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Conversion into Delta-8 THC

What is Delta-8 THC and what are the Concerns?

The consumer market is finding Delta-8 (D8-THC) exploding in the retail space as manufacturers, retail stores and distributors exploit the ambiguities in the federal drug laws with regard to isomers and analogs of Delta-9 THC.  This increase in demand is being met rapidly with manufacturers presenting a variety of products and formulations.  These products vary widely in their safety, effectiveness, purity, strength and method of production.

Let me be clear, the information provided here is meant to educate all of those interested in participating in the supply chain.  We at Abundant Labs have seen many in the market make assumptions about the product or overlook certain aspects due to need for revenue.  Participate at your own risk, we just want to make sure everyone understands what they are stepping into when using these products.   Nothing in this communication is meant to be legal advice. Please consult your own counsel for specific advice with regard to your circumstances.

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 THC

D8-THC is one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp.  Specifically, D8-THC is a structural analog of the more widely known Delta-9 THC (D9-THC).  Due to their structural similarities, D8-THC and D9-THC bind to the same CB1 receptor in the central nervous system  but the subtle structural differences are enough to constitute  an arguably discrete legal definition with respect to the DEA, a feature many are using to market the D8-THC molecule.  The specific structural difference of D8-THC vs D9-THC is the position of the double bond on the unconjugated ring, highlighted here; D8-THC has a double bond between position 7-8, D9-THC has the double bond between position 9-10.  This isomerization or conversion from D9-THC occurs in the hemp plant naturally and accounts for the scarce though detectable amounts in cannabis plants.  Extraction and distillation of D8-THC from biomass is both costly and low yielding and so most if not all commercially available D8-THC is the result of synthetic organic chemistry techniques to convert CBD into D8-THC.

Delta-8 THC Safety and Effects

It is the safety of these CBD conversion reactions that is the largest concern in the retail market place currently.  These chemical conversions involve the use of heat in the presence of acidic conditions to covalently bond the 1’ hydroxyl and the 8 carbon of CBD into the tetrahydropyran ring of THC.  Chemical reactions like this conversion are difficult to control precisely and the slightest fluctuation in temperature, pressure, or acidity can cause other side reactions to take place.  CBD isolate converted under the right conditions by knowledgeable chemists can yield +90% D8-THC with a low likelihood of potentially harmful contaminating products.  The conversion of crude oil or distillates using these acidic methods is considerably more risky with respect to safety.  These less pure extracts and distillates contain a variety of other molecules like lipids, proteins, flavonoids, alcohols, and sugars which when treated with heat and acidic conditions can create a complex mixture of side reactions and products that can be quite harmful.  Cleanup and purification is important when using any other form of starting material besides isolate, though many smaller and less sophisticated labs may not have the chromatographic or distillation capability needed.  The testing of these materials is also key as a typical HPLC potency test cannot identify side products of an impure reaction, HPLC-UV can only identify unknown compounds by conformance to retention times of reference compounds.

The recent push for minor cannabinoid isolates in the retail market has created tremendous business opportunities as well as numerous issues of consumer safety and education.  Until genetics can catch up with this demand, chemical conversions are the only scalable answer to the demand.  Therefore, those who have built their business on offering a natural alternative to help with health issues, you are in fact delivering a synthetic instead.

As mentioned before we are not discouraging or advocating the use of these synthetic alternatives, but we are encouraging everyone to do a couple of things:  First and foremost please educate yourself on what the product is, so when communicating to your clientele you are giving them accurate information.  Secondly,  please do some research on the supply chain for the product.  Make sure you know what it was made from (CBD isolate, crude, etc.) and who made it.  Is the lab who does the conversion cGMP certified? Does their staff have sufficient education (not just experience) and do they have the correct equipment?  Last but equally important please have the products whether bulk or finished tested independently with a reputable lab.

We hope this is helpful and we will make ourselves available for any questions.

Technician mixing CBD for energy, concentration, focus, and sleep

Does CBD Help With Energy, Concentration, Focus, and Sleep?

