Wait a minute – there’s more than one type of THC?! If you’re surprised, don’t feel like you’re very far behind.  Like Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 is a recently discovered THC variant, and cannabis researchers are still figuring it out. Naturally occurring in very trace amounts, Delta-10 is often mistaken for CBC or CBL. That said, processors must artificially create it to make Delta-10 THC products.  Like Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 THC causes its effects by interacting with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). At the same time, different variants of THC can have slightly different psychoactive effects. 

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Is Delta-10 THC Synthetic?

Delta-9 is the naturally occurring variant of THC found in cannabis. Scientists don’t need to add acidic catalysts to create Delta-9 THC. But it’s a different story when it comes to Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC.  Delta-8 is difficult to find naturally, so processors tend to synthesize it from hemp extracts. Similarly, Delta-10 THC is a byproduct of CBD. That means that researchers and manufacturers have not detected significant amounts of Delta-10 THC naturally in cannabis flower but can artificially create it through chemical alterations of CBD isolate.

The CDC describes synthetic cannabinoids like K2 (AKA Spice) as “dangerous and unpredictable,” affecting the brain “much more powerfully than marijuana” and causing potentially “life-threatening effects including nausea, anxiety, paranoia, brain swelling, seizures, hallucinations, aggression, heart palpitations, and chest pains.” Yikes.  So is it safe to consume Delta-10 THC, a semi-synthetic cannabinoid? K2 is synthesized with chemicals that aren’t naturally present in cannabis to recreate the effects of weed.

On the other hand, Delta-10 THC is created using cannabinoids extracted from real cannabis. Until there’s more research on Delta-8 and Delta-10 products, we can’t conclusively say if these THC variants are safe. But we can say that they’re entirely different from K2.     

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Which is Stronger? Delta-8, Delta-9, or Delta-10?

Let’s start with the mechanisms behind THC’s effects.  Current research suggests that THC triggers the ECS through CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors are molecular pathways densely located in the brain and nervous system, which is why THC’s most potent effects are psychoactive.   If you’re looking for the most potent psychoactive effects, Delta-9 is the THC variant to rule them all. 

Delta-9 THC is also the most abundant cannabinoid present in most weed strains. But as more people explore cannabis for its medical benefits, getting stoned isn’t the only thing that consumers care about. In fact, a growing portion of the cannabis market is interested in non-psychoactive (or minimally psychoactive) cannabis experiences.  Enter Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC. 

Both THC variants cause intoxication because, like Delta-9, they have a strong binding affinity for CB1 receptors. At the same time, their effects are less powerful than what you’d experience after consuming an equivalent dose of Delta-9 THC.  Given the novelty of both Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC, there is very little research available on its effects. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that Delta-8 THC offers a mildly intoxicating effect conducive to rest and sleep. Delta-10 THC has been described as mildly intoxicating as well but energizing and helpful during the day. 

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Best Way to Consume

Cannabis can be consumed through a variety of delivery methods, but the “best” way depends on how you want to receive cannabinoids (and how your body responds to each method). Many cannabis enthusiasts who use the plant as medicine seek consumption methods promoting cannabis’ entourage effect.  According to cannabis researcher Ethan Russo, the entourage effect optimizes cannabis’ medical benefits. In his seminal report, “Taming THC,” Russo writes that “phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions […] could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).”  

If you want to experience the entourage effect, don’t limit yourself to brands selling Delta-10 THC exclusive products. Instead, look for cannabis products labeled as whole spectrum cannabis. These products use cannabis extracts containing cannabinoids and their therapeutically beneficial roommates (terpenes).   Some cannabis consumers want a more concentrated version of a specific cannabinoid. Cannabinoid isolates allow these cannabis users to consume a single, purified cannabinoid rather than the spectrum of naturally present chemicals housed in the cannabis plant. If you want to experience Delta-10 THC on its own, you can seek out a cannabis product containing Delta-10 THC isolate.   

How to Dose

As Delta-10 THC’s popularity grows, cannabis manufacturers are making it available in a variety of products. You may be able to find the following Delta-10 THC delivery methods at a dispensary near you:

  • Vape cartridges & disposable vape pens. Start out with 1 puff if you’re new to cannabis.  
  • Tinctures. Approximately 30 mg is an adequate single dose. 
  • Gummies and edibles. If you aren’t sure what your THC tolerance is, we recommend starting with a dose no higher than 10 mg. 
  • Dabs. It’s difficult to dose dabs, but you can start out with an extract no larger than half your pinky nail. Try a single puff and wait about an hour before increasing your dose.  
  • Capsules. 10 mg is a good starting point for a Delta-10 THC capsule.   

If you have some experience with cannabis, then use that to guide the way you dose and consume Delta-10 THC. For example, if 5 mg of THC is typically all you need to get the effect you want, you can start with 5 mg of Delta-10 THC. If edibles leave you feeling greened out but tinctures give you quick and calming relief, avoid those vibrant-looking Delta-10 THC gummies and try the tincture instead.  We aren’t medical experts, so we recommend that you always consult with your bona fide health care provider before incorporating cannabis into your wellness routine.