How To Make Delta-8 THC

Delta-8 THC for sale sign

Delta-8 is a naturally-occurring compound found in the hemp plant. It's relatively new to the hemp scene but has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. 

You might have heard of delta-8's famous cousin, delta-9. These are two different compounds altogether. 

Delta-9 can be extracted from the hemp plant to form a concentrated and pure variation that will be infused and utilized in products. 

Delta-8 can also be found in and extracted from hemp plants. But there's a major problem—there is much less delta-8 present in the hemp plants compared to delta-9. If you were to scour the ends of the earth for a delta-8-rich strain, we bet you'll end up empty-handed. 

Unfortunately, delta-8 is naturally found in hemp plants in minimal amounts. So if manufacturers were to rely on the delta-8 extraction process alone, delta-8 products would cost as much as a trip to the moon! 

So the question becomes, "How can you make delta-8?

In this article, we'll explore the following: 

  • How to make delta-8, including edibles, gummies, tinctures, and distillates
  • The CBD to delta-8 conversion process
  • The legality of delta-8 
  • The safety concerns of converting CBD to delta-8 

Alright, let's get into it! 

Illustration of science on white background

What Is The Science Behind Delta-8?

Before we get into the topic of how to make delta-8 THC, let's explore a little more about delta-8. 

The hemp plant contains hundreds of different compounds, one of them being delta-8. The molecular makeup of delta-8 and delta-9 is almost alike, except for a tiny difference. Delta-8 has a carbon-carbon double bond on the 8th carbon, hence, its name. Meanwhile, delta-9 contains a carbon double bond on the 9th carbon. 

This is a minimal difference but accounts for a significant difference in effects—which is why delta-9 cannot offer the same type of lift and experience as delta-8. 

Both CBD and delta-8 also share the same molecular formula, C21H30O2. However, the molecular structures of both these compounds are very different. CBD is differentiated from delta-8 mainly by its hydroxyl group, which is replaced by a carbon ring in delta-8.  

Again, if you remember anything from your Chemistry classes, this difference in structure changes how delta-8, delta-9, and CBD interact with the receptors in your body. Ultimately, the experience and effects you may get from each compound are unique. 

As mentioned earlier, the major problem is that delta-8 can only be found in really minute amounts in hemp plants. But luckily, the door to the synthesis of delta-8 in the lab has already been opened and explored. And you have science to thank for that! 

Scientists in lab making delta-8 THC

How To Make Delta-8 THC

Whether you're curious about how to make delta-8 gummies, distillate, or tincture, it all comes down to getting your hands on enough delta-8, to begin with. It is the star ingredient, after all. 

Since delta-8 contains the same molecular formula as CBD, it is possible to convert CBD into delta-8. Furthermore, CBD can be found in generous amounts in the hemp plant, so the large-scale extraction of CBD is far more feasible than extracting delta-8 directly from the plant. 

So, how can you convert CBD to delta-8 THC

Well, this is carried out through a process known as isomerization. That was a mouthful, but the process is straightforward. 

CBD and delta-8 THC are isomers because they have the same molecular formula. The magic happens when you rearrange how the elements present in this formula are connected to this other. 

The isomerization process will set up an environment that allows one isomer to transform into another. This can be done by changing pH and temperature or by exposure to other chemical substances.  

How to make delta-8 THC by converting CBD into Delta-8

Hobbyists usually use the short-path distillation method. You'll need a short-path distillation kit for this. 

The steps typically include the following:

  • You'll need to add bleaching clay and crude CBD extract to the distillation kit. 
  • Get the temperature to 205 degrees celsius gradually. 
  • The distillation process will then take place, and the distillate will mainly be made out of 3 different factions. When the extract thickens and coils up, that will be the faction containing delta-8 you need to collect. 
  • It's always best to send the final product to the lab for testing. It could contain harmful substances, which you do not want to be consuming. 

The following steps show how to convert CBD to delta-8 through another method termed the react method.  

  • Source the CBD isolate. CBD will be extracted from the hemp plant and purified to form a concentrated variation, and CBD is commonly sourced from Indica or Sativa strains. 
  • Add the solvent. You'll need a non-polar organic solvent for this—something like heptane. 
  • Add your acid of choice to the solvent mix. Some commonly used acids include p-toluenesulfonic acid, which is very popular due to its lower costs, and hydrochloric acid. You'll need to keep the mixture at around 100 degrees Celcius for anywhere between 1-18 hours. The mixture must be stirred continuously, and this job is typically handled by a device called the stirring plate. 
  • Get rid of the nasties. You'll need to neutralize the acid and remove it. This uses a combination of sodium bicarbonate and distilled water, and you'll need to do this multiple times. Rinse and repeat until no more acid is detected in the solution. You'll also need to remove the solvent using this fancy device called the rotary evaporator. 
  • Optimize the process based on your results. There are thousands of possible combinations and ratios for the solvents and acids you use in the process. This is where things no longer become as clear-cut. The final product should also be tested through high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to determine its purity. 

