The first time you see high-quality delta-8, it almost looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The oil is perfectly clear: as transparent as water. But not just any water. Only beautiful, crystal-clear water from a jungle rainforest waterfall looks that perfect. In the cannabis world that is pretty unusual. Users are accustomed to every color of amber on the spectrum. Clear is new.
Members of the cannabis community around the country are flocking to delta-8, and it isn’t because of the color. The unbeatable effects drive that train. But for many, this gorgeous oil is a further indication of delta-8’s superiority over the much more famous delta-9, and they aren’t completely off-base.
So why is delta-8 clear? And what does it tell us about the oil? To understand that, you first need to understand what delta 8 is, and how it’s made.
The Proximity of the Cannabinoids
Delta 8 is a federally legal version of THC. It exists naturally in cannabis and hemp, and is often mistaken for it’s more famous cousin — delta-9. That is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis and marijuana.
Delta 8 looks and sounds a lot like delta 9, but it binds to the receptors in the human body in a completely different way, which results in a very different experience. The biggest difference is the quality of the sensations. Delta 8 can been shown to boost energy and typically keeps users alert and focused for the duration of the effects. It also has none of the anxiety or paranoia that is associated with delta 9. That is because delta 8 is far less potent, and targets a slightly different set of bodily sensations.
The other big factor that separates delta-8 from the other cannabinoids is that it exists naturally in almost-undetectable amounts. Whereas CBD and delta 9 are found in huge concentrations in the cannabis flower, delta 8 is so negligible you can’t even feel the effects.
This means you can’t extract delta 8 the same way you can other cannabinoids. It takes too much energy and wastes too much hemp for that model to be economically viable. Fortunately, there is a workaround.
Creating Delta 8
Delta 8 as a molecule happens to look almost exactly like CBD (which is likely why the two bind to the receptors in a similar way). And it is actually possible, through a fairly straightforward refinement process, to take CBD and chemically transform it into delta 8. This safe and affordable method yields extremely pure delta 8 that is then added to products and enjoyed by users nationwide.
This refinement process also strips the “tail” off of the delta 8 molecule. On that tail are chromophores, which are the part of the molecule responsible for color. By removing those chromophores, you are removing the atomic-level refractions that give the oil its amber tint. The resulting oil looks like water but feels like a THC.
So what does it mean if your delta 8 isn’t clear?
If your delta 8 isn’t perfectly clear, it means there are impurities in your oil. These impurities may be safe or unsafe depending on what they are. For example, a rose-tinted delta 8 oil typically means the delta 8 reaction was performed improperly at a non-neutral pH level or that the operators did not discard a pink fraction that is typically removed during a distillation step. In any case, unless it’s pink due to oxidation, you should avoid pink delta 8 oils.
Amber, gold, and other colors may indicate the presence of terpenes or other cannabinoids. While these compounds may be safe, they can still affect the color of the oil.
Pure delta 8 is a clear oil. However, all clear delta 8 is not pure. It is possible to turn a colored delta 8 oil into a clear oil by stripping it of its color through the use of carbon and/or clays. It is not done using bleach as some have claimed. The use of carbon and clays is a common processing step that helps remove other impurities in the oil, in addition to removing the color.
So there you have it. The clear oil is more than an aesthetic addition. It will highlight the purity to a large degree, but it is not the single determining factor of high quality delta-8. You should always carefully inspect the color and product breakdown of any delta-8 oil you plan to buy, and if possible look at the lab testing, to ensure you are getting the highest possible quality product.
If you are worried about buying a safe and quality product, make sure to buy delta 8 from a trusted source.
Like what you read? Click here to learn more about delta 8 and the rest of the cannabinoid family.