Delta 10 vs. Delta 9 THC: What Are The Key Differences?
There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its various forms.
Chemically speaking, delta 9 and delta 10 THC are similar molecules but have a slight structural difference that gives them different behavior inside the human body.
Both delta 9 and delta 10 THC produce a psychoactive effect, but the nature of the “high” you get from each is different.
This article covers everything you need to know about the differences between delta 9 and delta 10 THC, including legal considerations, effects, and the pros and cons of each.
What’s the Difference Between Delta 10 THC & Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 and delta 10 THC are isomers of one another, meaning they have the same chemical formula but a slightly different structure.
Specifically, the location of a carbon double-bond in delta 10 THC occurs in a different place — on the tenth bond in the carbon chain rather than the ninth (delta 9 THC).
Unlike delta 9 THC, delta 10 THC is only present in trace amounts in nature.
|Delta 9 THC||Delta 10 THC|
|Effect Profile||Sedative, relaxing, boosts creativity||Stimulating, energy-boosting, cognitive enhancer|
|Legality||Federally illegal, illegal in most states||Federally legal, legal in 38 states|
|Cost||Cheap: $0.02–$0.08 per mg||Moderate: $0.07–$0.12 per mg|
|Market Availability||Difficult to Obtain Legally||Offered By Select Brands|
|Dose||5–20 mg standard dose range||10–40 mg standard dose range|
|Percentage In Hemp||< 0.3%||Trace amounts|
|Percentage in Marijuana||2%–25%+||Trace amounts|
The cannabis plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, the most famous of which is delta 9 THC. Delta 9 THC is usually just called “THC” since it’s the most popular and well-studied cannabinoid in the world.
Thanks to its relatively high concentrations in marijuana, delta 9 THC was the first psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant.
There are only trace amounts of delta 10 THC present in hemp, so it must be extracted to get any usable quantities in a highly controlled setting.
Interestingly, the discovery of delta 10 THC was an accident.
Fires in California caused a batch of hemp to become unknowingly contaminated with fire-retardant.
While the hemp was being processed, a strange crystal formation appeared in the extract. After extensive testing, the team was able to identify the compound as delta 10 THC.
The pharmacological effects of delta 10 THC were only discovered later after extensive research and testing.
Since delta 10 THC can be derived from hemp, it enjoys a less restrictive status than delta 9 THC.
As of this writing, delta 10 THC is federally legal in the United States and fully legal in 38 states. It’s unclear what the future holds for delta 10 THC, legally speaking, but its lower potency and less dramatic high make it likely to remain legal.
Several states have recently legalized delta 9 THC for non-medical use, but it remains illegal at the federal level (Schedule I status).
Delta 9 THC can have slightly different effects for different people, but most users experience a relaxing, sedative effect in small or medium doses. Larger doses of delta 9 THC have a stimulating effect.
The delta 10 form of THC is more stimulating than relaxing. Users often experience a boost in energy and enhanced productivity and focus.
The main benefit of delta 10 is that it doesn’t alter headspace as much as delta 9 THC. You feel the effects without losing your ability to think clearly and be productive at work or university.
One of the biggest advantages delta 10 THC has over delta 9 is its widespread availability.
Since there aren’t any federal restrictions on delta 10 THC in the United States and because it is legal in 38 states, you can order this cannabinoid online and have it delivered. Delta 9 is much more heavily restricted and only available in registered dispensaries.
Even in states where delta 9 THC is legal, finding a dispensary nearby can be difficult if there aren’t many. Local governments often have regulations limiting who can legally produce and sell delta 9.
Compared to delta 9, delta 10 THC offers a much milder experience. To get the same intensity of effects from delta 10 THC requires approximately double the dose.
Keep in mind that the effects of delta 10 THC are not the same as delta 9, so start slow and see how you react before taking a large amount.
Most beginners take around 5-10 mg of delta 10 THC.
For comparison, a beginner delta 9 THC dose is closer to 2.5-5 mg.
If you’re accustomed to using delta 9 THC, a good rule of thumb is to take 2 mg of delta 10 THC for every 1 mg of delta 9 THC in your regular dose.
However, it’s important to do a trial run to test your individual reaction before committing to a large dose.
Be sure to pay attention to the THC concentration in whatever product you use, not the overall mg.
Some companies intentionally make it ambiguous to mislead unwitting customers into thinking they’re getting a better deal than they are.
If you’re used to purchasing delta 9 products, you’ll most likely be able to purchase the same products in a delta 10 variety, but you’ll find them more challenging to find.
The most popular delta 10 THC items are vaping products, edibles like gummies or chocolates, tinctures, and concentrates.
Delta 10 THC hemp flower, pre-rolls, and dabs are significantly more challenging to find, so you might have an issue getting your hands on those products.
Who Should Buy Delta 10 & Delta 9 THC?
Delta 9 products significantly alter your headspace, making you more creative and relaxed at the expense of clarity and alertness. Some people find they can use delta 9 while working, but most report this cannabinoid makes it too hard to concentrate.
This is where delta 10 THC truly shines. It provides most of the same effects as D9 but doesn’t alter headspace. Most people find it actually helps them stay focused, rather than the other way around.
People looking for a more stimulating experience and who don’t want the headspace-altering effects of delta 9 THC should choose delta 10 instead.
How to Find High-Quality Delta 10 THC
Even though you may purchase delta 10 THC from a local smoke shop or gas station, buying it online is almost always the better choice.
The main concerns when shopping for delta 10 THC are:
- Cost per mg of delta 10 THC
- Purity of the extract
- Evidence of third-party testing
- Product selection & variety
Delta 10 THC & Third-Party Testing
The number one advantage of buying delta 10 products online is access to third-party testing. Delta 10 THC is a relatively new product, and, unfortunately, many shady businesses are looking to take advantage of people with fake or low-quality products.
Third-party testing independently verifies that a product meets proper quality thresholds and that it’s labeled accurately. Any harmful chemicals can make their way into delta 10 concentrate if the manufacturer isn’t careful.
Testing is the only way to prove the absence of these chemicals.
You should never buy any delta 10 products — or any other THC products for that matter — that don’t have readily accessible independent testing results.
Selection of Delta 10 THC Products
Another advantage of buying online is a greater selection.
Online THC retailers are specialists that focus on THC, meaning they can carry a wider variety of products than brick and mortar stores that also cater to other niches.
Having access to more products gives you more options and makes it more likely that you’ll be able to find the perfect product for your needs.
You’ll be able to find products including:
- Delta 10 THC Tinctures
- Delta 10 THC Distillates
- Delta 10 THC Vape Cartridges
- Delta 10 THC Gummies
Key Takeaways: Delta 9 vs. Delta 10 THC
Delta 10 and delta 9 THC have a lot in common — but some distinct differences place each cannabinoid in a group of its own.
Delta 9 THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis. It’s psychoactive and regulated on both a federal level and in most individual states. It’s relaxing at low doses and stimulating at high doses. Common side effects include paranoia, anxiety, and dizziness.
Delta 10 THC is far less abundant but can be isolated relatively easily from hemp. It’s legal on a federal level (if made from hemp) and widely available in the United States. Only a handful of select US states have banned this substance so far.
Delta 10 is considered the best option for people who live in a state that bans delta 9 THC and by people who like to use cannabis products to help with work or study — or want to avoid cannabinoids that can make them feel lethargic and spacey.