Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) is the major naturally occurring cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa plants. It is the primary psychoactive compound with an intoxicating effect. Delta-9 THC attaches to the body’s cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system to produce effects such as euphoria and relaxation. The potential benefits of consuming Delta-9 THC products include alleviating anxiety, energy-boosting, increasing appetite, and improving sensory perception. However, Delta-9 THC can also have side effects, including rapid heart rate, red eyes, difficulty thinking, paranoia, and memory loss.
Delta-9 THC can be derived from hemp and marijuana plants. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. Therefore, any isomer of THC derived from marijuana plants is federally illegal. Hemp contains small amounts of THC. Consequently, most states have legalized hemp-based Delta-9 THC with no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Delta-9 THC products are available in tinctures, oils, concentrates, vapes, and edibles.
Delta-9 THC is legal in Maine. Maine legalized hemp cultivation in 2009 under LD 1159. In 2019, Maine redefined its hemp law through H.P. 459 to match the definition in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Act clarifies that any part of the hemp plant, including its seeds and all naturally occurring cannabinoids, concentrates, isomers, and extracts with a Delta-9 THC concentration of no more than 0.3%, is legal in the state.
Marijuana is legal under Maine’s Medical Use of Cannabis Program (MMCP) and Maine’s Adult Use of Marijuana Program. Consequently, cannabis is legal for purchase and possession by qualifying patients with a medical marijuana card and persons aged 21 and older. However, marijuana-based Delta-9 THC has a different possession limit than hemp-derived Delta-9 THC.
Maine residents can legally obtain hemp-based Delta-9 THC products from CBD stores, vape shops, and online retailers. Additionally, they may purchase hemp-based Delta-9 THC products online from stores outside the state and have them delivered to their local addresses in Maine.
Delta-8 is an isomer of Delta-9 THC. Both are cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants. The difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC is their chemical composition, where the double bond is located. Delta-8 THC has its double bond on the 8th carbon atom, while Delta-9 THC double bond is on its 9th carbon atom. This different positioning of the carbon atom affects how a user feels after ingesting Delta-8 or Delta-9 THC products.
Delta-9 THC is found in abundance in marijuana plants, making it easy and cheap to extract. When smoked, inhaled, or ingested, Delta-9 THC binds with the CB-1 receptors in the brain, producing strong psychoactive effects like talkativeness, relaxation, and excitement. It is more potent than Delta-8 THC, with potential side effects such as paranoia and headaches when consumed in high doses.
Delta-8 THC, found in minimal quantities in cannabis plants, binds to the CB-1 receptor in the central nervous system and brain to produce psychoactive effects such as euphoria and calmness. Its effect is less potent than Delta-9 THC, giving its user an uplifted mood without the adverse side effects of Delta-9 THC. As a result, it is usually preferred over Delta-9 THC. Due to the trace amounts in Delta-8 THC, it is expensive to extract. Consequently, most Delta-8 THC products are synthesized from CBD or Delta-9 THC.
Delta-10 THC is a cannabinoid found in small quantities in marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike Delta-9 THC, it appears in such trace amounts that extracting it from its natural strain requires time and a lot of money. Consequently, Delta-10 THC is produced synthetically through the structural isomerization of Delta-9 THC or CBD.
Delta-10 THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC with the same chemical formula but different structures. Delta-10 THC has its double bond on the 10th carbon atom rather than the 9th, like Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is the most copious cannabinoid in cannabis plants. Owing to its large quantities in marijuana and hemp plants, it is easy to extract and inexpensive to produce. Delta-9 THC is more potent than Delta-10 THC. It binds strongly with the CB-1 receptors in the brain and nervous system to produce an intoxicating effect. When consumed in large quantities, Delta-9 THC can cause hallucinations and paranoia in its user.
Delta-9 and Delta-10 THC produce psychoactive effects when consumed. However, due to their different structures, Delta-10 gives a milder high, leaving its users energized and uplifted. Because Delta-10 does not affect the ability to think clearly, most consumers prefer Delta-10 THC over Delta-9 THC.
Residual levels of Delta-9 THC remain in the body long after the last use, up to 90 days. When consumed, Delta-9 THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and stored in the body fat to be metabolized by the body. When Delta-9 THC is stored in the kidney, the THC is reabsorbed into the bloodstream, creating a recurring effect and causing THC metabolites to remain in the system long after use. Nevertheless, other factors influence how long Delta-9 THC metabolites stay in the body. They include:
Duration and Frequency of Use: The more an individual consumes Delta-9 THC products, the longer it takes for the body to break them down and eliminate them from the user’s system
Genetics and Metabolism:** **Genetics affects how long THC metabolites stay in the system. Specific enzymes help speed up the elimination of THC from the system. Hence persons with a higher concentration of these enzymes would have shorter THC detection periods. Also, a person with a high metabolism would eliminate THC from the body faster than persons with a slow metabolic rate
Body Fat: Body fat influences how long THC metabolites remain in a user's system. THC is fat-soluble. It binds to the fat molecules, staying in the system for a long time. Consequently, persons with higher body fat would metabolize THC slower than persons with lower body fat
Consumption Method: Inhaled Delta-9 THC leaves the bloodstream and body faster than when ingested
Delta-9 THC shows up on drug tests. Its metabolites remain in the system long after use, and most drug tests look for these metabolites. THC metabolites can be tested in urine, saliva, blood, and hair follicles. Depending on the test method, the detection window for Delta-9 THC in the body is shown below:
Urine Test: A urine test will detect THC metabolites within 3 days for occasional users and up to 30 days for frequent users
Saliva Test: A test for Delta-9 THC from a saliva swab sample would detect THC metabolites within 3 days for periodic users and 30 days for chronic users
Blood Test: The detection window for THC in the blood is within 7 days for occasional users and 25 days for heavy users
Hair Follicle Test: A hair follicle sample taken close to the scalp can show THC metabolites for up to 90 days from the last use
Hemp-based Delta-9 THC gummies and other Delta-9 THC products are legal in Maine. Residents may buy them from cannabis dispensaries, local hemp stores, and online retailers. While Delta-9 THC gummy is safe to consume, it is psychoactive and, when consumed in high doses, causes intoxication.
Maine’s law does not specify a possession limit for Delta-9 THC edibles or place age restrictions on who can purchase hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products. However, most retailers require their consumers to be 21 and older. Generally, Maine laws require all hemp-based Delta-9 THC gummies products to specify the cannabidiol content by weight, source of the hemp, and manufacturer’s information. The products must also include a disclosure statement that they have not been tested or evaluated for safety.