Cannabis boasts an interesting history.
The one-time evil weed has become arguably the world's most celebrated natural alternative medicine—a threat to most pharmaceuticals.
As cannabis-friendly laws prevail globally, like never before, researchers are exploring weed and all its exciting compounds.
So far, studies have found over 120 cannabinoids in marijuana, each with unique effects and potential. As the research surges, more compounds are eminent.
However, these increasing discoveries have left the cannabis community spoilt for choice. Too often, we receive queries from skeptics about the different cannabis compounds and their potential.
To help you make an informed decision, this guide compares nine (9) common cannabinoids discussing individual effects, benefits, side effects, impact on a drug test, and legality.
Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol 8, commonly called Delta 8 THC or simply Delta 8, is arguably the second most famous member of the THC family—including Delta-9-THC, Delta-10-THC, THCp, and THCo.
Cannabis produces a relatively low among of Delta-8. However, manufacturers employ a synthetic approach to obtain commercial quantity, converting the more-abundant Delta 9 THC or CBD into Delta 8.
Delta-8 shares close semblance with Delta-9-THC (the most popular and chief psychoactive compound in cannabis), but for a slight difference in their chemical structure. These structural differences account for the varied effects Delta-8 users report.
Delta-8 delivers less intense effects than Delta-9.
Like THC, Delta-8 causes pain relief and relaxation. Still, it delivers less euphoria and cognitive interferences—including an altered perception of time, lack of concentration, and short-term memory.
Delta-8 is also reported to cause less paranoia and anxiety than Delta-9. Most users say they can still go about daily activities after average Delta-8 doses.
In a 2021 survey on Delta-8 users, approximately half of the sampled Delta-8 users recorded the following benefits:
- Stress relief
- Chronic pain
- Bipolar disorder
- Panic attacks
The research concluded that Delta-8 is a potential Delta-9 alternative with less intense reactions.
Reports suggest less severe side effects from Delta 8 doses than whole cannabis products.
Side effects of Delta-8
Delta 8 may have the following side effects:
- Euphoria —but less than Delta-9's
- Visual distortions
- Impaired cognition
- Rapid/slow heart rate
- Low blood pressure
Researchers have repeatedly expressed inadequate research into Delta 8. For a relatively new compound in the cannabis community, more research is needed to make factual claims.
Will Delta-8 show up on your drug test?
With a chemical structure similar to Delta-9, Delta-8 metabolites can appear in a standard drug screening.
However, the type of test conducted, individual metabolism, and usage regularity typically determine whether or not your Delta-8 doses will ruin your trial.
However, to reduce the odds and avoid regrets, you may take a break from your Delta-8 doses for a few weeks before your cannabis drug test.
Is Delta-8 legal?
But only if your delta-8 THC product is sourced from hemp—legally defined as a product with less than .3 percent THC.
In fact, a 2022 federal appeal court judgment confirms Delta-8-THC and other hemp-based compounds as legal.
However, note that Delta-8 remains outrightly illegal in some cannabis-hostile states.
Delta-9-THC (short for Delta-9–tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most popular, most abundant, and most potent THC in marijuana. "THC" inscribed on product labels generally refer to Delta 9 THC.
Among its many properties, Delta 9 is chiefly prized for its psychoactivity, and its ability to cause a high.
Effects of Delta-9-THC
THC's psychoactive content is arguably its most applauded property. 'High' is often used as an umbrella name for THC products' collective effects, including sedation, euphoria, rambling thoughts, change in perception, and hallucinations.
Benefits of Delta-9-THC
Research into the compound shows that Delta-9's effects may have the medical potential for a range of conditions, including
- Low appetite
- Muscle spasticity
- Anxiety and depression
- Obstructive sleep apnea
A lab-made Delta 9 is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved appetite-inducing drug, dronabinol. The drug is a frontline prescription for patients undergoing chemotherapy and those with AIDS and HIV.
