So you may already know that cannabis produces three main delta THC compounds, delta-8, 9 & 10. Most people know about delta 9 THC – a primary phytocannabinoid that causes psychoactive effects. It’s less intoxicating cousin, delta 8, has made a huge splash too at this point. Delta 10, on the other hand, is still in unchartered waters and is extremely rare, as are all minor cannabinoids. Come dive in and explore delta 8, 9, 10, and find out what’s up with 11.
What is Delta 8?
You’ve probably heard of delta 8 THC by now, but you might not know its origin or purpose.
Delta 8 THC is a hemp compound that produces a slightly more euphoric response in the brain than other cannabinoids like CBD, CBN and CBG, but less than its big sister delta 9. You can think of it like the 3.2 beer of the cannabis world.
This lite version of cannabis has been causing a lot of controversy lately due to its legal status: Delta-8 is legal in most states, but it’s on the DEA’s radar, largely because of its moderate psychoactive effects. Some states have already banned delta-8 THC from being sold in their state.
The result has been people have been buying delta-8 in huge numbers in the states where they still can, and ordering it online in the states where it’s been banned. After all, the Farm Bill of 2018 does cover all hemp derived products, so delta-8 is federally legal and protected while crossing state lines (cite).
What is Delta 9?
Delta 9 doesn’t really need an introduction. It’s the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Although it’s found in small amounts in hemp flower, less than 0.3%, many marijuana strains contain as much as 20% THC in hemp. Some exotic strains like Ghost Train Haze and Girl Scout Cookies have up to 30% THC.
These can be a little too strong for the average person, which is understandable, especially if they’re a new cannabis user. The high potency strains were initially developed for medical patients under a doctor’s supervision.
Delta 9 THC in general can be a bit much for the average consumer. The high it produces is so strong that users can experience paranoia and even panic attacks. This is a big reason why so many people have been turning to CBD and delta-8 products instead.
When delta 8 entered the market, they brought a different choice for buyers over 21 looking for an alternative to legal cannabis and other intoxicating substances, such as alcohol. It also created a cannabinoid that was effective and easily accessible.
Unlike delta-9 THC which may require a medical marijuana card, or at best, a long wait at a dispensary and very high prices, delta-8 is comparatively cheap and readily available at CBD stores, smoke shops, and pretty much anywhere else.
What is Delta 10?
Like it’s little sister Delta-8, Delta-10 is also a minor cannabinoid found in cannabis. While it varies slightly by strain, Delta-10 usually makes up less than 1% of the total content of the plant’s trichomes. Unlike CBD, no particular strain has been bred to have high Delta-10 THC.
There’s so little natural delta 10 present in cannabis that labs often misidentify it as CBC and CBL. Advanced testing has corrected the problem to some degree. However, as you may guess, mass production of delta 10 is challenging and expensive.
Companies had a workaround for this problem—You can convert CBD to delta 10. Although there’s more delta 8 than delta 10 in hemp, brands use the same process to produce both compounds. The process is still highly untested and considered unsafe by most reputable companies.
How Do You Convert CBD to Delta 8 and Delta 10?
Instead of investing into the proper equipment to extract delta 8 and 10 from hemp, some manufacturers are using isomerization. The process changes the chemical structure of CBD into delta 8 and 10 THC, which is abundant in hemp.
Consumers want cheap cannabis products, easily accessible and affordable like CBD products are, so brands have been scrambling to be able to bring that to the market.
How Do Delta 8, 9, and 10 Differ?
These cannabinoids are closely related and share the same chemical formula, C21H30O2. The only difference is where they bind to the molecule structure. As their names suggest, delta 8 wraps at the eighth carbon, delta 9 connects at the ninth, and delta 10 THC attaches to the 10th carbon.
The different positions correspond to potency, with delta 8 and delta 10 producing varying effects. However, delta 9 still reigns queen in terms of strength. Although it might seem like delta 10 should have a more substantial impact than delta 9 based on how delta 8 works, it offers a distinct characteristic. Consumers report more energy with delta 10 and better focus.
Some experts liken the difference between the two to a sativa vs indica, with delta 10 as a sativa and delta 8 as the indica.
What does this mean?
Delta 8 offers an excellent euphoria, completely relaxing the mind and body. It soothes sore muscles after a challenging workout and can help settle your thoughts to help you sleep better.
Delta 10 provides more energy, improved focus, and won’t produce a couchlock. Even if you take a little too much, there’s little chance of drowsiness that could ruin your day. Consumers choosing between the two often decide on delta 10 for daytime use and delta 8 for the evening.
How is CBD Different from Delta 8 and 10 THC?
CBD is excellent for reducing anxiousness and improving sleep quality. Still, some people want a little extra kick. Delta 8 offers a more euphoric feeling with a slight chance of giggles. People that use THC compounds aren’t looking for an early bedtime or to calm down. They want the invigorating feeling that helps them enjoy the next party or the total mind melt at the end of a long day.
What is 11-hydroxy-THC
11-hydroxy-THC, also called 11-OH-THC, is created in the body when delta-9 is broken down by your stomach acids. When delta-9-THC has been eaten, the body converts the delta-9 THC into the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC.
This metabolite is responsible for the extremely potent, long lasting effect of edibles. You can bypass the long wait of the digestive tract and admitted THC tinctures orally and also feel the effects of 11-hydroxy-THC. While the amount of 11-OH-THC is much higher when delta-9 is ingested, it’s also present when smoked, just in much smaller amounts.
Neuroscientists like Dr. Adie Rae, Weedmaps adviser, and others have been studying 11-OH-THC extensively, so there may be a synthetic form of 11-hydroxy-THC in the making.