What is Delta-10-THC and Why do I Need to Know About it?

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What is Delta-10-THC and Why do I Need to Know About it?

Written January 2021. Updated December, 2023.

Oh, my delta, another THC compound to explore!? You already know about Delta-9 THC–the illicit compound that makes you high, euphoric, and perhaps a tad bit paranoid. You may have also heard about Delta-8 THC, the molecular neighbor you can synthesize from legal hemp for a mildly psychoactive effect. But are you in the know about Delta-10 THC? No problem. 

Let's explore what we know about Delta-10 THC and potency testing and why you should care.

What is Delta-10-THC?

Delta-10 THC is a minor psychoactive cannabinoid that occurs naturally in aged hemp and cannabis plants in trace amounts. 

Like Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 is tetrahydrocannabinol with psychoactive properties. Unlike Delta-9, however, Delta-10 appears in such low levels that manufacturers would waste an exhaustive amount of time and material trying to extract it from natural bud. As a result, most produce Delta-10 in a laboratory, converting hemp-derived CBD into Delta-10 using chemical solvents and acids. 

Delta-10 is so elusive that laboratories often misidentify the compound for CBC or CBL using standard High-Performance Liquid Chromatography methods, according to Extraction Magazine.

How Does Delta-10-THC Affect the Body?

All versions of THC, including Delta-10, appear to have binding affinities with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, producing psychoactive effects and sensations of euphoria. However, anecdotal experiences show some differences between the effects of Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC.

Can Delta-10-THC Get You High Like Delta-8 or Delta-9 THC?

According to David Reckles from Private Label Hemp Lab and Nerps, Delta-10 can absolutely get you high. But not precisely like Delta-8 or Delta-9. 

Delta-9 has the most intense effect on a person's pleasure, thought process, memory, coordination, and perceptions. 

Delta-8 is about half as potent as Delta-9. Users report experiencing mild appetite stimulation and relaxation levels.

Delta-10 is the least potent of the three tetrahydrocannabinols. Users report Delta-10 is about 70% as potent as Delta-8, with a more stimulating sensory experience.

"I would compare Delta-10 to a sativa in terms of its effects, while Delta-8 is more of an indica," said David. 

David's clients prefer Delta-8 as a sleep aid, while they opt for Delta-10 to promote greater creativity, euphoria, alertness, and energy. "Delta-10 is uplifting and perfect for daytime use," said David.

Benefits of Delta-10-THC

Many people like Delta-10 THC because it’s milder than Delta-9 and Delta-8 and typically results in less anxiety and paranoia.

Research supporting the health benefits of Delta-10 THC is limited compared to Delta-9, but early anecdotal evidence is promising. Delta-10 offers many potential health benefits, including:

  1. Neuroprotective properties: Cannabinoids, including Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC, can increase acetylcholine levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory, learning, attention, and involuntary muscle movement. Low levels of acetylcholine link to cognitive decline, muscle disorders, and memory-related issues, such as Alzheimer's disease. Delta-10 is an isomer of Delta-9 and Delta-8 and therefore possesses similar neuroprotective properties.
  2. Increases energy levels: Users report that Delta-10 offers a sativa-like high sensation, which can help them stay active, focused, and energized throughout the day.
  3. Pain and inflammation relief: Cannabinoids, including Delta-9 and isomers like Delta-8 and Delta-10, have anti-inflammatory qualities that can suppress cytokine production and regulate pain signals received by receptors throughout the brain and body. Due to its energizing effects, users report Delta-10 can help manage pain without the mental fogginess associated with other medications. 
  4. Reduces stress and anxiety: Delta-10 THC produces mild and euphoric effects that relieve stress. Users report the compound alleviates anxiety without causing intense sedation or paranoia. 
  5. Boosts mood: Delta-10 is mood-boosting and makes users feel happy, which can potentially treat abnormalities in mood and psychiatric disorders. 

According to David Reckles, Delta-10 appeals to a mass audience looking for psychoactive benefits without the potential downsides caused by Delta-9 THC. 

"I think Delta-10 will be insanely popular because it offers euphoria and increased focus without the paranoia and anxiety some users report from Delta-9."

Will You Fail a Drug Test If You Take Delta-10-THC?

​Unfortunately, yes. Drug tests don’t look for specific THC variants, so Delta-10 THC will appear in a urinalysis and may not be discernible from Delta-9. Long story short, better to be safe on this one.

Why Should You Care About Delta-10-THC?

Delta-8 was the first minor cannabinoid to explode in popularity, with brands selling thousands of products daily. Delta-10 remains less well-known than Delta-8, but its intellectual, sativa-like head high is becoming more popular, especially for daytime use.

