Delta-9 THC is the major naturally-occurring intoxicating component of the cannabis plant. When someone smokes or consumes delta-9 THC beyond a certain threshold, they typically experience a “high.”
In states where delta-9 THC is legal, cannabis dispensaries offer delta-9 THC products in many forms, including gummies, cookies, candies, infused beverages, tinctures, vaping cartridges, topical lotions and pre-rolled “joints.”
Some manufacturers market delta-9 THC products as able to treat or mitigate symptoms of certain medical conditions or diseases. However, the FDA has approved only two synthetic THC formulations—dronabinol and nabilone, which are used to alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Nabilone is also used to increase appetite in patients with AIDS.
Potential benefits of consuming delta-9 THC may include:
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased appetite
- Feelings of happiness or exhilaration
- Heightened imagination
- Improved sensory perception
Studies show using delta-9 THC may have therapeutic benefits for certain conditions, including nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, seizure disorders, chronic pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and sleep disorders in people with other chronic conditions, says Dr. Gordon.
“While we don’t have definitive proof that delta-9 THC or other cannabinoids are [the] clear reason for the effects, patients in structured medical cannabis programs repeatedly show benefits in the conditions mentioned above. Also, [benefits are seen in people with] depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), neurodegenerative disorders, seizures, autism and autoimmune diseases, just to name a few,” he adds.
Research on long-term use of delta-9 THC and its effects on sleep is limited, with some studies showing improvement in sleep patterns and others indicating that chronic delta-9 THC use can have the opposite effect, disrupting sleep and delaying sleep onset.
Delta-9 THC is the most common and well-studied form of THC. It’s an intoxicating chemical that people can use for medical purposes.
As always, it’s important to exercise caution when using cannabis products. Only buy cannabis from reputable vendors, and avoid taking too much at once.