Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC) is not grown from hemp. Rather, hemp is cultivated for cannabidiol (CBD), and CBD is subsequently converted to delta-8-THC following extraction. The cannabinoid is considered a derivative or even synthetic from hemp. That’s not to say there aren’t farmers growing hemp for delta-8-THC; on the contrary, the popularity of delta-8 has soared.
The high demand and relative price for delta-8 make it feasible and attractive to convert cheaper CBD from conventional hemp. Therefore, farmers growing CBD or cannabigerol (CBG) hemp are supplying the delta-8 market. Conversion processes often include distillation and molecular isolation. The converted delta-8-THC can then be added into an assortment of products, including CBD or CBG flower.
A number of consumers recommend buying delta-8 distillate and sprinkling onto one’s flower of choice. It’s vital to confirm lack of contaminants via certificates of analysis when purchasing sprayed flower. Unfortunately, complete (or even thorough) lab tests for delta-8 flower are still very uncommon. Well-tested distillate and a little DIY may thus represent a safer option.
Delta-8 affords many possibilities in terms of flower and product applications. Although delta-8 is not cultivated in plants, farmers do grow hemp for other minor cannabinoids of interest. These include CBG, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV).
Hemp cultivation is projected to continue its explosion in the coming years. With a reported compound annual growth rate of 34%, the industry is expected to reach roughly $27 billion by 2026. The surge in demand for legal delta-8-THC is likely to help fuel this growth. After all, delta-8 represents a legal route to therapeutic effects similar to (but less potent than) delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.