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How Is Delta-8 Made?

Apr 1, 2021

How Is Delta-8 Made?

Although cannabinoids like Delta 9 THC and CBD have been studied for decades, they’ve only recently come into the public eye because of their introduction as the main ingredient in many commercial products. The Farm Bill was passed in 2018, and for the first time in decades, hemp and hemp-based products became legal on a federal level. This legal status has led to an avalanche of CBD and other cannabinoid products being introduced to the holistic wellness market. One of the newest to enter the market, and definitely one that is currently wildly popular, is Delta 8 THC.

A Lesson on Cannabinoids

Mammals like we humans have what is known as an endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of a network of endocannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body. This system works because the body produces endocannabinoids, and these molecules bind with the endocannabinoid receptors to regulate things like mood, appetite, sleep, and memory.

Both the hemp and the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant contain what are known as cannabinoids, or more specifically, phytocannabinoids because they are plant-based. When these phytocannabinoids are introduced to the body’s endocannabinoid system, the body reacts favorably. This is caused by the phytocannabinoids bonding with the endocannabinoid receptors and helping the entire endocannabinoid system to function more efficiently.

When the cannabis plant is young, the only cannabinoid found in the plant is CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). As the plant grows, a number of factors like water, sun, and stress convert the CBGA into other cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and Delta 9 THC. This is why CBG is known to many as “the mother of all cannabinoids.” CBD is the most available cannabinoid in the hemp plant, while Delta 9 THC is the most common in marijuana. Another cannabinoid that is converted from CBGA throughout the cannabis plant’s life cycle is Delta 8 THC. However, this phytocannabinoid is only found in less than one percent of a mature cannabis plant.

If Delta 8 THC were only to come from the cannabis plant, it would not be commercially viable as it would require massive amounts of plant material to extract a small amount of Delta 8 THC. This is why most commercially available products contain Delta 8 THC created from a process that turns more available cannabinoids like CBD and Delta 9 THC into Delta 8 THC.

How Delta 8 THC Is Made

Converting CBD or Delta 9 THC into Delta 8 THC is a surprisingly easy process because all cannabinoids are molecularly similar. However, some of the chemicals used in the process can be dangerous, so caution should be exercised when performing this conversion. Although we can convert all cannabinoids into Delta 8 THC, we will use CBD conversion for this example. We’re using CBD because it is the most common method and is also a federally legal cannabinoid, where Delta 9 THC is not.

  • Step 1 - Extract the hemp oil. The raw hemp is processed using advanced extraction methods to create an oil rich in CBD and other cannabinoids as well as terpenes and flavonoids.
  • Step 2 - Create a CBD isolate. This step takes the raw hemp oil and distills it until there is nothing left but CBD isolate.
  • Step 3 - Dissolve the CBD isolate in the solvent. This requires an alkanes solvent like heptane or any other non-polar organic solvent.
  • Step 4 - Add acid and stir it up. Hydrochloric and p-Toluenesulfonic acids are the most popular types to use. Stir the mixture continuously for up to 18 hours at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.
  • Step 5 - Wash and dry the solution. Separate the upper phase once the chemical reaction is complete. From there, wash and neutralize the solution with something like sodium bicarbonate.

It is interesting to note that different combinations of solvents and acids will yield different results and require varying lengths of time to achieve the chemical reaction necessary. Testing is critical on the final solution because not all of the CBD will be fully converted, and there may be residual solvents. Therefore, final distillation techniques need to be implemented to extract the pure Delta 8 THC.

Legal Challenges to Delta 8 THC

The wording of The Farm Bill of 2018 specifies that, for a cannabis product to be legal, it must be derived from hemp and not contain more than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. Because of this wording, Delta 8 THC technically enjoys the same federal legal status as CBD. However, there have been recent challenges to this legal standing.

The DEA declared in August of 2020 that it considers Delta 8 THC a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, the agency has not fully acted to formalize this ruling. In addition, 11 states have made Delta 8 THC products illegal within their borders. Both the DEA and the states point to the fact that, while Delta 8 THC can be derived from hemp (federally legal to do), it must be synthesized in a laboratory to provide sufficient quantities. This need to be created through chemical manipulation is what the DEA and states point to justify their stance on making Delta 8 THC illegal.

PharmaCBD Has Your Delta 8 THC!

If you are looking for federally legal Delta 8 THC, you will love our wide selection of Delta 8 THC products. We carry tinctures in different flavors and strengths, capsules with 30 milligrams of potent Delta 8 THC in each softgel, edibles in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, and smokeables like our Delta 8 THC flower, dabs, and PharmaRocks.

Not only do we carry one of the widest selections of Delta 8 THC products on the market today, but you can also count on PharmaCBD to ensure that every one of our products is:

  • Derived from hemp grown only in the United States;
  • 100% legal on a federal level;
  • Created using scientifically advanced methods that leave no trace of solvents
  • Tested by an independent third-party laboratory.

A wide selection of Delta 8 THC products to choose from and quality you can depend on – what more could you ask? Shop PharmaCBD for all of your Delta 8 THC products today!