Oftentimes our clients reach out to us to determine if CBD (cannabidiol) is appropriate for treatment of various symptoms or illnesses. While we always recommend contacting a physician before starting any new form of treatment, we find it beneficial to share the background research that we’ve come across. Although there is not an abundant amount of research on cannabinoids, information is becoming more readily available as more and more clinical trials have been completed or are underway.

With long work days and the additional stressors brought on by the COVID-19 virus, most of us are seeking that additional boost of energy to combat fatigue. But doest CBD give you energy? Does CBD boost concentration and focus? In this post, we’re going to explore the clinical research on CBD as an energy aid.

Does CBD Give You Energy or Make You Tired?

While research has been performed to show that THC (or delta 9-tetrahydrocannibinol) is effective as a sleep aid, several groups have begun to explore the effects of CBD as a wake-inducing agent. In a previous post we discussed how THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors found naturally in the human nervous system. CB1 receptors are primarily active in your brain, central nervous system, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Meanwhile CBD does not bind bind to a specific endocannabinoid receptors but does not produce psychoactive effects, suggesting CBD is a compound with potential medical medical uses. CB2 receptors are mostly found on immune cells, which circulate throughout the body and brain via the bloodstream.

More importantly, CB2 receptors are present in the brain when there is inflammation or injury. Like all systems within the body, our nervous system is constantly trying to reach or maintain homeostasis. Its important to note that when THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors it acts as agonists, whereas when CBD binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors it acts as an antagonist or has near the opposite effect on the body when directly compared to THC. Thus, it is suspected that CBD counteracts some of the effects brought on by THC. This leads us back to our introductory question: does CBD give an energy boost?

Does CBD Give an Energy Boost?

In a 2004 study by Nicholson et al. researchers demonstrated the effectiveness of THC and CBD on sleeping patterns. They found that the administration of 15 mg of THC had no effects on nocturnal sleep, however, for participants given 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD there was a decrease in stage 3 sleep. As the amount of CBD increased to 15 mg, wakefulness increased also.

Conversely, in a 2013 study performed by Chagas et al. researchers found that systematic administration of CBD increased sleep time and sleep latency in rats. So why the conflicting information?

Can CBD Help You Sleep?

We often hear from our customers that CBD does, in fact, help them sleep. But does it actually make you sleepy? More than likely, the CBD is expressing its well-known anxiolytic properties that decreases anxiety allowing individuals to rest easy without the worries of the world on their shoulders. Remember, the endocannabinoid system is always working the reach homeostasis so an administration of one cannabinoid or the other could have differing effects due to the state in which the body is in before consumption. As we all know, a good night’s sleep helps us to recharge and take on a new day. So CBD can be an energy and focus booster indirectly, but is not going to be quick “pick me up” like a caffeinated beverage. The increased focus and concentration can also be attributed to the anxiolytic properties of CBD. We all tend to perform better when anxiety is lessened or overly consumed so that we can focus on the matter at hand.

Like most clinical trials, a large population is necessary to determine the efficacy of supplements. More research is necessary to determine the more precise effects of each cannabinoid. Currently, more than 120 different cannabinoids have been identified within the human nervous system so researchers have plenty of investigating to do as more research funding on the Cannabis sativa plant becomes available.

CBD Products For Energy and Relaxation Effects

Another important note is the method of administration and the type of CBD product being used. CBD tinctures are a mixture of CBD (whether it be isolate or distillate) and essential oils. Here at Abundant Labs, we’ve developed two different formulas for CBD tinctures, Energy and Calm. While both contain the same full-spectrum distillate, the accompanying essential oils vary. The Energy formula is composed on essential oils that are known to be uplifting while the Calm formula is made of essential oils known to exhibit more relaxing effects. Check out our online store to read more about our cGMP certified hemp extracts and retail products. As always, we’re here to help you find the product most suited for you or your customer’s needs.

 

Sources and Further Reading

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19045957/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15118485/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23307069/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15158372/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23343597/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18833429/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19729208/

Collecting full spectrum CBD distillate and broad spectrum CBD distillate in beaker

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD Distillate

So you’ve decided to procure some CBD after recommendations from a friend, colleague or reading online about the many benefits. You land on an online store webpage and a vast array of terminology comes flying at you out of the screen: isolate, distillate, broad spectrum, full spectrum, cannabinoids, terpenes and so on. As Austin Powers would say, “But what does it all mean, Basil?”

