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What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta-8 THC, short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant.
Delta-8 Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant. It is similar to the THC that causes a high—called delta-9 THC—but has much less potency. Delta-8 can be produced from hemp, which is legal to grow in the US since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, making the cannabinoid popular in states that don’t have legal cannabis laws. However, because delta-8 can still cause a high, it is in a legal gray area, and producers only sell it in certain states. What is delta-8? Delta-8 THC, short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant. It is similar to the THC found in a majority of cannabis products, which is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9. However, delta-8 is much less potent than regular THC. Delta-8 can be made from hemp in addition to cannabis, and because of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp can be grown all over the US. Consumers in states that don’t have legal cannabis laws want THC products, even if those products have a reduced potency, so hemp farmers are producing more delta-8 to meet demand. Some consumers may even prefer cannabis products that aren’t as strong as regular THC—cannabis can cause negative effects for some, giving them anxiety or paranoia. Delta-8 can offer a smoother, milder high. What’s the difference between delta-8 and delta-9? Chemically, delta-8 and delta-9 are similar in that their structures both have a double bond. This double bond is thought to produce the intoxicating effects that make you feel high. The two THCs are chemically different in the placement of the double bond. Both cannabinoids have a chain of carbon atoms—delta-8 has the double bond on the eighth carbon, whereas delta-9 has it on the ninth. Delta-8, like delta-9, binds to CB1 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, although in a slightly different fashion because of the location of its double bond—this is what is thought to make delta-8 much less potent than delta-9. More research on delta-8 and how it interacts with the body is needed. How is delta-8 made? Delta-8 is found in trace amounts in cannabis and hemp plants, but it is often made from CBD isolate—which can be extracted from hemp—as hemp is legal to grow anywhere in the US and the plant is readily available. CBD is extracted from hemp and refined into isolate, and then CBD isolate is synthesized into delta-8. Is delta-8 legal? Delta-8 is currently in a gray area of legality. The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as “All derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent.” This language makes delta-8 legal, because it does not contain any delta-9 THC. However, some states have chosen not to adopt this specific language of the Farm Bill in their own state laws, making delta-8 products illegal in those states. Producers and retailers of delta-8 sell only to states that have laws mirroring the Farm Bill’s language. Additionally, in August 2020, the DEA released an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to confirm the differences between hemp and cannabis, but state, “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol's remain a schedule I controlled substances,” which would make delta-8 illegal because it is a tetrahydrocannabinol that it is extracted. The DEA’s IFR is open for review until October 2021, and until then, delta-8’s legality is hazy.

What is Delta 10 THC?

Delta-10 is a cannabinoid found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant. Like regular THC—delta-9—it can get you high, but it is less potent than delta-9. This makes it similar to delta-8, another cannabinoid that is less potent than regular THC.
Delta-9 THC is the cannabinoid we all know and love—it’s the main compound in weed strains that gets people high and has been doing so for thousands of years. You may have heard of delta-8, which has gained in popularity in the past year or so, a cannabinoid similar to delta-9, but less potent. Now, to confuse things even more, a cannabinoid called delta-10 is becoming more popular. Truly, it’s hard to keep up with weed trends. So let’s see what the big deal is with delta-10, if it can get you high, how it compares to other cannabinoids, and how to get it. What is delta-10? Delta-10 is a cannabinoid found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant. Like regular THC—delta-9—it can get you high, but it is less potent than delta-9. This makes it similar to delta-8, another cannabinoid that is less potent than regular THC. According to Roger Brown, president and CEO of ACS Laboratory, a lab that tests hemp-derived products from 48 states, “Delta-8 was very popular and had really taken off, and now delta-10 has taken off as well, and we’re seeing it in a significant amount of products that are being tested.” Delta-10 is commonly processed from hemp-derived CBD, as is delta-8. Because hemp is legal all over the US (more on that below), delta-10 is considered legal in all 50 states. However, as with delta-8, certain states have outlawed delta-10 on their own. The cannabinoid is usually available in vape carts, gummies, or other edibles, and can be mailed to certain states. What’s the difference between delta-8 and delta-10? To create both versions of THC, CBD oil is first extracted from legally grown hemp. The resulting oil is