Delta-9 THC is one of the most important compounds in cannabis.
Delta-9 THC may be famous for its ability to get users high and really, really hungry — but it’s so much more than that!
Turns out that delta-9’s relaxing, stress-reducing properties make it great for all sorts of stuff. Research shows that delta-9 THC activates your body’s inner balancing act more powerfully than virtually any other natural substance, causing a variety of health benefits in the process. Keep reading to see what we mean.
Delta-9 THC 101
Delta-9 THC is classified as a cannabinoid. It’s one of roughly 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa species.
This designation just means it’s an active ingredient in cannabis. In fact, delta-9 THC is the primary active ingredient in cannabis. Most cannabis strains contain more delta-9 THC than they do anything else.  Nearly all cannabinoids come from cannabis…though there are a few exceptions to this rule.
In case you’re wondering, cannabinoids are defined as compounds that bind to your body’s endocannabinoid system. And in case you’re wondering about that, too — your endocannabinoid system fulfills the role of that “inner balancing act” we mentioned earlier.
Most people are familiar with the body’s major organ systems, things like the cardiovascular system, immune system, endocrine system, etc. But what most people don’t realize is that there’s another system working behind the scenes to keep things in sync and hold everything together.
That system is called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, and the inner balance it promotes is part of what makes us human. Without our endocannabinoid systems we just wouldn’t have the inner equilibrium needed to rise above equilibrium with our environment. We wouldn’t have the complexity needed to thrive.
Studies have shown that delta-9 THC exerts most of its benefits (and some of its potential side effects) by binding to a particular part of the endocannabinoid system called the CB1 receptor.  More on these benefits next.
Delta-9 THC’s top benefits
Delta-9 has a myriad of potential health benefits. We’ll start off with the most important one of them all: stress reduction.
- Reduced stress
- More energy
- More creativity
- Relief from addiction
- Immune regulation
- Improved hair health?
“The biggest killer on the planet is stress and I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis.”
– Musician Willy Nelson
The world can be a stressful place, and it’s only gotten more stressful in the past couple of years. Mood problems are on the rise — so much so that British schoolchildren just named ‘anxiety’ as their word of the year. We’re guessing that a lot of stressed-out adults agree with them.
Thankfully, reducing stress is where delta-9 THC shines the brightest. Studies show that the low-moderate amounts of cannabinoids may reduce your body’s production of stress hormones like cortisol. Lower cortisol levels, in turn, are correlated with clearer thinking, better sleep, less anxiety, and more (get your cortisol low enough and you might even notice better skin). 
According to cannabis expert Dr. Bob Melamede, THC helps your body burn fuel more efficiently, creating more energy and fewer harmful byproducts in the process. Melamede explains that THC reduces stress by reducing the biochemical ‘wear and tear’ of daily life.  With less stress comes more of an opportunity to become the real you!
Other benefits of being less stressed may include:
- Deeper, more restorative sleep
- A brighter outlook on life
- Increased sociability
“What could be more important to understand than biological energy? Thought, growth, movement, every philosophical and practical issue involves the nature of biological energy.”
– Endocrinologist Ray Peat
Delta-9 THC may also improve your energy levels. If you think about it, energy is really dang important! As endocrine specialist Ray Peat says, practically everything we do stems from the energy our body is able to generate. Without enough energy it’s hard to greet each day with optimism or meet our goals…with adequate energy it becomes easier and easier to make the most out of life.
This particular benefit, however, depends largely on the cannabis strain you choose. While many types of cannabis may energy production on the cellular level, only some strains improve energy levels in a way you can actually feel.
Consider opting for Sativa-dominant cannabis strains if more energy is what you’re after. The terpenes in these strains are tailor-made (well, nature-made) for increased energy production and upliftment. Look for strains that are high in limonene, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene, too. 
One only needs to look at the stats to see just how much delta-9 THC might boost energy production. Studies show that regular cannabis users have slimmer waists than non-users, despite eating at least as much. Other studies hint that cannabis use goes hand in hand with energy-intensive activities like hiking or endurance sports. 
Cannabis has been used to induce creative states for thousands of years. Many of the world’s foremost artists, musicians, and writers created their best works while under the influence of cannabis, and many of the novels we consider classics today were fueled by cannabis’s ability to help users think outside the box.
Cannabis’s delta-9 THC content is responsible for much of this creative spark. Some studies hint that delta-9 may improve neuroplasticity — aka the brain’s ability to reorganize its thought patterns and memories according to the current moment. THC may help you forget what you need to forget, remember what’s worth remembering, and apply creativity to things that matter most. 
Taking cannabis for creativity is simple. Just take a product that kicks in fast enough to provide feedback in real-time, like THC distillate via a vape pen. Dosing also matters when it comes to creativity: many chronic creative types enjoy microdosing cannabis when it’s time to work and taking larger doses when it’s time to sit back and think.
Relief from addiction
Delta-9 may also help address one of the most common vices of all: substance abuse. The idea that delta-9’s neuroplastic qualities could help those suffering from addiction is actually an old one — but recent surveys are finally bringing this theory into practice.
One survey from Health Canada found that high-THC cannabis use was associated with lower alcohol use in 30% of its patients. Some patients stopped drinking alcohol entirely! There are many Delta-8 and Delta-9 seltzers and beverages available online.
Other studies have identified additional outlets for THC’s addiction-fighting properties: the cannabinoid may reduce opioid abuse, violent crime, and more.  This effect is so strong that states that have medical cannabis programs usually have lower rates of opioid use than states that don’t.  THC seems to be better at fighting addiction than CBD, so don’t be afraid of a little bit of upliftment if you’d like to overcome addictive substances or behaviors in your own life!
