December 07, 2021 10 min read

If you’re familiar with Delta-8 and the concept of hemp derived-THC, you’re probably not surprised to hear the hemp industry has done it again—Delta-10 is emerging in the form of gummies, flower, tinctures, and more. But what is Delta-10-THC? And how is it different from Deta-8 or Delta-9? Is it legal? Most importantly, is it safe?

As always, we encourage you to be wary of the misinformation circulating the legal hemp market. In this handy Delta-10 guide, we’ll cut straight to the facts and cover everything you need to know before you buy and try Delta-10 for yourself. Let’s jump in:

Table of Contents
What is Delta-10?
How is Delta-10 Made?
How Does Delta-10-THC Compare to Delta-9-THC?
What are Delta-10-THC’s Effects?
Will Delta-10 Get You High?
How Long Does a Delta-10 High Last?
Can You Build a Tolerance to Delta-10?
Will Delta-10-THC Make You Fail a Drug Test?
Does Delta-10 Have Any Health Benefits?
How is Delta-10 Used?
Is Delta-10-THC Legal?
Is Delta-10 Synthetic?
How Should You Store Delta-10-THC?
Does Delta-10-THC Have Side Effects?
Conclusion: What is Delta-10?

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-10 is a natural cannabinoid that can be made from legal hemp material.
  • It is more accessible than Delta-9 because it is federally legal, and it may provide similar, but milder psychoactive effects.
  • Delta-10 research is limited, but it’s thought to have benefits and risks that are similar to Delta-8.
  • It’s important that the Delta-10 products you buy are well made and free of potential contaminants, like pesticides and solvents.

What is Delta-10?

Delta-10-THC is a phytocannabinoid, or a compound derived from cannabis that interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, a neuromodulatory system responsible for regulating various health functions and for THC’s ability to get you high.

Delta-10 is a natural cannabinoid, meaning it naturally exists in cannabis without intervention, albeit in trace amounts. It’s similar in some ways to traditional THC products made with delta-9-THC (the primary cannabinoid responsible for cannabis’ psychotropic effects), but it does have some differences.

For one, it can be made from legal hemp material by converting CBD through a process called “isomerization.” We’ll dig into this process more below, but for now it’s important to note that Delta-10 can come from hemp, which means that, unlike Delta-9, it's federally legal and can be bought and sold on a widespread basis.

Just like traditional THC, however, Delta-10 interacts with the CB-1 receptor in the brain and Central Nervous System, which means it can produce psychoactive effects. It is thought to have milder effects than traditional THC, but still poses plenty of potential for therapeutic use. All in all, Delta-10 is quickly increasing in popularity both for recreational and therapeutic purposes.

Read more about cannabinoids to learn more.

A raw hemp flower, the natural material used to make Detla-10-THC extract

How is Delta-10-THC Made?

We mentioned that Delta-10 was made through a process called isomerization, but what does that mean?

Well, Delta-10 is an isomer of CBD, which means both molecules have all the same components just arranged in a different order. Isomerization is the process of exposing the compound to an acid or another chemical, which shifts the components around to transform one compound into another.

This is the same process used to convert CBD into Delta-8-THC, except a different chemical is used for each procedure. After the conversion process is through, the extract undergoes a series of different refinement methods to remove any leftover CBD, residual solvents, or unwanted chemicals that could contaminate the final batch. This final step is why it's so important to find a brand that uses a third party lab testing process to verify the absence of all contaminants.

Although the processes are similar, the process used to make Delta-10 from CBD is a bit more involved than the process used to make Delta-8. In general, Delta 10 is more difficult to make which is why many Delta-10 products on the market actually contain both Delta-10 and Delta-8.

Still, Delta-10 can be used like any other hemp extract to make a variety of edibles, flower, vapes, oils, and more.

How does Delta-10-THC Compare to Delta-9-THC?

Delta-10 and Delta-9 are almost structurally identical, but they differ in the placement of their double carbon bond. Delta-9’s double bond is at the 9th chain position and Delta-10s is at the 10th.

Because the molecules are so identical, they have very similar interactions in the body and are both able to interact with some of the same pathways in the brain and nervous system. However, the different placement of their double bond does create two totally unique cannabinoids with differing effects and potentially even different therapeutic values.

Delta-9 has a strong affinity for the CB1 receptor, or the endocannabinoid receptor found in the central nervous system and brain that is responsible for cannabis's psychoactive effects. Unlike some other forms of THC, Delta 9 only binds to this psychoactive receptor, and therefore produces very potent psychoactive effects.

On the other hand, Delta-10-THC is thought to interact with both the CB-1 receptor and the CB-2 receptor, a neuroreceptor that does not produce any psychoactivity. Because Delta-10 absorption is split between CB-1 and CB-2, it may be slightly less psychoactive with a unique range of therapeutic potential.

