Interest in Delta 8 Tetrahydracannabidiol (D8) is increasing, bringing with it a multitude of questions from those curious enough to ask, like, can a product be pure D8? A very good question considering how relatively new D8 products are, in a rapidly expanding market with constantly changing regulations. These regulations can vary state by state, and include lab testing requirements for potency, total cannabinoid content, terpenes, and any potential contaminants.
The labeling of these lab test results can also vary by state. The state of Oregon has noted that “it is common to see Certificates of Analysis for Δ8-THC between 70% and 85%, with the other 15% to 30% being ‘unknowns’.”  Since D8 is created by first extracting CBD from cannabis or hemp, then converting it to D8 through a process called isomerization, this percentage of “unknowns” are thought to be made up of unknown byproducts created as a result of this process. Oregon also notes that “it is unclear whether, or to what extent, the Δ8-THC manufacturers attempt to purify the product to remove the byproducts or the catalyst”.
One company, called Delta Effex, explains their isomerization process like this;
“To isomerize, or convert, CBD to THC, you have to dissolve 1-gram of CBD in 10mL 0.005molar H2SO4 in glacial acetic acid. Once dissolved, let the solution stand at room temperature. After 3 hours CBD is converted into 52% Delta-9 and 2% Delta-8. If you allow the solution to set over a course of 3 days, the CBD converts into 15% Delta-9, 54% Delta-8, 10% Delta-8-Iso, and 10% CBD.”
This sounds like a delicate process, with a lot of contributing factors that could potentially affect the purity of a D8 product. In determining whether or not a product can be pure Delta 8, the answer seems to be no. Although some companies may have claims about the pristine purity of their products, it looks like there is a possibility that at least some residual amounts of other substances could be present.
Image Source: Purchased with full rights – Canva
- Delta-8-THC Regulatory Issues Presentation, Presented by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/Docs/commission_minutes/2021/OLCC-Delta-8-THC-Presentation.pdf
- Delta Effex, How to Make Delta-8 THC? 2020. https://deltaeffex.com/blogs/news/how-to-make-delta-8-thc