How Many Types of THC Are There?

Small marijuana plant in the middle of flowering.

“Back in the good old days, all we had was regular weed and we were fine” is something we imagine someone new to the latest in cannabis thinking. 

Although it might’ve been simpler back when other cannabinoids weren’t as well-known or accessible, we have to admit that having different compounds with diverse effects and benefits is a godsend to many people.

Nowadays, there are a bunch of THC cannabinoids. While we don’t expect you to know every one of them by heart, we definitely think it’s worth your time to learn about them (even fleetingly) and see if any of them catch your eye.

Besides, we’re living in a world of constant innovation and exponential growth in technology in every sector of the industry, so why not take a gander? 

Here’s Delta Munchies’ guide on types of THC.

 

Key Takeaways

  • THC is the major psychoactive compound in cannabis.
  • Around 20 THC cannabinoids have been discovered so far.
  • The most researched THC cannabinoids are delta 9, delta 8, delta 10, THCA, THCV, THC-O, and THC-P.

 

What is THC and What Does It Stand For?

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component found in cannabis (basically, the compound that makes you high). 

While many assume that THC refers only to regular, delta 9 THC, there are actually a bunch of different cannabinoids that contain THC. 

Cannabis, which is the umbrella term for both marijuana and hemp, has been found to be the placeholder for over a hundred cannabinoids. Still, not all of them contain THC. 

 

How Many Different Types of THC Are There?

There are about 20 THC cannabinoids that have been discovered so far, but many of them haven’t been properly researched. 

We’re going through seven cannabinoids that are becoming more popularized and perhaps even showing up at your local dispensary or online, so buckle up and get ready for the ride.

 

Delta 9 THC

Delta 9 THC has been the original gangster, the MVP, and the shining star of the show of cannabis for decades (if not centuries). 

It’s the one that’s referred to everywhere when people talk about marijuana, because of its highly psychoactive effects that have gotten people high in ancient rituals in China, shamans in Siberia, the Scythians in Central Asia, hippies at Woodstock, partiers in the 1980s, and of course, you.

What Does Delta 9 Do?

Just like other cannabinoids, delta 9 attaches to your endocannabinoid system, which can have potent psychoactive effects that affect mood, cognitive function, time perception, and mental state. 

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How Does Delta 9 Make You Feel?

Delta 9’s effects are what you expect from regular medicinal or recreational weed: euphoria, extreme physical relaxation, changes in time and space perception, a boost in energy and creativity, a sense of calm, a bout of the munchies, and intensified sensory perception.

Not every batch of delta 9 will make you feel the same, though. Different strains with different combinations of terpenes can make them either indica (relaxing), sativa (energizing), or hybrid (well-balanced or indica- or sativa-dominant). 

Delta 9 is also one of the most researched THC cannabinoids. Through decades of investigation, it’s been used for its potential therapeutic and medicinal properties in many health issues.

Delta 9 THC Side Effects

Although there’s a lot to love about delta 9, it isn’t for everyone. For those whose bodies don’t mix well with the intensity and potency of delta 9, it may cause or heighten paranoia, cottonmouth, red eyes, hypertension, anxiety, confusion, or sedation.

Where is Delta 9 Legal?

The legality of delta 9 is still confusing, as states constantly change their laws. The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-derived delta 9 containing less than 0.3% of the cannabinoid federally legal, although some states are changing up the laws, so it’s still up for interpretation.

When it comes to marijuana-derived delta 9, its recreational and medicinal use is legal in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

 

Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 is another popular cannabinoid that’s only recently become a trend in the cannabis industry. 

What is Delta 8?

Delta 8 is delta 9’s long-lost chemical cousin. Their structure is practically identical, except for one small difference: while a double bond in delta 9 is located on the ninth carbon chain, in delta 8 it’s found on the eighth carbon chain.

While they’re chemically similar, this tiny change makes a big difference when it comes to its effects and possible benefits.

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What Does Delta 8 Feel Like?

While delta 8 is also psychoactive and can get you high, its effects are milder than delta 9’s potent effects. People describe it as being a more clear-headed high, with feelings of slight euphoria, relaxation, and calmness. 

For those who find delta 9 too intense, delta 8 might be a great option. Usually described as an indica-type high, it can help increase focus and concentration while relieving stress, anxiety, and other discomforts while preventing overstimulation caused by delta 9.

How Long Does Delta 8 Take To Kick In?

When it comes to how long it takes for the effects of delta 8 to set in, it largely depends on how it’s consumed. 

When smoked or vaped, the effects usually kick in within a few minutes. When ingested orally, whether in the form of syrups, tinctures, edibles, or beverages, it can take up to two hours to feel the high. 