Early research into delta-9 THC and immunity seemed to show that the cannabinoid suppressed immune function.
Thankfully things aren’t quite that simple. THC and other cannabinoids don’t always suppress immune activity — they’re actually immunoregulatory. That just means they can either suppress or increase immunity depending on what your body needs.
This type of immunoregulation might be especially helpful for those with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, since these diseases are thought to be caused when the overactive immune system begins attacking itself.
Both pharmaceutical THC preparations (like Sativex) and other types of high-THC cannabis extracts may reduce the muscle stiffness, spasticity, and discomfort caused by MS. Those with MS may need higher-than-normal THC and CBD doses to get relief. Some studies show that THC’s pain-relieving qualities come from its ability to bind to the same TRPV receptors that sense heat. 
Delta-9 THC’s ability to gently regulate immune function might also be super timely, given we’re in a pandemic right now and all. Some studies hint that THC could help COVID-19 patients recover faster, reducing one’s chance of developing “long COVID” in the process. Check out our dedicated article on cannabis and COVID-19 here.
Improved hair health?
Delta-9 THC might just be great for your hair. Back in 1980 a study found that both THC and CBD could prevent DHT from binding to the scalp’s androgen receptors — the same thing that hair loss drugs like finasteride do. 
More recent studies show that CBD might be better for hair health than THC is. One recent survey found that CBD alone was enough to improve hair in both men and women.
Though this survey’s sample size was small, its results were amazing: 6 months of topical CBD use was enough to cause a 93.5% average increase in nonvellus (mature) hair density. “All subjects had some regrowth,” study authors reported, “[and] there were no reported adverse effects.” 
Delta-9’s potential side effects
- Dry mouth
- The munchies
The link between THC and anxiety is just a little bit complicated. The right dose of delta-9 THC usually reduces anxiety…but too much THC can make preexisting anxiety worse. If high-THC cannabis is giving you anxiety, there are a few simple things you can try:
- Pair your THC with CBD. According to cannabis expert Dr. Ethan Russo, CBD has a “modulatory effect” on THC’s major side effects, including ”anxiety, tachycardia, hunger, and sedation.” 
- Eat something peppery. Though it might sound silly, black pepper is rich enough in the terpene beta-caryophyllene to oppose THC’s action at the CB1 receptor. It only takes a little bit!
- Do some baking. Putting THC products into baked goods can convert their THC content into CBN — a gentler cannabinoid with shorter-lived effects. 
High-THC cannabis use can deplete certain neurotransmitters over time. THC may also overactive your brain’s adenosine receptors. Both of these changes can lead to increased levels of brain fog.
Conveniently enough, however, both of them are also relatively easy to reverse. You can replenish neurotransmitters like acetylcholine by pairing your delta-9 THC use with some premium delta-8, and you can block adenosine receptors with a little bit of caffeine!  Alternatively, just try using a little bit less cannabis. Low doses of THC don’t normally lead to brain fog in the first place.
Dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of high-THC cannabis. Thankfully, it’s also one of the least annoying. If you’re experiencing it, just use a little less cannabis, and stay away from combining cannabis and alcohol.
And don’t worry — you’re not actually dehydrated, your salivary glands are just taking a THC-induced breather.
Ever smoked some really strong bud and then proceeded to eat a whole pizza? Don’t worry…we’ve probably all done it. Delta-9 THC’s ability to increase appetite is well-known.
It’s also easy enough to counteract. Just pair your delta-9 with cannabinoids that normalize hunger, like CBD or THCv. THCv is so good at repairing one’s metabolism that some researchers are investigating its potential as an anti-obesity med. 
Delta-9 THC Q&A
Last but not least, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked THC questions. We’ve tried to include something for everybody:
- Will THC gummies help with nausea?
- Will THC help nerve pain?
- Will THC show up on bloodwork?
- Can I give THC to my dog or cat?
- Can I take delta-9 THC with prescription drugs?
Will THC gummies help with nausea?
Many people do find that THC gummies help with nausea. Delta-9’s nausea-reducing properties are strong enough that more and more medical specialists are recommending it to chemo patients. Just be sure to start off with a low dose of THC, as that might be all you need to get the results you’re looking for.
Will THC help nerve pain?
While we can’t make any medical claims, there’s a possibility it might. Clinical research has already identified a link between cannabis use and relief from MS-related pain. If you wish to take delta-9 for nerve pain or other types of severe pain, consider a multifaceted approach involving both ingestibles and topicals.
Will THC show up on bloodwork?
Not unless your doctor tests specifically for it. Even if they do test for it, THC usually leaves the bloodstream after one or two days. Delta-9 THC’s metabolites can and usually do show up on drug tests, however.
Can I give THC to my dog or cat?
While some vets report great results from giving THC to animals, it’s not exactly recommended. Pets need far less THC than we do, for two reasons:
- They’re much lighter than we are
- They have more sensitive endocannabinoids systems than we do
Unless you really know what you’re doing, stick with CBD for your furry friends.
Can I take delta-9 THC with prescription drugs?
That depends. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using delta-9 THC in conjunction with any pharmaceuticals. THC doesn’t tend to mix well with the following classes of drugs:
- Anesthesia drugs
- Anti-epilepsy drugs
- Blood-thinning drugs
- Certain antibiotics
Summing things up
Well, there you have it: THC has all sorts of (mostly amazing) effects! Even its less-desirable side effects are usually easy to avoid.
If you’re ready to experience these benefits for yourself, just acquire a premium delta-9 product and begin dialing in your dose. We think you’ll find delta-9 just as amazing as we have.