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January 10, 2024 0 Comments

Delta 8, Delta 9, and Medical Marijuana. What’s the difference?

The cannabis landscape in Louisiana can be confusing, to say the least. Between the laws, types of cannabinoids and products, and CBD stores on every corner, the consumer may feel lost about what’s best. To make it a little easier, here’s an explanation of what Delta 8 and Delta 9 are and how they differ from Medical Marijuana. Also, we’ll delve into THC versus THCa and what the difference is between those compounds.

THC and THCa, what’s the difference?

THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are related compounds found in the cannabis plant, and they differ in their chemical structures and effects.

THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid):

    • Chemical Structure: THCa is the acidic, non-psychoactive precursor to THC. It is found in raw, unprocessed cannabis plants. THCa does not produce the intoxicating effects commonly associated with THC.
    • Activation: THCa needs to undergo a process called decarboxylation to become THC. This typically occurs when cannabis is heated, such as during smoking, vaping, or cooking.
    • Effects: In its raw form, THCa doesn’t bind well with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, so it doesn’t produce the euphoric or psychoactive effects associated with THC.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol):

    • Chemical Structure: THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use. It is formed when THCa undergoes decarboxylation, usually through the application of heat.
    • Activation: THC is produced when heat is applied to THCa, such as when cannabis is smoked, vaporized, or cooked.
    • Effects: THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, producing various psychological and physiological effects. These effects can include euphoria, altered perception of time, and changes in mood and memory.

In summary, THCa is the precursor to THC found in raw cannabis, and it becomes THC through the process of decarboxylation, which typically involves applying heat. THCa itself is not psychoactive, but once converted to THC, it produces the characteristic effects associated with cannabis consumption. The choice between using THCa or THC depends on the desired effects, and how the cannabis is prepared and consumed.

What are Delta 8 and Delta 9?

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8-THC) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC) are two forms of THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. They have slightly different structures and produce similar, yet distinct, effects.


    • Chemical Structure: Delta-9-THC is the most well-known and abundant form of THC in the cannabis plant. It has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain.
    • Psychoactive Effects: Delta-9-THC is responsible for the classic psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use. It binds primarily to the CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, producing a range of effects, including euphoria, altered perception of time, and changes in mood and memory.
    • Legal Status: In many places, delta-9-THC is regulated and controlled due to its psychoactive nature. Delta 9 is legal as long as it conforms to regulations under the 2018 Farm Bill. THC from hemp is federally legal if it’s under 0.3% by dry weight.


    • Chemical Structure: Delta-8-THC is an analog of delta-9-THC, with a double bond on the 8th carbon chain. This slight difference in structure leads to some variation in effects.
    • Psychoactive Effects: Delta-8-THC also produces psychoactive effects, but they are generally considered to be less potent than those produced by delta-9-THC. Users often report a milder, more clear-headed high with less anxiety and paranoia.
    • Legal Status: The legal status of delta-8-THC can vary. In some places, it exists in a legal gray area, while in others, it is explicitly regulated or restricted. In Louisiana and most other states, Delta 8 is legal as long as it conforms to regulations under the 2018 Farm Bill. THC from hemp is federally legal if it’s under 0.3% by dry weight.

It’s important to note that, while delta-9-THC is abundant in cannabis, delta-8-THC typically occurs in lower concentrations. Some products on the market, however, are specifically formulated or processed to contain higher levels of delta-8-THC. As regulations evolve, consumers need to be aware of the legal status of both delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC in their respective locations. Additionally, individuals should exercise caution and be informed about the sources and quality of delta-8-THC products, as they may vary widely.

Most delta-8 is not sourced directly from the plant but synthesized from CBD, which occurs more plentifully in hemp. That process can involve chemicals not fit to consume.

Since delta-8 THC is sourced from hemp and not marijuana, it is legal and unregulated at the federal level. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp, which was intended to be used for things other than consumption such as rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel.

What is Medical Marijuana and why is it different?

Medical marijuana is a term for derivatives of the Cannabis plant that are used to ease symptoms caused by certain medical conditions. Medical marijuana is also known as medical cannabis or medicinal cannabis. Cannabis sativa contains many active compounds. The best known are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Medical marijuana is different than the THC derived from hemp found in Delta-8 and Delta-9 products. Because Delta 8 and 9 cannot contain more than .3% THC, a patient would have to consume large quantities to get the same effect that legal medical marijuana can provide.

For example, a medical marijuana product such as a pre-roll made by Good Day Farm, contains 20% THC or 700 mg per dose. To recreate the same effect with Delta-9 products, a patient would have to consume massive quantities since there are only 5 to 10 mg of THC in a dose of Delta-9. Many advertised pre-rolls contain just .25 mg Delta-9 extract per dose.

In addition, by over-consuming Delta-8 or Delta-9, unintended effects such as paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, intense anxiety, disassociation, and an elevated heart rate can occur. And, while it’s not possible to overdose on marijuana, these kinds of side effects can divert focus from the healing that was the goal of using marijuana in the first place. By using a natural alternative like medical marijuana, side effects can be avoided or minimized so that focus can be on healing rather than recovery from overconsumption.


Although Delta-8 THC is viewed as an herbal extract of hemp, many manufacturers use solvents and chemical processes that can leave harmful residues in the product, and there are no standards for purity or safety. Because there are no limits, some products contain ridiculously high levels of Delta-8 and other THC variants that could potentially cause harm due to the sheer dosage.

THCa, as opposed to THC found in medical marijuana, is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid and does not effectively bind to any receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. Therefore, even though it’s a basic building block in the cannabis plant, there are no known medicinal benefits to THCa.

To safely consume marijuana as a medical treatment, please contact The Healing Clinics and talk to one of our specialists or physicians to find out if medical marijuana might help with your condition. Click the button below to start your healing journey.