Cannabis plants are nature’s boon to humans – in many ways than one. It contains innumerable chemical compounds, including a special set of compounds, called cannabinoids.
We’ve all heard of the “major cannabinoids” CBD and THC. What we did not know then was that there are many types or forms of THC.
THC – or what is scientifically known as Tetrahydrocannabinol – is an extremely potent cannabinoid that has psychotropic properties, which, in other words, are known as mind-altering or hallucinatory effects.
In recent years, interest in the different types or forms of THC has grown, particularly because of their numerous health benefits, along with their euphoric effects.
We are all quite aware of the legal issues concerning “THC”. But did you know that these legal issues have only to do with Delta-9 THC?
Well, then how many other types of THC are there?
There are a few, to say the least. But the ones we are more interested in are – Delta–8 and Delta–10. These compounds, though sound similar to Delta-9 THC, are quite different from it, and aren’t restricted by the law!
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
But do they give you a high?
Are they truly legal? How freely can it be used?
What are their effects?
Do they really have any therapeutic value?
Oh well! Hold your horses. We will answer all your questions in this blog. All you have to do…is read on…
So, What is Delta-8 THC?
Like Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid present in all cannabis plants – hemp and marijuana. However, unlike its close cousin Delta-9, it is NOT a “major cannabinoid”. In fact, it is a “minor cannabinoid” because it is found in only small, trace amounts in these plants.
Owing to its low availability in natural hemp, its extraction is quite difficult – and, honestly, quite expensive!
This compound, also known as an isomer of Delta-9 THC, does possess some similar psychoactive properties. Despite being so structurally similar to D-9 THC, Delta-8’s intoxicating effects are much less potent than its notorious cousin that has given marijuana its bad name!
That is why Delta-8 THC comes with much less health risk than Delta-9.
In fact, its effects are often considered somewhere in between CBD and Delta-9 THC. Like CBD, Delta-8 also helps in relaxation, eliminating stress and anxiety, promoting better sleep, reducing pain and inflammation, etc.
But, on the other hand, Delta-8 also binds to the CB1 receptors, quite like Delta-9, to produce a euphoric uplift.
Then, What About Delta-10 THC?
Delta-10 THC is yet another isomer of Delta-9 THC and is also one of the 100+ cannabinoids present in hemp (and marijuana, too!).
It was accidentally discovered by Fusion Farms, a cannabis company based in California, as a byproduct of a forest fire. They had bought some outdoor-grown cannabis to produce hemp extract concentrates.
But, owing to the forest fire, the hemp was contaminated with fire retardants.
Delta-10 THC, a rare (and accidental) molecular sibling of Delta-8 and Delta-9 THCs, has a very strange-looking crystalline structure that looks like any other cannabinoid found in nature.
Scientists had, from time to time since then, bounced around with the idea of this newly found compound as being Cannabichrome (CBC), until advancements in cannabinoid detecting technology led them to realize what it really was.
As for its effects, it quite resembles its cousins Delta-8 and Delta-9. However, its psychotropic potency is way lower than Delta-9 THC and slightly lower than Delta-8 THC.
Like we described earlier, this cannabinoid doesn’t exactly occur naturally in cannabis plants. It appears in such minute amounts that extracting it from any cannabis strain is a lofty challenge that requires an ample amount of time and effort – even more than extracting Delta-8.
In many cases, the traces of Delta-10 THC are so minute that chemical laboratories often mistake it for some other compound.
How Different Are Delta-8 & Delta-10 From Each Other?
But first, let us talk about their similarities.
Both Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC interact with the endocannabinoid system and influence the behavior of this system that is integral to maintaining homeostasis, i.e., internal chemical and physiological balance between the brain and the body.
Both Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC bind to the CB1 receptors that are located in the central nervous system (principally the brain). The compounds also have a rapport (or call it affinity) with CB2 receptors. However, the binding mechanism to CB2 is still not completely clear. This is more so in the case of Delta-10 THC, owing to its more recent discovery.
Simply said, all THC compounds are capable of producing an intoxicating “high”.
However, the intensity of the high in the cases of the three compounds (i.e., Delta-8, 9, and 10) vary.
It is well-known that Delta-9 has the most intense psychoactive properties (among cannabinoids) that could most likely lead to anxiety, discomfort, paranoia, depression, migraines, and even hallucinations. But Delta-8 and Delta-10 have a much weaker intensity of psychotropic effects than Delta-9.
Using Delta-8 THC gives you a mild, uplifting high. Besides a mild buzz, you may also feel relaxed and a heightened sense of appetite.
Delta-10 THC, meanwhile, produces a milder high than Delta-8 THC.
