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Educational

Educational

Understanding Delta 9 Side Effects

By Andrew Ward

Understanding Delta 9 Side Effects

Delta 9 THC gummies have become a popular way to consume cannabis, but it is crucial to be aware of the potential side effects of THC. 

Delta 9 THC, also known as THC, is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. While highly beneficial in most cases, adverse effects from THC can occur, especially when consumed in elevated doses. And like with any product you're using or plan to use, it's best to understand the potential good, bad, and everything in between. 

Edibles, a consumption method surging in popularity, pose a few additional risks thanks to their effects that significantly differ from smoking, vaping, and sublingual. 

In this article, we'll primarily focus on possible Delta 9 THC side effects, as well as those specific to gummies and other edibles. We'll also offer ways to mitigate these unwanted outcomes and other suggestions to help ensure a safe and comfortable experience.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta 9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Its effect on humans, notably our CB1 receptors primarily found in the brain, creates several psychoactive effects. These effects include the "high" we associate with cannabis, as well as many mood and sensory changes [1].

CBD is the second most prominent compound in cannabis. It has many benefits and shares several with THC. However, unlike THC, CBD does not target the body's CB1 or CB2 receptors directly. Nor is it psychoactive, so you won't feel "high [2]." 

A flurry of additional minor cannabinoids and hemp-derived cannabinoids have introduced numerous other compounds to the market. Two popular options include hemp-derived compounds with similar structures to Delta 9 THC: Delta 8 and Delta 10. These compounds are believed to deliver similar effects as THC in a subdued fashion, resulting in lower psychoactivity and milder effects overall [3]. 

THC, Edibles, and The Human Body

THC shares a similar chemical structure with the brain chemical anandamide, allowing THC to be recognized by the body and alter how the brain communicates with nerve cells in the body and affect various brain areas. In doing so, THC can impact parts of the brain that influence [4]: 

  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Memory
  • Movement
  • Pleasure
  • Thinking
  • Sensory and time perception

Unlike smoking or vaping, an edible's effects offer a distinctly different experience due to their delayed onset time and prolonged effects that often last several hours longer than other popular options. 

THC consumed as an edible, in food or beverage form, must travel through the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream. Unlike vaped and smoked THC, which hits the bloodstream in moments to minutes, edibles can take anywhere from 15 to 120 minutes to reach the same destination. 

This process increases and prolongs THC's effects, with some taking 12 hours to wear off, depending on the dosage and potency consumed. The often more pronounced effects of edibles are caused, in part, by how the compound is metabolized in the liver, creating a more potent form of THC [5]. 

THC is mainly considered safe with minimal risk and addiction potential. Still, adverse effects can occur, including [6]: 

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty thinking and speaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • Slowed reaction times

While often safe, consumers with medical conditions should consider speaking with a trusted physician to understand how THC or other plant compounds may affect any of your symptoms, conditions, or medications being taken.

Possible Side Effects Caused by Delta 9 THC Gummies and Other Edibles

Delta 9 THC often produces positive, beneficial effects in consumers. However, with high-potency products, it's always best to understand all the effects you may experience, positive or negative. Some of the more common side effects to look out for when consuming THC include: 

Drowsiness and Fatigue

Drowsiness and fatigue are among the most common side effects of consuming delta 9 gummies. This effect can be beneficial in the short term. However, studies suggest that prolonged use can lead to adverse sleep reactions, such as [7]: 

  • Less sleep overall
  • Less time spent in deep sleep
  • Longer time to fall asleep
  • Frequent awakenings

 

Daytime drowsiness and impaired memory have also been connected to long-term THC sleep use. These concerns can be especially problematic for those who consume higher doses. Additional risks are presented to those who operate heavy machinery as part of work or travel.

To mitigate this side effect, lower doses should be considered. Or, in the case of using heavy machinery, don't use THC at all until your shift is over. We know many people claim to be better behind the wheel when high, but the law doesn't agree, and some studies seem to agree as well. 

