The new vape ban which started April 2021, was posponed by USPS as they are not ready yet to implement it. However, once they are ready it will become much more difficult to get products like delta-8 THC to people’s homes. Unlike standard delta-9, it does necessitate some processing, so it cannot be simply extracted from the plant as it occurs in far too small amounts. Fortunately, it’s not the hardest thing to make delta-8 THC, and you can even do it in your home.
Once the US vape ban goes into effect it will become nearly impossible to order delta-8 THC through the mail. Delta-8 is preferable to delta-9 THC for many people, and this vape ban will make products harder to obtain. Check out our great Delta-8 THC deals to take advantage of mail order, while we can still ship to you!
To simply say that a person has the ability to buy the products to create delta-8 THC, does not mean they should do it. The processes mentioned below often use dangerous chemicals, and should not be handled by those who are unfamiliar with them. Having said that, for especially the more scientifically-minded out there, the idea that a person can make delta-8 THC at home, is a project worth undertaking, especially as access to it goes down because of the ban.
Some basics on delta-8 THC
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring derivative of delta-9 THC, the most commonly associated THC in cannabis, though neither form occur in large amounts in fresh cannabis flowers. The form in fresh cannabis flowers is THCA which decarboxylates to form delta-9 THC. In the decarboxylation process, which can occur naturally over time from sun exposure, or by applying high temperatures, a CO2 molecule is dropped. That chemical change is also relevant for the activation of THC’s psychoactive effects, which do not exist with THCA. In that sense, there is actually no (or only miniscule amounts of) psychoactive components in a fresh cannabis plant.
Delta-8 THC is associated with a less intense psychoactive high, and less anxiety and panic response. Some say that the high is very clear, and that senses are heightened in users. Delta-8 THC is structurally similar to delta-9, and shares many of the same medical benefits.
Once THCA has decarboxylated to form delta-9 THC, the delta-9 can account for as much as 30% of some marijuana plants. Delta-8 on the other hand, only comes from the oxidation of delta-9. The only structural difference between delta-8 THC, and delta-9 THC (and the other versions of THC created synthetically) is where the double carbon bond occurs. In delta-8, it’s on the 8th carbon atom in the chain, for delta-9, it’s the 9th, and so on. There are actually other forms of THC that have been synthesized, and which do not occur at all on their own, like delta-10 THC.
Is delta-8 legal?
Delta-8 is produced on its own from the oxidation of delta-9, but in order to make large amounts of it, it requires extra processing techniques that some might say make it synthetic. The question of whether delta-8 is synthetic is important when considering the DEA’s Interim Final Rule, and the compound’s general legality. Delta-8 THC, though originally isolated in the 1960’s, didn’t get popular until the 2018 US Farm Bill established the legal ability to cultivate, process, and sell hemp-derived products.
Since delta-8 must be sourced from delta-9, and delta-9 can be found in either high-THC marijuana, or low-THC hemp, it can technically be sourced from either plant. This creates a legal loophole whereby delta-8 THC is illegal under Schedule I of all drug treaties, yet able to be sourced through legal means. The Interim Final Rule, which was put out in 2020, and was meant to clarify the Farm Bill, only created more confusion. It stipulated that all synthetic THC’s are still illegal, bringing up the second question of, is delta-8 THC synthetic?
Making drugs at home
The idea that you can make delta-8 THC in your own home isn’t that far out. Growing cannabis is the most popular home-made drug, and doesn’t require any chemical processing. However, that more complicated lab-oriented processes can’t be carried out at home is obviously untrue. Not only do people use solvents already to create cannabis oils, but let’s remember that the crack and meth industries both started, grew, and thrived off of home-based operations, with the creation of methamphetamine in particular being quite a process.
Crack is made by cooking cocaine and baking soda, applying heat, and then allowing to cool. This can be done almost anywhere, and isn’t associated with massive accidents or explosions. On the other hand, making meth is a more complex process, though still a quick one, and comes with many more dangers. The following is a short description of how to cook meth, and the reason I’m showing cooking instructions for this drug is just to give an idea of what people are already capable of doing in their own homes, and without professional help. So even if it sounds complicated, remember it’s being done all the time by regular people.
Meth is made primarily by the ‘Nazi Dope’ method which involves mainly household items that can be purchased at a drug store, like pseudo-ephedrine. The exception is anhydrous ammonia which is a chemical fertilizer used on farms, but still not hard to obtain. Pseudo-ephedrine tablets (used for colds and flus), are broken up and put in a mixture of water and a solvent like alcohol, denatured alcohol, or antifreeze. This process takes the pseudo-ephedrine out of the tablet.