Comparing the two, some users have said that Delta-10 is a Sativa while Delta-8 is an Indica. Simply put, Delta-10 has a weaker sedative potency than Delta-8 and a more energizing property than the latter.
Delta-10 heightens focus, creativity, and energy, while producing a very weak euphoria, whereas Delta-8 promotes deep relaxation and could even serve as a sleeping aid without the side effects of typical sedatives.
The chemical structure of Delta-10 THC is quite similar to both Delta-9 and Delta 8 THCs. The difference mainly lies in the placement of the C=C double bond.
Although both Delta-8 and Delta-10 THCs have the same double bond in their molecular structures – just like Delta-9 THC – their different placement makes them chemically different. In other words, it changes the way they interact with our receptors.
Delta-9’s placement increases its affinity to the receptors, while the two other’s placements, i.e., 8 and 10, make the two other THCs far less reactive to the receptors – which is why they are so much less intoxicating than Delta-9.
Delta-8 THC is derived from hemp. However, it’s not present in sufficient concentrations in most hemp strains. That is why companies usually resort to obtaining it from hemp-derived CBD through a chemical conversion process, known as isomerization, to make the whole manufacturing process financially viable.
Delta-10 THC is mostly not found in natural cannabis and even if it is available, the minute traces in which they are present make it near impossible to obtain it from the natural plant material. Generally, companies that use raw hemp extract or CBD isolate for this purpose, use additives such as Carbon and Vitamin C derivatives or solvents and acids to create Delta-10.
Do These THCs Have Any Potential Benefits?
The effects of Delta-8 and Delta-10 are slightly different.
While Delta 10 improves focus, energy, creativity, and alertness, Delta-8 stimulates appetite, increases relaxation, and helps sleep better. Remember what we mentioned about Sativa and Indica?
The benefits of Delta-8 THC include:
- Increased relaxation
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness
- Heightened appetite
- Pain and inflammation relief
- Lowered risk of bone disease
- Improved brain health
- A mild high, making the user feel calm and relaxed, sometimes even a little sleepy
The benefits of Delta-10 include:
- Improved alertness
- Increased focus and creativity
- Energy boost
- A smooth high, making the user feel an uplifting euphoria
Are they FDA-Approved Medications?
Broadly speaking, cannabis or any of its chemical components are not FDA-approved for any kind of treatment of any health condition. Even CBD has only been approved in certain cases of epileptic seizures.
However, the FDA has not approved Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC for use as a drug or drug ingredient. It is, however, legal under the federal legal system to sell, buy, possess, and consume these compounds if they are procured from natural hemp.
However, ongoing research points to the possibility that Delta-8 THC can be useful as a medication for treating nausea and vomiting. In a 1995 study, conducted on children undergoing chemotherapy, Delta-8 THC prevented the after-effects of chemotherapy that include nausea and vomiting.
However, no such evidence is available on Delta-10 at the moment. However, we do hope to find some soon.
Does Either of Delta-8 and Delta-10 Have Any Side Effects?
Since research on Delta-10 THC has barely started and the compound is yet to be used by people on a larger scale, there is no documented evidence of any side effects of the compound.
In the case of Delta-8 THC, however, a few side effects have been noticed, including:
- Dryness of mouth and eyes
- Anxiety and disruption in coordination (when taken too much)
Generally speaking, all of these side effects are typical of any cannabinoid, when taken in high doses.
Legalities of The Two THCs: What Does The Law Say?
Both Delta-8 and Delta-10 fall under the grey zone when it comes to legality.
We aren’t providing any legal advice here, but we would maintain that even if both the compounds are legal at the federal level, local state laws do vary, including some that have particularly barred its entry into their jurisdictions.
So, it is better to check out the laws of your state before placing an order for Delta-8 THC.
For instance, we DO know that Delta-8 is specifically not allowed in any of the following states:
- Rhode Island, and
As for Delta-10 THC, there is still no regulation or legislation that forbids the sale or use of its products in any state.
But we could infer that the above-mentioned state authorities will not be allowing Delta-10 THC products into their jurisdictions, either.
As for the rest of the country, there are three points that specifically determine the legality of Delta-8 and Delta-10 products. They are:
- The extracts must be derived from natural hemp; not marijuana.
- The product must contain less than 0.3% of Delta-9 THC.
- The products must NOT be produced synthetically from Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Delta-8 or Delta-10 could easily be derived synthetically from Delta-9 THC, as they are isomers of D-9. But that is not considered safe or legal by the lawmakers, as D-9 is still a Schedule I substance.
Can Delta-8 & Delta-10 Be Consumed Like Food?