Many large-scale companies use the above process to convert CBD to delta-8. It's a much more effective delta-8 extraction process that results in a final product with higher purity, quality, and safety than the previous method. 

But you'll need a lot of fancy equipment and tools for this. So, unfortunately, this won't be your next backyard experiment. 

Delta North uses a similar advanced process and state-of-the-art equipment and technology to bring you high-quality, premium delta-8 gummies made from the finest ingredients. All our products are crafted in a cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) facility that meets strict industry standards. 

If you're wondering how to make delta-8 gummies or edibles, you'll usually incorporate a delta-9 tincture or distillate into the ingredients mix.

Should delta-8 distillate be clear?

Delta-8 distillate is the most potent form of delta-8 in the market. And mind you, this isn't something for rookies to mess around with. 

Delta-8 distillates are usually used in vaporizers or added to edibles, and the process of how to make delta-8 distillates would involve the same steps as above. 

The distillate may have a range of various colors, and anything from clear to having a pink or amber hue is perfectly fine. But you should stay an arm's length—actually much further—away from distillates that don a dark or cloudy appearance. This symbolizes that your distillate is about to expire or is contaminated. 

Risks of delta-8 THC graphic

The Risks of Converting Delta-9 or CBD To Delta-8

Since it seems possible to make your own delta-8 during your next summer adventure, why doesn't everyone try to get into it? 

Well, yes, actually. Many people have plopped on a white coat and taken up the role of the chemist-next-door in hopes of producing high-quality delta-8. But unfortunately, the world doesn't spin that way. 

Converting CBD to delta-8 in your garage can be risky. 

And why do we say so? 

  • The final product may be illegal. You cannot expect the CBD to convert completely into delta-8. Often, the end product also contains other cannabinoids, including delta-9. If the concentration of delta-9 is too high, the product will no longer be legal and could land you into trouble with the law. 
  • The product may contain harmful residues or cancer-causing compounds. All the ingredients you use, including the acid and solvent, must be pure and lab-grade. Swiping the ingredients off the shelves of your local hardware store could put you at risk of impure elements contaminated by other chemicals, and using these in the conversion process could create harmful by-products. The acids and solvents must also be removed completely in the washing cycles. 
  • There is a risk of mishandling the ingredients. You'll need proper equipment and training to ensure you're well-prepared for handling all the ingredients with care and caution. 

There are many risks of taking on the process yourself or buying from a seller who doesn't have the proper resources, equipment, or expertise for this. 

This is why it's essential to purchase high-quality delta-8 products from a cGMP facility. Delta North's gummies are manufactured in such a facility by a team of highly-trained experts and chemists who dedicate time to testing and verifying the product's safety and quality. 

Legal book and legal gavel

Is Delta-8 Legal?

One of the most commonly asked questions is this—is delta-8 legal

Hemp-derived delta-8 is considered legal at a federal level as long as the concentration of delta-9 in the product is less than 0.3%. That's fantastic news, and you have the 2018 Farm Bill to thank for that! Because of this bill, delta-8 products that meet those criteria are now deemed legal. 

However, each state still gets the final say. You'll have to perform some research to check if delta-8 is legal in your state. 

The importance of lab testing

Lab testing of the delta-8 product ensures it passes standards for purity, safety, and legality. The lab test will show whether the concentration of delta-9 in the product is below 0.3%, which ultimately depicts the product's legality. 

It's crucial that you're able to view the lab test results for any delta-8 product you purchase. 

Delta North sends all products for third-party lab testing. We've passed the tests for contaminants, such as pesticides, mercury, and heavy metals. Additionally, there are no traces of detectable delta-9 in our product, meaning that our products are fully law-compliant. 

Delta North Delta-8 Gummies being held in hand

Final Takeaway: What's So Great About Delta-8?

Why would anyone go through so much trouble to get this seemingly holy grail compound? So much experimentation, testing, resources, equipment, and ingredients go into getting a feasible amount of delta-8 to stock physical and digital shelves. What's the big deal anyway? 

Well, delta 8 is said to offer a unique experience and buzz—one that helps maintain a sense of calm and gets you through crossing out your daily to-do list. The lift is described as smooth, mellow, and prolonged and is well enjoyed by both newbies and veterans alike. This is a different experience altogether from delta-9. 

If you're looking for some premium-quality delta-8 gummies to get your fix, Delta North's third-party lab-tested delta-8 gummies come in both individual and wholesale batches. These have refreshing and delightful fruity flavors and are completely vegan and gluten-free.  And yes, we'll ship your order right to your doorstep! 

[Disclaimer: This information is for entertainment purposes only. We do not condone or support the usage or development of delta-8 without the support of professionals in a certified lab compliant with all laws.]