First thing’s first, let’s define some of these terms.

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system first discovered in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids, receptors, and metabolic enzymes that help regulate a variety of functions in the human body including sleep, mood, memory, appetite, reproduction, and pain sensation. Endocannabinoids are molecules produced naturally by the human body. They bind to endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) which lie on the outside of the cell, waiting to detect the presence of cannabinoids introduced into the body. Upon detection of cannabinoids, the receptors initiate the appropriate cellular response.

Cannabinoids

Naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Of over 480 different compounds present in the plant, there are at least 120 known cannabinoids that exhibit varied effects upon consumption. The most abundant cannabinoids within the Cannabis sativa plant are CBD and THC.

CBD – Cannabidiol

A prominent cannabinoid found within the Cannabis sativa plant discovered in 1940 that has no psychoactive effects but has been clinically found to reduce anxiety, enhance cognition, and treat movement disorders and pain. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is federally legal if it is derived from hemp.

THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol

Another prominent cannabinoid found within the Cannabis sativa plant that has psychoactive effects and is attributed to “getting high.” THC is a Schedule 1 substance and is federally legal unless it is derived from hemp and under 0.3% overall composition of the plant or extract.

Hemp

A variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of CBD. Conversely, marijuana has higher concentrations of THC and lower concentrations of CBD. As specified by the 2018 Farm Bill, the hemp plant can contain no more than 0.3% THC making it an ideal source for CBD as it can contain anywhere from 10-30% CBD.

Isolate

A chemical term used to specify that the only component is solely the specified material. In this case, we’re referring to cannabidiol, or CBD. Thus, CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD that does not contain any other cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, lipids or other compounds found in the hemp plant. Isolate CBD is a white, powdery solid that is 99+% CBD. Hemp processors receive the hemp plant and use chemistry and biochemistry techniques to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material then take further steps to isolate CBD in its pure form.

Distillate

A highly refined extract that has undergone the distillation process. CBD distillate is a golden, viscous oil that typically contains around 70-80% CBD including minor cannabinoids, terpenes and other plant oils and extracts. Distillation is the process of purifying a liquid by evaporation and condensation. From the perspective of our laboratory, we’re removing the ethanol solvent used to extract the CBD from the hemp plant leaving behind the desired cannabinoids and terpenes. The ethanol is removed during Ethanol recovery through falling film distillation. CBD is purified by wiped film distillation using evaporation and condensation.

Full Spectrum Distillate

An oil extract that contains all the cannabinoids that are naturally occurring in the Cannabis sativa plant. Full spectrum CBD distillate is high in CBD, with only trace amounts of minor cannabinoids, and very low in THC. Despite these relatively low concentrations of other cannabinoids, the overall composition is considered “full spectrum” as the material contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids naturally found in the hemp plant.

Broad Spectrum Distillate

Broad-spectrum distillate is defined as a Full Spectrum which is modified. It typically still contains CBD and other cannabinoids within the plant. The most common modification is the removal of THC, which is either partially or completely removed after the initial extraction. In essence, broad-spectrum contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids except for THC as described above.

Which is Better: Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum CBD Distillate?

Returning to our original question, which product is going to be the most effective for me? Or perhaps, for my pet? The answer depends upon the individual user and their desired effects.

Full spectrum distillate has the greatest effectiveness of these products due to the different cannabinoids working together synergistically. This is often referred to as the “entourage effect.”

Does Full Spectrum CBD Distillate have THC?

Users reap the benefits of CBD as well as all other cannabinoids naturally present in the Cannabis sativa plant, including a very small amount of THC. However, it is important to note that copious consumption of full spectrum distillate could possibly render a positive for THC during a urinalysis test, such as one would undergo while seeking or maintaining employment. THC has been shown to have pain-reducing and sleep-inducing effects but can also increase anxiety for some users. Although it is very small in concentration, it’s important to be mindful when choosing your extract.

Does Broad Spectrum CBD Distillate have THC?

