Houdini Lab

How Delta-8 THC is Synthesized in the Laboratory

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8) is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant, however it is currently more typically manufactured in a laboratory. This newly discovered ‘legal’ high is the most recent cannabinoid to be given the cannabidiol (CBD) makeover. In other words, there will be an irresistible consumer demand, which will avoid government regulation for the foreseeable future.

The question is, though, where does this unique cannabinoid come from. It’s because there’s an excess of other, more widespread cannabinoids in the system. Delta-8 made from hemp is navigating legal quagmires and semantic minefields, and it is also quite inexpensive to make in a laboratory. The process of turning more benign and abundant cannabinoids into Delta-8 is a matter of tinkering with the chemical structure of those compounds.


Cannabigerolic acid is the starting point for all cannabinoids’ development (CBGA). As the “mother of all cannabinoids,” this chemical transforms throughout the course of the plant’s life cycle into every natural cannabinoid known today, including THC, CBD, and more cannabinoids not yet discovered. Genetics, environmental exposures, and stress are all factors that can have an impact on these biological transformations.


Because cannabinoids have fairly similar chemical structures, transferring this natural tendency to convert from one cannabinoid to another into the laboratory is relatively simple. In fact, lab technicians have been employing similar conversion techniques to change common cannabinoids into unusual and exotic cannabinoids since way back when Delta-8 first became popularized. They are now attempting to use this similar technology to the Delta-8.


Delta-8 can be found in a variety of cannabis cultivars, but it is normally found in extremely little amounts. This makes it unprofitable to extract and purify Delta-8 from raw plant material that contains less than one percent of the targeted cannabinoid. In order to combat this, producers have began converting other, more widespread cannabinoids into THC, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 or, more popularly known as, THC). However, this is not the only factor contributing to the increase in Delta-8 production.


Another reason is the developing CBD sector, which is another factor. In the face of a glut of CBD flooding the market, producers have found themselves with excess not only CBD but also Delta-9, thanks to the THC remediation methods, which has resulted in increased production costs. It is highly likely that CBD and Delta-9 will both be converted into Delta-8. Delta-8 is currently more profitable than CBD in today’s market. In addition, it falls within a legal loophole, allowing it to dodge the same kind of persecution as its sister organization, Delta-9.



The technique of turning CBD into Delta-8 is not a brand-new concept. For decades, this isomerization method has been around, and it was even patented (in one variant) by three scientists: G. R. Webster, Leonard Sarna, and Raphael Mechoulam. According to the patent details as well as a summary provided by ExtraktLab, the following step-by-step procedure should be followed.


According to a video from ExtrakLab, it is feasible to transform both THC and CBD into Delta-8 by the use of chemical reactions. Although less complicated, CBD extraction results in less solution cleanup and pollutants at the conclusion of the procedure. As a result, the following play-by-play will be centered on CBD.


1. Dissolve CBD in a solvent of your choice (optional).


Delta-8 conversion is different from other cannabis extraction methods, such as ethanol-based approaches, in that it requires a non-polar organic solvent. Alkanes such as heptane are among the most commonly used solvents.


2. Pour in the acid of your choice into the solvent mixture and stir well.


Acid should be added to the solvent solution. Keeping the mixture at a constant temperature of 100 degrees Celsius while stirring constantly for up to 18 hours is recommended (stirrer hot-plate required). Alumina acid-washed, p-toluenesulfonic acid, and hydrochloric acid are some of the most commonly used solvents (all known as Lewis acids).


The results of using various combinations of solvents and acids are as follows:


There are dozens of various combinations that can be used to convert CBD into Delta-8, and each one is unique. Each formula produces a different set of results. Chemical reactions can take anywhere from one to eighteen hours to complete, depending on the blend used.


It might potentially produce a range of byproducts and leave a variety of residues that would need to be removed. The invention filed by Webster, Serna, and Raphael specifies two possible solutions: hydrochloric acid in ethanol or sulfuric acid in cyclohexane. Toluene and p-toluenesulfonic acid are two other alternatives to consider.


4. It has been washed and dried


Once the chemical reaction has been completed and the upper phase has been separated, it is necessary to wash and neutralize the solution to remove any remaining contaminants. The patent recommends cleaning with an aqueous solution of 5 percent sodium hydroxide (sodium bicarbonate).


5. Testing is quite important.


A high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system is used to separate the cleansed and transformed mixture into its various cannabis components. Testing is essential throughout the process to ensure that the product is pure. There is no such thing as a 100 percent conversion rate. There will always be a wide range of byproducts to choose from. Extrakt Labs recommends that you communicate with the testing laboratory about the procedure and formula you are using so that they can utilize the most appropriate residuals tests for your product.



That the CBD to Delta-8 conversion is straightforward has been shown time and time again by Extrakt Labs and other home chemists. CBD isolate may be transformed into a high-inducing chemical using what is effectively a home-chemistry kit and readily available solvents and acids, among other ingredients. The drawback of Delta-8 THC is that it is being produced by far too many amateurs and garage chemists, and many of their products may contain toxic residues from the chemicals used to make them. Acetic acid, for example, is a commonly utilized ingredient in the production of Delta-8 THC. It is noted in the epidemiology information sheets that breathing acetic acid can be quite hazardous. Consumers may be breathing more than they realize if the Delta-8 maker does not carry out the process correctly and completely.