What Should I Know about Delta-8 and Delta-10?
Hemp contains more than 100 cannabinoids, of which CBD and THC are the most abundant—but hardly the only ones: you will also find CBDA, THCA, CBN, CBG, CBC, and many more minor cannabinoids.
Besides all the cannabinoids found naturally in hemp, people have been experimenting with synthetic cannabinoids as well. The most popular so far are Delta-8 and Delta-10. There is a growing interest in the United States around Delta-8 and Delta-10 and the United Kingdom seems poised to be next. Although not nearly as popular as CBD, these two cannabinoids are now joining the mainstream.
Their main advantage—and disadvantage—is that both can be produced synthetically from CBD. This puts them in a legal grey area, as the UK law regarding these two cannabinoids remains unclear on the subject.
Delta-8 and Delta-10 have similar effects on the mind and body as THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid found in marijuana that is responsible for a sense of “high.” They should, therefore, be illegal since they produce psychotropic and intoxicating effects. And yet, because they are produced from CBD, which is made out of hemp, they may be technically legal.
What are Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10?
The official name of THC is delta-Tetrahydrocannabinol but it is also called Delta-9. Delta-8 and Delta-10 act in similar ways as THC because their molecular structure is very alike.
Indeed, the chemical difference between Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 is minute and lies with their respective molecular arrangements. A chemical bond on Delta-8 that is located on the 8th carbon chain is found on the 9th carbon chain in Delta-9 and on the 10th in Delta-10.
How Does THC Act on the Brain and Body?
THC is found in abundance in cannabis but not in industrial hemp. THC remains an illegal substance in the United Kingdom and is classified as a Class B substance.
The reason behind this legal framework is that THC creates psychotropic, intoxicating, and addictive effects on the body and mind because of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is responsible for balancing and regulating many bodily functions like memory, mood, appetite, reproduction, learning, motor perception, temperature perception, and more. It works by releasing anandamide and 2-AG, two endocannabinoids—i.e. cannabinoids produced by the body. Anandamide means ‘joy’ in Sanskrit and got its name because it creates a sense of pleasure, joy, and happiness when released into the body. Research has shown that THC is chemically akin to anandamide and acts in similar ways.
When these endocannabinoids are released, they attach to their respective receptors, which are spread across the body. Anandamide binds to CB1 receptors and 2-AG binds to CB2 receptors.
Most CB1 receptors are located in the brain: that’s the main reason why anandamide has such a significant effect on our mood and mental state. Like anandamide, THC binds with the CB1 receptors, hence its ability to relax and ease a person’s mental state.
Unfortunately, THC’s effects on the brain can also include hallucinations, intoxication, and altered mental states. This psychedelic response causes concern to lawmakers, which is why they still maintain THC in the illegal-substance category.
Due to the molecular similarity between Delta-8, Delta-10, and THC, these three cannabinoids have comparable effects on the mind.
How Are Delta-8 and Delta-10 Produced?
Delta-8 is found in minute quantities in cannabis. The quantities are so small that it’s unprofitable to extract it. Instead, manufacturers have found a way to produce Delta-8 by manipulating CBD.
Delta-8 is produced from CBD isolate, which is mixed with a solvent and an acid. The CBD by-product is then processed with an alkaline component to produce Delta-8.
Since CBD is found in abundance in industrial hemp, it is pretty easy to produce Delta-8 from hemp.
Similarly, Delta-10 is also made from CBD. It can either be processed from crude CBD or CBD distillate. If made from CBD distillate, its processing is similar to Delta-8, whereby CBD goes through a solvent and acid. When Delta-10 is made from crude CBD, it requires to be refined with vitamin C and carbon first.
Just like Delta-8, Delta-10 can be produced easily once a manufacturer has CBD on their hands.
What Are the Effects of Delta-8 and Delta-10?
So far, there are very few studies on these two THC siblings, which makes sense given how new they are.
