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The best-known active ingredient in cannabis is the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, or more accurately Delta-9 THC. The lesser known but more popular Delta-8 THC, so named for a difference in carbon bonds, is the preferred cannabinoid for consumers.

THC is the cannabinoid responsible for causing users to experience an intoxicating effect when they use cannabis. The most abundant form of THC is delta 9, which does have an intoxicating effect on humans, undoubtedly what makes you feel high.

From a clinical view Delta-9 does have definite therapeutic benefits. Dampening the effects of nausea due to cancer therapy, relief of multiple sclerosis symptoms, and appetite promotion is among the positive benefits to many patients of these maladies.

How Delta-9 Affects Consumers

Delta-8 THC  versus Delta-9 THC

There have been reports of Delta-9 THC users experiencing unwanted side effects. A closer examination shows the intoxicating effects may feel the same as delta-8 THC however there are significant differences in both the “high” experienced and the side effects as well.

Users reported that they had experienced a different psychoactive effect than the usual Delta-8 THC and they were therefore anxious to know what they had ingested. There were extensive differences that caused such anxiety and both the FDA, and the cannabis-industry have raised questions and verbalized concerns about this proprietary cannabinoid that is hemp-derived.

While most people can tolerate this new type of THC isomer, these side effects can outweigh them.

Proponents of hemp-based Delta-9 THC like to point out the pleasurable and positive intoxicating effects are pleasant to consumers seeking that familiar relaxing effect of regular THC.

Altered perception of time and events


Increased focus


A common theme with THC, cannabinoids and other hemp-based products is overuse by consumers. Common sense dictates that too much of anything is not good for you be it salt, zinc, vitamins, minerals and more. All things in moderation!

Many of these effects can be traced to mislabeling the strength of the Delta-9, whether inadvertently or knowingly. Cannabis firms in good conscience want their consumers to know exactly what they are ingesting and all positive and negative effects. Just like salt, the human body needs tiny amounts to function but too much salt can lead to all kinds of medical issues and same can occur with cannabinoids, zinc, various vitamins and many more trace minerals.

The Dark Side of Delta-9

Delta-9 Can Cause Paranoia

It is interesting to note that legislators and the marijuana industry were both surprised by the effects of the Farm Bill of 2018. “We honestly never thought intoxicating products would be produced from hemp.” said those familiar with this legislation They were all under the impression that hemp was never about getting high, it was about its medical and other legitimate uses.

Now everyone is slowly coming to grips with the fact that it legalized a whole new class of intoxicants. Now the FDA has an entirely new need to regulate the industry considering these changes.

THC triggers the brain to release substantial amounts of dopamine, a “feel good” chemical and that helps to explain why being high feels so pleasant to a high percentage of users. But this dopamine release comes with a risk as an estimated 30% of the people who use cannabis develop cannabis use disorder.

Forbes Health magazine in depth research discovered a darker side of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC that found adverse side effects:

paranoia and panic attacks

heightened anxiety


confusion and hallucinations

dry mouth

increased appetite

memory loss

rapid heart rate

red eyes

slowed reaction times

feeling uneasy, unhappy, or dissatisfied (dysphoria)

low blood pressure (hypotension)

Delta-9 Can Cause Depression

Medical publishers

Even more disturbing are the recent public case reports from medical publishers that show delta-9THC use can have serious side effects and be quite detrimental to end users.

There are increasing descriptions of recurring nausea, severe vomiting, dehydration, and abdominal pain reported by long-time Delta-9 THC users. In addition, multiple medical studies have linked delta-9 THC use with disturbing changes in perception, increased risk for psychosis, depression, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric conditions along with substance abuse disorders.

This may in fact relate to the very public history of a well-known MMA boxer who fought some of these very same serious afflictions over a two-year period as reported by Hemp Synergistics correspondents back in September of this year. Note that the long-term effects of Delta-9 on the psyche and cognition are not currently known as there are no reports of prolonged use of Delta-9.


Much like trying to force a square peg into a round hole, Delta-9 THC could be classified as an intoxicant much like it’s Cousin Delta-8 THC however actual results of use are significantly different, especially for those familiar with the effects of marijuana-derived THC.

We could say that Delta-9 THC troubles could be traced to sloppy or even deliberate mislabeling as a recent review and analysis by a well-respected testing firm testing more than fifty top-selling Delta-9 hemp-derived products found that more than half were mislabeled and contained THC content more than 15% higher or lower than indicated. Many of these products had extremely prominent levels of THC (much more than state THC limits).

It is well-known that the THC cannabinoid is responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana, however the source of the THC plays a vital role in exactly how it affects the human body.

One clear fact gleaned from reviews, testing and subjective experiences is that hemp-derived THC has different effects on people, but the side effects themselves were surprising to those with previous experience with cannabis-derived Delta-8 THC. With Delta-9 product makers pushing the limits even more with inaccurately labeled super-potent products that are technically legal at this moment, the FDA and the industry are now both scrambling to catch up.

Delta-9 THC Isomer

Using Caution with Delta-9 THC Cannabinoids

While there has never been a recorded death from cannabis overdoes, users can overdo and misuse cannabis by using too much and becoming anxious, confused, or dizzy. As mentioned before, moderation in all things is best.

As the FDA does not regulate Delta-9 THC products currently, it best serves consumers to do research on the companies and vendors before buying their products. Finding a reputable company is preferred while third-party lab testing will help ensure purity, quality, and safety as essential to your health.

photo of pittsburgh city with cannabis leaf graphics overlayed