Having owned and operated a recreational cannabis processing lab in Southern Oregon that
does all types of extractions and consumables for the last 5 years (rebelrootsfarms.com), I’d like
to share some behind-the-scenes facts about how cannabis is processed, whether it be deemed
marijuana or hemp by the federal government. At the end of the day, it all starts with flower.
To get to a substance that can be dabbed or vaped, a series of extractions needs to be made to
go from flower to oil that leaves no residue. No matter if it’s hemp or cannabis, the first
extraction can be many approaches: ethanol, butane, CO2, “botanical extractors” (ethanol cut
with denaturing agents), among others. The resulting crude is then further refined, usually taken
to distillate by short path or wiped film. The resulting product is nearly uniform across the
industry now, ranging from 80-90% CBD, CBG, or THC depending on the source material. That
is the first stage of refinement no matter what the product is: Delta 8 distillate or Delta 9 distillate
amber or clear.
Next Is To Get The CBD To D8
For those producing Delta 8 from isolate (clear), one more extraction must be done. The CBD
distillate is then put through a process sometimes refered to as “crashing” which involves a
strong acid to separate the CBD crystals from all other materials resulting in 99% CBD isolate
(as in chemically isolated from all other substances). Then, this isolate is converted (since we
don’t do it this way I won’t pretend to say how) into D8 which usually causes some degradation
and isomers resulting in 90-95% D8 with the rest unknown.
For those of us producing D8 from “crude” (amber), our process differs. Instead of taking the
80-90% CBD distillate to isolate, we simply keep the other cannabinoids and high temp terps
(which can be a little gassy but boy do they round out the feeling) and convert the whole, natural
cannabis soup we pulled out of the ground. We have been doing one pass on the short path
with T-41 as the catalyst but our new batch and process has three passes: 1) clean up CBD
distillate, 2) Convert to D8, 3) Clean up D8 distillate. The resulting product is 93% total
cannabinoids including naturally occurring and concentrated minors like CBC and even D9 (!)
with 85% D8.
The reason we skip the isolate step is simple: we don’t do any of that with our recreational
cannabis. It’s an artificial and unnecessary step to involve harsh acids to separate the THC in
the recreational market. The only reason to use isolate is if you live where the plant doesn’t
grow, you don’t have access to crude that doesn’t meet 0.3% requirements, and therefore must
buy chemically separated isolate to have shipped to you for your conversion. Show me a
regulated recreational product on a shelf that has undergone that process.
Delta Alternatives (deltaalternatives.com) makes Delta 8 distillate exactly the same way we
have made Delta 9 distillate in award winning vapes (Oregon Grower’s Cup 2018, Rebel Roots
Farms 1st Place) since we started in 2019. The only difference is the terps which cannot come
from the same recreational sources.
We are proud of our roots in cannabis since 2016 and our experience in making affordable
products people like. We are preparing for federal legalization and the idea that one day, we
may be able to ship our combined D8 and D9 products directly to your door. In the meantime, all
D8 companies are navigating a, let’s just say “dynamic”, market. We are all facing regulatory
and supply chain issues and from what I can tell, supplying an ever increasing market despite
defamatory legislation and logistical issues. We are figuring out shipping gummies in a record
breaking heat wave at a reasonable price so that hopefully soon we can ship you dabs that
need to stay cold too.
I invite anyone to schedule a tour of our facilities in Rogue River, OR to see the level of care we
take with our products and processes. We can be reached at [email protected]