Side Effects of Delta 8

Delta 8 can have side effects, which is why it isn’t for everyone. Although the high is much milder than with delta 9, it may also cause feelings of anxiety, disorientation, cottonmouth, red eyes, lethargy, increased heart rate, and impaired coordination.

Where is Delta 8 Legal?

Back in 2018, the Farm Bill legalized all hemp-derived delta 8 products on a national level. This was great news for those who couldn’t get a hold of marijuana and cannabis products due to state laws.

However, since then, a few states have taken it upon themselves to criminalize the production, distribution, and use of delta 8. Even some states that have legalized recreational marijuana don’t allow hemp-derived delta 8. 

The states where delta 8 has been outright banned are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Utah.

The places where the legality of delta 8 is still fuzzy and in a grey area are Mississippi, Kentucky, and Nebraska.

 

Delta 10 THC

Delta 10 THC is another cannabinoid that has been gaining popularity over the past few years.

What is Delta 10 THC?

Delta 10 is another isomer (sibling, to make things simple) of THC. 

Can you guess where the name comes from? It’s pretty straightforward and follows the same logic as delta 8 and delta 9 (whoever discovered it wasn’t feeling creative, we guess).

The double bond in delta 10 is found on its tenth carbon chain, hence the name and the resemblance to its other two cousins. 

How Does Delta 10 Make You Feel?

Delta 10 provokes a milder high than delta 9, but still very noticeable.

Contrary to delta 8, delta 10’s effects are often described by users to liken sativa strains, being more on the uplifting and energizing side of the spectrum.

You might feel a boost in energy and liveliness, with less anxiety- and paranoia-inducing effects than some people might experience on delta 9. In fact, because it wards off those annoying thoughts that can lead to panic, many people love turning to delta 10 for an invigorating high without losing clear-headedness. 

Delta 10 THC Side Effects

Most THC cannabinoids can have similar side effects, so it comes as no surprise that delta 10’s adverse effects reflect delta 9 and delta 8’s. Red eyes, dry mouth, impaired cognitive function, anxiety, rapid heart rate, and paranoia may be experienced by some people.

Is Delta 10 Legal?

The question surrounding the legality of delta 10 is complicated to answer because it lives in a grey area. 

Although the 2018 Farm Bill technically made hemp-derived products federally legal, and delta 10 falls under that umbrella, there haven’t been any specific laws enacted talking about this specific cannabinoid.

It can be assumed that delta 10 is illegal in the same states that delta 8 is outlawed.

Plus, it’s still rare to come across. Users should make sure they stick to brands that ensure their products’ safety by avoiding cutting agents, third-party lab testing, and providing a certificate of analysis. 

 

THCA

THCA is found in the leaves, stems, and flowers of marijuana and hemp plants. It’s the most natural of all THC, as well as being one of the most abundant. 

What is THCA?

THCA is basically THC that hasn’t gone through the decarboxylation process. You might be asking yourself, “uhh, okay, but what does that mean?” we’ve got you.

Decarboxylation is when THCA is heated, and through this simple science experiment, it turns into other types of THC. 

Does THCA Get You High?

Surprisingly, THCA is not psychoactive. It binds to your CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system but does not produce any mind-altering effects. 

However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to take you on a journey towards highness. Once heat is applied, it turns into other forms of THC that are psychoactive.

Basically, THCA is the acidic precursor of THC that serves as a base for psychoactive cannabinoids. 

Much more research needs to be done on its potential effects and benefits, but it seems promising to treat symptoms of certain ailments similar to non-psychoactive CBD, including nausea, appetite loss, epilepsy, and inflammation.

THCA Side Effects

Because THCA isn’t psychoactive and not widely researched, there aren’t many recorded side effects from ingesting it. 

Technically, it shouldn’t cause side effects because it’s not psychoactive or mind-altering. However, we’ll just have to wait for science to confirm this. 

Is THCA Legal?

Thanks, 2018 Farm Bill. Under this act, hemp-derived THCA is federally legal. In states where recreational or medicinal marijuana use is permitted, it may also be permitted derived from marijuana.

Still, it’s pretty rare to come across THCA products. They aren’t widely available, so it might be time-consuming to come by lab-tested, high-quality THCA products.

 

THCV

THCV is one of the least-known cannabinoids, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth looking into. 

What is THCV?

THCV is a byproduct of THCA, meaning it can appear when heat is applied to THCA and it’s “decarbed,” turning it into different THC cannabinoids.

To turn THCA into THCV, it needs to be exposed to higher heat than other types of THC like delta 9.

What is THCV Good For?

Although more research needs to be done, THCV shows promise due to its unique collection of effects and potential benefits. 

It has become a niche cannabinoid in both recreational and medicinal cannabis circles, possibly offering benefits when it comes to regulating blood sugar and insulin resistance, neurological help, acting as an appetite suppressant, stimulating bone development, and reducing pain and inflammation.

