If you’re familiar with the hemp supplement industry, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about delta-9 THC. Products like delta-9 gummies, oils, and capsules have been flying off the shelves in the past few years as hemp-derived THC becomes more popular in the CBD space. While consumer interest in delta-9 THC continues to climb, some buyers are left with questions surrounding its chemical composition, effects and benefits, and legality.
Another question that’s popping up more often in the industry nowadays is that of synthetic cannabinoids. Since delta-9 is arguably the most popular cannabinoid due to its abundance in cannabis and its psychoactive effects, consumers are left wondering: is delta-9 THC synthetic? This blog post will clear the air surrounding delta-9 THC and synthetic cannabinoids.
A Brief History of Delta-9 THC
Delta-9 THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. Unlike cannabidiol, it produces psychoactive effects when inhaled or ingested by binding with cannabinoid receptors (CB1 receptors) in the endocannabinoid system. In addition to producing the distinct euphoria that is so highly sought-after by many consumers, delta-9 THC is also believed by many to have additional wellness benefits and potential side effects if not properly consumed*.
Traditionally, delta-9 THC has been referred to by most as simply “THC”, as it is the primary cannabinoid found in popular cannabis products like flower, edibles, and tinctures. However, with the discovery and popularization of additional delta types like delta-8 and delta-10 THC, more people are using the term “delta-9” to distinguish traditional THC from other types.
Delta-9 THC vs. Other Delta Types
While all 3 THC delta types are very similar in chemical structure, slight differences render them distinct from one another. Delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC, for example, also occur naturally in cannabis, albeit in much smaller amounts. In addition, delta-8 THC is reported to have less intense effects on users than delta-9 THC. To learn more about delta-9 vs. other delta THC types, read our blog post on delta-9 vs delta-8 THC.
The Advent of Synthetic Cannabinoids
When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law in 2018, it opened the floodgates for CBD production in the United States on a massive scale. With this rapid expansion, many companies found themselves in a saturated market. To increase their competitive edge, some manufacturers began deriving synthetic delta-8 THC from CBD. Since the resulting product was hemp-derived, it was technically legal under the Farm Bill, and thus the market for hemp-derived THC products in the US was born.
With the advent of synthetic delta-8 THC, it wasn’t long before delta-9 THC started being synthesized from hemp as well. Being the more potent delta variant, it was clear that the market for delta-9 products outweighed that of delta-8. Hemp-derived delta-9 THC products are very new, having only been on the market for a few years, but they’ve already taken the CBD industry by storm as one of the most popular product offerings.
Is Delta-9 THC Synthetic?
There is no clear answer to whether delta-9 THC is synthetic, as it depends on how the compound is extracted. While it is a naturally-occurring compound found in cannabis and hemp plants, it can be synthesized using chemical processes. It can also be derived from hemp naturally. Still, since it occurs naturally in such small amounts in hemp, some manufacturers are unwilling to spend the extra money or resources to extract it this way. Others may be cutting corners regarding testing for harmful chemicals, byproducts, and other contaminants.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers synthetic cannabinoids as controlled substances with no defined medical use, which also puts manufacturers of synthetic delta-9 THC at risk for legal action. Despite this, a lack of oversight and testing requirements at the federal level has resulted in the wide production and sale of Delta-8 products that may or may not be synthetic.
The cannabis industry is going through an unprecedented phase of change. As legal restrictions across the country and the globe are being lifted–and, in some cases, made more restrictive–more companies are facing tough decisions regarding which specific formulations of THC and CBD products they are permitted to produce. In addition, the lack of testing and oversight requirements opens the door for potentially harmful products being sold.
At NuLeaf Naturals, every single batch of product we produce adheres to the most rigorous manufacturing protocols and testing standards in the industry. Our wide range of CBD and THC products are natural, organic, and of the purest quality, so you can rest assured that you are consuming only the most natural products on the market.
Visit our Shop page to browse our product selection and find the perfect CBD or THC product for you.