Side effects of Delta-9 THC
Widely referred to as the most potent compound in weed, Delta-9 users often report most of the reactions typical with whole-plant cannabis, including:
- Reduced reaction
- Rapid heart rate
- Bloodshot eyes
- Memory loss
- Impaired speech and thoughts
- Increased appetite– usually called munchies
- Dry mouth
Delta-9 impact on drug test
Of course. Note that most drug tests primarily target what makes people get high from cannabis uses—and that's Delta-9.
If you anticipate a drug test, taking a few weeks off THC-rich products is safer.
Is Delta-9 legal?
The US federal government, through the Controlled substance Act, groups marijuana among Schedule I drugs (drugs with high abuse potential and zero medical uses). The US legislation defines marijuana as cannabis with over 0.3 THC concentrations.
So whereas the US considers high levels of Delta-9 illegal, products with less than 0.3 THC concentrations (legally defined as hemp products) won't alert the cops.
Delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol (or Delta-10-THC) is one of the less popular cannabinoids in cannabis. Both Delta-9 and Delta-10 boast similar chemicals but are differently arranged. This explains why they deliver different effects.
This compound is found in low concentrations, too little to obtain a significant amount directly from the plant. Consequently, most commercial Delta-10 products contain synthetically produced versions. Research into this compound is yet too superficial to make definite claims on the Delta 10 benefits and side effects.
Effects of Delta-10
Despite the lack of research into this compound, as a member of the THC family, Delta-10 is a potential high-causing compound. However, Delta 10 delivers a less intense high than Delta 9 and even Delta 8.
Expect a slight cerebral sparkle, far from Delta-9's full-scale head-banging, couch-locking smash.
Findings show that Delta 10 does not easily bind with CB1 receptors, hence delivering weak hits that do not interfere with productivity. This makes the compound suitable for daytime applications.
However, anecdotal studies suggest Delta 8 may deliver a mildly energizing and euphoric feeling.
Benefits of Delta-10-THC
Anecdotal reports suggest Delta-10 may deliver potential benefits similar to Delta-8, including
- Stress relief
- Appetite boost
- Increased energy
- Neuroprotective properties
- Pain relief
- Mood boost
Side effects of Delta-10
Reported Delta-10 side effects include:
In high doses, users can experience confusion or even loss of consciousness.
Will Delta-10 ruin your drug test?
Although a gentler Delta-9 alternative, Delta-10 can make you fail a drug test. Delta-10 contains a similar chemical structure to other compounds in the THC family and, hence, deposits similar metabolite in your body.
If you use THC-10 products before your drug screening, the odds may be against you. We advise you to avoid all THC-infused products on the build-up to your drug test.
Is Delta-10 legal?
Technically, Delta 10 and 8 share the same legality, federally. The Farm Bill legalized hemp growing, sales, and purchases. In its definition of hemp, the law categorically mentioned products with less than a .3percent Delta-9-THC. Technically, this provision exonerates Delta-10 from the illegal gray zone –this was confirmed by a 2022 Federal Appeal Court judgment.
However, see your state's provisions concerning synthetically produced Delta 8.
In the search for more cannabis compounds, scientists found hexahydrocannabinol (commonly called HHC).
Although records show HHC isn't new to researchers, the compound only got public attention recently. Like Delta 10, cannabis produces but a small amount of HHC—too insignificant for commercial-scale extraction.
Extractors have only recently begun exploring more efficient ways to obtain HHC, hence its scarcity in regular weed shops.
Reported HHC effects
HHC isn't grouped among the a-list of potentially psychoactive compounds. However, high doses deliver similar (but more subtle effects) with THC products.
Synthetically produced HHC usually contains both active and inactive molecules, of which only the active HHC molecules bind with the Endocannabinoid System's receptors—the inactive ones don't.
Until commercial producers can separate the active compounds from their inactive counterparts for higher efficiency, the efforts and resources invested into HHC extraction may not be worth it.
