Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) is an isomer of THC. It is found in marijuana and hemp plants. THC is one of several cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant, and it is the psychoactive compound in the plant responsible for the euphoric effects (high) experienced by consumers. Delta-9 THC is present in cannabis plants in varying proportions, depending on the strain. It can be as high as 50% and as low as 0.3% on a dry weight basis. Its content in hemp should not exceed 0.3% as required by federal law. Hence, hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products may only have up to 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is reputed to be effective in the treatment/management of certain diseases and medical conditions, including nausea, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis. It is also used to relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea in cancer patients. However, when used in high dosage, it can produce side effects such as hallucinations, anxiety, psychotic episodes, panic attacks, and paranoia. Delta-9 THC products include tinctures, oils, vape cartridges, gummies, and edibles.
Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is legal in Maryland, while marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC will become legal for Maryland residents aged 21 years and older from July 1, 2023. Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment (Question 4) to legalize recreational marijuana in the state during the 2022 ballot by a vote of 67.2%. Beginning July 1, 2023, up to 750mg of marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC products will be available for purchase and use by eligible persons. In addition, Maryland residents with medical marijuana qualifying conditions and registered with the Natalie M. La Parade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission can use marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC products. They can purchase Delta-9 products from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
Furthermore, the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) in 2018 removed hemp and hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived Delta-9 THC, from the list of controlled substances in the U.S. In addition, Maryland passed House Bill 698 in 2018 to align its hemp laws with federal laws. Hence, hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is legal in Maryland, provided the THC content does not exceed 0.3%. Maryland residents can buy hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products from both local and online stores.
Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC are both isomers of THC found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Even though they both occur naturally in the plant, Delta-8 is only present in minute amounts, while Delta-9 THC is found in abundance, especially in cannabis plants. Delta-8 THC is often synthesized in laboratories from hemp-derived CBD isolates and Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC has a double bond on its eighth carbon atom, while Delta-9 THC has a double bond on its ninth carbon atom. They both interact and bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in a consumer's body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, Delta-9 THC is more potent than Delta-8 THC and binds strongly with the brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Delta-8 THC produces a relaxing, sedating effect on its user, while Delta-9 THC induces euphoric effects. Delta-8 THC's psychoactive effects are milder than those of Delta-9 THC. Hence, new THC consumers are advised to start off with Delta-8 THC because of its relaxing effects, while experienced users may prefer Delta-9 THC because of its euphoric 'high' effect. Delta-8 THC is preferred by persons seeking the medicinal benefits of THC without its intoxicating effects.
Delta-10 THC, like Delta-8 THC, is also an isomer of THC found in marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike Delta-9 THC, which can easily be extracted from the cannabis plant because of its abundance, Delta-10 THC is found in trace amounts in the cannabis plants. Hence, Delta-8 THC is often synthesized in laboratories from CBD. Delta-10 THC is a recently discovered isomer of THC, and very little research has been carried out on it. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it produces milder psychoactive effects than Delta-9 THC and can be used to enhance focus and increase energy. On the other hand, Delta-9 induces elation and euphoria.
While the effects of Delta-9 THC wear out in about 5 hours after use, its metabolites can remain in the body for up to 3 months. When Delta-9 THC is ingested, it is transported to the liver via the body's circulatory system. The liver metabolizes it and sends the metabolites to parts of the body, including the brain. THC metabolites in the brain interact with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors to produce euphoric feelings. Most of the metabolites in the body are disposed of via feces and urine within 48 hours. However, some are stored in the body's fatty tissues for several weeks after consumption. THC metabolites can be detected by drug tests on samples such as blood, saliva, hair follicles, and urine.
Some factors that determine how long THC can be detected in a consumer's body include:
Frequency of Delta-9 THC use
Mode of ingestion - inhaled Delta-9 THC leaves the body faster than other means of ingestion
Body metabolism rate
Type of drug test
Body mass index
Age of consumer - Delta-9 THC metabolites stay longer in the bodies of older consumers
Delta-9 THC drug tests typically test for THC metabolites without differentiating isomers. Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC, or Delta-10 THC will return positive results if present in the body. Delta-9 THC can be detected by blood test within 48 hours after the last use. It can be detected in urine within 36 hours and in saliva up to 30 days after the last use. Delta-9 THC can be detected in hair follicles for up to 90 days after the last consumption. The detection window tends to increase for chronic users.
Maryland residents can buy hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products, including Delta-9 THC gummies from convenience stores, hemp shops, and online stores. Although not mandated by law, most Delta-9 THC stores in Maryland require consumers to be 21 years and older before they can buy Delta-9 THC products.
Only registered medical marijuana patients in Maryland may buy marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC products, including gummies, from licensed cannabis dispensaries. However, Maryland residents aged 21 years and older will be able to buy up to 750 mg of marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC products for recreational use beginning July 1, 2023.
Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC gummies are safe to consume and are unlikely to intoxicate users. However, marijuana-derived THC gummies with more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC content can intoxicate consumers when consumed in high dosages.