What to do when a substance is unregulated, but flying off the shelves anyway? The best answer is to make sure there’s some method to test it, to confirm that it is what it’s supposed to be. This is the case for newer forms of THC currently hitting the market. Now, a laboratory has put forth a way to test the authenticity of both delta-8 and delta-10 products, to ensure they are real.
With new ways to test delta-8 and delta-10 products, getting quality vapes and oils is getting much easier. Both of these new THC versions provide slightly different benefits from delta-9, and can be beneficial for people experiencing too much delta-9-related anxiety. We’ve got great delta-8 THC deals for you to check out what it’s like to use an alternate form of THC.
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What are delta-8 and delta-10 THCs?
Delta-8 THC – Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring derivative of delta-9 THC, the most commonly understood cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. Delta-8 is produced through oxidation when delta-9 THC comes into contact with oxygen, causing small amounts of it to lose electrons, which converts it into delta-8 THC. The only structural difference between the two, is the placement of a double carbon bond. For delta-8, it sits on the 8th atom in the chain, and for delta-9, on the 9th. The chemical structure for both is: C21H30O2.
The two compounds are very similar, producing many of the same medical effects, however, they have some stark differences as well. Delta-8 THC produces less psychoactive effect, so users don’t experience as intense of a high. It also causes less anxiety and paranoia in users, making it the optimal answer for cannabis aficionados who experience a lot of anxiety with delta-9. Delta-8 is also associated with a more clear-headed and energetic high, something that makes it better for physical activities, even athletics.
Delta-8 THC is not newly discovered, but has been known about since around the time delta-9 was found. It was partially synthesized by Roger Adams in 1941, with total synthesis established by Raphael Mechoulam in 1965, along with delta-9 THC which was isolated first in 1964. It was even the subject of medical testing, particularly by Mechoulam, who established delta-8 THC as a treatment for the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatments in kids, actually showing an elimination of vomiting in the children. As we know already though, the world was slow to catch on.
Delta-8 made a resurgence recently with the application of the 2018 US Farm Bill which opened the door for industrial hemp cultivation, and production of hemp-based products. As a naturally occurring derivative of THC that can come from hemp, but one that requires human processing in order to create large enough amounts for use, delta-8 THC might fit into a legal loophole – but not for sure. This has not been specified further to give clarity to the situation by either the DEA’s Interim Final Rule, or the more recent USDA Final Rule. Until the definition of ‘synthetic’ is updated to identify if human processing fits the definition, delta-8 will likely remain legally ambiguous.
Delta-10 THC – Delta-10 THC, though nearly identical in structure to both delta-8 and delta-9 THCs, is a little different. The first difference should be obvious. The double carbon bond sits on the 10th atom in the chain. However, more importantly, it cannot be created on its own in nature. It is a 100% synthetic compound that requires human help for chemical processing, which puts it in a different category than its previously mentioned counterparts. We’ll get to why this matters in a second, but for now, let’s take a quick look at the strange story that brought us delta-10 products.
Delta-10 THC was brought to scientific attention later than delta-8 and delta-9, and happened as part of an accident at the company Fusion Farms, in California, in the year 1980. California is the location for raging forest fires, and flame retardant chemicals are used frequently to limit, or stave off, the damage of these fires. Fusion Farms was in the business of creating cannabis oil extracts at the time, and didn’t realize that their outdoor flowers were being contaminated by these (toxic) chemicals.
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No one thought it would be an issue at the time, and the company personnel continued producing the oil, just to find strange crystals that had never been seen before, forming. Upon further and more intricate inspection, it was found that these crystals were actually a different form of THC, this time, the never-before-seen delta-10, with the double helix on the 10th atom. So, unlike it’s THC brothers already mentioned, delta-10 can only be synthesized by way of a chemical catalyst, in this case, flame retardant chemicals. Other, safer catalysts, have been used since that time.
Unlike delta-8 and delta-9 which are naturally occurring, and therefore capable of falling under the definition of hemp, delta-10 does not. As such, it remains regulated under DEA criminal code 7370 which lists anything not under the definition of hemp, to be a controlled substance. This goes for all synthetic THC compounds. Whereas the Farm Bill allows hemp derivatives with up to .3% THC, it does not cover synthetics at all, and this means that regardless of the THC quantity in the product, or where the product is sourced from, it’s still illegal.
In that way, delta-10 does not fit into a legal loophole, and remains a schedule I controlled substance for now. Of course, lots of cannabis products fit under this definition federally, but with the growing number of locations in the US and worldwide that have approved legal medical or recreational cannabis programs, the use of delta-10 is perfectly fine in many places. Plus, with such constant changes, and an inability to catch up legislatively, it’s quite possible that being federally illegal won’t stop the growing delta-10 market at all.
How to test delta-8 and delta-10 products
It should be clear from everything just written, that these two compounds are highly unregulated, with confusion about the legal loophole of one, and even more confusion online about the illegality of the other. With no government standard for the production of these products, or standards for final products, users are at the mercy of sellers and their claims, which can often be a dicey prospect.
In fact, without regulation, when dealing with extracts of these kinds, it’s hard for the buyer to know they’re getting the right product at all. Think about how easy it is to buy a vape cartridge without really knowing what’s inside? Sales industries – especially unregulated ones – are not generally known for their complete upstandingness, often passing off fake or low-quality products since, in the most essential way of putting it, no one is legally watching.
And this is where ACS Laboratory comes in. In an effort to institute some sort of testing ability to confirm that these substances are really these substances, ACS created the Potency 12 test to identify delta-8 and delta-10 products. ACS is a DEA-licensed, 3rd party, independent testing facility that provides analysis for products in the cannabis industry.
With the invention of Potency 12, ACS now provides an answer above general industry standards, which haven’t caught up to these new products yet. The Potency 12 test “specifically targets and separates Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC”, according to ACS Laboratory’s principal scientist, Aixia Sun, who also serves as a certified lab director for cannabis. She went on to say, “Many labs cannot test Delta-10 without a DEA license and often misidentify lesser-known analytes as Delta-9 in the process.”
In answer to the question of what creates this difficulty in testing, Sun continued, “The problem is Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC are positional isomers, making it difficult for laboratories to separate the two during testing. Two Delta-10 THC stereoisomers are also challenges because they are so elusive that laboratories often misidentify them for CBC or CBL using the industry-standard methodology.”
ACS isn’t just looking for ways to identify these compounds, it also looks to ensure certain levels of safety. One of the things it continues to do, is develop new and improved safety tests to make sure extracts don’t contain residual solvents in them. The Potency 12 test is actually an offshoot of the standard Potency 11 test, which is already capable of quantifying the total of 12 different cannabinoids: Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, THCA, THCV, CBDA, CBD, CBDV, CBGA, CBG, CBN, and CBC, in products.
According to ACS Laboratory president and founder, Roger Brown: “As the hemp industry evolves, laboratories must continuously re-evaluate methods to ensure they are producing valid results… Laboratories who fail to rise to the occasion will ultimately put their clients at risk.”
When it comes to new products in an unregulated market, it can really be a free-for-all, with anyone capable of putting out a halfway decent product (or half-way decent looking product), edging in, with little regard as to what they’re passing off to customers.
This makes it great to have some way to test delta-8 and delta-10 products to separate good from bad (or better from worse). ACS Laboratory and the Potency 12 test inject a little more clarity as to the quality of products on the market, how many fakes are flying around, and where to find the best products. It’s nice to know that if you’re being sold a delta-8 or delta-10 THC product, that its authenticity can now be verified.
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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 mentioned, 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.