Cannabis and its active component Delta-9-THC are legal for medical use in approximately half of U.S. states, but there are plenty of people outside of those parameters who are curious about its medicinal benefits. Now that hemp Delta-9, a Delta-9-THC product made from legal hemp material, is even more accessible, many people want to know–does hemp-derived Delta-9 have the same benefits as traditional Delta-9-THC?
In other words, is it a reasonable (and legal) substitute for those who want to use cannabis medicinally, but can’t access marijuana products in their state. The answer is a bit complicated, but here’s what’s most important to know.
The Delta-9-THC that’s extracted from hemp, and is therefore federally legal, is the exact samecannabinoid component that is present in marijuana products. The difference lies only in the overall potency. More specifically, hemp must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight in order to be classified as hemp.
In other words, Delta-9 is the exact same from both sources. Hemp just contains way, way less than marijuana. That means that, in theory, the Delta-9 products that are made from hemp induce the same effects (and same benefits) as traditional Delta-9 products. But unfortunately the truth isn’t as simple as this convenient hypothesis.
To better understand the different benefits of hemp Delta-9 and weed Delta-9, let’s look at the medicinal benefits associated with cannabis and the factors that affect its use:
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the potential health benefits of cannabis, particularly in its ability to alleviate symptoms associated with a variety of medical conditions. In states where cannabis is approved for medicinal use, it has been approved for a similar list of benefits. The most common reasons that cannabis is approved for medicinal use include:
Delta-9 may provide a certain level of pain relief through anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects. This may make it particularly effective for people suffering from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Pain found that cannabis may be effective in reducing chronic painby more than 30%.
Cannabis may also be beneficial for individuals with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's thanks to the neuroprotective properties associated with many cannabinoids, including (but not limited to) Delta-9-THC. Astudy published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that THC, especially when combined with THC, was potentially helpful in reducing symptoms of dementia in some patients.
One of the most talked about uses for medicinal cannabis is for cancer and related therapies. While some in vitro studies have found cannabis capable of attacking or preventing the spread of cancer cells, the most common cancer-related uses involve mediating the side effects of traditional cancer therapies, like chemotherapy. For instance, cannabis may be recommended by a patient's doctor to help manage intractable pain or nausea and vomiting induced by radiotherapy.
Finally, cannabis may be helpful for individuals with sleep disorders such as insomnia. THC has been found to have potential sedative properties, meaning they can help to promote relaxation and sleep. Astudy published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that cannabis was effective in improving sleep quality in 71% of participants.
One factor that greatly influences the health benefits associated with Delta-9 is the dosage. If you look at the way that cannabis is used throughout the medicinal community, you’ll quickly see the relationship between dosage and usage. For instance, those managing chronic pain may need to use large amounts of cannabis to experience relief. The anti-inflammatory and anesthetic potential of cannabis increased with the dose.
On the other hand, those managing nausea may need slightly smaller doses as cannabis’ antiemetic benefits are incredibly potent. Even smaller doses may be used for managing certain anxiety conditions, like social anxiety, since small doses may provide a calming sensation while larger doses may actually worsen anxiety.
One explanation for this is the biphasic effect, meaning that cannabis has a dosing threshold at which the effects change entirely. To explain this better, take a look at the effects of alcohol. In small doses it acts as a stimulant. It may make you feel good, like you’d like to get out on the dancefloor. In larger doses, though, it has a sedative effect that starts to make you feel slow and tired. Delta-9 is similar.
Where does this dosage factor come into play when discussing the benefits of hemp delta-9 vs weed delta-9? Basically, it’s much easier to get large doses when buying traditional Delta-9 products. Hemp products are limited to the 0.3% threshold, meaning a 3 gram gummy (about the size of an average gummy bear) can have approximately 9 milligrams of THC in it.
Make no mistake, hemp Delta-9-THC products can still contain powerful psychoactive doses of THC, but the overall dosing atmosphere is just different and less geared towards therapeutic use.
Another reason that hemp derived Delta-9 and traditional medicinal cannabis don’t always stack up is because of the full-spectrum effect, or the synergy that happens between cannabinoids when using whole-flower cannabis products.
For the majority of marijuana products, a THC extract containing other compounds, including beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes, is used. Together, these compounds may provide more advanced benefits than you can get from THC alone.
Hemp is, of course, full of these same beneficial compounds, but they don’t always make it into hemp THC products. The 0.3% rule also gets in the way of manufacturers being able to provide hemp Delta-9 flower, which would harbor all of these beneficial compounds by default, similarly to marijuana flower.
Flower simply isn’t dense enough to legally carry useful amounts of Delta-9-THC and still abide by the legal potency guidelines. For perspective, a gram of hemp flower can only legally contain up to 3 milligrams of THC, some of which gets lost during combustion as you smoke it. An average strain of medical marijuana may have a THC content of 15%, or 150 milligrams in every gram of flower.
This ties into the last point, but terpenes have a significant benefit on their own, so we wanted to talk about them separately. Terpenes, the compounds responsible for cannabis’ fragrance, carry their own potential benefits. Some research suggests that they have synergistic benefits with cannabinoids. In fact, one study titled “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” details these effects, giving insight into how different terpene and cannabinoid combinations can be used medicinally to achieve different benefits.
This is why people have different experiences with different cannabis strains. However, terpenes can be derived from legal hemp material and can be added to products after production. In other words, even though hemp-derived Delta-9 isn’t typically sold as a flower product, it can have terpenes added which may help to give it more significant therapeutic benefits.
So, as you can see, the answer to “are hemp delta-9 benefits the same as weed delta-9 benefits” is a bit more convoluted than a simple “yes.” It really depends–both THC molecules are exactly the same, but hemp products will vary greatly in several ways. They may be less potent or less likely to contain other synergistic cannabinoids or terpenes.
However, if you can find hemp Delta-9 products at the dosage you need, and potentially even with the full-spectrum formulas that best suit your needs, then yes, it may offer very similar medicinal benefits.
The good news is that the risk factors are the same, meaning THC products may be safe to try out when used responsibly. To try out hemp-derived Delta-9 for yourself, look for a high-quality product that’s made in a cGMP compliant facility and third-party tested to prove label accuracy.
Then, start with low doses–5 milligrams may be a good place to start–and work your way up to larger doses until you find your perfect dosing threshold.
If you’re looking for a legal THC alternative with therapeutic value, don’t overlook hemp-derived Delta-8. Delta-8, while less potent than Delta-9, carries its own potential benefits, and provides a more relaxing euphoria than most Delta-9 products. To learn more, you may want to read:
Hemp products are available in stores and online, though it may be more difficult to find hemp-derived Delta-9 products in local stores. Luckily, shopping online for hemp THC products is the best way to compare product quality, dosing styles, and prices to ensure that you get exactly what you’re looking for–high-quality, lab-tested, federally legal hemp-derived THC edibles.
Ready to try it for yourself? Check out ourhemp THC collection.
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