Dry Mouth and Eyes

Cannabis can do a number on our oral health. 

One of the more common side effects of consuming delta 9 gummies, or THC in general, is dry mouth and eyes. This is caused by the decrease in the production of saliva and tears as THC interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors [8].  

While this side effect is usually mild, it can be uncomfortable. To mitigate this side effect, staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is important. However, numerous other tactics can also work, including but not limited to:

  • Chewing gum
  • Eating something sour
  • Antibacterial mouthwash
  • Breathing through the nose

Anxiety and Paranoia

Delta 9 THC can also cause anxiety and paranoia, especially in individuals who are prone to these conditions. High doses of delta 9 THC can trigger feelings of paranoia, and it can also exacerbate pre-existing anxiety and mental health conditions [9]. These effects may also lead to adverse effects, such as hallucinations, panic attacks, and impaired mobility.

To mitigate these unwanted outcomes, consider starting with a low dose and gradually increasing until the desired effects are achieved. This is often called the "start low, go slow" approach. 

For individuals who have a history of anxiety or panic disorders, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks, including increased anxiety and paranoia, and to take steps to mitigate them. Speak to a trusted medical professional to understand the possible outcomes and how they relate to your medical needs. 

Impaired Memory and Cognitive Function

THC can significantly impair cognitive functions in many ways. These effects often grow greater when a person becomes intoxicated on THC. Cognitive effects include but are not limited to [10]:

  • Basic motor coordination
  • Ability to plan and organize
  • Solve problems
  • Make decisions
  • Remember
  • Control emotions and behavior.

Consumers need to pay attention to what kind of cannabis products they're consuming and their dosage. With edibles like delta 9 THC gummies presenting more substantial effects, a seemingly standard dose for someone may quickly become the highest they've ever felt. 

To mitigate this side effect, consider consuming THC in low doses during important tasks or, better yet, avoiding consuming any psychoactive elements until the work is completed. 

Increased Heart Rate

The average human heart beats 70 to 80 beats per minute. That per-minute rate can increase by 20 to 50 beats when THC is introduced into the body, with the number growing higher if additional drugs are used simultaneously [11]. 

Often a short-lived effect, an increased heart is a serious concern, especially for anyone with an existing heart condition. Consuming high doses of THC, or at any level, may be detrimental to your health and possibly even deadly in rare, grave cases. Rather than becoming an irregular statistic, speak with your doctor to understand how THC could affect your heart and any medications you're taking. 

Additional Possible Side Effects from Delta 9 THC

Like anything in life, consuming too much can lead to unwanted outcomes. In addition to those mentioned above, intoxication of delta 9 THC can lead to feelings of dizziness and nausea. These side effects are usually mild, but they can be uncomfortable. To mitigate these side effects, consider consuming lower doses and/or avoid consuming on an empty stomach.

And while the number is often debated, the consensus supports the idea that people can become addicted to THC. In some cases, like with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), they report that 3 in 10, or 30%, of people using cannabis have marijuana use disorder [12]. 

Additional concerns, such as food allergies, can't be overlooked. Anyone with a history of food allergies or intolerances must consult the packaging for a full breakdown of the ingredients used before consuming. 

Conclusion

Delta 9 gummies are a convenient and popular way to consume cannabis. Still, it's vital to be aware of the potential side effects.

As mentioned throughout this article, the most common side effects include: 

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Anxiety 
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Increased heart rate. 

Consume responsibly, whether enjoying delta 9 gummies or any other THC products. Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing until the desired effects are achieved is the best way to minimize the risk of developing any adverse effects.

Additionally, it's crucial to stay hydrated and avoid consuming delta 9 gummies in stressful or uncomfortable environments. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional before consuming delta 9 gummies. 

Furthermore, keep in mind that cannabis laws, regulations, and the availability of delta 9 THC products vary depending on the country, state, and/or jurisdiction you're in. Familiarize yourself with the laws of the area where you reside before consuming. 

Stay in the know about all things delta 9 THC by reading more stories on the Snoozy blog! 

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