Making Delta-8-THC from CBD may sound like straight-up magic, but it’s actually much simpler, especially in theory. In fact, it can happen naturally in the right environment – after all, all cannabinoids come from CBGA without outside help because they’re so similar in chemical nature and a lot of them are each other’s isomers, meaning they consists of the same molecules, but they’re organized into a different structure.
Isomerization basically creates that right environment and accentuates it to catalyze the process, the way a fiction writer takes an idea from real life and hyperbolizes it within a special context to make it stand out.
CBD isomerization to Delta-8-THC follows a simple formula: CBD + Acid + Time. The idea is to decrease the pH of the starting CBD material. The process is usually accelerated by heat.
First, the CBD extract is dissolved into a solvent, which increases viscosity. For Delta-8-THC, a non-polar solvent is required, with common choices being alkanes.
Then, in comes the acetic acid, which decreases pH. The new formulation is generally left for up to 12 hours at room temperature or even more, depending on the exact solvents and acid. Exposure to heat speeds the process up significantly. The acid is then neutralized, the solvent is removed, and the solution is distilled to a delta-8-THC isolate.
The importance of using pure materials throughout every step of the way cannot be overstated, as impurities can also be “concentrated” and accentuated by the isomerisation process and pose major health hazards. This is one of the reasons why third-party testing is so essential, and also why despite its relative simplicity, this process is best left to professionals or at the very least people with a solid scientific background.