Because broad spectrum extracts contain multiple cannabinoids, they also produce the “entourage effect,” but without the THC. For those seeking the benefits of all cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant, but not THC, broad spectrum distillate is the desired extract. Broad spectrum distillate is best for users with conditions that CBD isolate alone cannot help with, for users that have a sensitivity to THC, or users living or working in regions with harsh THC regulations.

Topicals, Edibles, and Pet Treats

Now that we’ve defined the various types of CBD extracts, go and explore all the products available containing CBD. Tinctures, gummies, cookies, salves, balms and even pet treats are available. Retailers should specify the extract used to create the product and include a certificate of analysis to show the user the composition percentages of each cannabinoid present in the extract.

CBD isolate vs CBD distillate crystals

CBD Isolate vs. CBD Distillate – What’s the Difference?

In the ever expanding world of cannabidiol (CBD) products, consumers will ultimately have to make the choice to use CBD isolate-based products or CBD distillate-based products. In order to assist in the decision making process, it’s best to break down what is CBD isolate and what is CBD distillate.

cGMP Certification

Before we open the discussion of the difference between the two products, it is important to note not all products are made the same. We always encourage anyone interested in using any of these products to make sure they are buying from certified facilities such as ours with a cGMP certification.

What is CBD Distillate?

Distillate is a highly refined extract that has undergone the distillation process. CBD distillate is a golden, viscous oil that typically contains around 70-80% CBD including minor cannabinoids. Distillation is the process of purifying a liquid by evaporation and condensation. From the perspective of our laboratory, after removing the ethanol solvent used to extract the CBD from the hemp plant, we use wipe-film distillation to separate CBD from other compounds in the crude oil by differences in boiling point. We collect the CBD condensate and the terpenes in different condensers and the remaining material is the compounds with high boiling points that never evaporated.

What is CBD Isolate?

Isolate is a chemical term used to specify that the only component is solely the specified material. In this case, we’re referring to cannabidiol, or CBD. Thus, CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD that does not contain any other cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, lipids or other compounds found in the hemp plant. Isolate CBD is a white, powdery solid that is 99+% CBD. Hemp processors receive the hemp plant and use chemistry and biochemistry techniques to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material then take further steps to isolate CBD in its pure form. In fact, distillate is an intermediate product during the production of isolate CBD.

How do you Make CBD Isolate from Distillate?

After purifying the distillate, the oil undergoes a process called recrystallization. In chemistry, recrystallization is a technique used to purify chemicals. The desired compound can be isolated and impurities can be removed from the solution. To perform recrystallization, a solvent (a chemical able to dissolve other substances) is added to a mixture, in our case CBD distillate, and heated until all of the distillate dissolves in solution. After the CBD distillate dissolves the temperature of the mixture is lowered significantly, this is sometimes referred to as “crashing”.

As the mixture is allowed to cool, the CBD molecules within the mixture reassemble into a crystalline structure, separating themselves from the rest of the mixture. This manipulation of temperature called recrystallization is a well-known technique used in the organic chemistry laboratory. Isolate is tested using advanced chemistry instrumentation to determine and certify the composition is purely CBD with non-detectable (ND) amounts of other cannabinoids, such as THC. Thus, there is no THC in isolate CBD extracts or finished products.

Not only does the physical appearance of isolate and distillate differ, so does the composition of each hemp extract. As mentioned before, isolate is cannabidiol in its purest form. On the contrary distillate is an extract that not only contains around 75% cannabidiol, but also other cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG), (cannabinol) CBN and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Terpenes are also present in distillate, which is what gives the hemp plant a distinguished taste and smell depending on the strain of Cannabis sativa used to begin the extraction process.

Which is Better: CBD Isolate or CBD Distillate?

Consumers seeking all the benefits of CBD, whether it be treating anxiety or inflammation, without also consuming other cannabinoids should seek out CBD isolate infused products.

