What Is Delta 9 THC? CBD vs. Delta 9

What Is Delta 9 THC? CBD vs. Delta 9

What is delta 9? Is it the same as CBD? What’s the difference and should you look for it in a CBD formula? Read here to learn more about delta 9 and CBD.

Delta 9 THC and CBD are not the same thing, though they both are sourced from Cannabis sativa plants. With growing attention in the cannabis industry around Delta 9 THC and what it does, we thought we’d address for you today the differences between Delta 9 THC vs CBD, so you know what to look for in CBD products.

Key points


  • What is delta 9 THC?
  • How does it differ from CBD?
  • Should you look for delta 9 in a CBD product?


Components of Cannabis

To begin our explanation of ‘What is Delta 9 THC?’ and ‘What is CBD?’, etc, it helps to have a little understanding about cannabis plants and what all is derived from them.

Cannabis sativa is a highly useful plant, producing components for health and wellness applications, industrial hemp products, textiles, clothing, and even a new kind of concrete. You may have seen Cannabis sativa referred to as hemp. From these industrial hemp plants we source all kinds of health and wellness components, each a little molecularly different, and with slightly different effects.

Here are some you may see mentioned most often:


THC and CBD molecule structure illustrations next to a marijuana leaf and cannabis oil bottle with the dropper laying next to it


  • CBD
  • CBG
  • CBN
  • CBC
  • THC
  • Delta 9 THC (written as a symbol: Δ9)
  • Delta 8 THC (written as a symbol: Δ8)
  • Flavonoids
  • Terpenes


When a blend of these things are used together it creates a CBD oil that is more effective and well-balanced for the consumer.

We must also make the distinction that marijuana is altogether different. It comes from the same plant but is produced much differently. It’s also heavily regulated, from the full-out illegal stuff to the medical marijuana now sold in dispensaries in some states.

But CBD and THC used in CBD oil products are another matter altogether. Here’s why:


  • CBD, cannabidiol, cannot get you high. It is non-psychoactive.
  • THC does produce psychoactive effects. This means that THC can get you high when used in large quantities, like what you’d find in medical marijuana.
  • THC when used in very small quantities will not produce a high feeling but does have some health and wellness applications.
  • CBD products are either made by extracting the THC out to leave the other cannabinoids (like CBD), flavonoids and terpenes behind – creating what we call a broad spectrum CBD profile. It’s important to note that minuscule amounts of THC might be missed in this extraction process but are virtually undetectable in lab testing.
  • Some CBD formulas leave the THC in there, and it becomes a matter of controlling how much is in the formulation to keep the product federally legal. These formulas are called full spectrum CBD oil formulas.
  • CBD and other phytochemicals seem to work best in partnership with one another, a concept known as the entourage effect.


What Is Delta 9 THC?

You’ve probably heard of THC as the component in cannabis that gives you a feeling of euphoria, commonly called a “high.” While yes, we do source THC to use in CBD products, the levels of THC used in CBD products is highly regulated. The amount allowed by federal law is less than 0.3 percent, an amount that is so low that essentially you get the wellness benefits of the THC without the high feeling.

This is great news for CBD oil users who need a little more support with regards to feeling calm and getting better sleep at night. One such strain of THC that’s getting a lot of attention lately is Delta 9.

Delta 9 THC is created by heating molecules of THCa which produces a certain amount of Delta 9, a kind of THC that has a double bond at the 9th carbon chain. (Respectively, if the double bond is located at the eighth carbon chain instead, it would be Delta 8 THC, which is notably different from Delta 9.)

Because Delta 9 is more potent than some other versions (like Delta 8), some manufacturers see the benefit of using this in their formulations since the legal THC levels in CBD products must be so low to meet federal guidelines. Therefore, using a higher-potency THC can produce similar benefits with perhaps more noticeable calmness than if different types had been used.

Related article: What Is Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 THC vs CBD

CBD acts as a “buffer” of sorts for THC in your CBD formulations. It balances the effects of THC and the two together seem to create a more well-rounded feeling of calmness that is preferred by some users. Because of the extra calm offered by the Delta 9 THC, many users also report that they sleep much better at night when they use a CBD product that contains both CBD and THC.

Here are some of the similarities and benefits of both Delta 9 THC and by CBD:


  • Supports a sense of calm.
  • Supports a healthy sleep cycle.
  • Works with the endocannabinoid system of your body to support homeostasis within the bodily systems.
  • Both can be used on a daily basis.
  • Both also have the same possible side effects of dry mouth, mild nausea, or diarrhea.


Know What’s in Your CBD Product

CBD products are typically oral products or topical ones that contain multiple active components from hemp. There are many products on the market that contain one, two, or even multiple combinations of these hemp derivatives.

But you need to know exactly what is in the CBD product you are taking.

To understand just what is in your CBD product, you’ll need to check both the product labeling and also any information you can find about the manufacturing and production of that CBD product. For cbdMD products you can find this information in a few places.


A man sitting down on a couch reaching for cbd softgels next to a container of cbdMD full spectrum cbd oil 2000 mg on a glass table


Each product, our tinctures, for example, has a product page that explains what type of CBD (or other compounds) are included in the product. You should also know the difference between full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD so you know what you are buying. If you need further help, go to the cbdMD page and use the chat feature to speak with our experts.

You can also follow the cbdMD blog, which is an educational blog for cannabis users who are transitioning to CBD, CBD users, pet parents who want CBD products for their dogs and cats, athletes who are looking for optimal performance and post-workout recovery options, the clean-beauty fans who love our CBD-infused botanicals, and anyone interested in CBD-related topics that relate to everyday life.

Should You Buy CBD With or Without Delta 9 THC?

This is a complicated question and one we’ll try to answer as thoroughly as we can. First, only your doctor knows your full medical profile, and they should be the top advisor on anything you choose to put into your body – from a healthy diet to supplementation of vitamins, minerals, or other things, to medications, to botanicals for wellness support. Your doctor can also advise you if you are a good candidate for a CBD product that has THC in it and if you are not.

Here are a few factors you may want to consider when choosing a CBD product:


  • Are you looking for overall wellness support but want to stay away from THC altogether? Then you should shop the broad spectrum CBD options. There are CBD tinctures for daily support, CBD CBD gummies for all sorts of targeted needs you may have, and even skin products for your whole body. Check the product labeling for “broad spectrum CBD” so you know you are getting the kind without the THC. You can even get sleep support without the THC in these snoozy options that have things like melatonin instead of THC to support your healthy sleep cycle.
  • Are you worried about your company or organization’s regulations on CBD products that have THC in them? Opt for the broad spectrum options instead. Even at low levels of THC, drug testing can be an issue for some people. Depending on the sensitivity and thoroughness of the testing, even these tiny amounts of THC could trigger a positive result. When in doubt, check with your employer or organization to see what is or is not allowed.
  • Do you want a more well-rounded and whole-plant benefit in your CBD products? Find more balance with CBD product options that have THC in them with full spectrum CBD products.


For More Support

We hope this overview of ‘What is Delta 9 THC?’ and ‘What is CBD?’, etc, helps to answer some of your questions. Here at cbdMD, we offer ongoing support that helps you to stay educated on all the latest cannabis and CBD news, have more knowledgeable conversations with your doctor, and to make informed decisions about the CBD products you use. Follow our blog to stay informed!