According to David, people love CBD for its natural wellness benefits. But, at the same time, they also want a product to help them take the edge off. They want to feel a slight psychoactive effect and don't want to get a medical cannabis card to do it. So for these self-helpers, Delta-10 THC is the perfect addition to their daily regimen. 

"Now that Delta-8 and Delta-10 are available, people are realizing they can have their cake and eat it too. So why would people stick to CBD only when they can have it all?"

Is It Easy to Produce Delta-10-THC?

"You can technically create any delta you want–Delta-8, Delta-9, or Delta-10–by chemically altering CBD isolate or CBD crude. As of today, however, I've learned it's significantly harder to produce Delta-10 THC than Delta-8.

"Eventually, I'm sure very smart PhDs will figure it out. Then they'll start working as consultants and share the formulas with manufacturers to help them acquire the right machinery, systems, and processes. When that happens, Delta-10 production will still be more complicated than Delta-8, but it will also be more commonplace. We're just not there yet," said David.

Is Delta-10-THC legal?

The USDA’s 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and all its derivatives, including Delta-10, federally legal to buy, sell, and grow. The bill defines legal hemp as plants containing less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC by weight. 

Federal law is a bit more complicated, though. According to some legal experts, delta-10’s manufacturing process puts the compound in a legal gray area.

The DEA has said: "All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances." 

The issue with that statement is the DEA has not defined what constitutes "synthetically derived." Until the DEA clarifies its position, Delta-10 remains in a federal loophole, and many companies like Nerps Brands continue producing Delta-10 from fully legal, safe, and compliant CBD. 

While Delta-10 remains legal federally, many states have introduced bans on minor cannabinoids like Delta-10 made using synthetic chemicals. Currently, 15 states banned Delta-8, and Delta-10 is explicitly restricted in 11 states, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. Idaho is the only state so far to ban all forms of THC. 

Laws regarding cannabis are prone to sudden updates and changes, so consumers should always check with their state before purchasing Delta-10.

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Are There High Delta-10-THC Strains?

Hemp flower does not contain enough Delta-10 to deliver psychoactive properties. As a result, consumers won't find naturally occurring high Delta-10 THC strains on the market today.

However, brands overcome the potency issue by spraying Delta-10 distillate onto hemp flower so consumers can smoke it like they would natural cannabis. 

How is Delta-10-THC Measured and Tested?

Delta-10-THC is measured through potency tests similar to CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. ACS Laboratory uses Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) machinery to measure Delta-10-THC potency in edibles, flower, and extracts. ACS also employs the industry's latest certified reference standards to ensure we're accurately discerning Delta-10 from CBC and CBL.

Delta-10-THC Side Effects, Risks, and  Safety

Although far less sedating or powerful than regular Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 still produces intoxicating effects that could lead to: 

  • Dry mouth 
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Impaired concentration and coordination
  • Inability to drive
  • Interactions with some medications

Delta-10’s potential side effects vary depending on the person’s tolerance and the dosage taken. 

Another safety issue unique to hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta-10 is that the FDA does not regulate these products like states regulate medical and adult-use marijuana compounds. 

Legal marijuana products must undergo thorough safety tests to prove they’re free from contaminants and accurately labeled with the right potency. However, Delta-10 products do not have the same testing requirements in most states. Lack of oversight means some formulations contain undetected contaminants or unknown cannabinoid concentrations, putting users at risk.

"Eager entrepreneurs might start creating Delta-10 products without the proper tools or knowledge to do it the right way. For instance, they may not know how to preserve a clean environment or understand the chemistry behind what they're doing. As a result, they may inadvertently create extracts with residual solvents, acids, or Delta-9 THC. That's why customers should always look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) to prove the product was tested and deemed safe.” said David

"If Delta-10 products aren't made with the proper knowledge, supervision, and testing, companies could be creating unsafe or illegal products.

How Do You Know if Delta-10-THC Products are Clean and Accurately Labeled? 

Manufactured  Delta-10 products are not necessarily the cause of harm or concern when made responsibly. It is up to consumers to purchase products from trusted brands that perform high-quality, third-party testing and offer a certificate of analysis (COA) that verifies product information.

“I would add the COA doesn't always match the product or the batch it came from, so simply glancing at the document is not enough. End-users and retailers must double-check to ensure the batch number listed on the COA matches the number on the product label. Verifying laboratory test results is vital for Delta-10 products. 

“In fact, regulators considering what to do with Delta-10 and Delta-8 should focus on laboratory testing. Instead of trying to ban these hemp-derived compounds, regulators should ensure manufacturers are safely creating them," said David. 

What is Delta 6a10a THC, and How Does it Compare to Delta-10?

