Exploring the Different Isomers of THC

This article explores different isomers of Δ9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), including Delta 8 double bond, Delta 10 THC, Delta 6a (7a), Delta 6a (10a), exo isomer THC, 8α hydroxy δ9 THC and 8α 11 dihydroxy δ9 THC.

Exploring the Different Isomers of THC

The cannabis plant produces small amounts of natural D8-THC, which is legal in the U. S. as long as it is derived from hemp. This is usually achieved semi-synthetically by converting CBD with strong acids, such as bleach C or T-41. The plant also transfers CBD (or CBG) to D8 and D9-THC with natural enzymes.

Delta-8 double bond is one position to the left of the Delta-9.If we move the double bond to the right of the delta-9-THC, it will fall into the tenth position of the cyclohexene ring, known as Delta-10 THC. This cannabinoid is currently available for laboratories in the United States, but not yet in Canada. It is produced exclusively through (semi) synthesis by further isomerizing delta-10-THC with specific catalysts, which rotate the ring one more position toward the center of the molecule. The main active substance in all cannabis products is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC or simply THC). Other closely related substances found in cannabis include cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN), both of which have very different pharmacological effects than THC.

THC, along with its double-bond isomers and stereoisomers, is one of only three cannabinoids programmed by the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (the other two are dimethylheptylpyran and parahexyl). The acid and enzymes in the intestine rather convert D8 and D9 to their respective hydroxylated forms, 11-hydroxyl-THC, with a double bond in the same eighth or ninth position. In an effort to develop analytical methods for the various active ingredients in cannabis, some people may have overlooked that THC is present in two different isomers: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. For cannabis potency, everyone is looking for THC, but it's important to note that your test looks for two different “THC”: delta-9 and delta-8.Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has a chemical formula of C21H30O and describes multiple isomers, but generally refers to the delta-9-THC isomer with the chemical name (-) -trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. THC targets receptors in a much less selective manner than endocannabinoid molecules released during retrograde signaling, since it has a relatively low affinity for cannabinoid receptors. There is a ring on one side of the THC molecule that contains a single double bond, atoms that are linked with two pairs of electrons.

Two inactive substances 8α-hydroxy-δ9-THC and 8α,11-dihydroxy-δ9-THC and many other minor metabolites are also formed, most of which appear in urine and faeces as glucuronide conjugates. In this case, the double bond extends between carbons 8 and 9, which makes this isomer delta-8-THC. The efficacy of THC is also limited compared to other cannabinoids due to its partial agonist activity, since it appears to lead to greater downregulation of cannabinoid receptors than endocannabinoids. The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 does not include precursors of THC. It's important to note that there are different isomers of THC that can be found in cannabis products and understanding them can help us develop better analytical methods for testing potency.