Delta 9 THC is the THC we all know and love. It's the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana plants. THC also works with CBD and other cannabinoids to help deliver positive health outcomes.
But there are other THC cannabinoids that are surging in popularity of late, like Delta 8 and Delta 10 THC. Both of these "new" cannabinoids are sourced from hemp or marijuana plants. Both have a psychoactive effect, although it is much less than that of Delta 9 THC. They all share similar delivery methods, from gummies to capsules to extracts.
But while Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC only have slight differences and are federally legal, the legal status of Delta 9 THC is much more complicated. Delta 9 THC is illegal under federal law if it is appears as more than 0.3 percent by weight. That means products made with hemp plants are federally legal, but those made with marijuana plants are not.1
Delta 8 THC is very comparable to a mellow indica high while Delta 10 THC is very comparable to a mild sativa high, according to consumers.
What is Delta 8 THC?
If you want to feel the euphoric effects of THC, Delta 8 is much less potent than Delta 9 but still has psychoactive properties. Delta 8 THC has a double bond at the eighth carbon chain; this gives Delta 8 its name. Delta 8 is found in nature but only in very small amounts. Delta 8 is a degraded form of Delta 9 THC.
Most Delta 8 THC is not grown naturally. Rather, it is made from taking hemp-derived CBD isolate and running it through an acid bath. This changes the bonds in the molecular structures. The reaction produces Delta 8 THC and other byproducts. Some of these byproducts have not been identified by chemists.2This conversion process can be dangerous unless all proper precautions are taken. But many people making Delta 8 are not trained chemists working in a ISO-certified laboratory, which makes Delta 8 products risky.
In September 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a notice, warning about the safety of Delta 8 products: “Delta 8 THC products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safe use and may be marketed in ways that put the public health at risk.”
The Delta 8 THC fad began when CBD producers overproduced a glut of CBD extracted from US-grown hemp. This caused the price of CBD to plummet. The industry then got creative with the extra CBD sitting around and discovered a way to make Delta 8 THC from it.
What is Delta 10 THC?
According to Discover Magazine, "Delta 10 THC is a cannabinoid that helps relieve stress and tension while not causing you to get intense feelings of paranoia, anxiety, or psychoactive effects. Delta 10 THC is commonly used in states where medical marijuana isn't legal."3
Delta 10 THC highs are generally upbeat and produce euphoric effects. An uplifting feeling is one of the potential benefits, according to consumers and reviews found online.
Delta 10 is very rarely found in any amount in natural cannabis plants. It is almost always synthesized and can sometimes be found as an impurity in synthesized Delta 8 THC. Its chemical composition is C21H30O2. It's called Delta 10 because there is a double bond between carbons 10 and 11.4
Delta 8 vs Delta 10 THC
Delta 10 and Delta 8 are both typically synthesized from surplus CBD isolate. That THC in your 8/10 THC gummy is likely synthetic, not natural.
To make Delta 8 and Delta 10, first you must extract CBD from a hemp plant. This extract is synthesized into the different Deltas using different chemicals. Delta 10 is very hard to make, so you don't often find it in any abundance. Much of the time you find it paired with Delta 8. Because it is so hard to make and it is newly popular, Delta 10 costs more than Delta 8.5
Because both Delta 10 and Delta 8 are derived from hemp, they are considered federally legal and have been since the Farm Bill of 2018 was passed. However, individual states have passed laws banning both substances.
Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC can show up on a drug test if you're consuming enough of these two cannabinoids. Both Delta 10 and Delta 8 deliver a low level sense of being high unlike their cousin, Delta 9 THC, which is much more potent, and definitely detectible by a drug test.
Is Delta 8 and Delta 10 THC the same?
No. They are both manufactored from the hemp plant, but their chemical make up is different. Delta 8 THC is very comparable to a mellow indica high while Delta 10 THC is very comparable to a mild sativa high.
Which Delta is the strongest?
Both Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC are synthetic. They will come in a variety of potencies and strengths. Natural Delta 9 THC is the purest extract from the cannabis plant.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD
A board certified oncology pharmacist with 25 years experience at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Leslie Mudd now serves as the Cornbread Hemp resident pharmacist and medical expert. Read Dr. Mudd's full author bio here.
1, 2,3. Smith, Amber. "Delta 10 vs Delta 8: What's the difference?" Discover Magazine. Published: 9 Nov. 2021. Accessed: 16 March 2022. <https://www.discovermagazine.com/lifestyle/delta-10-vs-delta-8-whats-the-difference>.
4 "Delta-10-Tetrahydrocannabinol." Wikipedia. Accessed: 18 March 2022. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-10-Tetrahydrocannabinol>.
5 Goggins, Pat. "What is delta 10?" Leafly. Published: 26 Aug. 2021. Accessed: 16 March 2022. <https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-delta-10>.