Pennsylvania Delta-9 THC Overview

What Is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is the most popular isomer of Delta THC. It is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Since Delta-9 THC is the most widely used and studied isomer of Delta THC, it is often referred to as THC. Delta-9 THC occurs in both marijuana and hemp plants.

Due to its abundant occurrence in cannabis plants, Delta-9 THC is easily isolated or extracted from the cannabis plant. It occurs more abundantly in the marijuana plant than in hemp plants. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp plants may not contain more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. In 2019, Delta-9 THC levels found in seized marijuana samples by the DEA was approximately 14%. Today, many cannabis stores sell marijuana strains containing more than 30% Delta-9 THC.

Delta-9 is the compound responsible for the intoxicating high experienced by cannabis users. Besides its recreational use, it possesses medicinal benefits such as its use in the management of medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizures, and symptoms of HIV and AIDS. Commonly reported side effects of Delta-9 THC include paranoia, anxiety, increased blood pressure, hallucinations, and impaired sensory perception.

Is Delta-9 Legal in Pennsylvania?

Marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC is illegal in Pennsylvania. Only patients registered under the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program may use marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC. According to the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, which established the state medical marijuana program, persons who have obtained medical cannabis identification cards may purchase 90- day supplies of Delta-9 THC products as stated on their physicians' recommendations.

Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products are legal in Pennsylvania. Pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill, all hemp-derived products are legalized in the United States as long as such products contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Following up on the 2018 Farm Bill, Pennsylvania enacted HB 967 in July 2016, which legalized hemp-derivatives compliant with the federally stipulated definition. Hence, residents can purchase hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products, provided their Delta-9 THC concentrations do not exceed 0.3%.

What is the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 is an isomer of Delta-9 THC. It possesses similar characteristics and molecular structure to Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC occurs naturally in cannabis but in trace amounts, making it difficult for cannabis processors to extract. Unlike Delta-9 THC, which can be easily extracted, cannabis processors, through synthesis, use cannabidiol (CBD) concentrate from raw hemp plant material to produce Delta-8 THC.

Also, due to the location of the double bond on Delta-8's carbon ring (8th position vs. 9th position for Delta-9), its interaction with the endocannabinoid system receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the body is slightly different from Delta-9 THC's interaction with these receptors. Delta-8's affinity to bind with these receptors is lower than Delta-9's, producing a less intense or milder impact on users.

Delta-9 binds strongly to the ECS' receptors, readily producing an intoxicating high and other strong psychoactive effects such as laughter and elation. According to a study, Delta-8 THC's effect is about 50-66% as potent or intense as Delta-9's. Delta-8 offers most of the therapeutic effects of Delta-9, such as pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and appetite-stimulating benefits. Delta-8 can also induce the same side effects as Delta-9, such as anxiety, paranoia, and nervousness. Some cannabis users prefer Delta-8 THC to Delta-9 THC as it offers much the same benefits but does not easily lead to intoxication. 

Delta-8 products are typically derived from hemp; hence, such products are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. However, Delta-9 is federally illegal but has been legalized in some states for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. Both Delta-8 and Delta-9 may show up on a drug test.

Delta-9 vs Delta-10

Delta-9 and Delta-10 THC are THC isomers, which means they have the same chemical formula but slightly different structural configurations. Although the molecules of Delta-9 THC and Delta-10 THC are similar, a slight structural change in the arrangement of their atoms causes them to impact the human body in different ways. The positioning of a carbon double-bond is different in Delta-10 THC compared to Delta-9 THC; it occurs in the tenth position on the carbon chain as opposed to the ninth position in Delta-9 THC.

Delta-10 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis plants that appears in minute quantities. Therefore, Delta-10 is usually produced by synthesizing it from CBD or other related cannabinoids.

Delta-9, often referred to as classic THC, is the most intoxicating of all Delta THC isomers. It is easy to extract from cannabis and is available as flowers, extracts, and edibles. Delta-9 THC products may be used to ease pain or induce relaxation. Of all THC isomers, including Delta-10, Delta-9 has the most potent effect on coordination and cognition. Anecdotal information suggests that Delta-10 impacts users like a Sativa strain, stimulating the brain and improving motivation and energy.

How Long Does Delta-9 Stay in Your System?

According to a 2004 study, Delta-9 THC is detectable in blood anywhere from 1-25 days and may even be detected in the blood plasma within seconds if smoked or vaped. However, the detection window varies from person to person and can be influenced by several variables. The following factors may influence how long Delta-9 THC metabolites stay in the body:

  • Frequency of Delta-9 THC Use: THC metabolites tend to stay longer in the bodies of regular users of Delta-9 THC; therefore, a urine test may detect THC metabolites up to 45 days after Delta-9 THC use. For occasional to moderate users of Delta-9 THC, it takes 2-4 weeks for the THC metabolites to be eliminated from the urine. However, if you use Delta-9 gummies every day, you may have to wait up to a month to pass a urine test
  • THC Potency: Consuming Delta-9 THC products with high THC contents usually increases the amount of THC metabolites released in the body, thereby prolonging the drug's presence in the body
  • Age and Physiology: Depending on the age of the Delta-9 THC user, the metabolites of the compound may take a shorter or longer time to exit the system. Typically, individuals in their 20s and 30s who have higher metabolic rates, take shorter periods to break down Delta-9 THC, and release it from their systems than older persons, such as persons aged 60 and above. Also, since Delta-9 THC is fat soluble, persons with high body fat mass will take longer to eliminate THC metabolites from their systems than leaner individuals

Note that most drug tests cannot differentiate between THC isomers. Hence, regardless of the Delta THC compound consumed, a drug test will return a positive result if enough time has not passed for THC metabolites to exit the system. Also, other than urine tests, blood, saliva, and hair follicle tests may be used to detect the presence of Delta-9 THC in the body. Hair test can detect THC metabolites in the body longer than the other tests and can return a positive result for up to 90 days after use.

Where Can I Find Delta-9 Gummies in Pennsylvania?

Delta-9 gummies are legal in Pennsylvania if derived from the hemp plant, not marijuana, containing no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Marijuana-derived Delta-9 gummies are available only to qualified patients under the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program. Such patients may purchase Delta-9 gummies from approved cannabis dispensaries. Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC gummies are available at hemp shops, convenience stores, and online vendors. Most hemp shops and convenience stores may require buyers to be 21 or older before selling them Delta-9 gummies.

Pennsylvania Delta-9 THC Overview