Delta 9 Vs. Delta 10: What's The Difference?

As cannabis becomes more widely accepted and research digs deeper into the plant, new cannabinoids are hitting the marijuana market and appealing to many consumers. 

a hand holding a cannabis leaf up to the sky

Such a new cannabinoid is delta-10 THC, a naturally occurring minor chemical in cannabis, but it has much milder potency than regular delta-9 THC. Delta-10 is also unregulated on the federal level, while delta-9 THC is only legal if products contain less than 0.3% THC and are sourced from hemp. 

Read on to learn more about delta-10 and delta-9 THC, their similarities and differences, and everything you need to know to decide if either cannabinoid is best for you. 

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-10 THC is naturally produced in cannabis and has less potency than regular delta-9 THC.
  • Delta-9 THC products are federally legal only if they have less than 0.3% THC per dry weight
  •  Delta-10 isn’t federally regulated, so it’s important to research products before you buy.

What is Delta-10 THC?

Delta-10 is a variety of THC, sharing a chemical formula with the better-known THC but with a different structural arrangement of atoms. Delta-10 THC appears in negligible traces in the cannabis plant, so it's impossible to consume significant amounts through flower. Most products are manufactured synthetically by extracting delta-10 THC from cannabis, refining the cannabinoid, and formulating it into consumption options like vapes or gummies.

Researchers believe delta-10 THC to be a metabolite of delta-9 THC, similar to CBN, rather than the cannabinoid being produced directly by the plant.

Potential Benefits

We lack substantial research on delta-10 THC, but early anecdotal reports point to promising health benefits. Delta-10 THC reportedly produces feelings of relaxation and mild, uplifting moods. This suggests that the compound may be helpful in stress relief and combating anxiety, especially because it's milder and potentially less sedating than delta-9 THC. There's also less chance of an individual overdoing it on delta-10 THC and becoming too anxious.

While research on delta-10 THC is lacking, early anecdotal evidence is promising. Here are some of the suggested health benefits of delta-10 and other cannabinoids.

Potential Risks

While it's less potent than its delta-9 companion, delta-10 THC can still produce euphoric effects, so those seeking to avoid psychoactivity may want to approach it cautiously. We need more research into how delta-10 THC and the compound's impact on any individual's endocannabinoid system and experience with cannabis will yield varying results.

As an unregulated product, there's also the risk of consuming low-quality or low-potency delta-10 THC products. It's incumbent on customers to seek out high-quality and lab-tested delta-10 products and conduct proper due diligence before purchase.

Additionally, it's essential to understand that delta-10 products - because the cannabinoid exists at such tiny levels in the plant - must be synthesized in a lab rather than naturally extracted. Be wary of synthetically created cannabinoids until more research examines potentially harmful side effects.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC, or plain THC, is the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis. THC is responsible for marijuana's intoxicating effects, and different strains of cannabis can have more or less THC depending on several factors.

Delta-9 THC can also be found in the hemp plant, albeit in very low concentrations, to meet federal limits. Hemp can contain only up to 0.3% THC per dry weight, but the THC sourced from hemp is the same as its cannabis-derived counterpart.

Potential Benefits

THC is the most-researched cannabinoid with many documented medical benefits, as evidenced by the fact that most U.S. states have legalized either medical or recreational use. Potential conditions that could benefit from delta-9 THC include:

  • Pain
  • Migraines
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Nausea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Multiple sclerosis (M.S.)
  • Seizures

These documented benefits led to the FDA's approval of a synthetic version of delta-9 called dronabinol to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and to address weight loss and reduced appetite due to HIV/AIDS.

Potential Risks

While many people seek out THC's pleasant intoxication, too much or high sensitivity can result in some undesirable side effects, including: 

  • Dehydration
  • Red eyes or dry mouth
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Hallucinations

Protracted THC use has also been shown to cause learning impairments and impact the formation of memories, particularly in young people. Delta-9 THC is also against federal law, so individuals may only possess delta-9 products if they reside in a legalized state or use a product with less than 0.3% THC.

Delta-10 vs. Delta-9: Similarities and Differences

They are technically the same chemical

Delta-10 and delta-9 THC are both kinds of THC, differing only in the arrangement of molecules and how they interact in the body.

Both produce intoxication

Both delta-10 and delta-9 THC are considered intoxicating, though the high delta-10 THC produces is much milder and more stress-relieving, while delta-9's is more sedating and euphoric.

Both occur naturally in cannabis

Delta-9 THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in the plant, and while delta-10 also occurs naturally, the amounts are minuscule. Delta-10 THC is also thought to be a metabolite of delta-9.

The Bottom Line: Which is Best?

Delta-10 THC is a great option for beginners or those who want milder psychoactive effects, but the FDA doesn't require testing for product safety, so due diligence is needed. For experienced cannabis users or those who require higher-potency THC, delta-9 THC is commonly chosen for both medical and recreational use. However, delta-9 is still federally against the law in amounts higher than 0.3% unless you live in a legalized state. 

Regardless of which product type you choose, shop from reputable manufacturers, start with low doses, and experiment with which produces the preferred effects. Our selection of EVN delta-9 products and other cannabinoid options is ready to provide you with the best experience, no matter your needs.

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