Potential benefits of HHC
With its close structural similarity to THC family members, HHC may also have traces of antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-emetic effects. As a result, HHC-infused products may synergize with other compounds in managing:
- Chronic pain
- Loss of appetite
- Reproduction issues
- Cancerous symptoms and chemotherapy effects
- Multiple sclerosis and other spasms-related conditions
Side effects of HHC
With its intoxicating property, HHC may share some of delt-9-THC's effects. These may include:
- Dry mouth
- Memory loss
- Red eyes
- Rapid heart rate
- Reduced attention span
- Altered cognitive functions
However, being less potent, these reactions are often minimal compared to THC.
Remember that research on HHC and its effects is still in its infancy. Hence, the results reported are mostly speculative or drawn from THC's findings. More research is needed to validate these reactions, reveal possible long-term effects, and establish potential benefits.
With the low HHC concentration in weed, extractors have settled for converting other cannabinoids, like hemp-based CBD and THC, to make HHC in commercial quantity.
Will HHC ruin a drug test?
Of course, HHC isn't the same family as the THCs, but it can flag your drug test. THC and HHC produce closely similar metabolites that some drug tests cannot tell apart.
If you know you'll be drug-tested soon, you should stay away from HHC products for about four weeks before your screening.
IS HHC legal?
While all the THC relatives (Delta 8, 9, and 10) find technical loopholes to stay within the legal threshold, HHC has fewer troubles. Chiefly, HHC is not classified under THC.
According to the Farm Bill, HHC products are legal federally as long as they are extracted from hemp. See state-to-state laws to know the applicable legislation in your locality.
CBG, short for cannabigerol, is one of the non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis. CBG is dubbed the mother of all cannabinoids, as it is the precursor to all other chemicals in cannabis.
For clarity, the baby cannabis plant first produces CBGA (the acidic version of CBG). As it matures into an adult plant, the CBGA chemical is converted into different cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, CBC, and over a hundred others on the long list.
Effects of CBG
Like CBD(soon discussed), CBG causes no high—they both bind to the same receptors and are similarly rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
However, it's tricky to tell the actual difference between CBG and CBD's benefits and effects because, unlike CBD and THC (the most studied cannabis compounds), CBG has few studies.
But being arguably the next most recognized compound (after THC and CBD), extensive research is imminent.
Potential benefits of CBG
The scanty CBG-based research reveals a list of potential benefits of the new cannabinoid. CBD may help manage the following conditions:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington's disease
- Bladder dysfunction
- Bacterial infections
- Loss of appetite
- Cancerous symptoms
Side effects of CBG
There's little evidence about CBG's side effects. However, mice-based research found the compound may be widely tolerated—like CBD. More human-based research is advised to inform more variable claims.
CBG (and CBD) has been shown to counteract THC's effect, reducing THC's psychoactivity when used synergistically.
Binding to similar receptors as THC, CBG can alleviate issues linked to the nervous system, including glaucoma, appetite, muscle soreness, and migraine.
Will CBG ruin my drug test?
No. Drug tests are out for THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, however, note that full-spectrum CBG products contain trace amounts of THC. Excess doses of these products can build up metabolites which can show up in your test. Keep in mind as well that THC is fat soluble, meaning that over prolonged use, even small amounts of THC can build up in the system, thus failing a toxicology screen.
So, avoid using high doses of whole-plant products if you anticipate a drug test.
Is CBG legal?
CBG products from hemp are legal in the US–both federally and across all states, plus Washington, DC. Marijuana-based CBG is, however, only legal across 18 recreational marijuana-friendly states and Washington, DC.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most popular compound in cannabis—well, after Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC and CBD have attracted the most cannabinoid-based research, being the most abundant compounds in the plant.
CBD may easily pass as the most buzzing alternative medication in the health niche.
Effects of CBD
Both THC and CBD have several potential benefits. However, THC's psychoactive property makes it a favorite among recreational users. At the same time, CBD is prized chiefly for its non-psychoactive therapeutic potential.
