You may have heard people raving about delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) recently. There are many companies selling delta 8 (Δ-8-THC) products such as edibles, vape cartridges and other products. According to a Forbes article, these products are very much in demand. The article says, “Delta-8 THC is having a moment as it’s quickly become the most exciting, and most intoxicating, product in the hemp industry.” You may be wondering if they’re so similar then will delta-8 THC get you high like delta-9 THC? That’s a great question and we’ll get to the answer.
Δ-8-THC is just another cannabinoid that is found in marijuana. It is pretty similar to delta 9 THC. The structural difference between these two cannabinoids is that delta 8 THC has a double bond on the eighth carbon and the same double bond is found on the ninth carbon for delta 9 THC. The chemical difference between both of them is that delta 8 is more stable. A study said, “The major chemical difference between them is that delta-9-THC is easily oxidized to the biologically inactive cannabinol; delta-8-THC is stable, does not oxidize to cannabinol and has a very long shelf life.”
Let’s first look at how Δ-8-THC is made.
How is delta 8 THC made?
First of all delta 8 THC can be found naturally in the marijuana plant. It’s not very abundant but it’s there. When companies want delta 8 THC they simply harvest hemp and extract the cannabidiol (CBD). This is how delta 8 THC is technically legal. It’s made from hemp and hemp has 0.3% or less THC. According to Forbes “Delta-8 is being sold across the country thanks to an exception in marijuana laws made by the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized cannabinoids derived from hemp.”
Delta-8 THC Extraction methods
According to Extraction Magazine, a group of scientists patented a way to make delta 8 THC from CBD by chemical synthesis. The steps are outlined by Extraction Magazine as follows:
- Mix a Lewis acid with an organic solvent. A Lewis acid is simply a compound or ionic species which can accept an electron pair from a donor compound.
- Add 300 mg of CBD to dried p-toluenesulfonic acid (30 mg) in toluene (15 ml), under N2 atmosphere (inert and free of oxygen).
- Reflux the solution for an hour.
- Dilute the mixture with an organic solvent. In this case, 20ml of ether was used as the organic solvent.
- Pour the mixture into cold water.
- Mix everything together.
- Allow the mixture to separate into the aqueous and organic phases.
- Remove the organic phase, this is the Δ-8-THC.
- Elute the organic phase. You do that by washing it. Use aqueous 5% NaHCO3 which is sodium bicarbonate. Afterward, use water then dry over MgSO (magnesium sulfate) and evaporate it.
Another extraction method of Δ-8-THC
Delta 8 Science’s extraction method involves breaking up the hemp flower and sending it through fractional distillation. Fractional distillation is a method of separation or extraction that uses the difference in the boiling point of the substances. They said, “We use a thin film distillation and utilize variations in temperature and pressure in order to isolate delta-8-THC”.
Delta 8 Science also said they’ve achieved success isolating Δ-8-THC from CBD and Cannabigerol (CBG).
Will delta 8 THC get you high?
Yes, according to Pub Chem, this cannabinoid can absolutely make you high. It binds to the CB1 receptor just like Δ-9-THC. However, Δ-8-THC doesn’t give a high quite as intense as Δ-9-THC. According to Pub Chem, “This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC)”. You’ll also have a lower risk of being anxious using this instead of delta 9 THC. This is especially important for people whose anxiety increases when they use marijuana due to delta 9 THC.
A study also agrees that Δ-8-THC isn’t as potent. It said, “….delta-8-THC differs from Δ-9-THC in being about twice less potent in most, but not all pharmacological tests.”
What are the effects of delta-8-THC?
Pub Chem has listed several properties of this cannabinoid:
- Antiemetic (prevents vomiting)- According to a study, It was able to be an effective treatment in preventing vomiting in children with cancer.
- Anxiolytic (reduces anxiety)
- Analgesic (relieves pain)
- Neuroprotective (protects nerve cells against damage, degeneration, or impairment of function)
Yes, Δ-8-THC does make you high. It’s similar enough to delta 9 THC to have many of the same properties. However, Δ-8-THC isn’t quite as potent as Δ-9-THC. Don’t worry though many people are still opting to use it for the high. It may even be a preferred choice since it tends not to produce anxiety that products high in delta-9 THC give some users. Currently, Δ-8-THC is legal and available for purchase in many places.