Does THCV Get You High?

Low doses of THCV will probably not get you high, but high doses can cause mind-altering effects. 

While low doses might still let you reap the potential benefits of this cannabinoid, super high doses will definitely have you going off on a cerebral adventure, which will feel cerebral and clear-headed. 

The high felt from THCV is often described as being more short-lived, although intense. 

Is THCV Legal?

Once again, we’re back to the 2018 Farm Bill. All hemp-derived THCV products are deemed federally legal and not considered a banned substance, although it’s not super easy to find as it isn’t a common compound.

If you can’t find pure THCV, there are strains with a high concentration of this special cannabinoid: Durban Poison, Jack Herer, and Girl Scout Cookies being some of them.

 

THC-O

THC-O is one of the cannabinoids from the new world. Its potency and legal status make it appealing to users.

What is THC-O?

THC-O is a synthetic hemp-derived cannabinoid, which means it can only be produced in a lab.

First, CBD has to be isolated from hemp. Next, delta 8 is extracted from CBD. Finally, acetic anhydride is added to the delta 8 THC and the chemical reaction creates THC-O.

While it’s too early to say whether or not it’s safe to consume, experts have said that this process should be isolated to controlled lab conditions and further researched. 

Does THC-O Get You High?

THC-O will most definitely get you high – high out of your mind. Its quirky nickname is “the psychedelic cannabinoid” because it can be almost hallucination-inducing. In fact, it’s thought to be about three times as strong as delta 9 THC.

Is THC-O Dangerous?

THC-O has raised concerns because it is synthetic and uses a highly-flammable compound called acetic anhydride to extract it from the hemp plant.

Further research needs to be done before we can say that THC-O is safe to consume. 

Is THC-O Legal?

Technically, hemp-derived THC-O is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. In places where recreational and medicinal marijuana isn’t legal, some people have turned to this super potent cannabinoid because of its hazy legal status.

Still, don’t hold your breath. It’s possible that this cannabinoid will be regularized or outlawed in some states, especially because there just isn’t enough research to back up its use. 

 

THC-P

THC-P is another synthetic cannabinoid that can be hemp-derived. Keep reading to learn more.

What is THC-P?

THC-P was just recently discovered by total accident in 2019 when Italian researchers were analyzing a particular marijuana strain.

Although it’s found in very small amounts in just a few strains of cannabis, it has since been synthesized in labs because it’s just not cost-effective or even possible to produce a high amount of THC-P naturally.

What makes THC-P so interesting is its binding capabilities to the body’s endocannabinoid system. While delta 9 THC has a five-link side chain that binds to the system, THC-P has a seven-link side chain.

The reason people are excited about this discovery is that it has about 33 times the binding capacity in comparison to regular THC, causing intense and euphoric effects. 

It has been theorized that traces of natural THC-P might be the reason why some strains are much more potent than others, but the jury’s still out on that one. Cool possibility to think about, though. 

Does THC-P Get You High?

THC-P gets you super, duper high. Although it’s often marketed as being 33 times stronger than delta 9, that’s not the case. Still, it can cause a very intense high that rivals or surpasses delta 9. 

Is THC-P Safe?

We don’t really have any answers yet pertaining to the longtime safety of THC-P. Because its discovery is only a few years old, we recommend users take a lot of caution if they decide to use it, or just stick to other cannabinoids until we have more information. 

Is THC-P legal?

Hemp-derived THC-P remains legal in every state except Oregon, which has banned all artificially-derived cannabinoids. 

It’s possible that other states follow in Oregon’s footsteps, but for now, it remains legal. 

 

What is the Strongest THC?

The strongest THC cannabinoids to date are THC-O and THC-P, but they’re not the most accessible or ones that we would recommend without further scientific research.

THC-O and THC-P are both synthetically produced, although THC-P is found in trace amounts in some strains. 

When it comes to well-established THC cannabinoids, delta 9 wins. It’s the most psychoactive naturally-occurring compound in cannabis, as well as being the most well-known around the world. 

While it’s exciting to step into the world of innovation with new and improved cannabinoids, we’ve got to give it up for good, old delta 9 THC.

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Best THC For Sleep

The best cannabinoid for dealing with insomnia or helping you fall asleep all depends on your needs. 

If you’re looking for a mild high with relaxing effects, an indica strain of delta 8 is a good option. Here are several delta 8 products that will help you sleep:

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If you want to get traditionally high but also feel deep relaxation that will lull you into a deep sleep, an indica strain with a high CBD percentage might just do the trick. 

Some of the best strains to keep an eye out for if you’re in desperate need of a long night’s sleep are Granddaddy Purp, Northern Lights, Bubba Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, and Wedding Cake.