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Understanding Delta-9 THC: Cannabis-Derived vs. Hemp-Derived

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as Delta-9 THC, is a term that frequently surfaces in discussions surrounding cannabis and hemp products. Despite its prevalence in many conversations, the nuances between cannabis-derived THC and hemp-derived THC often remain unclear. In this blog, we will explain the chemical, experiential, and legal differences between the two.


What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It is responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana. This compound interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, particularly affecting the CB1 receptors in the brain, which influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, and sensory and time perception.


Cannabis-Derived THC vs. Hemp-Derived THC

Chemically, Delta-9 THC from both hemp and cannabis is identical — the differences lie not in their molecular structure but in their source and concentration:

  • Cannabis-Derived THC: Typically extracted from the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant, this form of THC is present in high concentrations and is the main component sought after for recreational and medicinal use due to its potent psychoactive effects.


  • Hemp-Derived THC: Derived from the hemp plant, a variety of cannabis species that is legally defined to contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Although chemically identical to the THC in marijuana, the lower concentration may reduce its psychoactive effects, making it a less potent option.


Experiential Differences

The psychoactive potency and the impact on the user's experience are where these two forms of THC really differ:

  • Cannabis-derived THC offers a powerful psychoactive experience, inducing feelings ranging from euphoria and relaxation to, potentially, anxiety and discomfort, depending on the dose and the user's tolerance. Products containing cannabis-derived THC are typically found in medical or recreational dispensaries.


  • Hemp-Derived THC, due to its lower THC concentration, produces lighter and less significant psychoactive effects. With that being said, it will create a (some say) more mild  experience and state enhancement much like the classic “high”. It might feel like a mild euphoria accompanied by the relaxation and mood improvement that comes from its marijuana-derived counterpart. For this reason, we use Hemp-Derived THC in Levitate.


The THC content in cannabis products can vary widely depending on the form of the product, how it’s processed, or how much you consume. Our beverages are intended to contain smaller doses so you can enjoy several of them throughout the day or evening, building up to more significant psychoactive effects that are more comparative to recreational gummies or chocolates. 


Legal Aspects and the 2018 Farm Bill

The legal distinctions between these two forms of THC stem from the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp by removing it from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This legislation allows for the cultivation, production, and sale of hemp and its derivatives, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC. This is crucial for producers and consumers alike because it means that products made from hemp-derived THC, such as oils, tinctures, and edibles, can be legally sold and transported across state lines within the U.S.


Why We Use Hemp-Derived THC in Our Products

Our decision to utilize hemp-derived THC in our products is directly influenced by the regulatory framework established by the 2018 Farm Bill. By incorporating hemp-derived THC, we ensure that our products are not only less psychoactive but also fully compliant with federal law, allowing us to offer them to you online without legal repercussions. This approach guarantees that you can enjoy the benefits of THC in a way that is both safe and legal.

In conclusion, while the chemical structure of Delta-9 THC remains consistent regardless of its source, the legal status, psychoactive potency, and resulting experiences differ slightly between cannabis-derived and hemp-derived THC. By understanding these differences, consumers can make more informed decisions about the products they choose to consume, aligning their experiences with their personal and legal preferences.


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