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Which is the Most Powerful THC? Delta 8, 9, 10, or THCo?

Cannabis has been around for, well, thousands of years now. Humanity has been enjoying cannabis’s cannabinoid-powered bliss since the literal dawn of civilization.

But it’s only in the past few years that isolated cannabinoid compounds have gotten popular. It turns out that cannabis produces hundreds of cannabinoids. CBD and THC are just the start.

Learn more about the difference between Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 THC, and THCo, and see which is right for you. 

  • Cannabinoids 101
    • THCo
    • Delta 9 THC
    • Delta 8 THC
    • Delta 10 THC
  • Premium cannabinoid products: gummies, vapes, and more!
    • THCo products
    • Delta 9 THC products
    • Delta 8 THC products
    • Delta 10 THC products

Cannabinoids 101: delta-9, delta-8, delta-10, THCo, CBD, HHC, and more

As we briefly mentioned above, cannabis (and hemp) produce hundreds of cannabinoids.

What’s a cannabinoid, you may ask? A cannabis or hemp-derived compound with a characteristic side chain and an unusual ability to activate your body’s endocannabinoid system, of course! If a compound can only be found in cannabis/hemp and can’t be found anywhere else, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a cannabinoid. (A select few cannabinoids are produced by plants outside the cannabis plant family, however.) [1]

Most cannabinoids are isomers of each other, which just means they share the same chemical composition. Both CBD and THC, for example, have the molecular formula C21H30O2. But these cannabinoids — and many others — vary when it comes to the number and position of their carbon-carbon double bonds.

Okay, maybe we veered off into cannabinoids 202 for a minute there. But enough chemistry for now. Here’s a list of some of cannabis’s top cannabinoids:

  • Delta 9 THC
  • Delta 8 THC
  • Delta 10 THC
  • THCo
  • THCa
  • THCv
  • CBD
  • CBDa
  • CBDv
  • CBG
  • CBC
  • HHC (hexahydrocannabinol)

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move along to this article’s most important topic: which hemp-derived cannabinoid is strongest of all. Here’s the ranking:

  • THCo (100+% of delta-9’s potency)
  • Delta 9 THC (the most potent natural cannabinoid)
  • Delta 8 THC (70% delta-9’s potency )
  • Delta 10 THC (60% delta-9’s potency)

THCo (100+% of delta-9’s potency)

THCo, more accurately called THCo acetate or THCo-A, is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid produced from hemp’s CBD or THC content.

THCo is up to three times stronger than ‘regular’ THC. Nicknamed the “psychedelic cannabinoid,” some users feel that it’s borderline hallucinogenic. Think of THCo as a Sativa cannabis strain on steroids (or psychedelics). [2]

THCo is most commonly made by adding a catalyst called acetic anhydride to hemp-derived THC. This causes a chemical reaction that modifies THC’s original structure. Whatever you do, don’t try to make THCo at home! Producing it safely requires trained chemists and specialized lab equipment. Once production is finished THCo takes on the form of a golden-brown liquid.

THCo is generally considered legal because it’s derived from hemp. Some states have banned it, though, and some experts say THCo violates the spirit of the law, if not the letter itself.

Delta-9 THC (The most potent natural cannabinoid)

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), better known as delta-9 THC or just THC, is cannabis’s best-known psychoactive compound.

It’s also one of the most-researched, most popular, and most powerful cannabis compounds. The only cannabinoids that exceed delta-9’s strength are ultra-rare ones that cannabis doesn’t produce much of. And delta-9 becomes even more powerful when you take it with terpenes.

Delta-9 THC gets its power from activating CB1 receptors present in your brain, spinal cord, and mitochondria. This activation allows delta-9 to shift and uplift the way you perceive time, space, and life in general. It also allows delta-9 to quench pain, oxidation, and inflammation. Oh, and it also allows delta-9 to help your body get its internal clock synced up with the earth’s biorhythms — resulting in better sleep.

In other good news, delta-9 THC is now legal. Well…conditionally legal. Allow us to explain.

In 2018 a federal Farm Bill was passed. This bill explicitly made hemp-derived cannabinoids legal, just as long as said cannabinoids came from hemp that contained less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. 

Even hemp-derived D9 products were legalized, just as long as D9 comprised less than 0.3% of the total product! (At Think Apollo all of our delta-9 THC products are hemp-derived, lab-tested, and 100% free from derivatives and other synthetic ingredients.) Cannabis-derived THC, on the other hand, is still illegal at the federal level.

Most people think of recreational cannabis use when they think of THC, but that’s quite an oversimplification. The human body isn’t compartmentalized. THC is just as useful for one’s spiritual or physical health as it is for chilling on the couch. The cannabinoid’s euphoric effects trickle into just about every facet of one’s life!

Research shows that delta-9 THC may be therapeutically valuable for anxiety, depression, sleep problems, chronic inflammation, pain relief, appetite regulation, post-traumatic stress, and much, much more. [3]

Yet delta-9 THC’s power means it can cause unwanted side effects. These effects are dose-dependent; taking a little more THC than your body can process may lead to anxiety, while taking way more THC than you need may lead to paranoia, delusional thinking, or temporary loss of motor control. Be sure to keep your delta-9 dosing conservative until you learn how it affects you.

Delta-8 THC (70% Delta-9’s potency )

Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), better known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive cannabinoid that’s roughly 70% as powerful as delta-9. Delta-8 can be extracted directly from hemp or synthesized from hemp-derived cannabidiol.

In recent years delta-8 has gotten super, super popular. Why? For several reasons.

For one, it wasn’t mentioned in the Farm Bill’s original verbiage. That means it’s been able to avoid the stricter regulations delta-9 THC is often subjected to. As long as we’re talking hemp-derived products, any amount of delta-8 in any shape/form is legal. [4] Some legal resources claim that delta-8 THC falls into a sort of legal gray area, since the Farm Bill doesn’t expressly mention it, but for now most states acknowledge that the Bill has plenty of wiggle room.

Delta-8 also has slightly more manageable effects than other forms of THC. The fact that it’s 30 percentage points off from delta-9’s peak power makes it perfect for beginners. Its high is also slightly more energizing and upliftment than what you’ve probably come to associate with delta-9 THC.

Delta-8 research isn’t as far along as delta-9’s, but what we do have looks pretty promising. Studies are beginning to confirm anecdotal reports of D8 reducing nausea, relieving pain, and stabilizing mood. This THC analog may also confer neuroprotective benefits to its users. [5]

Like other hemp-derived cannabinoids, delta-8 products aren’t regulated by the FDA, DEA, or other regulatory agencies. They’re not really regulated at all! For this reason it’s super important to select lab-tested delta-8 products from trustworthy brands. At Think Apollo our products are produced in a cGMP facility and lab tested three times, so suffice to say you’re safe with us.

The most popular delta-8 products include oils, tinctures, gummies, other edibles, and beverages. But more on product types a little later…

Delta-10 THC (60% Delta-9’s potency )

Delta-10 THC is even newer onto the scene than delta-8 is. It was rediscovered in 2020 when contaminants set off a chemical crystallization of other cannabinoids, and in just 2 years has quickly reached top-level industry status.

As yet another analog of ‘regular’ THC, delta-10 is a psychoactive cannabinoid with a fun, uplifting high. Most hemp strains only produce trace amounts of delta-10, so the cannabinoid is usually synthesized from hemp’s CBD content instead. (Don’t worry, modern methods don’t involve any contaminants whatsoever.)

Delta-10 has gentler effects than delta-9, delta-8, and most other forms of THC. It’s thought to interact with several different parts of your endocannabinoid system en route to delivering its characteristic balanced effects. Some people don’t experience any psychoactive effects from delta-10…others say they need to megadose it really feel blissful. So far very little research has been done on delta-10, but what we do have appears to confirm these trends. [6]

Delta-10’s reduced potency means it’s less likely to cause side effects than delta-9 THC. Most users don’t experience any anxiety, paranoia, or dry mouth. Here’s to hoping that more research confirms delta-10’s goodness in the near future.

Premium cannabinoid products: gummies, vapes, and more!

THCo products

As of right now we don’t carry any THCo products. Keep checking back on our selection, though, as that may change soon.

Delta-9 products

Think Apollo’s Delta-9 Gummies offers what must be the best of both worlds. Each gummy combines 10mg of THC with just enough CBD to keep things balanced.

Delta-8 products

Our Delta-8 THC Gummies might just be the tastiest way to get your vibe up. Each 100% vegan gummy contains 25mg of pure delta-8 distillate – enough to power hours of upliftment and bliss.

Delta-10 products

Our Delta-10 Vape Pen combines pure D10 extract with 100% hemp-derived terpenes. This may be a disposable vape, but don’t think we skimped on quality. Our Pens feature the highest-grade CCELL ceramic vape cartridges.

Cannabis Products at Think Apollo 

CBG. CBD. Delta-8 THC. Delta-9 THC. Delta-10 THC. THCo. THCv.  It’s safe to say that today’s cannabis industry is more diverse than it’s ever been. 

Just to recap, THCo is the strongest of the four cannabinoids we covered today. Delta-9 THC is the second strongest cannabinoid — and very strongest natural cannabinoid. Delta-8 THC is slightly less powerful, and delta-10 THC is the least powerful of the four.

We hope this article helped clear things up and gave you a better idea of which hemp-derived cannabinoid (or cannabinoids) are right for you. Maybe you’re feeling inspired to mix things up, or maybe you’re totally content to stick with your tried-and-true favorite. Regardless of what you decide, be sure to enjoy the process!