Delta-9 vs Weed: Understanding the Similarities and Differences

Delta 9 THC vs Weed image

Delta-9, or “delta-9 THC,” and weed, or “cannabis,” are two psychoactive compounds that are often used interchangeably by many people. While some think that “delta-9” is just another name for weed, in reality, they are two very different compounds. 

Delta-9 refers specifically to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as “THC.” It is one of the many cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants; it is also a well-known psychoactive compound known to produce a range of effects, including feelings of euphoria and altered perception, which you may know as being “high”. 

On the other hand, “weed” is a colloquial term that typically refers to the cannabis plant itself; moreover, weed consists of over 100 different types of cannabinoids, including CBD and delta-9 THC, and it also contains other raw plant materials.

In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between delta-9 and weed, including their effects, legality, and other aspects, to find out which one is more appropriate for you. 

Understanding delta-9 THC

Delta-9 THC is one of the most well-known and widely studied cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants. It’s also the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the euphoric sensation or “high” you get from smoking weed. 

Moreover, when people commonly talk about THC, they usually mean delta-9 THC.

Talking about the legalities, delta-9 can be extracted from both hemp and cannabis, but hemp-derived delta-9 THC that follows the 2018 Farm Bill is legal under federal law in the US. On the other hand, weed-derived delta-9 THC remains federally illegal. 

That’s the reason that most legal delta-9 products that you see in your local gas station, shop, or online are hemp-derived and contain less than 0.3% of THC by dry weight. 

Understanding weed

Weed, also known as “marijuana or cannabis”, is a whole plant that is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries in many parts of the world, and it is famously known for its psychoactive and therapeutic effects. 

A weed plant can contain over 100 different types of cannabinoids and terpenes, including delta-9 THC, THCv, THCa, CBD, CBN, CBG, and CBC, just to name a few. Additionally, it also contains other plant ingredients like fiber, calcium, iron, and other raw materials. 

Moreover, when you consume weed, each of these cannabinoids can interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system in different ways and produce a range of therapeutic effects, while the euphoria and the feeling of altered perception are caused by the delta-9 THC, which is one of the most abundant cannabinoids present in weed.

Talking about legality, in the United States, weed is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and is federally illegal, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use. 

However, several states have decided to legalize weed for medical and/or recreational use, while the federal government is also taking a hands-off approach to enforcing federal cannabis laws in many other states. 

Similarities between delta-9 and weed

There are several similarities between both delta-9 THC and weed, such as:

1- How they work

Both in delta-9 THC and in weed, the active ingredients are cannabinoids that interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system similarly and produce a range of psychoactive and therapeutic effects.

2- Benefits

Both can be used for medical and recreational purposes, such as they can offer relief from chronic pain, anxiety, nausea, stress, inflammation, and insomnia, while they can also stimulate your appetite and make you feel euphoric or “high”.

However, more research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic potential of these compounds.

3- Usages

Both delta-9 and weed can be consumed in various ways, such as both can be smoked, vaporized, eaten, applied topically, and consumed orally. They can also be incorporated into a wide range of products like gummies, mints, edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

4- Side effects

Both delta-9 and weed carry certain potential risks and side effects, including impaired coordination, memory, and cognitive function, disorientation, increased appetite, increased heart rate, dry mouth, and red eyes. 

While these side effects are more likely possible in weed as compared to the legal delta-9 THC, where the risks are highly minimized.

The Differences between delta 9 and weed

There are several key differences between delta-9 THC and weed, such as:

1- Their compositions

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9 or delta 9-THC) is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp plants which can be extracted and infused with other products.

On the other hand, “weed” is a common term used to describe a cannabis flower in general, which can contain up to 100 different cannabinoids, including varying levels of delta-9 and other raw plant materials. 

2- Legality

Hemp-derived delta-9 THC that complies with the Farm Bill is federally legal in the US. While weed is a controlled substance that remains illegal under federal law, although, some states have legalized weed for medical and/or recreational use, while others continue to criminalize it. 

3- Safety

Hemp-derived delta-9 THC and its products have a much safer profile as compared to weed because any cannabinoids in a delta-9 THC product are always in adequate concentration, additionally, it’s free from any raw plant compounds and any other harmful contaminants.

Moreover, delta-9 THC products from reliable brands are also tested by a third-party lab for their quality and purity, making them much safer than weed, which does not abide by any of the following safety measures.

4- Availability

Hemp-derived delta-9 THC products can be sold and delivered online in almost all states of the US, while weed and weed-derived products can not be sold online in most states.

Hence, delta-9 THC is easily available to shop online from anywhere in the US, while weed is not.

5- Effects

The effects or “high” with delta-9 THC are more predictable, tolerable, and satisfying, while weed contains a mix of cannabinoids at different concentrations, so its effects will be a lot less predictable and can sometimes be more or less potent, which can result in varying effects on mood, cognition, and perception. 

6- Consumption methods

Both delta-9 and weed can be consumed in a variety of ways, including smoking, vaporizing, topicals, and ingesting edibles. However, you will find that there are much wider varieties and variations of delta-9 THC products available online. 

Delta-9 THC vs weed: findings from scientific research

There has also been a study that compares the effects of delta-9 THC and weed in certain participants. It discovered that while delta-9 and weed both have comparable psychoactive effects (such as being “high” and “mellow”), participants have reported negative effects (such as being “irritable” and “miserable”) after smoking weed but not after taking delta-9 THC.

This study provides strong evidence that, in most respects, delta-9 THC is a safer option as compared to weed.

Final thoughts

While delta-9 THC and weed may share some similarities, they are two distinct substances with different compositions, legal statuses, usages, side effects, costs, and availability. 

So, you need to understand these differences to make informed decisions about proper consumption and use. 

Whether you’re using delta-9 or weed for recreational or medical purposes, being knowledgeable about them is crucial to ensuring safety and enjoyment. 

Ultimately, the decision about which substance is more suitable for you depends on your individual preferences and circumstances. 

However, if you are still unsure about the difference between the two, we recommend choosing hemp-derived delta-9 THC instead, because it offers various therapeutic and psychoactive effects, but it is much safer and a better choice for your overall health compared to weed in the long run.


The information in this article is intended for general use only and may not always be appropriate for everyone’s needs. Your health and wellness are unique to you, so before acting on anything we say, seek personalized advice from a medical professional.

We value the accuracy and editorial integrity of all our articles, and we strive to ensure that the content we publish is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge.