijuana, you’ll find a much higher amount of delta 9. Just a few decades ago, it was standard for any given strain of marijuana to contain somewhere between 1-4% delta 9 THC. While this still exists, today’s specialty marijuana breeders purposely develop strains that can contain up to 25% delta 9 THC, which is why you’ll hear long-time users say that today’s marijuana is a lot stronger than it was when they were young.
Cultivating Hemp vs Marijuana
A big difference between the two plants is how they are cultivated. Hemp plants are almost exclusively grown outdoors as they are more tolerant to a broader spectrum of weather conditions than marijuana, which is often grown indoors throughout much of the country. Hemp can be grown more densely while marijuana must be appropriately spaced out as it’s more prone to mold and infestations. This means that growing hemp is actually more space-effective overall.
What is the Legality of Marijuana-Derived Delta 9 THC?
It’s an exciting time to be a cannabis enthusiast, as cannabis laws are changing faster than ever before throughout the country. Marijuana and hemp were both criminalized in 1970, and before that, in 1937, cannabis was subjected to a tax that essentially removed the plant from circulation.
But, things have been changing over the years. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and now, all but eleven states have a fully established medical marijuana program, which allows qualifying patients to legally purchase high-delta 9 products.
Those said states that do not presently allow for medical marijuana are:
- South Carolina
In the other 39 states that maintain a medical marijuana program, anyone with a qualifying medical condition can ask their doctor to petition on their behalf for a medical marijuana card that allows them to visit a dispensary in their state that sells marijuana products. The qualifying conditions list varies between states.
Recreational Cannabis in the United States
In 2012, shortly after an influx of states joined in on the medical marijuana initiative, Washington and Colorado both legalized recreational cannabis for adult residents, allowing adults to enjoy delta 9 THC without needing a medical reason to do so. Now, many states have followed in their footsteps. States in which recreational marijuana are now legal are (in the order in which legalization passed):
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
- New York
- New Mexico
What this means is that in all of the states above, delta 9 THC can be enjoyed legally. While each state has its own specific laws pertaining to concentration levels and purchase amounts, delta 9 as an independent cannabinoid is decriminalized.
Despite these states allowing the sales of marijuana products, however, marijuana remains completely illegal under federal law.
What is the Legality of Hemp-Derived Delta 9 THC?
Now, let’s compare marijuana laws to hemp laws, since both plants contain delta 9 THC but in different amounts. Because the hemp plant in its natural state does not contain enough delta 9 to be psychoactive, hemp is a federally legal plant as of 2018, when the US passed the Farm Bill. This legislation declared the hemp plant fully legal, and all of its individual derivatives, with one stipulation: no hemp product sold on the market may contain more than 0.3% delta 9 THC.
As it stands, all 50 states adhere to the Farm Bill, which means that this law applies no matter where in the country you reside.
Legal Hemp-Derived Delta 9 THC Products: A New Addition to the Hemp Market
Despite delta 9 THC being illegal in concentrations higher than 0.3% across the country, you may have noticed that Greenlife Remedies has recently begun selling delta 9 products. These products are 100% federally compliant, because they contain no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC per dry weight.
We offer a variety of delta 9 edibles that come in larger-than-average serving sizes so that even though there’s only 0.3% delta 9 THC per serving, the actual number of milligrams is high enough to be noticeably effective. After all, a full gram of, say, a chocolate bar can legally contain 3 milligrams of delta 9 THC, which is at the bottom end of the psychoactive threshold. A 4-gram serving of an edible can deliver 12 milligrams of delta 9 into the body, which can produce a generously potent psychoactive effect.
Note: The other reason why these products are legal is because they come from the hemp plant. Delta 9 THC derived from marijuana in any concentration remains completely illegal under federal law.
The Bottom Line
Delta 9 THC has a long and fascinating history as a major component of the cannabis genus, and the component responsible for a complex evolution of cannabis laws throughout the country. The good news is that our country is more THC-friendly than ever before, both with new states legalizing marijuana each year, and hemp laws that allow for companies to find ways to create hemp-derived delta 9 products that are on the legal market. Basically, if you’re interested in trying delta 9, you may more legal options than ever before. If you are eager to explore this psychoactive cannabinoid but live in a state in which marijuana is illegal, then the federally complaint, to-quality delta 9 products at Greenlife Remedies can give you what you’re looking for.