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Delta-10 THC: What It Is & How It Compares to Delta-8 & 9

Written By Andy Papilion Jan 2nd 2024
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 An in-depth analysis of full spectrum hemp extract will confirm more than 113 cannabinoids, including several THC variants: Delta-6a, Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, and 11 Hydroxy. To keep pace with consumer demand, there has been a marked increase in the number of companies stocking their inventories with tinctures, capsules, gummies, and edibles featuring various concentrations of Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC. 

The overall effects of the three cannabinoids are unsurprisingly similar. But there are a few subtle (and not so subtle) differences between them. But since Delta-10 has been on the market for a relatively short amount of time, many people have questions. Most want to know how the cannabinoid compares to Delta-8 and Delta-9. So let's back things up, then cover the basics. We'll explore their origins, the differences in their effects, and several factors you'll want to consider before choosing one type over another.   

The Natural Origins of THC and Its Variants  

The three Deltas in question have similar origins, meaning they evolve from the "mother" of all cannabinoids, GBGA (cannabigerolic acid). As crops mature, naturally occurring plant enzymes convert CBGA to CBCA (cannabichromenic acid), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), and THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid).15 Over time, heat and sunlight convert the acidic cannabinoids to their nonacidic, active forms.13 Delta-9 THC is the more widely known, the type most people are familiar with. Delta-8 and Delta-10 are Delta-9 isomers. They have the same chemical composition as Delta-9 THC, but there are subtle differences in their molecular structures.   

How the Effects of THC and Its Isomers Compare 

Cannabis researchers have been investigating the effects of Delta-9 THC for decades. From those investigations, we know Delta-9 binds with a specific chemical receptors in the brain, the endocannabinoid system receptor CB1. That interaction causes a sedating, euphoric effect.9 Delta-9's impact on CB1 also inhibits presynaptic neurons in a way that alters the natural flow of information while flooding the brain with dopamine.3 

Although they've not been studied as extensively as Delta-9, it's generally accepted that Delta-8 and Delta-10 work the same way, but the differences in their chemical structures diminish their intoxicating effects. Anecdotal evidence suggests the "euphoric" effects of Delta-8 are 50-70% less potent than Delta-9 but more relaxing.6 Delta-10 is generally described as even less potent than Delta-8, but more uplifting.4   

Comparing Extraction & Production Methods   

Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid. It's typically found in high concentrations in marijuana and much smaller amounts in hemp. The full spectrum oil extracted from hemp flower has a CBD to THC ratio of 15-20:1. Reputable product manufacturers rely on food-safe extraction methods to liberate the oil from the unwanted plant components. CO2 extraction is considered the "gold standard." It's non-toxic, non-flammable, and renewable.11 A chemical-free process called chromatography is used to isolate Delta-9 from full spectrum hemp extract.1 

Technically, Delta-8 and Delta-10 are also naturally occurring cannabinoids, but there's a catch. Plant extracts generally contain too little for product manufacturers to justify isolating the cannabinoids. Of more than 18,000 samples tested for Delta-8 THC, 98.5% had non-detectable levels.12 Based on that percentage, it would take about 55,000 kilos of hemp to obtain a single kilo at the cost of about $500 million. Delta-10 is even harder to come by, so the cost would be significantly higher.

To ensure a cost-effective supply capable of keeping pace with consumer demand, the isomers are chemically converted from hemp-derived CBD using solvents, acids, and neutralizers. The chemicals required to convert CBD to THC create unidentified synthetic reaction byproducts, elements not found in nature.5 Without the ability to identify and assess the chemical structure, third-party test results are unreliable. 

Their Potential Risks and Possible Side Effects  

When used in moderation, Delta-9 THC is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for most adults. However, even mildly intoxicating amounts can alter your perception of time, heighten sensory awareness, cause drowsiness, or increase your appetite. Overconsumption increases the risk of several potentially troubling side effects, including panic attacks, anxiety, memory lapses, impaired coordination, hallucinations, and paranoia.14 

Since the effects of Delta-8 THC are milder than Delta-9, it's often considered less likely to cause side effects. However, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 100 reports of tremors, confusion, vomiting, and loss of consciousness, with more than half of those cases (55%) requiring emergency services or hospitalization. National Poison Control has received more than 600 similar reports, with 18% resulting in hospitalization. The FDA is currently working with agencies at the state and federal levels to investigate safety concerns.5 

Currently, there is little evidence of similar concerns related to the use of Delta-10 THC products. With that being said, the cannabinoid is not well-studied in terms of safety or the potential for adverse effects, and several agencies have expressed concerns about synthetic cannabinoids in general.    

The Introduction of Delta-10 THC Products to a Receptive Market  

Delta-10 THC is a relative newcomer to the market. It appeared on the radar for the first time in the 1980s as a lab-generated synthetic (Bloemendal et al., 2020). Naturally occurring Delta-10 was discovered accidentally, after the fact. As the story goes, THC distilled from a batch of plants contaminated with a flame retardant mysteriously crystalized. The crystals were initially misidentified as CBC (cannabichromene) and the "super-rare" and lesser-known cannabinoid CBL (cannabicyclol), the cannabinoid that forms when CBC degrades. After months of research, the crystals were properly identified as Delta-10 THC.10 

Although there is surprisingly little documentation about the risks or advantages of Delta-10 THC, there are a considerable number of products available. Manufacturers are marketing their Delta-10 tinctures, vape products, gummies, and edibles as mildly intoxicating and uplifting. They're said to have about half the potency of Delta-9 THC. But currently, the cannabinoid is illegal in 11 states.

Our Recommendation: Naturally Occurring Delta-9 THC Products from CBDistillery® 

Many CBD users are understandably curious about Delta-8 and, more recently, Delta-10 THC. Most often, they want to know how the cannabinoids compare to Delta-9. Manufacturers are quite fond of pointing out that Delta-8 and Delta-10 are naturally occurring cannabinoids while leaving out the fact that they're selling synthetics, chemically altered CBD. That detail completely changes the narrative. 

To date, there are no reports of Delta-10 causing serious harm, but there are also no studies to confirm its safety. Researchers still don't have a clear understanding of how chemically converted cannabinoids are metabolized or stored in the body (Hudalla, 2021). Delta-8 is raising more than a few red flags. 

CBDistillery® CBD + THC products are made with naturally occurring Delta-9. Our expert botanists crafted two formulations: CBDistillery® ommm+ distilled for a balanced state of relaxation and overall well-being, and  CBDistillery® shhh+ distilled for deep sleep. If you're not quite sure which product would be the best addition to your health and wellness routine, consider scheduling a personal consultation.   

When you choose CBDistillery® products, you can shop with confidence. Our CBD oil tinctures, topicals, softgels, gummies, and pet products are rigorously tested, quality assured, and backed by our 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Plus, they're made with 100% clean ingredients and Leaping Bunny certified. 


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