Article by Travis Cesarone, Cannabis Life Network
Unadulterated cannabis concentrates can contain unknown substances depending on how they were produced. One compound that recently appeared is known as Delta-10–THC, an almost entirely unexplored form of THC.
The cannabinoid has only been discovered after cannabis was highly processed, although it is touted as plant-derived by some companies. So, is delta-10-THC natural or synthetic?
Delta 10 THC in distillates
During an extensive phone conversation, I asked Dr. Roggen for an update on his results. A previous installment discussed an analytical discovery by Dr. Markus Roggen, a Ph.D. in chemistry. Processors are encountering spikes of unknown compounds after their cannabis is processed – a problem that Dr. Roggen has managed to resolve to a great extent. Since he is conveniently CLN’s resident scientist, I decided to call him.
Have you discovered the unknown substances that are created after cannabis is processed?
We have not yet identified them all. But, there are now reports that D9- THC likes to turn into D10-THC. And this would not be shown on a normal analytical test.
Dr. Markus Roggen
Can you explain your experiences with Delta-10-THC? Does it exist?
We don’t have reference standards for Delta-10, yet. This is a relatively new compound, or recently discovered compound. It has not yet come through my lab, but I have talked to researchers in the US at conferences and I have seen their presentations. They make a very good case that they can isolate Delta-10 with a full characterization of the compound. So, yes, this is a real cannabinoid.
In reality, the question is not, does THC change after it is processed, but rather, what side products are truly created during what process? To be blunt, delta-10 THC is a highly specific endpoint that is more synthetic and not at all-natural. The isomer of THC is also infamously similar to CBC (cannabichromene) on lab tests due to the cannabinoid’s identical retention times and UV absorption.
This means that processors who isomerize CBD to delta-8 THC can’t tell if their CBD has degraded to CBC, or pushed the double-bond to the Delta-10 position in the molecule. But now, reference standards, and ultimately lab tests, for the unusual cannabinoid are available in certain states.
How can distillation result in a change to the THC molecule?
When distillation happens, there is one main aspect about it – you heat or boil your compound. So, there is a lot of heat involved. And, with that heat, other processes can happen. With THC, the important part is that there can be isomerization. That means the double-bond, which is in the ninth position for Delta-9 THC, can move to other positions in the ring. The most known isomer is Delta-8 THC.
The THC molecule has a double-bond, which is when two pairs of electrons bind two atoms together. This special bond is solitary in the molecule’s six-membered ring. It likes to move to the left to delta-8-THC, which we discussed. Otherwise, oxygen can encourage THC to degrade, which adds double-bonds to the ring by removing four hydrogens from the cyclohexene part to form a benzene ring. The result is CBN. This more occurs in decarboxylation rather than distillation, which we also discussed. (1)