Delta-10 THC: Delta-what?
Exploring the differences between popular THC varieties
Historical records indicate that as early as 1200 BC, THC was used by ancient peoples for ayurvedic and spiritual purposes. Recognized as one of the five most sacred plants on earth in the Atharva Veda, THC was also believed to be used as a spiritual aid in Western China 2500 years ago. Up until recently, delta-9 THC has been the most well-known and researched form of THC, with delta-8 THC also gaining popularity in the past couple of years. Recently, a new form of THC has emerged as a popular choice for canna-sseurs across the country.
Delta-10 was first discovered in 1984 by Israeli chemist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the “godfather of cannabis science.” He found that while it was possible to synthesize delta-10, to do so required using toxic chemicals, making the final product unusable. Delta-10 remained relatively unknown until recently when California cannabis company, Fusion Farms, accidentally re-discovered it by processing biomass contaminated by fire retardants from nearby wildfires. During the distillation process, they noticed a strange crystal formation that was eventually identified as delta-10 THC.
Following this discovery, Joshua Jones, Ph.D., organic chemist & founder of Jonesing Labs, pioneered a safer and more reliable method by converting delta-9 THC into delta-10. However, since it is so difficult to produce, most delta-10 products actually contain a combination of delta-8 and delta-10 THC. Due to the chemicals used in isolating this compound, it’s important (as always) to read the COA, in order to make sure your cannabis product has been tested for any lingering chemicals and contaminants.
Published research on delta-10 THC is minimal and not much is known about the effects and benefits of delta-10. In the 1980s, Dr. Mechoulam conducted a study on the effects of delta-9 and delta-10 on pigeons. He found that while delta-10 may have some psychoactive effects, it is far less potent than delta-9.
How does delta-10 compare with delta-8 and delta-9?
Here are some answers to our most commonly asked questions about the differences between these THC varieties.
What’s the difference between delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 THC?
The main difference between each version of THC is the position of the double bond in THC’s chemical structure. “Delta” refers to this position–for example, delta-8 has the double bond in the 8th position and delta-9 has the bond in the ninth position.
What are the effects of delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 THC?
All versions of THC have been found to directly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system, producing psychoactive effects and sensations of euphoria. Anecdotal experiences, however, do show some differences between the effects of delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 THC.
Delta-8 is reported to have more of an “indica” feel, with feelings of mild sedation and relaxation, whereas delta-10 is more of a “sativa” sensation, with users reporting a spike in creativity, energy, and an improved mood. Delta-8 and delta-10 are also both reported to induce a milder “high,” without the paranoia or dizziness often associated with delta-9.
Since delta-8 and delta-10 have only recently become popular, and have only been considered federally legal since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, most of the information that we have is anecdotal, based on user experience. No large clinical studies have been published on using delta-8 or delta-10 specifically for any medical condition.
Are delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 THC legal?
Delta-9 THC is legal for recreational and medicinal use in many states across the country. It is also federally legal in products that contain less than .3% delta-9 THC by weight, as described in the 2018 Farm Bill. While cannabis containing higher percentages of delta-9 THC isn’t legal in Tennessee (yet!), certain delta-9 THC products are considered legal, as long as the amount of delta-9 is less than .3% by weight, and is derived from the industrial hemp plant.
For example, a 50 mg delta-9 THC-infused chocolate bar weighing roughly 76.5 grams and containing 0.664 mg/g delta-9 THC would have 0.066% THC by weight, well under the 0.3% required by federal law.
While delta-9 is found in high concentrations in certain cannabis plants, delta-8 and delta-10 exist in very small amounts naturally, so they must be produced by chemically converting CBD or delta-9 THC. As long as they are processed from hemp-derived CBD, delta-8 and delta-10 are considered federally legal, however certain states have outlawed these cannabinoids on their own. Learn more about your state’s regulations and stay up to date with evolving laws here.
After nearly a century of prohibition, science is slowly catching up on the many possibilities and uses of this incredible plant. As cannabis laws and regulations evolve, we look forward to future research and studies exploring the potential health benefits of THC in its many forms.