A closer look at how D8 flower is made
As the popularity of Delta 8 THC continues to explode, the safety surrounding Delta 8 products continues to be questioned. The safety of any given Delta 8 product depends on the manufacturing process involved, especially when it comes to Delta 8 flower.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at Delta 8 flower. What is it, and how is it different from Delta 9 THC flower? How is Delta 8 THC flower made and, most importantly, is it safe?
Let’s find out together.
What is Delta 8 flower?
Delta 8 flower is a federally-legal hemp product that is usually smoked or vaped in order to access the therapeutic properties of Delta 8 and other minor cannabinoids. Delta 8 flower is also consumed recreationally due to its psychoactive properties, although it’s not as potent as Delta 9 THC.
Smoking or vaping Delta 8 flower is a fast-acting and popular method of consuming Delta 8, but there are no naturally occurring Delta 8 strains. Instead, manufacturers take high-CBD or high-CBG hemp flower and add Delta 8 to them to make Delta 8 flower.
Delta 8 flower is actually hemp flower
Cannabis and hemp geneticists are able to selectively breed strains that exhibit certain characteristics, which is why we have such an abundance of different high-CBD flower strains on the market now. They have even developed strains that are naturally high in CBG, but Delta 8 flower does not come about in the same way.
Delta 8 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid (and plant occurring phytocannabinoid) in hemp and cannabis plants, but it only exists in the plants in very small amounts, so extracting it from the plant isn’t viable for commercial purposes. It would be far too expensive for anyone to be able to afford it.
Instead, manufacturers are producing Delta 8 in a lab by changing the chemical structure of a similar, more abundant cannabinoid (CBD in most cases) through a process called isomerization.
The idea behind Delta 8 flower was to create a federally-legal, smokable product that mimics Delta 9 THC flower as closely as possible. These days, the quality of hemp flower is so good that it looks, smells, and tastes just like high-THC cannabis flower. By adding Delta 8 to hemp flower, you effectively end up with a product that has somewhat similar therapeutic properties and recreational effects to marijuana, but is federally legal across all 50 states.
How is Delta 8 THC flower made?
As mentioned, Delta 8 THC is manufactured via isomerization. CBD and Delta 8 THC are isomers of each other as their chemical structures contain all of the same components, but the atoms are arranged differently.
Delta 8 manufacturers use a chemical reaction to rearrange the atoms of CBD to convert into Delta 8 THC. Nothing is added which means that, although it has been created in a lab, Delta 8 is not considered to be a true synthetic cannabinoid.
The Delta 8 THC is then cleaned and refined until it is a pure Delta 8 THC distillate. Now all that’s left is to add the Delta 8 to the flower and different manufacturers have developed a variety of methods to do this, including dipping, spraying, and dusting it on.
Some manufacturers dip the hemp flower into the Delta 8 THC distillate. However, distillate is quite thick and oily and doesn’t ever dry completely, which results in a somewhat soggy flower product that produces a heavy, thick smoke.
It is potent, but it is also hard on the throat, making it too harsh for many hemp users, especially more inexperienced smokers.
Another method of getting Delta 8 onto the hemp flower is to spray it on. Distillate has a high viscosity so it’s likely that any one of a number of thinning agents are used in this method.
A light spray is going to result in a much less potent product than a hearty dunk, but it goes a long way towards a better smoking experience, as it will produce a lighter and more enjoyable smoke.
The flower itself will also appear less damp and be more appealing overall.
Another more innovative method involves solidifying the Delta 8 THC distillate and creating a powder which can be dusted onto the flower. This dry method allows Delta 8 to be added in more potent quantities without rendering the flower either harsh or soggy.
Some companies may also use a combination of these methods and the end result will be different depending on the methods used. It’s difficult to find out what methods are being used by any given company, so your best bet is trial and error. You might need to try Delta 8 flower from a number of different companies before finding one that you like.
What is Delta 8 infused hemp flower?
When you buy Delta 8 flower, it will often be marketed as Delta 8 infused hemp flower or Delta 8 enriched flower. Infused and enriched are just nicer sounding words (than sprayed or dipped), but whether you buy Delta 8 flower or Delta 8 infused hemp flower, you’re getting the same thing.
