What is delta-10 THC?

Learn the basics of this synthetic cannabinoid—including its uses, effects, and potential risks.

Learn the basics of this synthetic cannabinoid—including its uses, effects, and potential risks.
minute read

From edibles like gummies to vapes, tinctures and drops, there are many different CBD and THC products on the market today—but delta-10 is newest on the scene. What is this form of THC, and is delta-10 THC legal? Are there benefits, and do those benefits outweigh the risks?

You have questions, and we have answers. Let’s dive into all things delta-10.

What is delta-10 THC?

The main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, which is commonly referred to as just THC. This cannabinoid has a checkered past, and remains heavily regulated and illegal on a federal level. Delta-9 THC produces powerful psychoactive effects that may be valuable in a medical context, which is why state laws that permit medical marijuana use allow delta-9 THC products to be sold at medical dispensaries as well. 

Delta-10 THC is a cannabinoid closely related to delta-9 THC, but it isn’t subject to the same regulations. Delta-10 THC was actually only recently discovered. Here's how it happened: 

A California cannabis farm discovered delta-10 THC after their plants had come into contact with potentially dangerous fire retardant chemicals. When the farm attempted to decontaminate their plants, they noticed that crystals had formed on the plant's exterior. They took a sample of these crystals for testing and found that they were an alternative type of THC. 

Delta-10 THC can naturally occur in hemp plants, but not in significant amounts. It’s possible to extract natural delta-10 THC from cannabis, but it would take a whole lot of cannabis to produce a substantial amount. It isn’t feasible to derive delta-10 exclusively from plants—which is why most delta-10 on the market is created synthetically.

Because delta-10 THC is relatively new, there aren't many laws, rules, and regulations regarding its production. It could be produced in a highly sterile, regulated, and scientific way, but there’s no way to tell how companies are choosing to make the synthetic version of this cannabinoid. In other words, it’s hard to know where delta-10 truly comes from. And sadly, most producers are taking advantage of this little-to-no delta-10 regulation.

Many states are starting to ban this commonly synthetic (and sometimes dangerous) cannabinoid. 

How is delta-10 THC different from delta-8 or delta-9?

Though delta-10 THC is similar to delta-8 and delta-9 in that it interacts with your endocannabinoid system, delta-9 THC has the most significant ability to produce intoxicating, psychoactive effects. It naturally occurs within the cannabis plant at significant concentrations.

Delta-8 THC, however, only naturally occurs in very small amounts. Some varieties of hemp produce amounts of delta-8 THC that are significant enough to be naturally derived. While delta-8 is sometimes synthetically created, it can also be sourced directly from hemp

Delta-8’s ability to produce psychoactive effects is slightly stronger than delta-10’s ability to produce psychoactive effects. Delta-8 THC is most comparable to delta-9 THC in its potency but is still a bit more gentle and "full-bodied" in its effect profile.

All of this said, natural delta-10 THC is very weak in its potency. It takes a lot of delta-10 THC to produce effects similar to delta-8 THC and even more delta-10 to produce effects similar to delta-9 THC. Rather than “microdosing,” where a small amount of a cannabinoid is used to achieve modest effects, delta-10 cannabis products would need to be used in much larger servings to produce significant effects.* 

What does delta-10 THC do in your body?

Delta-10 THC works similarly to delta-9 THC by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in your brain and body. When it latches on, it interferes with how your receptors send and receive messages. This leads to mild feelings of euphoria that are usually short-lived. 

Due to the lack of laws and regulations surrounding the production of delta-10 THC, it’s difficult to be sure that all synthetic delta-10 THC is created equally. While it’s clear how pure delta-10 THC should work, there’s no way to know how unregulated synthetic delta-10 THC may affect your body.* 

Synthetic delta-10 THC products aren’t always lab tested. Untested products may be secretly harboring contaminants like mold, residual pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals, all of which can be harmful if ingested.

When you use delta-10, your body stores its metabolites in your body fat. Your body will store delta-10 for anywhere from a few days to a month, depending on how often you use it. Delta-10 THC is similar enough to delta-9 THC that it can potentially cause a positive result on a drug test for cannabis use, even if you didn’t use cannabis in its whole plant form.*

Does delta-10 have side effects?

Every cannabinoid will have slightly different effects for every person. Experiences with naturally derived cannabinoids are most likely to be similar. Some people who use delta-10 THC won’t experience any side effects, while others may experience negative side effects.

