The Rise of Delta-8 THC & Its Regulation
Delta-8 THC has been the talk of the town amongst consumers and business owners alike since its recent discovery. The elusive cannabinoid differs from the THC we all know in just one simple way, but legally; it’s a whole new ball game. Consequently, it’s important for cannabis business owners to know the answers to the questions – What is delta-8 THC? and Is delta-8 THC federally legal?
Here we’ll address these and more with the most relevant delta-8 THC facts, the state regulation of delta-8 THC, and the related regulations every cannabis business owner should be aware of.
The Basics of Delta-8 THC
Cannabis is a complex plant that has over 500 identifiable compounds including 144 known cannabinoids. Of these cannabinoids, the most recognizable are THC and CBD. But recently, CBD producers have uncovered an all new cannabinoid from their extraction process, delta-8 THC.
As a refresher, the THC consumers are most familiar with for its psychoactive effects, is delta-9. Scientifically however, delta-8 and delta-9 differ in just one unique way. While both have a unique double bond that produces psychoactive effects, in delta-8 this double bond occurs on the 8th carbon of the molecular chain. For delta-9 the double bond is found on the 9th carbon. This variance allows the compound to bind differently to internal receptors that are responsible for cannabis’ effects. In the end, delta-8 produces effects that appear far less potent than delta-9. Which is why some are calling delta-8 THC the lite or diet version of delta-9 THC. For some, delta-8 THC delivers the same therapeutic and euphoric effects as delta-9 THC with a less intense buzz.
Regardless of its unique nature, delta-8 THC is quickly gaining notoriety in terms of verifiable medical benefits. In March 2021, The National Cancer Institute published a statement defining delta-8 THC as an analogue of THC that has a variety of medical benefits, including studies that show delta-8 THC has neuroprotective properties, helps increase appetite and reduce nausea, anxiety and pain. These benefits are of great interest to cancer patients considering they address common side-effects of treatment without overwhelming psychoactive effects.
The Legal Status of Delta-8 THC
Now that you know more on the basics of delta-8 THC let’s talk about the cannabinoid’s legalities. Delta-8 THC comes primarily as a byproduct from the CBD extraction process. As you may know, the 2018 Farm Bill is responsible for federally legalizing hemp processing as long as extracts don’t exceed 0.3% THC. But the Farm Bill only specifically addresses delta-9 THC and not delta-8 THC. As a result, some argue that delta-8 THC is not regulated in the same fashion as delta-9 THC.
Delta-8 THC products have increased in popularity as shown by the recorded $10 million in retail sales in 2020 alone. In the meantime, the DEA and Congress are working to finalize specific language to address delta-8 THC, and a number of states are implementing their own measures to expressly ban the sales of delta-8 THC. So far, the states that have approved legislation that bans the sale of delta-8 THC include –
- New York
- Rhode Island
The Future of Regulating Delta-8 TH
With 12 states already outlawing sales directly, what does this mean for the overall regulation of delta-8 THC products? Continuing confusion over delta-8 THC products means that products are readily available for sale online and in retail storefronts. Although like CBD again, delta-8 THC goods are less than clearly regulated, and there are risks for producers and consumers.
For consumers, that means buyers should beware of any brands that don’t willingly provide third party lab testing results verifying product contents. For manufacturers, that means operating in uncharted waters with real legal risk.
Rather than directly banning the sales of the cannabinoid, some states are proposing their own legislative framework that’ll dictate compliance for the future of delta-8 THC sales and use. The most recent state to implement this type of legislation is Michigan which joined Connecticut, North Dakota, Alabama, and Oregon as states that have done the same. These states all have bills in queue to alter current medical or recreational programs or address delta-8 THC head-on. For now, only time will tell how the legal framework will shape the future of delta-8 THC making it even more important to stay in-tune with the industry and regulatory matters.
Keeping up with Cannabis Compliance
The cannabis industry is one that’ll be forever evolving. As extractors and processors discover new cannabinoids, and compounds, agencies will continue to seek ways in regulating those new findings. With such fluctuation in rules, regs, policies and procedures it’s nearly impossible for busy cannabis owners to keep up with cannabis compliance.
That’s why so many are turning to the power of ProCanna. ProCanna is the premier cloud-based software that streamlines compliance processes for extractors, cultivators, and retail storefront owners, alike. Equipped with automatic updates from state-to-state, you’ll stay ahead with simplified summaries of each regulation, that are easier to understand vs. the standard legal jargon.
Improve internal operations and focus on growing profits – schedule a demo with ProCanna, to find out how now.