Benefits of smoking Delta 8 THC flower
The benefits of Delta 8 THC flower combine the benefits of consuming Delta 8 along with the benefits of consuming hemp flower, which is why many people see Delta 8 flower as a superior product to other Delta 8 products.
- Hemp flower contains hundreds of beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, that can all add their own unique properties to the overall experience, as well as enhance the effects of the Delta 8 THC, in what’s known as the entourage effect
- Smoking or vaping is one of the fastest-acting methods of consumption, so users can feel relief and experience effects within seconds
- The fast-acting effects are also very helpful in finding your correct dosage
- Delta 8 flower can make a good replacement for Delta 9 THC flower if access is limited or illegal in the state you live in
Research into Delta 8 is still in its infancy, but there have been some compelling studies that show Delta 8 THC may help to boost appetite, aid sleep, support digestion, relieve pain, aid relaxation and ease anxiety, as well as act as a neuroprotectant.
For many people, Delta 8 also offers a much smoother and more manageable psychoactive experience than Delta 9 THC, without any anxiety or paranoia that is sometimes associated with Delta 9.
Delta 8 THC flower vs Delta 9 THC flower
Many people ask us, “what’s the difference between Delta 8 THC flower and Delta 9 THC flower?”, because of their many similarities when it comes to effects and benefits. The main differences between the two include their origin, potency, and negative side effects.
The vast majority of, if not all, Delta 9 THC flower has been cultivated naturally, from a clone or seed. The Delta 9 THC and THCA (its acidic precursor) that it contains is all produced naturally in the resinous trichomes of the flowers, alongside all of the other naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes.
Delta 8 flower didn’t arrive in such a natural way, as it started life as CBD or CBG hemp flower and is then sprayed, dipped, or dusted in Delta 8 distillate.
Another point of difference is the psychoactive potency of Delta 8 compared to Delta 9. The psychoactive effects of Delta 8 THC are estimated to be around half that of Delta 9 THC. For some people, this would be considered to be a drawback, but this decrease in potent effects makes it a more enjoyable experience for beginners and those prone to anxiety and paranoia. It is also more suitable for daytime medicinal dosing.
For some people, side effects of Delta 9 THC can include anxiety and paranoia. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the incidence of these side effects happening with Delta 8 THC is far less, probably due to the lower potency and smoother high experience offered.
Is Delta 8 THC flower safe?
I recently wrote another article discussing the safety of Delta 8 THC in general. If safety is a concern for you then I highly recommend you read it before choosing your Delta 8 THC vendor, as all Delta 8 is not created equally.
Even once you have verified that your vendor’s supply of Delta 8 distillate is clean, another safety issue could arise from how they’re infusing it into your flower. If it’s being sprayed on, what are they using as a thinning agent, and is that thinning agent safe to smoke or vape?
Then, finally, if you plan on smoking Delta 8 flower then you should also consider the hazards that come from smoking itself. Combusting any type of organic material, whether it be wood, hemp, or tobacco, produces toxic smoke that may harm your lungs.
Is Delta 8 flower legal?
Delta 8 flower is legal at the federal level according to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. However, as of June 2022, 18 states have banned all forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which of course includes Delta 8 THC.
You can check if Delta 8 is legal in your state here: “is cannabis legal in my state?”.
Where to buy your Delta 8 flower
Due to the lack of regulation in the hemp market, not all products and vendors are created equally. Delta 8 THC has enjoyed a massive explosion in popularity over the last few years and, unfortunately, this has also attracted a lot of dodgy vendors who just want to make a fast buck.
How to spot a good vendor
A good vendor of Delta 8 flower will be able to provide you with third party lab reports proving the purity of the Delta 8 THC distillate used. They will also be transparent about their manufacturing processes, so you know exactly where the hemp flower has come from, as well as how the Delta 8 was added to it.
Delta 8 flower: Yay or nay?
Delta 8 flower carries many benefits, especially to people that are looking for symptom relief and don’t have legal access to medical marijuana. Delta 8 flower is fast-acting, incredibly easy to dose, and offers whole-plant encourage effects, whereby the plant’s compounds work together to produce more enhanced effects.
However, it is important to know how your Delta 8 flower was made, in order to assess the overall safety and enjoyment of the end product. Most importantly, always check for third-party lab tests to verify the purity and potency of the flower you’re interested in buying.
Who are your favorite Delta 8 flower vendors? Tell us about them in the comments below, including why you like them.