A sample of hemp flower and a small vial of the THC extract made from it.

What are Delta-10-THC’s Effects?

It's true that Delta-10 is psychoactive much like traditional THC products, but most researchers agree that Delta-10’s effects are slightly less potent, maybe even less so than Delta-8. It's hard to say exactly how much less potent Delta-10 may be compared to traditional THC products, but some sources say it may have about half the affinity for the CB1 receptor, or the neuroreceptor that induces a psychoactive high.

In general, though, Delta-10’s effects are just a bit different than what you may expect from traditional THC products. Some people describe the experience as uplifting and energizing, comparing Delta-10 to the effects you can expect from a sativa-dominant strain.

There's not any research to support this or help us understand why Delta-10 may have this effect, but the general consensus is that Delta-10 produces a mild, stimulating euphoria that boosts creativity and improves focus.

Will Delta-10-THC Get You High?

Because the effects of Delta-10 are much milder than traditional THC products, many people question whether Delta-10 actually gets you high. The truth is that, yes, Delta-10-THC is psychoactive by nature and while small to moderate doses may produce very mild, functional effects, larger doses can produce more intense psychoactivity similar to what you get from traditional cannabis products. That means that Delta-10 can be great both for recreational and therapeutic uses, but you should always dose responsibly and never drive while under the influence of hemp-derived THC products.

A fully bloomed hemp flower before being used to make Delta-10-THC

How Long Does a Delta-10 High Last?

The amount of time that Delta-10’s effects will last depends on the dosing method used. That’s because the body metabolizes different products at different rates.

For instance, if you smoke Delta-10, you can expect the high to be much more short-lived than if you ingest it in the form of a traditional edible. That's because THC is metabolized almost instantly in the lungs and reaches the bloodstream immediately, whereas digested Delta-10-THC is processed slowly by digestion and takes a while to reach the bloodstream.

The effects from Delta-10 can last anywhere from two to six hours on average, but everyone's experience will differ.

Can You Build a Tolerance to Delta-10-THC Effects?

There's still a lot to learn about Delta-10's interactions in the body, but it's presumed to build tolerance similarly to Delta-9. That's because, like other forms of THC, it's thought to metabolize into 11-hydroxy-THC, which means it can create cross tolerance with other forms of THC.

In other words, if you already use other forms of THC, like Delta-8 or Delta-9, you probably have at least some tolerance to Delta-10. You can manage your tolerance by taking regularly scheduled tolerance breaks.

Will Delta-10-THC Make You Fail a Drug Test?

As we mentioned, Delta-10-THC is thought to convert to 11-hydroxy-THC in the body, which is the primaryTHC metabolite that drug tests look for. That means that Delta-10 will show up on a drug test the same way that traditional THC products will, and a urine test will not be able to differentiate between legal and non-legal THC. Delta-10 is not a safe alternative to THC if you are subject to drug testing. To understand more about how this works, read about how Delta-8 shows up on drug tests.

Does Delta-10-THC Have Any Health Benefits?

Delta-10 research is extremely limited, but researchers speculate on Delta-10’s benefits based on its similarities to Delta-8-THC. We mentioned that Delta-10 interacts with the Endocannabinoid System, a regulatory system known to impact functions like appetite, pain signaling, mood, and more.

Like Delta-8, Delta-10 activates both the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, which means it likely replicated many of Delta-8’s benefits. More research is needed, but some possible benefits of Delta-10 may include:

  • Relief from pain
  • Energy boost
  • Lifted mood
  • Increased appetite
  • Nausea reduction
  • Stress relief
  • Overall euphoria

How is Delta-10-THC Used?

Delta-10 is still far less common than traditional THC products, but it's becoming increasingly popular among hemp consumers because of its federal legal status. Because Delta-10 is incredibly similar to traditional THC and even Delta-8 products, many of the dosing styles you'll find are the same. Some of the most popular ways that Delta 10 is used include:

Edibles

Edible Delta-10 products come in a few and different forms, ranging from gummies to baked goods to hard candies and more. Different edibles absorb in different ways, and therefore provide different effects.

For instance, Delta-10 gummies are chewed and swallowed and therefore need to be digested before they reach the bloodstream, which means they can take over an hour to take effect but may provide effects that last longer than some other dosing methods.

Some edibles, like hard candies, are meant to dissolve in the mouth which gives Delta-10 an opportunity to be absorbed sublingually. This method allows Delta-10 to be absorbed into the bloodstream almost immediately, which means the effects can kick in and around 30 minutes and may last a couple of hours.

Read our THC Edibles Buyer’s Guide to learn more.