Will CBD get me high?
That's one common question from many CBD skeptics.
CBD is non-psychoactive and won't get you stoned. However, commonly reported effects include subtle mind-altering impacts that may cause fatigue and drowsiness.
Potential CBD benefits
CBD has attracted several research and the results show CBD may be a potential treatment to a long list of conditions. A few include:
- Parkinson's disease
- Stress and depression
- Multiple sclerosis
Interestingly, CBD-infused Epidiolex is the first and only FDA-approved drug for treating two forms of severe epilepsy, namely Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.
Side effects of CBD
Several studies say CBD is safe and widely tolerated—including World Health Organization. However, anecdotal reports suggest CBD may leave some subtle reactions, including:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
Besides these, CBD products from reputable FDA-compliant products are safe.
However, one concern regulatory bodies raise is the increasing number of counterfeit products and misleading labels on the market that can cause a range of undesirable effects.
Study shows that only about 30 percent of CBD products tested were accurately labeled—THC was detected in 21%. Another FDA study in the same publication revealed 46 percent of the products contained unreported THC concentration.
Will it ruin my drug test?
Of course, CBD isolate products won't ruin your drug test. However, take caution when using CBD-based full-spectrum products, as they contain other compounds (including THC) that can ruin your drug test.
Besides, as mentioned, most products contain unreported doses of THC and other cannabinoids that may ruin your test.
Double-check to ensure you're using CBD-only products. Anything contrary can ruin your test. If you insist on full-spectrum products, avoid doses weeks before your drug screening. Keep in mind as well that THC is fat soluble meaning that over prolonged use even small amounts of THC can build up in the system thus failing a toxicology screen.
Is it legal?
The Farm Bill legislation decriminalizes the production, sale, and use of hemp-based products. The law permits CBD products as long as they fall within the legal under-0.3%-THC benchmark.
For clarity, any CBD product with not more than .3 percent THC concentration is legal in the US.
Of all the cannabis compounds so far detected, here is the most sedating. Recently discovered from aged and decomposed THC, CBN can be fairly dubbed THC's weaker version. CBN (cannabinol) contains around 25 percent of THC's overall potency.
Effects of CBN
Being a product of degraded THC, this compound delivers less potent THC effects—including slight euphoria and altered cognition.
However, CBN is most celebrated as a depressant, making it the most favorite recommendation for sleep issues.
Although CBN is non-psychoactive, research found that CBN can potentiate THC's effects when taken alongside THC.
Potential benefits of CBN
With the limited knowledge gained from the few research conducted so far, here are some benefits of CBN:
- Sleep aid
- Pain relief
Side effects of CBN
More research is required to accurately report CBN's potential. However, here are a few:
- Sedation and drowsiness
- Daytime grogginess
- Change in appetite
Can CBN show up in drug tests?
A few CBN users have reported failed drug tests. Although CBN products contain negligible THC traces, such wee-bit concentration is enough to trigger a false positive.
If you're concerned about CBN's effect on your test, you may stay off your doses for about two weeks—enough time to flush out residual metabolites. Keep in mind as well that THC is fat soluble meaning that over prolonged use even small amounts of THC can build up in the system thus failing a toxicology screen.
CBN sourced from hemp is legal in the US—as long as they do not contain more than the legal .3% concentration. CBN, as a standalone product, is not illegal. However, marijuana-based products are unlawful and can cause legal issues.
Short for tetrahydrocannabiphorol, THCp was only discovered in late 2019 by Italian scientists. Within a short span, the compound has gained widespread traction among researchers and the recreational cannabis community.
Among its other properties, the THCp boasts a shocking 33 times higher psychoactive potency than our almighty Delta 9 THC. While it doesn't necessarily translate to getting you high 33 times than THC—since there are most likely boundaries to cannabinoids' ability to influence the endocannabinoid system. However, you should expect many times higher from THCp.
Researchers also perceive the THCp concentration in some may be responsible for the varying psychoactive effects obtained from two weed strains of similar THC concentrations.