THC Levels in CBD Isolate vs Distillate

Some consumers are sensitive to THC, have adverse effects or need to avoid consumption of THC in any amount due to work-mandated drug testing. For those that do not have negative effects or concerns of consuming very small amounts of THC, full-spectrum distillates might provide more relief that isolate CBD. Full-spectrum distillate has the greatest effectiveness of these products due to the different cannabinoids working together synergistically. This is often referred to as the “entourage effect.” Users reap the benefits of CBD as well as all other cannabinoids naturally present in the Cannabis sativa plant, including a very small amount of THC. THC has been shown to have pain-reducing and sleep-inducing effects but can also increase anxiety for some users. Although it is very small in concentration, it’s important to be mindful when choosing your extract. Research is relatively sparse regarding the therapeutic benefits of CBG, when compared to the apparent wealth of information available on THC and CBD but there are early studies linking the compound to a whole host of potential therapeutic uses, such as treating glaucoma, decreasing inflammation and killing drug-resistant bacteria. CBN reduces intraocular pressure in the eye, so it can be used in the treatment of glaucoma. CBN also fights free radicals in the bloodstream, and it performs similarly to THC in pain reduction treatments.

CBD Isolate vs Distillate for Anxiety or Pain

You may find that CBD isolate is exactly what you’re looking for, or that you need the assistance of other cannabinoids to alleviate symptoms such as joint pain or anxiety.

Some users find that CBD isolate fits the bill for treatment, perhaps for treating anxiety or enhancing cognitive ability. Although CBD isolate does not offer the benefits of the entourage effect, there is no risk of psychoactive effects, no taste or smell, or risk of failing a urinalysis test. CBD isolate is recommended for those seeking the most concentrated form of CBD or needing a bigger dose for desired effect. If you are new to cannabinoids, CBD isolate derived products is the best place to start.

Isolate and Distillate Topicals, Edibles, and Pet Treats

Tinctures, gummies, cookies, salves, balms and even pet treats can be produced using either isolate or distillate. Retailers should specify the extract used to create the product and include a certificate of analysis to show the user the composition percentages of each cannabinoid present in the extract. Be sure to check out our online store for retail products and bulk extracts. We also work to produce custom products and blended materials to client specification for your very own white label offering.

Why our Products are Superior

What makes our products better? To answer this question, you have to understand what goes behind making our products. We begin not with the flower but with the farmer (grower). With such a new and budding (pun intended) industry, we have a lot to overcome. Such as; differences in genetics, cultivating methods, pest control, harvesting, drying, and storage. All of these factors play a part in how we apply our parameters to extracting. Therefore we sought relationships with farmers who had to meet specific criteria in areas of experience, ethics in-growing, and sourcing their genetics. By focusing on the farmer, we have greater confidence in the plant material’s quality and consistency.

Next, we use a “Super-Cryo Extraction Method,” which allows us to focus on a specific group of items such as the cannabinoids from the plant. We want to eliminate as much of the other items coming off the plant as possible. To do this, we have custom made chilling technology using LN2 to drive the temperatures to -90. In addition to the super-cryo method, we also employ a unique saturation methodology to make our process the most efficient.

As a side note, do not be fooled by the solventless extraction methods of supercritical CO2. Because this method is squeezing everything out of the plant material, it has to be winterized. Winterization requires those extraction companies to then mix a solvent into the material to keep it from hardening during this process. Therefore, the extraction itself is solventless, but they still have to use solvents to process the oil. My only point is you’re NOT buying a material which was made without solvents.

Once the material is extracted and the solvent has been removed, we use wiped-film distillation to separate the cannabinoids. This form of distillation has been used in the industrial world for over 50 years and is remarkably consistent. The key to using this technology is putting the vessels under vacuum to lower the boiling point. Our vacuums are generated from a 4 stage system that finishes with a diffusion pump (a pump with no moving parts). This allows us to fractionate the cannabinoids at lower temperatures.

Finally, we have invested in analytical instruments, allowing us to perform on-site testing. Giving us the unique ability to test every stage of the process and adjust the parameters (if needed). Again this an organic material grown under a variety of genetics, cultivation methods, and no consistency in harvest. We refer to this as the “Science of Quality.”

To ensure we follow our methods consistently, we have a 3rd party auditor inspect us to qualify for our cGMP certification. This certification gives our clients confidence that we are meeting the same level of quality and consistency with every lot.

In future posts, we will dive deeper into these methods and discuss the production of our Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate.