How Does Delta-9 Affect Your Brain?
Delta-9 THC is the main form of THC found in the cannabis plant. The compound, which is one of the over 100 cannabinoids present in cannabis, is popular for its effects on people’s minds and bodies. Those who don’t use cannabis fear it due to the cannabinoid’s power to make people high.
Despite its known intoxicating effects, Delta-9 is still added to a wide range of products, including gummies, oils, capsules, creams, and others. There are many people who enjoy it, but some fear its alleged effects on the brain.
How exactly can Delta-9 THC affect your brain? Read on to learn more about this
The History of Delta-9
Delta-9 THC has been used for a long time. Its use began centuries ago when Shen Nung, an ancient Chinese emperor added cannabis as herbal medicine in its pharmacopeia. This happened in 2800 BC. However, Delta-9 THC was present in other cultures too, such as the Greeks, Indian Hindus, Assyrians, and Romans. They have also mentioned cannabis as useful for inflammation, depression, arthritis, and decreased appetite.
But THC itself has been discovered and first isolated in 1964 by chemist Raphael Mechoulam. 
How Does Delta-9 THC Work?
Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. As we consume it and it makes its way into our bodies, it interacts with our endocannabinoid system. The ECS has multiple cannabinoid receptors that the THC binds to, which is what leads to the very known effects of the compound.
The same process unfolds regardless of the way we use Delta-9. The cannabinoid can enter our bodies when we eat edibles, apply oil or tinctures sublingually, use topical creams or use transdermal patches.
When we use THC, it makes our brains release dopamine, leading to feelings of euphoria.
Can Delta-9 THC Have Positive Effects?
In some cases, Delta-9 THC can have very good effects on our bodies and brains, especially if it’s used correctly. Delta-9 may be able to treat different conditions, including insomnia and anxiety.
There are even some medications approved by the FDA that contain Delta-9 THC. Dronabinol is one of them. Its benefit is that it’s able to boost people’s appetite when they are going through therapy, dealing with HIV, or anorexia.
How Can Delta-9 THC Affect Your Brain?
Various studies have been done on cannabis to discover how prolonged use can affect the brain. Although they have been conducted on cannabis overall, the same effects may be caused by Delta-9 alone, especially when used frequently and in high concentrations. The impact of Delta-9 on your brain depends on the dosage strength, how often you use it, your age and whether you have a mental illness or predisposition to it.
Here are some potential side effects that Delta-9 may have on your brain:
1. A Drop in IQ
A study done in New Zealand had more than 1,000 teenagers participate in an experiment where they had to take an IQ test following cannabis use. The participants were 13 years old.
The first IQ test was done when the teenagers were 13, and then again when they were 38 years old. Results have shown that participants who used cannabis frequently, more specifically 4 times per week or more, saw a decrease in IQ by 8 points. 
This goes to show that using cannabis and by extension Delta-9 THC very often can have long-term effects on the brain and can lead to a drop in IQ.
2. It Can Impact Brain Development
In the same New Zealand study, another discovery was made. The participants were very young when they first took the IQ test. The brains are still developing at 13, actually still having a long journey until the age of 25, when they are finally developed.
Therefore, the earlier someone starts using cannabis, the more detrimental it can be to their brain. The study found that people who start using the compound at a very young age can have brain development issues. This can also lead to a reduction in brain size.
Compared to youngsters, people who began their cannabis use in adulthood did not see any IQ decrease.
More research done in 2014 shows how using cannabis in adolescence can negatively impact brain development. Learning and memory issues are more common in people who begin their cannabis journey during their teenage years. 
So, too much Delta-9 can be bad for brain development, particularly in early life.
3. It Can Lead to the Brain Shrinking
Following years of cannabis use, the gray matter volume in our brains can decrease. This was discovered in multiple studies over the years. Gray matter refers to the part of our brain that is responsible for our learning abilities. But it also allows us to function properly. Since this part is rich in neurons, its reduction can greatly impact our functioning and learning capabilities. 
Not only that, but the amygdala and hippocampus brain parts can also shrink because of chronic cannabis use. As a result, our learning and memory capabilities can be influenced negatively. 
Delta-9 is present in cannabis in high amounts. Therefore, going overboard with Delta-9 use may have the same bad effects over time.
4. It Can Influence the Perception of Reality
People who use cannabis all the time have been found to have less dopamine activity in their brains. As such, many end up experiencing what is called “cannabinoid-induced psychosis”. It is associated with symptoms such as hallucinations, anxiety, and paranoia. This psychosis can be experienced by anyone who uses cannabis, regardless of the method. It mainly affects those who develop an addiction to Delta-9.
Can Delta-9 Be Addictive?
