Is Delta 10 Safe? [2022 Update]
Posted by Christian on 26th Apr 2023
Delta-10 was a virtual unknown – even in the cannabis world! – just a few years ago. Now, it’s one of several emerging cannabinoids vying for the top spot in the federally legal hemp industry. But there is one pressing question: is delta 10 safe?
Ultimately, yes, the pure delta-10 cannabinoid is as safe as THC. But the reality is more complex, with no two brands adopting the same approach to manufacturing and quality control. And each product type comes with different risks.
In this comprehensive guide to delta-10 safety, we will explore how products are made and what makes some safer than others. I will also help you find genuine and effective hemp-derived delta-10 products when shopping online!
What is Delta 10?
Delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-10) is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid and THC isomer, first reported in the scientific literature in the 1980s. Delta-10 is a federally legal, hemp-derived substitute to marijuana, although it is less powerful than THC.
The semi-synthetic term describes a peculiar reality. Researchers have found naturally-occurring delta-10 in cannabis (likely as a degradation product), but all delta-10 extract in products is lab-synthesized.
Since delta-10 is so rare as a natural cannabis component and only ever appears in trace quantities, it would be impossible to make products with plant-based delta-10.
But creating delta-10 in laboratories using a chemical process called isomerization is relatively easy. Indeed, delta-10 has two enantiomers – an R and an S conformation. The R enantiomer is more active at the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor.
Delta-10 is a less potent alternative to delta-8, which is already substantially milder than delta-9 (THC). Such cannabinoids are dominating the hemp market right now, but how is delta-10 made, and how does this impact its safety?
How is delta 10 made?
Manufacturers create the delta-10 distillate used in vaping products, edibles, and tincture oils in laboratories. Skillful chemists harness a natural process known as isomerization, maximizing the reaction in an optimized lab environment.
Chemists turn hemp-derived CBD extract into delta-10 distillate using an external chemical additive, such as acetic acid. They start by mixing CBD in a solvent before adding the acid. After 12 hours, the acid is neutralized and the solvent is removed.
The delta-10 is extracted and concentrated, and then potentially refined further if the distillate remains riddled with impurities. The best delta-10 brands take more care with distillation and chromatography to ensure a cleaner finished product.
How Safe is Delta 10?
I will split this question into two sections. First, we will cover the safety of delta-10 as a pure substance; then we will discuss its safety in the context of delta-10 distillate.
The delta-10 cannabinoid
We have limited research, but it appears that delta-10 is a benign substance and perhaps even safer than THC and delta-8. Delta-10’s extremely mild potency means side effects are rare, although high dosages could make them more pertinent.
However, delta-10 is a THC isomer with characteristics to traditional THC, so it may trigger the following side effects:
- Anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations
- Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (extremely rare and only in heavy users)
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
As always with mind-altering substances, do not take delta-10 if you suffer from, or have a family history of mental disorders (i.e., schizophrenia or psychosis). Delta-10 likely poses some risk of addiction, but there is no scientific research on the topic.
Premium-grade, high-purity delta-10 distillate (90% and above) is safe. Concerningly, much of the delta-10 available in the U.S. market falls well short of this standard. The unregulated nature of the hemp industry exacerbates this issue.
No two batches of delta-10 distillate are the same, even when produced by the same chemist! Slight deviations in purity are no cause for concern, and we can expect distillate quality and consistency to improve as chemists refine their methods.
The danger comes with delta-10 products that barely reach 60% purity. No manufacturer would ever admit to this, but laboratories that have tested products for research purposes have found shockingly impure delta-10 being sold legally.
The impure delta-10 distillate may contain other THC isomers, like delta-8, which is less of an issue. However, low-quality extract will inevitably be full of residual chemicals and heavy metals due to shoddy chemical processing.
Here are a few harmful byproducts that have been detected in delta-10 distillate:
- Dimethyl benzenes
- Trimethyl benzenes
Ideally, dangerous delta-10 distillate would never make it to market. But with no official regulator to enforce safety standards, low-grade delta-10 products are worryingly common. And it reaffirms the necessity of third-party lab testing.
High-quality delta-10 distillate is safe for consumption and no riskier than any other hemp-derived product. However, the current prevalence of impure distillate should put you on alert, especially if a vendor is selling products at suspiciously low prices.
Is Delta 10 Safe to Smoke?
Everybody knows that smoking is dangerous, so it would be facetious to suggest that smoking delta-10 flower is consequence-free. But it is safer to smoke delta-10 buds than tobacco, and potentially less risky than smoking delta-8 and THC, too.
Delta-10 vs. tobacco: Tobacco contains nicotine, an insanely addictive ingredient that causes dependence. Thankfully, delta-10 flower has no such compound – delta-10 is, at worst, mildly addictive.
Subsequently, there is only a low risk of getting hooked on delta-10 flower, and even then, you will still smoke much less plant material than if puffing through cigarettes.
Delta-10 vs. THC and delta-8: Delta-10 is the weakest of these three cannabinoids, and therefore carries the least risk of cannabis use disorder. Such a low addiction risk makes it easy to stop smoking if you need to, reducing any long-term harms.
But much depends on the purity of the distillate used to make the delta-10 flower. Distillate teeming with nasty acids, residual chemicals, and heavy metals could be extremely dangerous. Don’t smoke a product if you cannot verify its quality.
