No one asked for it, but there's a new form of THC on the block that's marketed as "legal weed."
Delta-8? Old news. We're talking about Delta-10 THC.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and the one with the most notoriety for the plant's controversial illegal status. As cannabis becomes more mainstream and less stigmatized, more light has been shed about this humble plant and its many constituents.
As we know, CBD and THC are only one of over a hundred different cannabinoids in cannabis that have an effect on the endocannabinoid system—a self-regulating, cell-signaling system that exists in all mammals to control homeostasis (balance).
When we get down to the nitty-gritty details of the cannabinoids, we learn that there are multiple versions of the THC molecule—delta-9 THC being the most abundant and therefore assumed compound when we're discussing THC, and its psychotropic effects.
Delta-8 came into popularity as "mild" THC, and its legal status, when derived from hemp plants, has existed in a legal grey area that has allowed many users to experience the intoxicating effects of cannabis without breaking any American federal laws—but many states are implementing their own regulations to ban the compound.
Delta-10 is another option you'll come across in the cannabis space as a legal way to experience a marijuana high. We'll get into what exactly delta-10 THC is, how it compares to the other two isomers and popular delta-10 THC products on the market.
- Delta-10 THC is an isomer of the most popular cannabinoid delta-9 THC. It has the same chemical formula, with a different arrangement of the carbon double bond.
- Delta-10 THC exists in very small quantities naturally in cannabis plants, so its often synthesized from hemp-derived CBD.
- Delta-10 THC is a psychoactive compound, but it's weaker than the high from delta-9 THC. Many students and professionals enjoy it for enhancing productivity and creative tasks, as it's stimulating, uplifts the mood, with fewer chances of inducing feelings of anxiousness and paranoia.
- There isn't any research on the effects of delta-10 THC conducted on animals or humans, so information on the benefits of delta-10 is limited to anecdotal reports of its use.
- Delta-10 THC exists in a legal grey area, depending on how one interprets the Farm Bill. However, there are some states that have banned all isomers of THC altogether.
- If you undergo drug testing, you should avoid delta-10 THC and all isomers of THC as it will trigger a positive drug test.
What Is Delta-10 THC? Understanding Isomers Of THC
Delta 10 THC is an isomer of delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC.
Isomers are molecules that have the same chemical formula but have a different arrangement of atoms.
Delta-8, 9, and 10 all have the same number of atoms of each element, but with distinctive bonds.
Delta-10 has a double carbon bond at the tenth position, while delta-9 has it in the 9th position, and so on. There are other versions of the THC molecules as well s delta-3 and 7, but they're not well understood as they're not found abundantly in the cannabis plant naturally, and require chemical manipulation to produce significant quantities—delta-10 included.
Delta-9 THC is the most abundant form of THC found in cannabis—a mature cannabis plant can have up to 30% of the cannabinoid. Delta-10 appears in less than 1%, and it's often synthesized from CBD to yield high concentrations.
Because delta-9 THC is mainly responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana, this compound is still federally illegal, although some states have legalized it for medical and recreational use. As a way to provide people with a means to experience marijuana for relaxation, recreation, and self-discovery without legal consequences, manufactures are looking to isomers like delta-8 and delta-10 made from Farm Bill compliant hemp plants.
How Are People Using Delta-10 THC?
Delta-10 THC is popular among university students and professionals as a compound to help them with productivity and creative work. Similar to delta-8 THC, delta-10 is said to be a milder version of delta-9 THC—and delivers a more clear-headed and uplifting high.
Many reports of using delta-10 indicate that you should double the dose of delta-10 to reach a similar level of effects as delta-9 THC.
Delta-10 is still a psychoactive compound. It interacts with CB1 receptors in the brain to create changes in mood, perception, and memory. It can be used in the same ways you would any cannabinoid—smoked and ingested.
