Delta-8 THC (D8) has been steadily rising in popularity for good reason; it’s a “legal” way to get high. Well, this might soon change as different states are moving to clarify the legality of D8 and consequently place a ban on the sale of this intoxicating cannabinoid.
D8 is found in minute amounts in most cannabis strains. However, it can be synthesized from cannabidiol (CBD) through a process known as isomerization. This is what makes it technically legal. With the rising popularity of D8, cannabis laboratories are interested in testing to establish its presence, potency, and concentration.
But how exactly are they doing this?
D8 has many similarities to Delta-9 THC, in spite of the chemical differences between the two. “Chemically speaking,” the delta in both compounds refers to the double bond that is present in their molecular structures. The location of this double bond makes up the chemical difference between the two compounds.
While D8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon chain.
How is D8 Tested?
In the lab, D8 potency is tested much in the same way that of other popular cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Labs such as ACS are using Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to test for D8 in flower, edibles, and extracts. This method is preferred because it can test samples without heating. This helps to maintain the integrity of cannabinoids which are broken down at higher temperatures.
What are the Benefits of D8?
In 1995, Israeli scientists discovered that Delta-8 has a positive effect on pediatric cancer treatment.  When high-dose Delta-8 THC was offered to the study participants, 100% reported significant relief from chemotherapy-induced nausea with negligible side effects.  Randomized clinical trials would help to establish the effectiveness of augmenting pediatric cancer treatment with D8.
D8, like THC, provides a clear-headed energized euphoria. Currently, most users are turning to D8 for its psychoactive and mood-elevating benefits.
Evidently, Delta-8 is causing a lot of excitement in the industry; for good reason. It is therefore imperative that labs get it right with D8 testing. HPLC is believed to have ability to accurately test for D8 as well as THC. However, some chemists argue that Delta-8 cannot be accurately produced without the Delta-9, this is a subject of controversy. Because of the close similarity between the two molecules, there could be a valid basis for this argument. Consequently, it would be advantageous to combine cannabinoid-specific testing with HPLC testing to get more accurate results for D8.
- Abrahamov, A., Abrahamov, A., & Mechoulam, R. (1995). An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology. Life sciences, 56(23-24), 2097–2102.