The New Age of THC: THC-O, Delta 8, and Delta 10 THC

The New Age of THC: THC-O, Delta 8, and Delta 10 THC
Cannabis use began 4,000 years ago in China when farmers began to cultivate the plant for its fiber, seeds, and oil. However, while we can assume those ancient Chinese farmers also enjoyed the psychotropic benefits of weed, archeologists can only trace ritual and recreational cannabis back 2,500 years ago.

Up until very recently, people enjoyed the effects of THC in much the same way as our ancient ancestors, by inhaling smoke. While the 1960s are characterized as a time in which people explored consciousness by smoking weed, the fact is, scientists had been studying marijuana since the 1940s. Not only where they studying the effects of delta-9 THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but also lesser-known psychoactive compounds, such as delta-8 THC.

The Discovery of Delta-8 THC

In 1941, a scientific team from the University of Illinois, led by Roger Adams, isolated and synthesized delta-8 THC. Soon after, successful human tests began.

However, it wasn't until the 1980s that the delta-8 THC molecule was fully and efficiently extracted and synthesized. That historic achievement was led by the “father of cannabis”, Raphael Mechoulam; Mechoulam was an organic chemist and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He not only successfully isolated delta-8 THC, but also did extensive research on the human endocannabinoid system.

However, this early research focused on the health and healing benefits of delta-8, rather than the psychotropic effects. For example, delta-8 THC was studied as a cancer treatment, and as a treatment for glaucoma. While scientific research continues to focus on the health benefits of delta-8 and other cannabinoids, the general public is more concerned with the high.

The Delta-8 High

Compared to a marijuana high, delta-8 THC is only around half as strong. When properly dosed, delta-8 is not as likely to produce the negative side effects associated with marijuana, such as paranoia and anxiety.

The delta-8 high could be characterized as somewhere in between consuming CBD and weed. Generally, it's an alert, focused, happy high. It won't leave you with a case of couch-lock. Rather, you might find yourself tackling creative projects you've put off.

While the high is mild, be sure to securely store your delta-8 edibles out of the reach of your kids and dog.

Delta-8 THC Vapes and Edibles Come Into Common Use

Up until the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized growing industrial hemp, very few people were aware of delta-8. But, a few smart entrepreneurs were aware that delta-8 THC could be extracted from industrial hemp, as well as from marijuana.

The wording of the 2018 Farm Bill states that cannabinoids derived from hemp that contain less than 3% delta-9 THC were legal. While the authors of the bill were likely thinking only of CBD, it left the door open for other cannabinoids, such as delta-8.

Producers quickly began further refining CBD extracts into delta-8 THC. The end product is added to both delta-8 edibles and vape cartridges, for a mild, euphoric high.

However, while delta-8 THC falls through a federal loophole, individual states have taken action to ban these products. Ironically, some states with legal, recreational weed have banned delta-8, while states banning marijuana use allow delta-8 THC. There is no cohesive, national policy on the production, sale, or use of delta-8, so you'll need to check your local regulations.

THC-O Acetate and the Military

The US military began studying the effects of THC-O in the late 1940s; the intent was to use THC-O as a psycho-chemical weapon. LSD and PCP were also included in the Edgewood Arsenal experiments, as well as a wide variety of nerve gases and other chemical weapons.

The secretive and controversial human experiments were terminated in 1975 when the director of the project was called before Congress. While participation in the project was voluntary, it's debatable if fully informed consent by the volunteers was given. Moreover, the participants in the program were not given any follow-up care. Fortunately, the military reported that there were no serious injuries or deaths connected to the bioweapons program.

The THC-O High

While delta-8 THC is generally a mild high, half as strong as marijuana, THC-O can be twice, or even three times as strong.

Other than the weaponization experiments conducted at the Edgewood Arsenal, there has been little research on the effects of THC-O on humans. However, anecdotal reports from users indicate that THC-O produces a psychedelic or even spiritual high.

However, while some people can have a positive psychedelic experience, others can have a profoundly negative one. While some users may have transformative, life-changing revelations, others could have frightening experiences. If you've ever had a bad mushroom trip, then THC-O may not be for you. With this in mind, using THC-O must be approached with caution.

Like delta-8 THC, THC-O slips through the 2018 Farm Bill loophole concerning cannabinoids derived from hemp. Also, while it might be legal on a federal level, it might not be legal in your particular state.

Delta-10 THC

Delta-10 is perhaps the newest, and least studied cannabinoid available to consumers. The story of delta-10 doesn't begin in a lab, but with a fire retardant dropped onto a California wildfire. The chemicals not only extinguished the brush fire but also covered a local hemp farm. Despite this, the hemp was harvested and processed into CBD.

However, during the purification process, unusual crystals began to form. When analyzed, these crystals turned out to be a new cannabinoid, delta-10 THC.

Since delta-10 was just discovered by accident by CBD producers in 2020, there have been no scientific or university studies yet. With that in mind, proceed with caution. However, to date, there haven't been any injuries or deaths associated with delta-10 THC.

Like delta-8 THC and THC-O, delta-10 derived from industrial hemp is legal federally. However, it is not legal in every state. You'll need to check with your state before attempting to buy any delta-10 products. Also, due to the chemicals used, only buy lab-tested delta-10 products from a reputable producer,

The Delta-10 THC High

Like delta-8 THC, the high produced by delta-10 is mild and energizing. In fact, some users report that it's more energizing and creative than delta-8 THC. On the other hand, some who have tried delta-10 THC reported feeling little to no effect. This could be due to differences in each person's metabolism, or the way individual hemp crops have been processed. But, overall, delta-10 products are comparable to delta-8 edibles and vape cartridges.

The Future of Cannabis and Its Derivatives

Cannabis has been called “humanity's companion plant”, due not only to its usefulness as fiber, but also for its mental, emotional, and physical healing effects. Fortunately, governments are easing up on cannabis, after more than a century of demonizing nature's gift. This is due not only to public opinion but also to scientific research.

While recreational marijuana is becoming legal in more and more states, many places still outlaw its use. Luckily, smart, independent chemists and entrepreneurs are now producing alternative THC extracts from legal industrial hemp.

Humankind has benefited from smoking natural, whole cannabis flowers for thousands of years. Now, the 21st Century brings us high-tech cannabinoids derived both from marijuana and hemp. Delta-8, delta-10, and THC-O are generally regarded as safe and are readily available in some states.

Until recreational weed is legalized in all fifty states, delta-8 edibles and vapes, as well as delta-10 and THC-O products can fill the gap. Moreover, many people prefer the mind, uplifting high of delta-8 THC and delta-10. Fortunately, old, outdated attitudes about cannabis are giving way to a more enlightened, scientific perspective. Who knows, perhaps by the end of the decade, marijuana will be fully legal everywhere.