Vaporizers

Vaporizers are a popular dosing method for all cannabis and hemp products because they take effect almost instantly and make it easy to stack small doses

A sample of Delta-10 hemp flower in a small black jar

until you reach your desired effects. Vaporizers are the top choice for people looking for fast acting therapeutic benefits, but they also make a portable dosing option for when you're on the go. Often, vaporizers use a technique called strain profiling to create Delta-10 products modeled after different sativa indica and hybrid strains.

To learn more, read our THC Carts Buyer’s Guide.

Flower

Usually, Delta-10 flower is just low-THC hemp flower with a Delta-10 distillate added on top. It's meant to be smoked just like traditional cannabis flower and provides instant effects that lasts a couple of hours. Many people enjoy Delta-10 flower because it simulates a traditional cannabis experience with its potent effects and aromatic terpenes.

Dabs

Dabs are a form of concentrate that are generally vaporized using a dab rig. This is the least popular form of Delta-10, typically because Delta-10 is difficult to produce and a concentrated version would be pricey. Plus, many people use Delta-10 for its mild, functional effects, and extremely potent, concentrated doses are not always preferable.

Is Delta-10-THC Legal?

Yes! The hemp farming act of 2018, or the bill that officially legalized hemp in the US, includes a clause in section 12619b that specifically addresses tetrahydrocannabinols and hemp. This portion of the bill suggests that any THC that can be naturally derived from legal hemp material, which includes hemp and all of its cannabinoids, isomers, salts, extracts, and other derivatives, is considered to be a legal hemp product, so long as it contains less than 3% Delta 9 THC. The DEA and FDA are still ironing out the details behind us hemp laws, but for now Delta 10 derived from legal hemp material is legal by federal law. Laws regarding cannabinoids are subject to change, and hemp laws do vary in every state.

For now, Delta-10 is legal in every state where Delta-8 is legal. That means that Delta-10 is not legal in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah

Delta-8 and Delta-10 are generally lumped under the same hemp-derived THC laws, so you can read more about Delta-8 laws by state to learn about the Delta-10 laws in your state.

Is Delta-10-THC Synthetic?

There's a popular argument circulating that claims that hemp-derived THC products, like Delta-8 and Delta-10, are actually synthetic THC products. Let us explain why that's not the case:

Synthetic cannabinoids are generally lab-made from a series of chemicals not derived from natural plant material. In fact, the most popular synthetic cannabinoids contain no hemp or cannabis material at all and are entirely synthesized to look and act like natural cannabinoids.

Alternatively, Delta-8 and Delta-10 are both natural cannabinoids that can be found in raw cannabis material without any manipulation.

However, because the Delta-10 content of low-THC hemp material (the kind of cannabis material that is federally legal in the US) is so low, manufacturers utilize a different method for extracting it in usable quantities. This method is called “isomerization, “ and it merely refers to a process of transforming one natural hemp cannabinoid into another.

In other words, Delta-10 is not synthetic. It is made from natural, hemp-derived CBD extract and contains no extra chemicals. Clean, high-quality Delta-10 made from CBD looks and functions exactly the same way that natural, cannabis derived Delta-10 looks and functions.

Many reputable law firms have argued that delta-8 does not fit the DEA’s description for a “synthetically-derived” cannabinoid, although not many have touched on Delta-10 products. Still, Delta-8 and Delta-10 are both made using similar methods and are both natural tetrahydrocannabinols.

How Should You Store Delta-10-THC?

The method for storing Delta-10 is the same as it is for other hemp products. In general, you want to keep your Delta-10 products in an airtight container. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, which may degrade cannabinoid potency over time.

Does Delta-10-THC Have Side Effects?

Again, more research is needed to understand the safety profile of Delta-10. Assuming that they product is high-quality and free of potential contaminants, the most common side effects may be similar to that of other THC products. These potential side effects are usually rare and mild and may include:

  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Red eyes
  • Increased thirst
  • Hunger
  • Tiredness

Of course, the risks increase when using a low-quality product. The most severe risk in using a hemp-derived THC product is getting a product that is contaminated with residual solvents, pesticides, or other chemicals. That’s why it's important to only buy from high-quality, reputable brands that use clean hemp material and third-party testing techniques.

A vial of Delta-10-THC oil, a sublingual delivery method for hemp-derived THC.

Conclusion: What is Delta-10?

Delta-10 may be relatively new to the market, but it’s not unlike other popular hemp-derived THC products. In fact, it’s incredibly similar to Delta-8, but is described to have more energizing effects. Either way, the mild psychoactivity is a great starting place for those who are new to THC, and the cannabinoid’s potential benefits are of great interest to researchers and consumers alike.

Since it’s federally legal, it’s expected to continue to boom in popularity in the coming years, providing an accessible avenue for those who want to enjoy THC’s benefits without visiting a dispensary.


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