Extracted Versus Converted: Who’s Doing What?

Written by Derek Johnson

Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (D8) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid. Currently, it is all the craze in  many cannabis marketplaces around the country because it has psychoactive properties similar to D9 tetrahydrocannabinol and can be found in some places where D9 is illegal. Thus, cannabusinesses, from growers to retailers, have been trying to capitalize on it popularity.

Although naturally occurring, D8 presents in very low levels, making extracting it from biomass or flowers extremely inefficient, although doable. For this reason, another method is used to produce D8 commercially. The process involves deriving D8 from another abundant cannabinoid, usually cannabidiol (CBD), which is found abundantly in hemp. During the process, the CBD molecules (found in CBD extracted from hemp) are essentially converted (actually rearranged) into the similar molecules of D8 through isomerization.

As just stated, D8 can be extracted directly from cannabis plants, particularly marijuana where it tends to occur the most, but it is tedious and expensive. The process involves using pressurized carbon dioxide to remove D8 from the harvested plants. Nanotechnology is then employed to isolate the D8 and create the extract.

Of the two, extraction is the cleanest process. It can be carried out without the use of solvents. However, isomerization of D9 requires the use of acid or other solvents, which are highly caustic. Improper usage of them can result in dangerous work conditions and a dangerous product. That said, steps can be taken to help ensure purity. And once D8 production becomes regulated, these safety concerns will be dealt with.


Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-cannabis-plant-3536257/

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Derek Johnson

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