If nothing else, the legal hemp industry is creative. Growers and processors are always looking for new ways to use plant material to improve the bottom line. In recent years, they have figured out how to produce synthetic versions of natural cannabinoids, including the very popular Delta-8. It is Delta-10, and it could be the next big thing in CBD.
If you don’t normally follow the latest cannabis news, hemp was legalized nationwide by the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is a type of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC by volume. CBD is hemp’s primary cannabinoid. The interesting thing is that CBD can be utilized to create other cannabinoids. Delta-10 and Delta-8 are just two examples. Synthesizing alternate cannabinoids from CBD opens entirely new markets to growers and processors.
More About Delta-10
Delta-10 is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, the naturally occurring cannabinoid that makes people who use marijuana high. The interesting thing about Delta-10 is that it doesn’t occur naturally in high enough volumes to warrant trying to extract it from cannabis biomass.
On the other hand, transforming CBD into Delta-10 is easy and cheap enough to make doing so profitable. So that’s exactly what processors are doing. They are synthesizing Delta-10 and either adding it to their legal CBD products or selling it to other manufacturers.
Meanwhile, growers have a whole new market for biomass. They love it for the simple fact that hemp prices plunged once the market was saturated with growers. Being able to sell biomass to processors looking to synthesize cannabinoids allows growers to keep their volumes up and the profits rolling in.
The States Aren’t So Sure
Not everything about Delta-10 and similar synthetic cannabinoids is positive. First and foremost, very little research has been done on alternate cannabinoids. No one knows where they stand in terms of safety. But more than that, the states are not so sure they want cannabinoids like Delta-10 made available in legal CBD products.
Some states have already moved to ban Delta-8. It is assumed that they will eventually ban most of the other alternate cannabinoids as well. Other states are taking a wait-and-see approach. Utah is one such state.
According to the experts at Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy, alternate cannabinoids are still legal in the Beehive State. However, regulators did release a new set of rules in early December 2022 requiring processors to clearly label their products as containing alternate cannabinoids. The Beehive Farmacy folks seem to think that the state legislature will ultimately look to ban the alternate cannabinoids in 2023’s legislative session.
More Than a Safety Issue
For many states, the existence of alternate cannabinoids like Delta-10 and Delta-8 is about more than safety. It is also about intoxication. Both alternate cannabinoids have psychotropic effects. Their effects are not the same or as intense as Delta-9 THC, but they exist, nonetheless.
The concern is that the federal government’s definitions of both marijuana and hemp are vague enough to create a loophole for CBD manufacturers. A company can make legal CBD products infused with Delta-10 or Delta-8 and still sell them as CBD. Yet customers can ingest them for the purposes of getting high.
CBD itself will not make you high. It doesn’t have that capability. That’s one of the reasons Washington gave the green light to hemp and CBD production. Alternate cannabinoids sidestep the government’s intent. While growers and processors wait to see what their respective states do, they appear to be all in on Delta-10. It could end up being the next big thing.