processed into either delta-10 THC or delta-8 THC. Different chemicals and reactions are used to create the different deltas. Delta-10 THC is not easy to manufacture. It must be refined extensively, so you usually don’t see it in abundance. “If you see a product out there that says 99% delta-10, I don’t believe it,” said Brown. Because it is so hard to produce, a lot of products combine delta-10 with delta-8. Is delta-10 safe to consume? Delta-10 is safe to consume, however, Brown stressed that as chemicals are used in the extraction process, it is critical to only consume delta products that have been lab-tested at an accredited lab to ensure they have been purged of all chemicals and contaminants and are safe for consumption. Legitimate delta-10 products, like those tested at ACS Laboratory and other licensed labs, will have a QR code showing consumers the proof of testing certification. What are the effects of delta-10? Delta-10 can get you high, although it is much less potent than regular delta-9 THC. Anecdotally, delta-10 is commonly reported to provide energizing effects, whereas delta-8 is reported to be more sedating. Delta-10 is often compared to strains like Sour Diesel, Pineapple Express, or Super Lemon Haze, whereas delta-8 is compared to strains like OG Kush, Wedding Cake, and Purple Punch. “To put it in perspective,” said Brown, “delta-8 is more like an indica and delta-10 is more like a sativa. They have two very different vibes to them. People who want to use a sleep aid, as an example, have used delta-8, [whereas] delta-10 gives you more creativity or perspective.” It’s important to note that these effects are not based on any scientific study; more research is needed on these compounds. On top of that, every person has a unique body chemistry and compounds will affect people differently. Currently, delta-10 products are federally legal because they are derived from hemp, which was legalized in the US when Congress passed the 2018 farm bill. This is what makes delta-10 so appealing—consumers who live in states where cannabis is illegal can purchase delta-10 because it is technically derived from hemp and not cannabis. (Hemp is legally defined as a cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.) Although delta-10 is less potent than regular delta-9 THC, people can still get high from it, legally. However, as is the case with delta-8, some states have taken it upon themselves to outlaw delta-10. Additionally, some delta-10 producers won’t ship to certain states if that state’s laws are unclear. This leaves the legal landscape for cannabinoids messy. THC (delta-9) is recreationally legal in some states and medically legal in others. Delta-10 and delta-8 are illegal in certain states, but some of those states do have legal recreational or medical weed. Whether delta-10 or delta-8 will get outlawed in more states is yet to be seen, but if that does happen, producers may move on to yet another new cannabinoid to skirt the law. “If delta-8 is outlawed in states, they’re going to look for the next delta,” said Brown. “They’re just going to try and find a way around it.”

What is THCA?

THCA is the acidic form of THC, full name: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. As a cannabis plant matures and its buds grow, its terpene and cannabinoid content begin to develop. The first cannabinoid the plant will develop is CBGA, also called the “mother of all cannabinoids” because it will eventually break down and produce primary cannabinoids, like THCA and CBDA. THCA is not intoxicating if ingested. Chemically, it has an additional molecular carboxyl ring, which prevents it from binding to receptors in the brain responsible for feeling high. You may be thinking, ‘what’s the point if it doesn’t get me stoned?’ But without THCA, we wouldn’t have THC or the numerous health benefits attributed to it. Raw cannabis plants naturally produce THCA, but the industry hasn’t always been clear on the distinction. When THCA is exposed to heat, such as when smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking, it will convert into the intoxicating, beloved cannabinoid THC. THC vs. THCA The biggest difference between THCA and THC is that THCA does not produce the intoxicating effects that THC does. However, THCA must be heated to create THC, through smoking, vaping, dabbing, or cooking for edibles. This conversion alters the molecular structure of THCA by removing a carboxyl ring. This also helps THC bind to CB1 receptors in our bodies. Effects-wise, THCA and THC overlap in some areas. Both have potential to treat nausea, but THCA shows far more promise for addressing inflammation. On the flip side, because THCA isn’t intoxicating, some may find it less effective for sleep than activated THC. And while THC isn’t recommended for seizure disorders, THCA may show some promise in addressing those conditions. Is a higher level THCA or THC better? All states with a medical or recreational cannabis program require cannabis brands and operators to test products at a third-party lab to ensure their compliance and safety before they can be sold to the public. THCA and THC levels will help you determine how potent a product is and what kind of experience you’re in for. While it may seem like you want a high THC number, applying heat to THC directly may burn away some of the cannabinoid content and leave you wanting more. Unless you’re looking for edibles, you want high THCA numbers, not necessarily THC; that THCA represents the full