Today, the FDA issued warning letters to five companies for selling products labeled as containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). If you keep up to date with the latest developments in the cannabis world, you've probably heard of delta-8 THC. With products available for purchase online, in bedside stores and even at gas stations, the delta-8 is marketed as “weed light”, a way to “get high” without paranoia and even “legal herb”. But what exactly is it? In this article, experts discuss the most common questions about delta-8 THC and its legal status.
Tetrahydrocannabinol delta-8, also known as delta-8 THC, is a psychoactive compound that is present in the cannabis plant. It is an isomer, in other words, a minor chemical variant, of delta-9 THC, which is commonly known as THC. Delta-8, as it is often called, is sold online and in physical stores in the form of products such as gummies, vaporizer pens, tinctures and edibles. As isomers, delta-8 and delta-9 contain the same chemical formula, but the molecules are arranged differently.
Delta-8 interacts with the same cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system, known as CB1 and CB2, as does delta-9, but their interactions are weaker. The effects are similar, but it is generally considered to be less potent. However, it is important to note that delta-8 is not a magic THC that only produces positive effects. Another important difference between delta-8 and delta-9 concerns the creation of commercially available products. Commercial delta-8 is mainly obtained from hemp, which is a plant of the cannabis family with low THC content.
Hemp also contains cannabidiol, or CBD, which is another isomer of THC, and it is quite easy for laboratories to convert CBD to delta-8 THC. So, the delta-8 products you see online and in stores are probably synthesized from CBD rather than extracted from hemp plants because CBD is available in higher volumes. The reason more people have started to find delta-8 in recent years comes from a federal law that places their legal status in a slightly gray area. Basically, entrepreneurial entrepreneurs have interpreted the law to mean that products containing higher amounts of delta-8 THC are legal as long as they come from the CBD of hemp, rather than marijuana. And with the increase in production of CBD oils, edibles and other products following the agricultural bill, supply outpaced demand, prices fell and many entrepreneurs decided to focus on delta-8.Gerdeman noted that the Drug Enforcement Administration does not appear to have taken a firm stance on this issue yet, but that local and state law enforcement agencies have raided delta-8 facilities in several states.
To date, 20 states have banned or restricted delta-8 THC and its legal status is being reviewed in four more. Age restrictions may vary by state or by individual seller (although most require buyers to be over 21).Federal courts have finally entered the murky waters surrounding the legality of delta 8. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a trademark case that vaporizers containing delta-8 THC are “legal” under the farm bill. The ruling stated that “it is up to Congress to correct its error if this was an unintended consequence of the legislation. Although countless studies have been conducted on the efficacy and effects of delta-9 THC, the same cannot be said for delta-8 THC.
Therefore, although it is tempting to say that delta-8 is “natural and therefore harmless”, the scientific community has not fully investigated the impact of this cannabinoid when taken in quantities greater than those found naturally in cannabis plants. Another concern relates to production and regulation, or rather, the lack thereof. Although he sees the value of delta-8 THC alone as a safe therapeutic agent, Gerdeman expressed concern about contamination in unregulated commercial laboratories that synthesize delta-8 THC. He also pointed out that it is easy and common for laboratories to underestimate the amount of delta-9 THC that is also created in the process, so delta-8 products may end up being much more potent than advertised.
Delta-8 is Restricted in California Under State Law. The use, possession, sale, distribution and production of delta 8 products derived from hemp and marijuana are regulated. While you can't own any hemp product with more than 0.3% delta-8 THC, you can buy up to 28.5 grams of delta-8 derived from marijuana from a licensed dispensary. See the latest updates for delta 8 in California.
But this week Texas regulators seem to have clarified their stance that under Texas law Delta 8 THC is an illegal drug. That puts Texas in the same field as smaller states in the south that have banned Delta 8 complex. Several states that have already legalized marijuana have also chosen to ban Delta 8 partly because it falls outside regulated and taxed scope of marijuana regulations. Delta 8 is not legal in Vermont following an announcement by Vermont Agriculture Farm & Markets Agency (AAFM), which oversees & regulates state's hemp program.
Many see delta 8 as a threat to profit margins of licensed cannabis industry not only because it can be sold in prohibition states but because its unregulated status makes it much easier & cheaper to manufacture & sell. According to Piomelli because Delta 8 & Delta 9 THC have such similar molecular structure two compounds would theoretically produce similar medical benefits but there's no solid data yet to prove this true. Hemp derived Delta 8 is legal under Oklahoma state law & not listed as controlled substance following enactment of Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Program. Marijuana derived Delta 8 however remains illegal although some cities & counties have decriminalized simple possession & state attorney general released letter arguing Delta 8 illegal but statement not legally binding.
Nobody wants another vaping crisis but demonizing recently popular cannabinoid or trying ban it doesn't solve problem of unregulated space & won't end demand for Delta 8 either.