There are so many different aspect of cannabis to keep track of. From seed to sale, and beyond, the illustrious plant never fails to intrigue and inspire. This includes its appearance at various stages, active and inactive compounds, and more. One of the compounds that have gained quite a bit of attention recently is Delta 8 THC.
Delta 8’s chemistry refers to a far less psychoactive variant of THC. So much so, that its legality has become the topic of many recent conversations. We’ll explore that, as well as it’s chemical make up in the sections below! And as always, you can hear Riley’s expert take in the clip above!
History of THC
Before now, THC was most commonly associated with its popular psychoactive variant. This is called Delta 9 THC. Even today, many think of the sometimes criminalized variant when discussing the compound. By “sometimes”, we’re referring to states that haven’t legalized recreational cannabis altogether.
But Delta 8 doesn’t have as strong of an impact on the user’s lucidity. It’s because of this that the compound can now be legally sold across the US. It was first legalized along with hemp following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Is D8 Completely Legal?
Even though it was legalized in 2018, it would be almost a year before D8 would be sold in a commercial market. So what questions remain regarding its legality? The truth is, there’s really only one aspect of the D8 process in question.
It all boils down to how the compound is sourced. The process that’s legal is also one of the more complicated methods. In contrast, the easier method of synthesizing it from CBD is still very much illegal. This means producers must exercise caution when producing it. One slip up can mean dire legal consequences for all parties involved.
The Chemical Makeup Of D8
The biggest difference between D9 and D8 THC lies in its molecular positioning. “It’s the location of the double bond. It’s on the right side of the methyl in Delta 9 THC and on the left side of the methyl in Delta 8 THC.”
This leads to a huge variation in chemical and molecular implications for both. There’s even an instance where “Delta 9 THC isomerizes into Delta 8 THC.” That’s because D8 is more capable of withstanding oxygen and other environmental factors. In short, it “has a longer shelf life than” Delta 9.
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Let’s talk about the chemistry of Delta-8-THC and the next video is going to be on the pharmacology. So I explained in video number seven, that the difference between these two molecules is actually just the location of this double bond. It’s on the right side of the methyl in Delta-9-THC and on the left side of the methyl in Delta-8-THC.
This is actually going to cause substantial differences in the binding activity and the stability of this molecule. Because the Delta-8-THC form is more thermodynamically stable, Delta-9-THC will actually isomerize into Delta-8-THC. And cannabinoids are also very susceptible to oxidation from the air. So, because of that Delta-9, which is less stable, is more susceptible to oxidation, so it’ll break down faster than Delta-8. I’m essentially saying Delta-8 has a better shelf life compared to Delta-9.
So, the cannabis plant doesn’t actually produce high levels of Delta-8-THC, but we can actually take other cannabinoids and subject them to laboratory conditions to produce Delta-8-THC in high quantities.