It’s important to perform multiple kinds of tests on the final sample and understand exactly what’s inside the final product.
We advise against converting CBD to delta 8 unless you have a proper lab setting and have a strong background in organic chemistry. This guide is intended for educational purposes only.
The process for converting CBD (cannabidiol) to delta 8 THC isn’t alchemy or magic. In fact, it’s much less complicated than you might expect — but there are some dangers and precautions that need to be taken very seriously.
Theory: CBD Cyclization & Isomerization
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.
Delta 8 THC is a naturally occurring compound produced in both hemp and marijuana. However, the plant makes very little of this substance on its own. So little, it’s not viable for a manufacturer to extract delta 8 THC naturally from the plant.
Summary: The Basic Process For Converting CBD to Delta 8 THC
Isomerization is the process of converting one isomer into another — such as delta 9 to delta 8 or vice-versa.
Tails can be reprocessed later to clean it up in future batches, so it’s still worth collecting.
To discuss their psychotropic effects, the most common cannabinoids may be divided into two major groups according to the number of rings in the molecule. The first group is composed of tricyclic cannabinols including CBN, and all THC and hexahydrocannabinol (HHC, Figure 3 a) isomers. The second group—which will be discussed later in this section—consists of bicyclic cannabinoids with CBD, cannabigerol (CBG, Figure 3 b) and cannabichromene (CBC, Figure 3 c) being the most prominent representatives.
3. Results and Discussion
A further hypothesis, which was not discussed in the mentioned article by Lachenmeier et al. , is that other psychotropic cannabinoids (e.g., Δ 9 -THC) are not present in the original CBD extract or CBD product, but potentially result from chemical reactions under storage conditions. The most obvious and indisputable case is the storage of CBD products under acidic conditions, which facilitates the conversion of CBD into Δ 9 -THC, as proven by many studies (Section 3.2.2). Such conditions are sometimes found in liquids for electronic cigarettes resulting in the need of special attention for these products. Besides the well-studied effects of acidic conditions, also basic conditions were found to lead to conversion products of CBD. As reported by Srebnik et al. , CBD isomerizes in a high yield to Δ 6 -CBD upon heating with t-pentyl potassium in toluene-hexamethyl-phosphoric triamide (6:1, v/v). This is especially interesting as Δ 6 -CBD exhibits THC-like effects in rhesus monkeys according to Mechoulam et al. . Additionally, several recent investigations [20,24,98,99,100] demonstrated that CBD products often contain much less CBD than declared. This leads to the question if other than acidic (or basic) conditions may contribute to the conversion of CBD into further (potentially psychotropic) cannabinoids as well.
During the 1970s, the decomposition of CBD in various solvents was controversially discussed between Turner et al. , who reported no decomposition, and Fairbairn et al.  as well as Parker et al. , who indeed found CBD to be decomposed in different solvents under storage conditions. When Smith et al.  stored different cannabinoids at -18 °C in darkness, they only found small decomposition rates, which slightly increased at room temperature (20 °C), depending on the cannabinoid (decomposition rate of Δ 9 -THC higher than that of CBD). However, light seemed to spark the decomposition as the rates were significantly higher in daylight conditions. Unfortunately though, no conversion products were measured in this study . Another study was conducted by Lyndon et al. , who found that CBD is decomposed by 11% upon UV irradiation for seven days. As this decay was not associated with an increase in Δ 9 -THC, the authors concluded that photochemical conversions of CBD to Δ 9 -THC “probably do not occur”. As Δ 9 -THC is decomposed itself, a closer look into the decomposition rates appears necessary.