Delta-9 use has become more widespread over the years. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the compound, especially among people who are not fans of anything cannabis related. The stigma comes mainly due to the intoxicating effects of the cannabinoid which are known to cause a “high”.
Delta-9 THC is the main cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Even though more people have become interested in it, the substance is not legal in all states. Some states banned or restricted its use. And while some cannabis users like to claim that the compound does not cause an addiction, there are actual records of people who built a tolerance and became addicted to THC.
Around 30% of individuals who use cannabis frequently can become addicted to it according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Using it at a young age, more specifically below 18 years old, makes it even more likely for cannabis use disorder to develop. Not only that, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentions how 1 in 10 Americans who use cannabis can develop an addiction. 
Overdosing on cannabis is also possible, even though there are no records of deaths resulting from it so far. But this doesn’t mean it’s still not possible to go overboard with cannabis and, implicitly, Delta-9. Actually, if you use too much Delta-9, it can lead to side effects. You may begin to feel dizzy, confused, or anxious. In some instances, too much Delta-9 can also result in paranoia, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, and panic attacks.
Being addicted to Delta-9 THC can completely change your lifestyle as the addiction will take over your life. For instance, you’ll have a hard time taking care of your household chores, focusing on school or work, or even staying in contact with family or friends. It’s harder to be happy or think clearly when you use cannabinoids too much and for too long.
If you become addicted to Delta-9 THC, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, just like with any other drug. Withdrawal occurs because the body expects the substance it’s been receiving for so long. And since your body is accustomed to it, it built a tolerance to the compound. When you suddenly stop consuming Delta-9, you can experience negative symptoms, particularly during the first few days. 
Delta-9 THC withdrawal may include symptoms like mood changes, chills, irritability, headaches, sleeping issues, stomach problems, depression, sweating, decreased appetite, and others.
· Signs of a Delta-9 Addiction
Delta-9 THC addiction is no joke, even if it is often taken lightly by THC lovers. If you notice the signs of an addiction, you can save yourself or someone else from ruining your/their life for good. There may be a few early signs that something is wrong, and it’s critical to spot them as soon as possible.
Common signs of a Delta-9 THC addiction include problems at school or work, negligence in the way you look or dress, isolation, financial problems, as well as behavior or mood changes.
The Issue with Delta-9 THC
Nowadays, Delta-9 THC can be found in many types of products. Sometimes, you can even see it alongside other cannabinoids like CBD. This has led many people to believe that there are no risks to this compound. To many individuals, Delta-9 seems harmless, and they have no problem exaggerating their THC use if it makes them fit in or experience short-term positive effects.
Not taking Delta-9 use seriously can be very risky, particularly when someone uses it from a young age or in high quantities. In reality, Delta-9 THC is not the safest substance out there. It can lead to various brain development issues and a decrease in IQ, as well as memory issues.
While using small amounts of Delta-9 THC now and then may not pose an issue, it’s important to pay attention to how much of the cannabinoid you use so it doesn’t become an unhealthy habit. This is even more important if you are a teenager.
How Long Can the Effects of Delta-9 THC Last?
The duration of the Delta-9 effects depends on a few factors. These include the consumption method, as well as how often you use it and what your typical dosage is.
Generally, if you ingest Delta-9 through edibles or oils, it can take a while for the effects to kick in as the products must pass through your digestive system first. This also means that they may be present for a longer period, such as a few hours. Most of the time, it takes around an hour for the effects to appear, and between 2 and 4 hours for them to subside.
If you apply Delta-9 patches or add a few drops of Delta-9 THC oil under your tongue, the cannabinoid will reach your bloodstream faster, and the effects may wear off sooner.
By using Delta-9 THC more frequently and in higher amounts, it will be present for longer in your organism. As for the effects, they may be short-term ones if you use small amounts of the cannabinoid and you’re not a frequent user.
Unfortunately, if you start using THC very early in your life and go for higher amounts, it can do long-lasting damage to your brain. It can affect your memory and brain development. This is why it’s best to stay away from it during your youth, particularly when you’re a teenager.
When used frequently, in high amounts, and from a very young age, Delta-9 THC can have very bad effects on your brain. It can shrink your brain, decrease the amount of gray matter, affect your memory and even influence your perception of reality. Studies have also revealed a drop in IQ in people who use cannabis in their teenage years.
Furthermore, frequent use of Delta-9 can even lead to addiction. As such, people should only use this substance if they are old enough. Also, they should be careful with the amount they use to prevent permanent damage to their brains.
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3. Smoking Pot In Teen Years Lowers IQ Later
4. The Teen Brain: 7 Things to Know
5. Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use
6. Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Brain Structure
7. Heavy marijuana use shrinks brain parts: study
8. What to Expect from Marijuana Withdrawal