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cbd isolate isomerization

Isolation and analysis of cannabinoids using LC–MS and IM-MS.

Chemical route sourcing of cannabinoid isomerization reactions to monitor the synthetic route.

Rapid Isomerization of CBD to Δ-9-THC using chemicals that the general population can purchase.


This study focuses on the chemical route sourcing of illicitly produced Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) via the acid-catalyzed cannabidiol isomerization reaction. Each of the acid-catalyzed reactions used acids that are readily available for the general population such as battery acid, muriatic acid, and vinegar. After the acid-catalyzed isomerization was complete, an analysis using Liquid Chromatography-coupled-Mass Spectrometry (LC–MS)-coupled-ion mobility to confirm all synthetic impurities in the sample was conducted. The conducted chemical route sourcing allows law enforcement to be able to determine how CBD was converted to psychoactive cannabinoids. Specifically, 10-methoxy-THC, 11-hydroxy-THC, 11,5″-dihydroxy-Δ9-THC, and 5″-hydroxy-CBD were able to be used as indicators in the determination of the chemical route sourcing. Additionally, the ion mobility allowed for a rapid secondary separation of the psychoactive cannabinoids without the need for the long LC/MS analysis time.

Cloudy extracts are usually a warning sign for impurities, but could also form if the delta 8 THC starts to form crystals. If you leave clear delta 8 THC in storage for long periods of time it may turn cloudy — but this doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.

Everything you use has to be pure — or the risk of contaminants and byproducts goes up substantially. It can be nearly impossible to determine all the different byproducts if you’re not working with pure ingredients. This includes the starting CBD material and the solvents, acids, and washes used throughout the process.

Ultimately, you can’t gauge the purity of delta 8 distillate from the color alone. It’s better to rely on the lab reports to determine purity.

3. What Does Delta 8 THC Feel Like?

Delta 8 THC has a similar psychoactive effect profile as delta 9, but much more subtle. It’s considered to be about half as potent and has a much more sedative or relaxed effect profile. Many people prefer delta 8 because it’s less likely to make you feel paranoid or anxious, it’s much better for promoting hunger and sleep, and is a powerful anti-nausea agent.

These different types of THC are differentiated by the placement of a chemical bond in the newly formed ring structure:

Lewis acids tend to be better at converting CBD to delta 8 THC, while Brønsted acids tend to be better for converting CBD to delta 9 or delta 10 THC (there are exceptions to this rule).

The boiling point of delta 8 THC is 383.5°C.

It could also produce different byproducts and leave a variety of residues requiring cleanup. Webster, Serna, and Raphael's patent highlights hydrochloric acid in ethanol or sulfuric acid in cyclohexane as two options. Other options include p-toluenesulfonic acid and toluene.

Unlike other cannabinoid extractions, notably ethanol-based methods, conversion for Delta-8 requires a non-polar organic solvent. Common solvents include alkanes like heptane.

A video by ExtrakLab explained that it's possible to convert both THC and CBD into Delta-8 through a chemical reaction. However, CBD is a more straightforward process with less solution cleanup and byproducts at the end. Therefore, the following play-by-play focus on CBD.

Step-by-step: Converting CBD into Delta-8

But where is this novel cannabinoid coming from? It's thanks to a surplus of other, more prevalent cannabinoids. Hemp-derived Delta-8 is jumping through legal loopholes and semantics, and it's also relatively cheap to produce in a lab. It's a matter of tinkering with the molecular structure of more benign and plentiful cannabinoids to convert them into Delta-8.

2. Add Acid of Choice into Solvent Mixture & Stir

5. Testing is Critical

3. Different Solvent-Acid Combination, Different Results