Delta-8 THC is one of the hottest things in the CBD market right now. Ever since the Delta-9 isomer was taken off the federal controlled substances list, industrial hemp growers and processors have been looking for ways to get it into CBD products. They have largely succeeded. However, states are slowly beginning to move against Delta-8 THC.
In mid-October 2021, Texas regulators came out with a new ban on Delta-8. A few days later, a state court refused to issue an injunction against the ruling. CBD processors and retailers must now clear their shelves of products containing more than 0.3% Delta-8 by volume. Texas consumers can no longer use Delta-8 legally.
Exploiting a Loophole
The Delta-8 issue exploits a loophole in federal law. As we all know, marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. The issue with marijuana is Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 is essentially the cannabinoid that causes the marijuana high. Delta-8 is isomer of Delta-9. As an isomer, it contains the exact same molecules. It is only different because the molecules are arranged differently.
So, what is the problem? Delta-8 THC can still make you high. The high might be slightly different and not as potent, but Delta-8 is still psychoactive in nature. That is why it appeals to consumers and simultaneously antagonizes lawmakers and courts.
Industrial hemp’s legal status under federal law is what opens the door to selling legal CBD products. Even though most states require that such products be registered and tested for safety and purity, manufacturers are under no obligation to test for, or report, Delta-8 THC. That allows them to make CBD products from which consumers can get high. That is a problem, at least in Texas.
A Problem in Other States
The Delta-8 problem is not exclusive to Texas. It is a problem around the country. It’s a problem in Utah because their cannabis program is limited to medical use only. Lawmakers in the Beehive State don’t want to take action against CBD because it would be political suicide. Yet they know full well that consumers can buy Delta-8 CBD products to achieve a recreational high despite not being able to use marijuana recreationally.
The other issue involving Delta-8 is one of safety. Not reporting Delta-8 content carries with it the risk of selling consumers products they could potentially misuse. In addition, almost all Delta-8 is synthesized in a lab. Without any form of regulation or reporting requirements, it’s impossible to know how a manufacturer produces its Delta-8.
Finally, do consumers really know what they are getting when they buy a Delta-8 product? The people behind the Utahmarijuana.org website say no. In fact, this is one of the big concerns in Utah right now. Lawmakers and medical cannabis proponents alike worry that people are buying CBD products without knowing what is actually in them.
Other States to Follow Suit
Now that Texas has moved to ban Delta-8 and a state court has upheld that ban, we wait to see if other states will follow suit. Few will be surprised to see that happen. It may be that marijuana laws in this country are terribly outdated, but it is also true that growers and manufacturers will continue to look for loopholes regardless of the laws put in place.
There will always be a battle between those who want a regulated market and those who want no regulations at all. The Delta-8 issue only illustrates that point. Unless we are willing to remove any and all restrictions on cannabinoids, expect these sorts of things to continue. Today it is Delta 8; tomorrow it will be Delta-10 or something else.