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Three Questions to Ask BEFORE Purchasing Products with “Delta 8 THC” as an Ingredient

Written by Dr. John MacKay

Delta 8 THC is an ingredient in products that are being sold in many locations and online.  This article gives you some questions to consider about the ingredients that the label states it has in the product.  The article does not express an opinion on legalities or health claims about delta 8 THC.  It does have some insight into the questions to ask BEFORE you purchase delta 8 THC products.

First of all, four possible compounds can be called delta-8 THC.  Think of it as tetrahydrocannabinol is the noun that describes a three-ring compound.  The adjective is delta x THC, where “x” describes the double bond position on one of the rings.  The minus and plus describe the position of the hydrogens in 3-dimensional space.  The cannabis plant makes a specific one of these compounds called (-) trans – delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol.  Two of the isomers of delta 8 and delta 9 in are in Figure 1.

Figure 1.  The isomers of delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC

The testing of the isomers is not currently required by companies to put synthetically enhanced concentrations of delta-8 THC.  This is a concern for chemists that are experts in the chemistry of cannabis in the August 30, 2021 issue of Chemical and Engineering News.

You are responsible for what you ingest, and therefore it is essential to ask questions BEFORE you purchase a product.

1- What are the unknown compounds in the product that were also synthesized during your process?[1][2]
Typically the answer is that it is pure. Ask for the chromatogram of the analysis, NOT the results that you are given.  Or you can ask for the percentage of unknown compounds.  Or you can subtract 100% from the percentage of cannabinoids on the Certificate of Analysis (COA).  The report does not tell you about the unknowns, only the knowns.  If it is not 100% through purification and chiral purification, you should not take that product under any circumstances.

2- What is the enantiomeric excess of all the chiral compounds in the mixture of your product?[3]
Typically the answer is “what is that?” At least have the Wikipedia knowledge to ask them.  If they continue to dismiss it as necessary, you should not take that product under any circumstances.  More studies are being reported on the Chiropitcal properties of CBC that can move from the stereospecific enantiomers that the plant biosynthesizes to a racemic mixture of the S and R rotations.

[1] https://www.usp.org/node/176
[2] https://www.fda.gov/drugs/science-and-research-drugs/drug-quality-sampling-and-testing-programs
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enantiomeric_excess

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Dr. John MacKay

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