Delta-8 is thought to produce a gentle euphoria, which is much milder than THC. People usually choose for relaxation purposes and to clear their heads. Others take Delta-8 for its potential pain-relieving properties.
A 2022 survey based on anecdotal personal evidence showed that people experienced relaxation, euphoria, and pain relief when taking Delta-8. As for side effects, Delta-8 consumers mentioned problems with short-term memory and difficulty in concentrating, but no anxiety or paranoia. They favoured Delta-8 over THC and suggested they would switch from THC to Delta-8.
Delta-10, on the other hand, seems to be more uplifting and invigorating, helping the brain to focus and bringing mental acuity. It appears to have more of a mental effect and little effect on the body.
There is even less cant scientific evidence regarding Delta-10 and most findings are based on personal experience and anecdotal testimonies. People taking Delta-10 have mentioned its uplifting and energizing properties.
From people’s comments, Delta-8 and Delta-10 also appear to carry anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties, just like THC. They also seem to be less psychoactive than THC, which makes them easier to consume.
Are Delta-8 and Delta-10 Legal?
Although Delta-8 and Delta-10 have been found to be less intoxicating compared to THC, they still share common characteristics.
You will find Delta-8 and Delta-10 products sold online in the United Kingdom but their legality is unclear. Because they can be produced from CBD, which is legally made from industrial hemp, these cannabinoids can be perceived as legal. However, their effect on the body and mind is comparable to THC’s and their molecular structure puts them alongside THC.
British law has not categorized Delta-8 and Delta-10 as exempt products. If you read the letter of the law through that prism, they are both illegal. But they are not mentioned in the list of Class B substances either.
Will Delta-8 and Delta-10 Show on a Drug Test?
Drug tests check for THC metabolites in blood or urine. The body produces metabolites when the liver and other organs break down THC, and THC, Delta-8, and Delta-10 produce the same metabolites when broken down. Therefore, a drug test will test positive if you have consumed Delta-8 or Delta-10.
Remember that the body requires several days to eliminate all traces of metabolites. If you have an upcoming drug test scheduled, it is best to stay away from Delta- 8 and Delta-10.
What is the Problem with Delta-8 and Delta-10?
The most obvious problem with Delta-8 and Delta-10 is that there is no clear legal framework regarding the legality of these two substances. While CBD is legal in the United Kingdom as long as it’s produced from industrial hemp, it is less clear whether products that are chemically engineered from CBD are equally legal. This is particularly the case when we take into account Delta-8’s and Delta-10’s psychotropic properties, akin to THC.
This legal grey zone can make consumption of Delta-8 and Delta-10 risky—and not just from a legal point of view. Many manufacturers who produce synthetic Delta-8 and Delta-10 are not regulated, monitored, or controlled. The solvents, acids, and other chemicals used are not supervised. This makes it very hard to establish the purity, potency, and safety of Delta-8 and Delta-10 products.
To put this risk in context, the CBD market is already somewhat unregulated and many CBD products are sold without proper labelling or third-party testing, which is why you should always buy from trustworthy CBD producers after reading reviews of their products. The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis tested several CBD products in 2019 and found that 38% of the tested products had less than 50% of the advertised CBD content, one high-market CBD oil had no CBD at all, and one CBD oil had ethanol levels that could qualify it as an alcoholic product. Additionally, solvents and heavy metals were detected in a few CBD oil products.
Delta-8 and Delta-10 in Britain
Consumption of Delta-8 and Delta-10 in Britain is still quite low, especially compared to the United States, where the two cannabinoids are joining the mainstream.
There is scant research regarding the health potential of these cannabinoids. Their proponents claim that Delta-8 and Delta-10 are less psychoactive than THC and offer anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, calming, or invigorating properties. Unfortunately, and because of the compounds’ novelty, there is scant scientific evidence to back up these claims at the moment.
The UK needs a clearer legal framework regarding these two cannabinoids and better scientific evidence to gauge their potential and evaluate their health possibilities. Until then, if you wish to experiment with Delta-8 and Delta-10 products, only buy products from reputable producers.