Some of these side effects can occur as a result of the delta-10 itself. Side effects are usually temporary and will go away on their own. Other side effects may be the result of residual chemicals used in the creation of synthetic cannabinoids—in this case, the side effects may be more serious and may have long-lasting consequences.*

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are the two most common side effects of delta-10 THC. They usually subside after the effects of delta-10 have worn off, but they may create a residual “hangover” feeling that can linger for hours. 

Nausea often accompanies other side effects, like dizziness or lightheadedness. These side effects may play off of each other, exacerbating the situation and making it difficult to get things under control. 


Any psychoactive substance has the ability to produce hallucinations. Some people are more prone to hallucinations than others. Delta-10 is less likely to produce visual hallucinations (like seeing things that aren’t really there) and more likely to produce tactile hallucinations or paranoia. 

Tactile hallucinations are sensations like suddenly feeling that your clothes are too tight or the fabric is itchy, even if you were perfectly comfortable before you used delta-10 THC. Paranoid hallucinations might include the belief that you’re in trouble or someone is watching you.

Some people may experience high anxiety or even panic attacks due to these hallucinations. People who are prone to panic attacks may need to avoid synthetic cannabinoids like delta-10 THC. CBD’s naturally soothing properties are a much safer option for people who want to use cannabinoids to enhance their wellness.*


Although delta-10 THC is supposed to create a euphoric feeling, it may cause dizziness or lightheadedness instead. This effect is due to delta-10 THC’s impact on blood pressure. Cannabinoids like delta-10 THC may suddenly and abruptly lower your blood pressure for a short amount of time, which may cause dizziness upon standing or shifting positions.

Dizziness is best managed by remaining seated and still until the effects of delta-10 THC dwindle. Some people may feel better in a reclined position, and taking steady, slow, and deep breaths can help ease your heart rate.

Nervousness and restlessness

All psychoactive cannabinoids have the potential to make people feel nervous, restless, or antsy. Some people don’t respond well to the effects of psychoactive cannabinoids. Just like delta-9 THC, delta-10 THC can produce a “bad high,” where the experience is largely negative and potentially distressing to the user.

There is no surefire way to counteract these negative effects once they begin. Most people have to wait until the effects naturally pass, which may take longer than an hour. Like with hallucinations, feelings of nervousness or restlessness may escalate into anxiety or panic attacks in some people.

How is delta-10 THC made?

Delta-10 has to be produced in accordance with laws regulating hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill allows industrial hemp plants to be cultivated as long as they produce 0.3% or less delta-9 THC by weight. It doesn’t technically say anything about delta-8 or delta-10, although many states have created their own laws banning or restricting synthetic cannabinoids.*

Delta-10 THC can be created by converting other cannabinoids from their original form into delta-10 THC. Producers insist these cannabinoids aren’t synthetic because they begin as natural compounds and are converted through chemistry. Whether or not they should be considered synthetic is subject to debate, but the fact at hand is that they aren’t made in nature. 

Some companies use harsh and potentially dangerous solvents to derive more delta-10 THC from delta-9 THC.* 

Any of the following chemicals could be used in the production of delta-10 THC:

  • Cyclohexane
  • Heptane
  • Hexane
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Toluene
  • p-Toluene sulfonic acid

All of these solvents are known to be dangerous. They’re hazardous to the people handling them when creating delta-10 products, and residual solvents in delta-10 products can be extremely dangerous to the people who ingest the products.

Chemicals like toluene are known to cause nerve damage and organ damage with frequent exposure. Ingestion of chemicals like sulfuric acid is usually fatal. Companies that produce delta-10 products are not required to disclose which types of solvents, even if residual solvents could be seriously harmful.*

The bottom line

The small amounts of naturally occurring delta-10 THC in the hemp plant are likely just as safe as any other naturally occurring cannabinoid. 

Yet when cannabinoids are synthetically produced or extracted in unregulated labs, however, the situation becomes much more wary. There’s no way to know for sure that the delta-10 THC product you’re about to use is safe, which is why you should be hesitant to use delta-10 THC at all. 

Sunmed takes quality hemp and wellness seriously. We never use or promote synthetic cannabinoid products because the power is in the nature of the plant. Our rigorous standards test for safety and purity, with every batch, for every product. 



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The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids - PMC | National Institutes of Health

Toluene | NIOSH | CDC

CDC - Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH): Sulfuric acid | NIOSH Publications and Products

What Is Delta-10 THC? | CFAH

Chemistry, Metabolism, and Toxicology of Cannabis: Clinical Implications | PMC

Processing and extraction methods of medicinal cannabis: a narrative review | Biomed Central