Potential benefits of THCp
Although naturally available in small quantities, THCp has many times high potency than THC.
THCp is relatively new, and there is no evidence to substantiate its effect on humans. But from anecdotal reports, THCp may offer:
- Pain relief
- Ease nausea
- Promote sleep
Researchers believe that a highly potent compound like THCp may all this time be responsible for most of the pharmacological effects attributed to Delta 9 all along.
THCp Side effects
Commonly reported side effects include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Red eyes
Will THCp ruin my drug test?
Being relatively new, it isn't yet established whether THCp will ruin your drug test. But with its close relationship with delt 9 THC, it's most likely THCp will leave THC-related traces in your bloodstream, which would be detected.
Since there are no definite claims on whether or not THCp would show up in your drug test, we recommend abstinence—perhaps, until more variable evidence on THCp and drug test shows up.
Is THCp legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill decriminalizes all cannabis products with less than 0.3 percent THC concentration.
A recent 022 Federal Appeal court judgment classified Delta-8 (and all other compounds) under the legal cannabis benchmark.
However, remember each state has its unique legislation on the production, sales, and consumption of cannabis products. Whereas some states are particularly strict on THC 9 and THC 8, others detest all synthetic cannabinoids, including Delta 8 and THCp
Commonly called THC-O-acetate, this compound is often shortened to THC-O, THCo, or THCO. Although THCo is not a naturally occurring compound in cannabis, it is formulated from compounds like CBD and THC.
However, like Delta 10, THCo has a close chemical identity with Delta 9 THC.
THCo delivers effects similar to Delta-9 but with higher potency since it binds more to the receptors than other THC variants. At low doses, users may feel similar products as from Delta-9-THC.
Effects of THC-O
THC O can reportedly deliver up to twice or thrice more potency than Delta 9 THC.
High doses of this compound can leave users couch-locked, incapacitated, and with cognitive issues.
With superficial knowledge of the compound, it may be too early to make definite statements on THCo's safety. However, so far, there have been no reported cases of fatal doses. Besides, the compound doesn't share similar risks with other lab-made non-cannabis chemicals found in Spice, K2, and related mind-altering substances.
THCo shares a close relationship with Delta 9 and Delta 8.
Potential benefits of THCo
While we await more human-based research to establish potential THC benefits, anecdotal study shows THCo and other THC forms may share similar benefits, including:
- Sleep aid
- Pain relief
- Appetite stimulation
- Chronic pain
Side effects of THCo
With its high potency, some side effects are expected when using this compound. Common side effects include
- Nausea and vomiting
However, a rising concern has been THC-O-infused vape pens and dabs.
As with other relatively new-found compounds from cannabis, THCo is widely under-researched. But so far, there are no reported overdosage or related adverse effects, which is good news.
Contamination may also be a safety concern with THCO products. Whereas third-party lab tests investigate a product's ingredient and certify its safety profile, there are limited THCO's lab test results.
Will THC-O ruin a drug test?
Research is limited on how the body processes THCo. But being a form of THC, it's most likely that a standard drug test for THC metabolites will detect THCo consumption—either through hair, urine, saliva, or blood test.
It's not yet established for how long THCo stays in your bloodstream after the last consumption, but its logical to assume it may linger for as long as Delta 9 THC does– that's about up to four weeks.
Generally, we advise you to avoid THCo for this period if you're expecting a drug test.
Is THCo legal?
THCO is a non-natural cannabis compound, but Like Delta-8 and other minor compounds in cannabis, THCo is legal in the federal books. However, do well to check your state laws to find what if you're safe to use THCo.
The cannabis plant is packed with several high-potent compounds. The above list is only a selected few among the long list.There is no one-best cannabinoid. When selecting a product, factor in your lifestyle and your reason. Feel free to explore our cannabis store for an exhaustive list of cannabis products and accessories. Overwhelmed by the options? Our experts can help out.