Both Delta-8 and Delta-10 THCs were initially consumed as distillate, but due to their growing popularity, they are now available in various forms – all of which are typical of cannabinoids in the market. It simply depends on your preference and choice of delivery method.
The different kinds of products available in these segments include:
- Edibles (gummies, soft gels)
- Disposable pens
- Vape cartridges
- Vape juices
- Raw flowers and pre-rolls
PS: Delta-8 is available in most of these product types but Delta-10 is yet to catch up to the changing trends. With the rising demands, however, you can expect to see some of these appearing in the market, soon.
D-8 or D-10: Which Is Better & Safer To Consume?
To choose the best consumption option or administration method for Delta-8 or Delta-10 extracts, there are various delivery methods. It depends on what you are comfortable with. Besides, the other essential considerations include the onset time of effects and safety factors for your individual physiological condition.
Delta-8 and Delta-10 can be vaped when mixed in vape juices. They can be used s tinctures with the right like of carrier oil, like hemp seed oil or coconut MCT. You could also blend these extracts into your gummy recipe or infuse soft gel capsules with these extracts to consume them orally.
While vaping offers quicker action, it does pose a certain level of risk to people with pulmonary issues. But edible products have a slower onset of action and generally lose their strength and concentration as they pass through the digestive system.
Tinctures are in some respects safer than vapes but are comparatively slower on the uptake. They are quicker than edibles in exhibiting the effects, but, remember, certain parts of it do undergo metabolism in your gut. And with tinctures, you will also be able to taste the hemp. It is perhaps not the best option if you don’t like the earthy flavor of hemp.
But with edibles and tinctures, both of which, directly or indirectly, must go through the digestive system to reach the bloodstream, there is the risk of interaction of the cannabinoids with your existing medications (if any).
Note: Both pharmaceutical medications and hemp-based cannabinoids require the CYP group of liver enzymes to get metabolized. This means that either could slow down or speed up the metabolization of the other, leading to potential health complications.
Cannabinoids react differently to the health of individual consumers depending on their health condition, gender, age, overall body weight, the body’s fat retention capacity, BMR, and other physiological and chemical conditions. It also depends on the person’s unique endocannabinoid system and the product’s formulation. The latter includes the presence of various cannabinoids and other ingredients.
That is why we would suggest our readers spoke to a medical practitioner before using any cannabinoid product for the first time or any time if he or she is a patient of some health condition or disease.
THCs & Drug Testing
No matter which variant of THC you consume, you could potentially fail a drug test.
It is not just about Delta-8 THC products containing up to 0.3% Delta-9 THC. The issue arises from the obvious fact that all THCs break down to nearly the same set of metabolites in the human body. And, it is these metabolites that a THC drug test looks for – and not Delta-9 THC itself.
Soon after a body is exposed to Delta-9, the body starts breaking it down gradually. So, drug tests are not designed to detect the scheduled drug in its intact form.
The process of its complete expulsion from the body takes time; somewhere between 2 days to a year – depending on which part of the body is being sampled for the test.
Besides, even if you are not a frequent user, you also need to be mindful of how close to the drug test you consume either of the compounds. If you take a test the morning after your Delta-8 consumption, you stand a 99% chance of failing the test. That’s because the metabolites of the compound have not been eliminated from the body yet.
So, we would suggest you stay away from all products containing any variant of tetrahydrocannabinol if you have to take frequent drug tests or are expecting to take one in the near future.
But Before You Take Delta-8 or Delta-10…
For a hemp enthusiast, as exciting as it may be to try Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC products, we would suggest that you keep a few things in mind. They are:
- Consult with your doctor. It will help you understand the effects/side-effects of Delta 8 and 10, especially if you’re on some other medications
- Do not self-medicate with these compounds if you have been diagnosed with any health condition.
- THC (of any kind) should be avoided by patients with high blood pressure. It may aggravate the condition.
- If you want to consume Delta-8 or Delta-10 THC, consult your doctor about the dosage. If unsure, start with a small dose and titrate upwards as per need. Overdosing may not only hurt your pocket but also your health, as well!
Both these compounds have a lot of health benefits to offer – but only if you behave responsibly with your dosage and ways of consumption. Remember, they could both lead to some potential side effects, if you’re irresponsible.
Besides, we would reiterate the point that like all other cannabinoids, the effects of these compounds vary from person to person depending on their health conditions, body weights, gender, existing medications, etc.
So, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.
Get a health check-up done to find out any undiagnosed condition that you may be having before talking to your doctor about the dosage. And, only then should you look for a suitable product for yourself (and/or for your family).