So, is delta 10 safe to smoke? Not entirely, but provided you purchase a high-quality, third-party tested product, it is among the safer substances you could choose to smoke.
That said, I don’t want to downplay the harms of smoking, a behavior that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and more.
Is Vaping Delta 10 Safe?
No substance is 100% safe to vape, but vaping is much less harmful than smoking and pure delta-10 is one of the least risky cannabinoids you could vape. This is true whether you are vaping cartridges, disposable pens, or e-liquids from bottles.
There is little research on the differences in risk between smoking and vaping hemp or marijuana. However, we can confidently apply the existing evidence on tobacco to hemp. We know vaping is safer, but there are disagreements on how much safer it is.
Of course, the safety of delta-10 vaping is directly proportional to the product quality. Cheap distillate could contain numerous nasty chemicals that are harmful when vaped. Given how new delta-10 is, we have a limited grasp of these risks.
However, the 2019-20 EVALI epidemic in the United States showed the severe and even deadly risks of vaping sketchy e-liquids, cartridges, and disposables.
While that problem was isolated to illicit THC vape carts, there is no reason it couldn’t impact delta-10 products, too. It only takes a few bad actors to start making vaping products with unsafe ingredients, as happened here with vitamin E acetate.
The manufacturing quality of your delta-10 disposable pen or vape cartridge also affects how safe it is. Cheap vaping devices made with toxic heavy metals – including arsenic, chromium, nickel, lead, and tin – can be very dangerous.
I prefer vape carts and disposables made with 304 Stainless Steel or ceramic. Not everybody agrees that ceramic is a safe material, and more research is required on its long-term risks. But ceramic coils are much safer than nickel and chromium coils.
I also favor vape tanks made from borosilicate glass. These are safer than plastic (polycarbonate) tanks and produce better-tasting vapor. Some e-liquids can melt plastic tanks, which is potentially hazardous.
Is delta 10 safe to vape? As an intake method, yes – vaping is relatively harmless and much preferable to smoking. But you must take extra care to ensure you are vaping a high-grade product, as the consequences can be more severe if you aren’t.
Is Delta 10 Safe to Consume?
The only risks with delta-10 edibles, syrups, capsules, and tincture oils come from the ingredients – and specifically, the delta-10 distillate. There is nothing intrinsically harmful about administering a tincture under your tongue or eating an edible.
Staying safe with delta 10 edibles
As delta-10 is much milder than THC (and even HHC and delta-8), you may consider taking a higher dose to make up for the lower potency. But accidentally taking too much could leave you with unwanted side effects.
It’s best to start slowly with delta-10 edibles and any new product. Familiarize yourself with the cannabinoid and the edible you are consuming before attempting to hit the heights – this will make for a safer and more enjoyable trip.
Orally consumed can take more than 60 minutes to work and up to three hours to reach peak effects. Don’t worry if you don’t notice the benefits straight away, and don’t indulge in a second serving until at least three hours have elapsed.
How Much Delta 10 is Safe?
Best estimates suggest delta-10 is 20 to 30% less potent than delta-8, which is only 50 to 75% as potent as delta-9 (THC). If you want a typical marijuana-like experience from your delta-10 product, you may need to take twice as much as usual.
I won’t give you precise dosage recommendations, as everybody has different needs, and no two people react to cannabinoids in the same way. But make sure to follow the product guidelines and, if you are in any doubt, take less!
Is Delta 10 Legal?
Yes, natural delta-10 is federally legal, according to the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill).
No states have directly banned delta-10, but restrictions on delta-8 could also affect delta-10, depending on the legal wording. For example, a law targeting all tetrahydrocannabinols or THC isomers would implicate hemp-derived delta-10.
How to Stay Safe When Buying Delta 10 Products
Keep safe when purchasing delta-10 by researching products in-depth. There may be plenty of low-quality delta-10 out there, but it’s normally easy to spot a sketchy brand or product. This quick checklist should help you steer clear of scammers.
Check for third-party lab reports
Third-party lab-testing is the hemp industry’s version of product regulation. It’s neither a standardized system nor a legal requirement of vendors to sell lab-tested products, but it’s the most effective method we have of determining product quality.
In addition to potency and legality, the third-party report should ideally cover product purity, too. If not, delta-10 products made with low-quality distillate could go undetected.
Buy from reputable brands
Experience breeds trust and reputable brands with years in the industry are a safer bet than new and non-specialist vendors. I recommend buying delta-10 from companies that first cut their teeth selling hemp-derived CBD in the early days.
Brand reputation alone is no guarantee of getting a premium delta-10 product, but it’s an essential piece of the puzzle and something not all businesses have.
Read customer reviews
Product reviews from verified customers often hold unique and useful information that you would not find elsewhere. For instance, if a brand’s delta-10 disposables are prone to malfunctioning, disgruntled reviews will alert you to the situation.
Reviews may also have intriguing details on how a product works and clever tricks on how to get more out of them. I always check reviews before making a purchase.
Buy Safe Delta 10 Products at CBD Genesis!
Is delta 10 safe? I can assure you that the delta-10 products available at CBD Genesis most definitely are! We stock own-brand disposable pens, vape carts, and edibles, as well as excellent delta-10 products from ELYXR LA and Delta Effex.
Every hemp-derived product sold at CBD Genesis is third-party lab-tested and contains less than 0.3% THC.