When the federal government legalized industrial hemp in 2018, it changed a lot of things. It also opened up plenty of loopholes.
After the explosion of CBD and just about every hemp producer trying to sell their CBD products, the market became extremely saturated. While the market for CBD products is still huge (and growing), there are other cannabinoids that have been discovered in hemp that provide different effects.
You may have heard of CBG and CBN, two cannabinoids similar to CBD that have been shown to have therapeutic effects without producing a psychoactive high. However, there have been new, synthetically produced cannabinoids that actually do provide psychoactive effects while staying in a grey area of legality due to being derived from legal hemp.
The latest in this evolution of grey market cannabinoid products is Delta 10 THC.
Delta 8 THC and THC O Acetate
Delta 8 THC was the first synthetic cannabinoid to blow up in popularity, with advertisements of a legal high nearly identical to traditional Delta 9 THC. For some, being synthetically manufactured can be a major turn off, bringing back memories of K2 or Spice — entirely synthetic “cannabinoids” created from scratch and sprayed on various herbs — which resulted in numerous injuries and deaths.
However Delta 8 is made a little differently. Instead of making it entirely from scratch, Delta 8 THC is most commonly made from CBD. Through an isomerization process, CBD can be converted in Delta 8 THC. There are lab tested Delta 8 products that are reliable, and just as many that are not, so buyer beware.
But what happens when you take Delta 8 — which is made through chemical processes — and add more chemical processes? You get THC O Acetate.
While Delta 8 THC occurs in low concentrations in cannabis that must be extracted and isolated, THC-O Acetate — commonly called ATHC or THC-O — is not naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and can only be made synthetically.
THC-O is a man-made cannabinoid produced by using specific chemicals to acetylate THC. Acting as a metabolic prodrug for THC itself, THC-O works in the same manner as heroin does as a metabolic prodrug for morphine. That alone is enough to rub many cannabis users the wrong way, especially whole plant advocates.
However the high that THC O Acetate can produce is enough for many to overlook how it is made. According to anecdotal experiences form users, THC O Acetate has been shown to be nearly 3x more potent than Delta 9 THC, and has been described as psychedelic, producing visual hallucinations.
However there are currently very few reliable THC O Acetate manufacturers, with only one claiming to have a pure, clean process for making it. With over a dozen states banning Delta 8 THC, and not enough reliable producers or consumer information on THC O Acetate, consumers and producers are looking for yet another replacement.
They may have found it with Delta 10 THC.
What is Delta 10 THC?
The good news about Delta 10 THC, is that it’s made in a near identical way to Delta 8 THC. It appears in similar trace amounts to the point where it’s not worth the time or money to try and extract it purely from a hemp plant. This means it has to be created from something like hemp-derived CBD through a chemical process.
So in the case of how to consume Delta 10 THC, it will almost always be found in the form of Delta 10 THC gummies or other edibles and Delta 10 THC vape cartridges made from distillate. This is because there is no hemp flower that produces enough Delta 10 THC that could actually be felt through normal flower consumption.
User reports of Delta 8 THC claim that it provides a more relaxing and appetite stimulating effect, similar to what most would call an “indica”. Delta 10 THC users on the other hand report it to feel more like a “sativa”; uplifting, energetic, etc..
Neither Delta 8 or Delta 10 THC provide the same intense high that Delta 9 THC can. But according to David Reckles from Private Label Hemp Lab, Delta 10 could potentially surpass Delta 8 in popularity as it provides an uplifting high that isn’t overwhelming or accompanied by paranoia and anxiety that some feel from Delta 9 THC.
Is Delta 10 THC Legal?
Just like Delta 8 THC and THC O Acetate, Delta 10 THC exists in a legal grey area. Because it is technically derived from federally legal hemp which has a Delta 9 THC concentration below .3%, and the Farm Bill specifically mentions only Delta 9 THC concentrations, Delta 10 and other cannabinoids are technically legal.
However, in a ruling on CBD and other cannabinoids legalized by the Farm Bill, the DEA says, “For synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols, the concentration of D9 -THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances.“
Unfortunately as government is wont to do, the DEA failed to clarify what constitutes a “synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol”, leaving it up for interpretation. To Delta 10 THC producers, the fact that nobody is getting busted is enough to continue making it, whether it turns out to be illegal or not.
In the same vein, the caution is on the consumer when purchasing Delta 10 THC gummies or Delta 10 THC cartridges. Not just because of the lack regulation on producers which results in shady products that could potentially be dangerous, but also because it is still THC. In other words, it’s possible for someone who gets drug tested for THC to test positive, despite only using Delta 10.
While Delta 10 THC, Delta 8 THC and THC O Acetate may be “legal” alternatives to Delta 9 THC in states where cannabis is still prohibited, it could change at any moment. Whether that means you should stock up on all the Delta 10 and Delta 8 you can get your hands on or just wait for legalization to come your state is up to you.