Delta-8, Delta-10, and HHC: Top Questions Answered by ACS Laboratory
In this post –
- Is Delta-8 THC a genetically modified hemp flower?
- What are the risks associated with producing these products?
- How does ACS determine that cannabinoids are safe?
- Will Delta-8 show up on a drug test for marijuana?
- Is HHC better than Delta-8 or Delta-10?
- Does ACS test cannabis for all 120 cannabinoids?
- When will hemp and cannabis be federally legal?
Fort Lauderdale’s Alt Products Expo was the place to gain insights into the latest hemp trends and trailblazers. ACS Laboratory’s president Roger Brown was there to talk about all hemp and cannabis products, including Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, and THCOa. Brown laid down essential knowledge about these psychoactive compounds and answered questions about their safety, efficacy, legality, and laboratory testing.
Here we review the top Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, and THCOa questions you’ve always had but never knew who to ask.
“Is Delta-8 THC a genetically modified hemp flower?”
Roger Brown: No, Delta-8 is a cannabinoid that exists naturally in hemp and cannabis. However, it appears in such small quantities that manufacturers can’t extract enough from the plant for mass production. So, to overcome the potency problem, manufacturers extract CBD instead and convert it to Delta-8 through a solvent-based chemical process. That’s how Delta-8 oils and vapes are produced.
That said, high-Delta-8 THC flower does not exist either. So, when you see a Delta-8 pre-roll on the market, you’re really getting natural hemp flower sprayed with a concentrated Delta-8 distillate. This is not a GMO. However, it’s not 100% natural.
What are the potential risks associated with producing these products?
Converting CBD into Delta-8 and Delta-10 requires chemicals and solvents to act as catalysts. HHC, on the other hand, uses metals like palladium and nickel. Only quality testing can reveal if manufacturers thoroughly remove these dangerous materials.
“How does ACS determine that a cannabinoid, like Delta-8, HHC, or THCOa is safe?”
Roger Brown: At ACS, we always recommend hemp companies submit samples to our laboratory for a full panel of safety and potency tests. We test 5,000 products a week for contaminants, including mold, mildew, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and pesticides. If a product passes all tests, it’s safe for human consumption. Once we complete the panel, we create a certificate of analysis with the results and give them to the brand to publish. Customers can look for a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) by scanning the QR code on its packaging. Additionally, our COAs are available publicly online, where they cannot be altered.
Unfortunately, however, most regulations don’t require safety tests for these products. So, if a brand only tests for potency and not for contaminants, it could be selling a hazardous formula. That’s why customers need to check the COA before they buy.
Despite having only minor differences at the chemical level, Delta-8 and Delta-10 can exhibit very different effects. For example, most people say Delta-8 is relaxing and mellow, while Delta-10 is more stimulating.
“Will Delta-8 show up on a drug test for marijuana?”
Yes, that’s unfair because Delta-8 is technically legal at the federal level under the Farm Bill. However, it’s a gray area. For example, if Delta-8 comes from a hemp strain that contains over 0.3% THC, it’s no longer legal. Additionally, 17 states officially banned Delta-8 sales.
“I heard HHC has a longer shelf life. Does that make HHC better than Delta-8 or Delta-10?
Roger Brown: An extended shelf life is always better for sellers because the product doesn’t decline or degrade as quickly. Ultraviolet light and temperature continue to affect the life of cannabinoids and their structure.
For example, if you take a Delta-8 vape cartridge and leave it out in the sun, ultraviolet light will change the structure, such as converting some Delta-8 into Delta-9. When that happens, the legal product you bought might not be permitted anymore. On the other hand, HHC maintains its structural integrity longer and doesn’t convert into THC. In fact, HHC belongs to another chemical compound class entirely, known as hexahydrocannabinol.
“Do Delta-8 and Delta-10 products have terpenes or only Delta-9?”
Roger Brown: Delta-8 products can contain terpenes, but typically the terpenes are not hemp-derived. When manufacturers produce Delta-8, they usually add botanical terpenes to the formula during processing. We test for 38 different terpenes and see several Delta-8 products with these fragrant and therapeutic compounds.
“Can you test hemp and cannabis for all 120 different cannabinoids? How long would that take?”
Roger Brown: Absolutely, we can, but that test would take a very long time and be expensive. Right now, we test for 23 major and minor cannabinoids, which appear in the greatest concentrations and have the most significant effect on the user experience.
“How does ACS laboratory cooperate with law enforcement?
Roger Brown: We work with law enforcement to help them distinguish between hemp and marijuana, only to determine if samples are over the legal limit of 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Fortunately, police offers don’t typically care about catching a resident with a joint in their car. Instead, they’re more concerned with someone carrying a bail of marijuana or underground distribution rings. Eventually, once cannabis becomes federally legal, this will not be an issue anymore.
“When will hemp and cannabis be federally legal?”
Roger Brown: I think the federal government will skip over medical and pass adult-use cannabis within a few years. The reason is that if cannabis is medical, the government can’t tax it. But when it’s recreational or adult use, it’s taxable. So all the different governmental bodies, be it state or federal, want to tax cannabis. I think it’s a good idea to tax vices like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana because that money goes back into the system to help us as a society.
“Are ACS Laboratory’s laboratory tests expensive?”
Roger Brown: We conduct several panel types at different price points. Our standard 11-analyte potency test is a very fair cost. However, our Delta-8 and Delta-10 potency tests are priced higher because the analysis takes twice as long.
The issue is that Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 are nearly identical compounds. As a result, the average laboratory misinterprets their potency using standard testing methods. To overcome this issue, we dramatically slowed the chromatogram to ensure accuracy.
We’re very particular in ensuring that we have the results correct and that our clients can depend on their accuracy. As a result, we are the gold standard in the industry.
The Bottom Line
The hemp industry has no shortage of exciting innovations to explore. We encourage creative product development and look forward to the day when regulators keep up with the mainstream market. In the meantime, we’ll continue elevating the industry by offering full panel safety tests along with accurate potency analyses on Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, and THCOa. As the largest cannabis testing company in the Eastern United States, we test hemp products in 49 states and 16 countries. Contact us to start testing your products today.