There’s a new cannabinoid on the block and it goes by the name of Delta-8 THC. This chemical compound has taken over the CBD market due to it being basically a legal THC product that’ll give you a high — highly converted. Though it’s hugely popular, many don’t know how Delta-8 is made or what it is exactly.
In this article, we’ll go over what Delta-8 is, how it’s made, and why it’s one of the most commonly ordered products on MedaLeaf, a complete Delta-8 THC guide.
What is Delta-8?
Delta-8 is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Like its famous predecessor Delta-9 (the stuff that gets you high in marijuana), this cannabinoid has sky-rocketed in popularity. They’re isomers of each other, meaning their chemical structure is very similar. However, Delta-8 interacts with the body in a slightly different way and produces a less intoxicating high.
What products contain Delta-8?
In general, hemp-derived Delta-8 products are preferred, especially as marijuana is still illegal in many states in the US. Luckily, this has become the industry standard, and sellers should be transparent about this.
Delta-8 products come in many different shapes and sizes, and choosing between these product types is largely a personal preference. Some of the most popular are:
Lab-made Delta-8 THC
Though cannabis contains does contain Delta-8, it’s in small quantities. Because of this, manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand by harvesting and extracting so it’s instead it’s more commonly lab-produced. This is a far more cost-effective solution and is relatively easy to produce.
How Delta-8 is Made in the Lab
All cannabinoids evolve from CBGA (cannabigerolic acid); some people even refer to it as “mother cannabinoid”. Over time CBGA naturally converts into a specific cannabinoid such as CBD or CBG. In nature, this process is affected by the environment, plant genetics, and more, which is why some cannabinoids are more prominent than others.
In a lab setting, manufacturers can control these variables and manipulate CBGA’s conversion process, producing their desired compound. Unbeknown to most, this already happens with many of today’s more niche compounds, such as CBG. These products are synthetic.
Making Delta-8 Through Cannabinoid Conversion
Cannabinoid conversion is surprisingly simple. Here’s a commonly used process for converting CBD to Delta-8.
Step 1: Create a CBD isolate
Before the conversion can begin, the hemp extract needs to be purified into 98% CBD. The extract undergoes an extensive filtration process, which removes all other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Step 2: Combine with a solvent & acid
Manufacturers add a non-polar solvent, such as heptane, to the mixture. Once fully dissolved, they add an acid reagent in order to produce the chemical reaction and cannabinoid conversion. The solution is then continually stirred for at least 3 hours; a stirring plate is often used. Depending on the formula, the solution is either kept at room temperature or heated.
Step 3: Neutralize & clean the solution
Producing Delta-8 can create several unwanted byproducts, such as solvent and acid residue. So cleaning and filtering the solution is essential. It’s common to use a distilled water and sodium bicarbonate wash and sometimes a rotary evaporator.
Step 4: Test the product
The most crucial stage of manufacturing is testing. Good quality products are tested using methods such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This method allows companies to isolate each compound and check that it contains no unwanted chemicals.
Licensed Chemists & Manufacturers Only
While lab-produced Delta-8 is relatively simple, it involves combining lots of potentially dangerous chemicals. Because of this, only licensed chemists and experienced manufacturers should manipulate CBD into Delta-8.
Unfortunately, many low-quality “at-home” kits and formulas are on the market. By using them, consumers run the risk of handling and ingesting harmful acid and solvent residue.
For those interested in trying Delta-8, buying from reputable and high-quality brands is an important decision.