potency potential of what you’re about to smoke, dab, or vape, because it will convert to THC. If you’re looking for flower, vape cartridges, or concentrates, you want to check for the THCA number. These are all products that require decarboxylation, aka activation by heat, in order to produce a high. Is THCA the same as delta-8 or delta-9? THCA is the acidic form of delta-9 THC, the most prominent intoxicating compound in cannabis. Delta-8 THC has the same number of atoms as delta-9, but their arrangements differ, and this arrangement impacts its effects. This is how companies have been able to legally produce delta-8 products from hemp plants, which by law must contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is also derived from THCA, called delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, but little research exists to understand how it measures up against THCA. Additionally, both delta-8 and delta-9 THC have some degree of intoxicating effect when consumed. They are not in acidic form, as THCA is. What are THCA’s effects and benefits? Raw cannabis does not produce a high if consumed without decarbing first. However, consuming raw cannabis for its THCA content, through juicing, for example, or taking a THCA-based tincture or edible, provides some of the same benefits as activated THC without intoxication. Some anecdotal accounts believe THCA produces some effect, but THCA’s molecular structure prevents it from binding with CB receptors in our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems. There isn’t enough data to indicate THCA doesn’t provide users pain relief in the same way that THC does though it still interacts with our receptors in a more peripheral way. Studies have shown that it also has potential neuroprotective qualities that may aid in slowing and preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s disease. It can also help with treating conditions like colitis and IBS. Preliminary findings suggest that THCA may help with seizure disorders. How to use THCA Many stoners and patients use THCA converted into THC everyday, by smoking, dabbing, vaping, and ingesting a form of weed in order to get high or address their symptoms. In these cases, THCA is more of a conduit to reap the benefits of THC. But more and more brands are taking note of THCA’s benefits for use on its own. One popular and accessible way to use THCA is to consume raw cannabis. You can literally just eat it, but many prefer incorporating it into a juicing routine for better efficacy and taste. Many companies also produce THCA tinctures and topicals to be taken as a regimen, like vitamins or a massage product after vigorous activity. How to activate THCA lighter lighting a bong bowl of weed To activate your THCA into THC, simply add heat. (Courtesy ello/Adobe Stock) Good news—activating THCA is as easy as pack, light, and inhale! Stoners, patients, and occasional users activate their THCA everyday when they smoke weed, take dabs, hit a vape pen, and any other form of consumption that involves heat. You can also decarboxylate cannabis for edibles, tinctures, and topical use. We have a couple ways you can do that, but it boils down to exposing your cannabis flower to around 200-245ºF for 30-40 minutes in a conventional oven. Anything over 300º will burn away cannabinoid content, as will cooking it for too long. Should you smoke or dab THCA? Yes, but it won’t remain THCA for long. You actually have to expose your cannabis product with THCA to heat in some way, or you won’t achieve a high, nor any other benefits such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, and nausea abatement. Upon contact with heat, such as your lighter, vape pen battery, or quartz dab nail, THCA will immediately begin converting to THC. So when you smoke a joint, pack a bowl, hit a bong, rip a Volcano bag, click your Puffco, etc., etc., you are inhaling mostly THC. Does THCA show up on a drug test? Yes, both THC and THCA will show up as positive on a drug test. It is impossible to fully decarboxylate the full THCA content of the weed you smoke or dabs you take into THC, so you likely are absorbing THCA as well; the same goes for some types of rosin- and/or hash-based gummies due to the lack of cannabinoid isolation, though due to required lab testing, it’s less likely. Is THCA legal? THCA’s legality is a thorny subject. Even though THCA itself is not psychoactive, it is still considered part of the cannabis plant and will convert to THC if consistently exposed to heat. It can also degrade to the semi-intoxicating CBN, also considered a cannabis-derived substance. Some US outlets have begun selling THCA products over the counter, no medical card required, but this ultimately depends on local and state laws, and shouldn’t be taken as a guarantee. Even though THCA isn’t listed as a scheduled substance, possession of an illegal amount of THCA-rich products, such as weed or concentrates, is still subject to local and federal laws. So, if you’re caught with a pound of weed, arresting officers will not take into account that raw cannabis isn’t inherently intoxicating. Where can I find THCA? Few products have utilized the many benefits of THCA until recently, but many brands now make THCA-centric products for ingestion and topical use. While both medical marijuana and recreational dispensaries can legally carry THCA-based or infused products, you will more likely find them in a store with more of a medicinal focus. And keep in mind, you won’t combust these.