Humans have extracted compounds for medical use from plants since ancient times. The medical use of cannabis and hemp isn’t new; research has found that cannabis was used from as early as 2800 BC in ancient China.
Cannabis and hemp contain psychoactive substances that can get you high. Some other compounds derived from these plants have medical uses. These compounds, known as cannabinoids, are used for medical and recreational purposes. The methods of using cannabinoids recreationally have evolved over the years from bongs and pipes in the Native American culture to vape pens in the twenty-first century.
While most vape pens use Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as their active ingredient, rare cannabinoids are also emerging as possible Delta 9 THC replacements. Keep reading to find out what new cannabinoids are on the market.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a broad class of chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system in our body. While most of these substances are derived from cannabis or hemp, some cannabinoids are synthetic.
The endocannabinoid system is a class of neurotransmitter molecules – essential modulators of the brain that are targeted by anxiety medication – that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in our brain and are similar to the cannabinoids derived from cannabis and hemp plants. However, you cannot smoke your endocannabinoids! These compounds are responsible for various functions within our brains that range from memory to social behavior.
THC is the most common cannabinoid responsible for the high of marijuana. It interacts with our cannabinoid receptors and induces a feeling of well-being. THC exists in several isoforms or varieties, with Delta 9 THC being the most common and widely used variety. All forms of THC are psychoactive to varying degrees.
The Legal Status of Cannabinoids
According to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, Delta 9 THC derived from cannabis plants is a Schedule I drug. It is prohibited from medical or recreational use. A concentration of Delta 9 THC of less than 0.3% is legal and is the active constituent of cannabis-based vape pens.
Other isoforms of THC, less potent than the Delta 9 variety, are legal for recreational use. These can include the Delta 8 THC, which is only half as powerful as the Delta 9 isoform and is emerging as an alternative to Delta 9 THC in vape pens.
Rare Cannabinoids Used In Vapes
While Delta 9 THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid used for vaping, several alternatives are becoming prominent in the market. These include:
1. Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is an isoform of Delta 9 THC with the same chemical properties, but it binds differently to the cannabinoid receptors, resulting in it being less psychoactive. Vape compositions of Delta 8 THC often include several other compounds, including terpenes.
Delta 8 THC is sourced from the hemp plant, a variety of cannabis plants that contains less than 0.3% of Delta 9 THC. Production and sale of hemp products are legal in the United States. Due to its lower psychoactive effects, Delta 8 THC gives a smoother and mellow hit that can induce a high of marijuana without the anxiety associated with Delta 9 THC. You can get a Delta 8 disposable vape here.
2. Delta 10 THC
Like Delta 8 THC, Delta 10 THC is also an isoform of the Delta 9 variety and has similar chemical properties. Delta 10 THC is only found in trace amounts in cannabis plants. Commercially available Delta 10 THC products do not source the compound directly from the cannabis plant; instead, a series of chemical reactions convert Delta 9 THC into Delta 10 THC.
Delta 10 THC can get you high, but its activity is lower than that of Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC. The effects of Delta 10 THC are a head buzz and not a complete body high. The reason for this is the weaker affinity of Delta 10 THC for cannabinoid receptors than its isoforms. Delta 10 THC also does not give you paranoia and anxiety as Delta 9 THC does. Currently, the use of Delta 10 THC is limited and is a rare cannabinoid.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a THC alternative used in vape liquid. CBD is not a psychoactive compound, so vaping a CBD-based vape liquid will not give you the high. A CBD vape liquid contains a propylene glycol base, CBD extract, and flavoring. CBD extracts never contain any THC content. While it cannot get you high, CBD can still induce a feeling of relaxation and euphoria. Many people vape CBD because of its ability to reduce the sensation of pain and anxiety.
Terpenes are another rare cannabinoid used in vape pens. While terpenes are not specific to cannabis plants, hemp and cannabis contain a significant proportion of terpenes. Terpenes are usually not vaped on their own; instead, they are added to a CBD or a THC-based vape liquid. Terpenes give the vape liquid its characteristic aroma and flavor; they are essential to the vaping experience.
Disclaimer: Cannabinoids Have Adverse Health Effects
Cannabis compounds interact directly with your body’s receptors, which can make their health effects several and numerous. Marijuana and vape users need to know the constituent products’ side effects to make an informed decision.
While Delta 8 THC is less potent than Delta 9 THC, it still has several harmful effects. The compound can cause cardiovascular effects such as an increased heart rate. You may want to measure your heart rate after a Delta 8 vaping session. Since its action is directly in the brain receptors, Delta 8 THC can cause several mind-altering effects, including increased body awareness, time distortion, and difficulty thinking, reading, remembering, or speaking. Delta 8 THC can also impact muscle function and cause weakness in your body, muscle fatigue, and reduced motor coordination. The smoke from Delta 8 THC can also harm your lungs, and excessive smoking can result in lipoid pneumonia of the lungs.
Smoking any cannabinoid can lead to throat problems. The propylene glycol base in your vapes can cause a sore throat. Vaping any compound can irritate your throat.
Delta 9 THC is the undisputed market giant in the vaping industry. However, the psychoactive properties of the compounds are far too intense for many people. Delta 9 THC can also induce paranoia and anxiety. Milder alternatives of Delta 9 THC can get you high without making you paranoid. Their effects are also gentler and cause a weaker buzz. Other options, such as CBD, do not cause a high; they just make you euphoric. Always look for complete information about your vaping compounds and be aware of the health risks.