The next step is to take lithium pieces from batteries, and add them to anhydrous ammonia to create a chemical reaction with the ephedrine. Drain cleaners with high amounts of sulfuric acid are used in the final step to produce hydrogen chloride gas, with ether used at the end to eliminate extra ingredients. There are several steps here, several dangerous chemicals being used, and the ability for accidents like explosions.
How to make delta-8 THC from CBD
Luckily, we’re not looking to cook meth. When it comes to what we want, there is more than one way to make delta-8 THC at home. These are chemical processes that would not have been used much by individuals at home until recently. Right now, delta-8 is generally made in a lab, but as the vape ban goes into effect, being able to make delta-8 THC at home becomes that much more important.
First off, delta-8 THC can be converted from CBD. It can be done with a solvent, by dissolving 1gram of CBD into 10 ml .005 molar H2SO4 (conc. sulfuric acid) into glacial acetic acid. After three days, the CBD will have converted 15% into delta-9, 54% to delta-8, 10% to delta-8-iso-THC, and 10% remains unchanged. This new solution is poured into water with sodium bicarbonate added to raise the ph level above 7. Petrol ether is then used to extract the cannabinoids, they’re washed with water, and then heated to evaporate solvents. This leaves the aforementioned amounts of cannabinoids after three days, along with some other byproducts depending on the specific situation.
The non-solvent way of converting CBD to delta-8 THC is to heat .5 grams of CBD with .09 grams of anhydrous ZnCl2 (zinc chloride) at a temperature of 150º. This is best done in a vacuum to avoid oxidation, and should be stirred in the process. It should take about two hours for 40-50% of the CBD to convert to both delta-9 and delta-8 THC.
How to make delta-8 THC from delta-9
Yet another method involves a spinning band distillation process, and is used to convert delta-9 THC to delta-8 THC. For this process, “Mix in 4% acidic alumina silicate with your extracted and winterized crude cannabis oil. Distill the cannabis oil and collect the THC distillate as you normally would. The combination of the acidic alumina silicate and boiling flask heat will catalyze the rearrangement of the THC molecule from delta-9 to delta-8-THC.”
These processes and the supplies for them, might not be cost effective for everyone, and it certainly requires somewhat of a scientific mind. But these are not extreme processes, and even the more intense sounding equipment used, can be found as home-use instruments as well. We have, after all, gotten acclimated to the idea that cooking meth is a standard thing that anyone can do.
And if meth can be cooked, then its also possible to do a less dangerous practice like make delta-8 THC at home. This extrakTALKS youtube video episode includes Doctors Jon and Randall Thompson, as they explain in detail extraction methods, legalities, necessary equipment, and more, to make delta-8 THC.
The 2021 mail vape ban
As part of a far-reaching Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package that passed congress late last year, an unattached provision was included that says vape products will not be able to be sent through the mail legally after March 28th, 2021 using UPS, FEDEX, or USPS. The ban does not illegalize use, production, or sale of items, but rather works as a barrier to make obtaining certain products significantly harder. One of the products that will likely be hit hard by this ban, is delta-8 THC. This product is generally produced in a lab, as it has to be sourced from delta-9 THC. Many businesses for delta-8 use mail-order, which will be stymied by this ban.
The ban is for all tobacco vape products, with cannabis products falling into that category due to the Federal Law for Control of Tobacco Products of 2008, which put cannabis under the term of ‘tobacco products’. This means CBD vapes, e-juice liquid, nicotine cartridges, and even vape flavorings, cannot be sent through the mail with the listed services. This ban targets both cannabis and non-cannabis products.
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It also targets smaller independent companies that have diverted revenue from larger biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and which have a harder time operating under these conditions. Governments all over the world are protecting pharmaceutical interest over smaller companies when it comes to cannabis. Take France, for example, which went to court with the entire EU to keep natural CBD illegal in the country, while allowing GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex perfect legality. The US government is not illegalizing anything, it’s not saying not to use these products, and it didn’t want you to know it was doing this, hence passing the measure in an omnibus bill. Just some things to consider.
This ban is awful, but it promotes the idea that individuals who need it, can make delta-8 THC in home, and perhaps it will be because of the ban that a larger number of people will learn the ins and outs of delta-8 THC home production. It also will probably mean a growth in products and equipment related to in-house delta-8 THC manufacture. There are a couple sayings that I think do well here:
- Where there’s a will, there’s a way
- Necessity is the mother of all invention
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a medical professional, I have no formal legal education, and I’ve never been to business school. All information in my articles is sourced from other places, which are always referenced, and all opinions stated are mine, and are made clear to be mine. I am not giving anyone advise of any kind, in any capacity. I am more than happy to discuss topics, but should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a professional in the relevant field for more information.