Most people think of THC as the main psychoactive component in cannabis. This is not true. THC is actually just one of many different cannabinoids in the plant, each with its own effects on the body and mind. Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9 edibles, is the most famous cannabinoid, but in fact, it’s only the second most prevalent after Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD.
Cannabis consumers are constantly discovering new ways to use cannabis products, regardless of what type they ingest or consume. There’s a lot of good information out there about how to use cannabis responsibly and have a great time with your friends or all by yourself. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of myths about cannabis that can be confusing to consumers and even lead to unintentionally harmful decisions.
These myths range from simple misunderstandings to old wives ‘ tales that have been repeated so many times that people think they must be true. We want to help you separate fact from fiction so you can enjoy your cannabis experience without worrying about potential consequences for you or others around you.
Table of Contents
What is Delta-9?
Delta-9 THC, or ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis. The compound was first isolated in 1964 by Israeli researchers Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni. It is a bicyclic aromatic ketone with the chemical formula C21H30O2, which is where its abbreviation “THC” comes from.
Delta-9 THC is a cannabinoid receptor type I (CB1) agonist, meaning it activates CB1 receptors. These are the most common types of cannabinoid receptors in humans and other mammals, and they occur throughout the body including the brain, liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs, heart and reproductive organs; they are present in large numbers in the hippocampus (memory) and cerebellum (motor coordination). Delta-9 THC binds to CB1 receptors at an affinity level of 25–27 nM. This is higher than any naturally occurring or synthetic cannabinoid studied to date. Dronabinol (Marinol) has a binding affinity of 96 nM for CB1 receptors.
The mind-altering effects of pot are largely attributed to its most famous ingredient: delta-9 THC, or simply THC. That’s the chemical we’re talking about when we describe marijuana as having a certain percentage of THC. (Strictly speaking, it’s the delta-9 isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol.)
But there’s more to pot than just THC. Marijuana contains at least 113 other cannabinoids, which have their own effects and may even counteract some of the negatives associated with THC. For example, cannabidiol (CBD) is thought to block some of the psychoactive effects of THC.
Cannabinoids are found in resin produced by the leaves and buds primarily of the female cannabis plant. The plant also contains more than 500 other chemicals, including more than 100 compounds that are chemically related to THC, called cannabinoids.
In addition to cannabinoids, marijuana smoke contains a variety of toxins like those found in tobacco smoke, for example, benzopyrene and vinyl chloride. But unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains higher levels of ammonia and hydrogen cyanide, which may account for the heightened risk of certain cancers associated with long-term use.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that naturally occur in the resin of the Cannabis sativa plant, commonly called marijuana. The two primary cannabinoids found in cannabis that have been well characterized to date are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is what people are searching for when they want a product that gives them a “high.” Unlike THC, CBD isn’t known to cause psychoactive effects, and is therefore attractive to those who want to avoid the high but who believe there are other benefits of CBD, said Sara Ward, a pharmacologist at Temple University in Philadelphia.
“CBD is the nonpsychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won’t have any effects like euphoria,” Ward told Live Science. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.”
Here are some of the most common myths about Delta-9 THC along with explanations that will help clear up any confusion.
1. The Myth:
Delta-9 THC is the only psychoactive component of cannabis.
There are over a hundred different cannabinoids in the plant, including some that are more potent than THC.
2. The Myth:
Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
CBD interferes with the action of Delta-9 THC at the CB1 receptor and so lowers potency. The ratio of Delta-9 THC to CBD influences potency and effect type.
Delta-9 THC is the only active ingredient in marijuana.
There are many different chemicals in marijuana that may have different effects.
Smoking marijuana only makes people “high” or “stoned.”
Marijuana can make you feel relaxed, happy, or sleepy. It can also cause hallucinations, change thinking and cause delusions.
Marijuana is not addictive.
People can become addicted to marijuana. Addiction means that a person has a compulsive need to seek out and use a drug despite the harm it causes. Addiction is more likely for people who use marijuana every day, or who started at a young age.
I’ve been researching Delta-9 THC for about a year and here are some of the myths I’ve seen propagated on this subreddit.
Cannabis is *not* addictive.
It is, to a certain degree.
If you smoke weed you cannot have chronic pain.
This is false because it is possible to have both chronic pain and cannabis addiction at the same time. If you have chronic pain, cannabis may help relieve some of your symptoms but it will not fix everything.
Marijuana can lead to heroin use.
A 20-year study by the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that marijuana’s mild addictive properties do not lead to the use of harder drugs.
Marijuana is a “gateway drug” that makes people want to try other drugs.
The Institute of Medicine also found no evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug. In fact, most people who use marijuana never even try other illicit substances. Of those who do, it is likely because they have personality traits or environmental factors that make them more susceptible to experimentation with all drugs, not just marijuana.
Marijuana impairs short-term memory and learning.
Studies show that memory impairment from marijuana use is temporary and no different from that caused by alcohol or any other drugs. In fact, recent research suggests that low doses of Delta-9 THC may enhance learning and memory!
Marijuana is Not Addictive
Marijuana can be addictive.
D9-THC is Not as Harmful as Other Drugs
D9-THC is more harmful than most think.
Marijuana Does Not Cause Insanity
Studies show that marijuana use may lead to schizophrenia.
Marijuana Can Be Used to Treat Cancer
Studies show that marijuana may speed up the growth of cancer cells and the spread of tumors.
Read Also: A Beginner Guide To Delta-8