Since delta-10 isn't found naturally in high concentrations, it's often synthesized from CBD. The most popular delta-10 products include:
- concentrates (shatter and glass) which is then smoked in a dab rig or vaporizer
- vape juices
- edibles (chocolate, gummies, capsules)
- oils or tinctures
What Does Delta-10 Feel Like?
According to anecdotal reports of people using delta-10, it's said to feel comparable to Sativa strains of marijuana, though it's much weaker in its effects.
Sativa cannabis strains are known for their uplifting, stimulating, and energy-boosting effects on users. However, marijuana strains like this are much more prone to cause feelings of nervousness and social anxiety when taken in higher doses. Many people who have access to recreational marijuana will still seek out delta-8 or delta-10 because it's said to have fewer chances of producing these negative feelings.
What Are The Potential Health Benefits of Delta-10 THC?
Despite delta-10's growing popularity on the market, there isn't any research on the health benefits of this isomer specifically. We can assume that as an isomer of delta-9 THC, it has many similar effects towards relaxation, muscle recovery, memory, and mood—but there are no studies on animals or humans exploring its effects.
What Are The Side-Effects Of Delta-10 THC?
Based on what we know about the most abundant cannabinoids, THC (D9), CBD, CBN, CBG, and CBC, cannabinoids are considered quite safe, and reaching levels of toxicity is rare.
Since there isn't any research on the effects of delta-10, we can only go off of anecdotal reports and look at the adverse effects of other cannabinoids in the body.
It's important to underscore that delta-10 THC will get you high, so if that's not what you're looking for in a hemp product, we advise you to look at its non-psychoactive constituents.
Reported side effects of delta-10 THC include:
- Poor short-term memory
When taken in the right doses, these side effects are rare. That being said, cannabinoids are known to affect individuals differently, so it's always best to start off on the lowest dose and work your way up to avoid these undesirable effects.
Is Delta-10 THC Legal?
The legality of delta-10 THC is murky and depends on how one interprets the 2018 Farm Bill.
According to the Farm Bill cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dried weight and its compounds are legal, so by this measure, delta-10 THC from hemp crops can be sold legally.
However, delta-10 THC isn't found in substantial concentrations in hemp plants to make extracts. To create delta-10 THC products manufacturers will convert CBD into delta-10—but this is an extremely resource extensive process.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has published a statement that any synthetically-derived cannabinoid is considered a Schedule I Substance, and there are some states that ban any form of THC altogether.
Before purchasing any delta-10 THC product online, even if the company states that their extract is legal on their website, it's best to look up your local laws surrounding THC. It's still considered a high risk to purchase delta-10 products.
Does Delta-10 THC Show Up On A Drug Test?
Delta-10 THC gets metabolized by the liver the same way as delta-9 THC, so when it's expelled through urine, it will trigger a positive on a drug test as there's no way for these tests to differentiate between the two compounds.
If you undergo drug testing for work or professional sports, it's best that you avoid any form of THC to stay on the safe side.
The Takeaway: THC and Delta-10
Delta-10 THC products are popping up all over the internet as a new form of "legal weed." It's a psychoactive compound that interacts with the CB1 receptor to alter mood and perception.
Many people enjoy using isomers of delta-9, like delta-8 THC, for its milder, clear-headed effects and fewer chances of causing anxiety, making it much more suitable for daytime use and creative work.
Despite marketing claims you'll find on websites selling delta-10 products touting its amazing potential health benefits and its legal status, there isn't any research looking at delta-10 THC effects in the body, and it exists in a legal gray area.
We can assume that like other naturally occurring cannabinoids that delta-10 is safe and may have similar effects to delta-9 THC, but always take marketing claims with a grain of salt.
If you have to get drug tested, you should stay away from all THC products as these tests can't differentiate between the isomers, and you'll fail your drug test.
Before purchasing any cannabinoid product, always look at third-party lab tests to verify its contents and read up on your local laws to ensure you don't end up with hot water over a product that's marketed as "legal weed."