Delta 6a10a (or Delta-3) is a naturally occurring minor cannabinoid in trace amounts in hemp and marijuana. Delta 6a10a THC has the same molecular formula as Delta-9 THC but with a different arrangement. As a result, Delta 6a10a produces slightly distinct effects.

Users say Delta 6a10a THC offers a gentle high, similar to Delta-10. Some people report that Delta 6a10a feels uplifting and energizing. Many users also report sativa-like effects without paranoia and anxiety, such as heightened mental clarity, better focus, and mood enhancement. 

It is even common for laboratories to mistake  Delta 6a10a THC and Delta-10 during potency testing. False lab results are common across all minor cannabinoids with similar atomic structures.

ACS Laboratory uses High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Ultraviolet  (HPLC-UV) methods to identify the precise individual traits of each cannabinoid. 

What Type of Delta-10-THC Products are Available?

Consumers can vaporize, eat, or ingest Delta-10 through various product types, including: 

  • Disposable pens
  • Vape cartridges
  • Gummies
  • Tincture/oil 
  • Dabbing syringes
  • Chocolate bars
  • Shatter 
  • Even flower and pre-rolls! (Delta-10 is sprayed on)

Do Potent Delta-10 Products Really Exist?

David's customers gave rave reviews about his 2% Delta-10 products. In fact, they said the Sativa effect felt stronger than products that claimed to have higher Delta-10 concentrations.

Still, David wanted to compete with the high potency competitors. So David's company, Private Label Hemp Lab, immediately hired new chemists to raise the potency bar.  

Ultimately, they achieved 40% Delta-10, but the formulas tested above the legal limit of Delta-9. Plus, the lab was experiencing minor explosions due to the chemicals they were using. So they replaced the chemicals and equipment to eliminate the explosion risk, but they still couldn't wash Delta-9 from the final product. David wondered what he and his team were doing wrong.

"At first, we spent thousands of dollars in R&D trying to create potent D-10 extracts. Then we started seeing reports from third-party sources who tested the supposed 50% Delta-10 products with verified laboratories like ACS. In an attempt to validate the COAs, these watchdog sources revealed that these labels were totally inaccurate or forged," said David.

Why are So Many Delta-10 Labels False?

"Not every brand is bad. But there a few bad apples who plainly Photoshop their labels or convince an unscrupulous laboratory to count Delta-8 as Delta-10 in the potency results.

"Unfortunately, some brands coerce their labs. Then they circulate the product in the market and only get caught if a verified laboratory checks their claims," said David.

After discovering such shady market behavior, David decided to stop trying to compete with other brands. Instead, he went back to his original formula with 2% Delta-10 THC that tested clean and clear of all residual solvents, as well as Delta-9. Today, Delta-10 is one of his top-selling and most lucrative formulas.

What are Delta-10 and Delta-8 Hybrid Products Like?

Delta-8, an indica effect, and Delta-10, a Sativa effect, create a harmonious hybrid product when blended. Along with Delta-8 and Delta-10, David's company took it a step further by adding CBD to the mix. "We call it 'Skywalker's Father,'" said David. "We sold out of it quickly, likely because it gave people the best of all worlds.

"With a hybrid product, people can experience a mild indica effect that helps relieve anxiety without the risk of feeling sloth-like due to the energy boost they receive from Delta-10. Plus, when CBD is added to the mix, they can benefit from the compound's ability to counteract THC's intense psychoactive effects.

Why are Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC So Politicized?

"Truly, I have no idea why exactly. I've heard people point out that most states with Delta-8 THC bans are those that allow Delta-9 THC. Clearly, these pro-cannabis states don't have an issue with THC, so some speculate there's a connection. People say that because Delta-9 states spent so much money building the legal cannabis industry, they may be worried about a new THC variant interfering with the revenues and programs they've developed. That is, of course, pure speculation," said David. 

What are the Most Popular Delta-10 Products?

"We have lollipops, oils, and flower, but nothing trumps vape cartridges and gummies," said David.

Many of David's niche clients also ask for flower because their customers like the experience of smoking. But, at the same time, David warns that smoking is not the most effective way to ingest Delta-10."When you burn Delta-8 or Delta-10, you inevitably reduce the potency as a result of the added heat," said David.

Why ACS is so Excited About Delta-10-THC

At ACS Laboratory, we are so excited about Delta-10 THC because of its power to augment the CBD market as one of the most popular (legal) agents of chill. Now more than ever, consumers are stressed, exhausted, and need a boost. But not everyone wants to get high or worry about breaking the law. That makes Delta-10 the perfect alternative.

Luckily, ACS also complies with federal regulations, which require that Delta-10 standards be tested only by DEA-licensed laboratories. So contact our team today to test your Delta-10 THC oils, isolates, distillates, edibles, and beverages. We'll deliver accurate results in 2-5 days.  

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