D-8: What is it?
Delta-8 THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, the compound responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effects. That means the two are largely the same compound, with slight atomic differences. The vast majority of Delta-8 products aren’t extracted from cannabis. Instead, producers convert plant-derived CBD into Delta-8 THC using a chemical process called isomerization. The process combines CBD with a solvent, acid and heat to cause the reaction that turns CBD into THC.
So why would this be important to know? Because Delta-8 THC, like the closely related Delta-9 THC, is intoxicating. Yes, that’s right: it gets you high. Unlike Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC is fully legal. Well, sort of.
The legality of D-8:
As of writing this, D-8 THC is technically legal. However, this is due to a loophole in the 2018 farm bill. According to this legislation, hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC were excepted from the list of controlled substances. That means it is legal to use and distribute such products provided it has THC within the allowed limits. Since delta-8 THC is derived from hemp, which has negligible THC traces, it’s technically legal on a federal level.
Now this is where the legality of D-8 THC gets unclear. The same bill that stipulates that any hemp-derived product with less than 0.3% THC is legal is currently under review by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). This review is meant to address the 2018 farm bill removing the crop as a federally controlled substance. The rule emphasizes that “synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols” remain controlled substances. But there’s no agreed upon definition of what “synthetically derived” means. The DEA might rule that converting CBD to D-8 THC is a process of synthetically deriving THC, and it might decide to allow D-8 THC to maintain its current legal status. Nothing is currently settled and clear.
Keep in mind that states also have a say in the legality of D-8. As of writing, 11 states have outright banned the sale of D-8 THC: Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska.
Who would sell it?
With the potential risks of selling large amounts of D-8 THC, it seems like most vendors would steer clear of the substance to avoid falling into legal trouble, right? So then why is it the hot new item for many CBD sellers and wholesalers? The short answer? Money. Over the last year, there has been an increase in the number of sellers and producers of CBD products, especially isolates (due to their lack of THC and consequent full federal legality). This increase has led to an oversupply of CBD products and isolate, which has driven down prices. The decrease in prices has left many CBD retailers and wholesalers scrambling to make up for lost revenues. Enter D-8 THC, with much higher prices. In January, Delta-8 cost about $1,400 per kilogram, while CBD isolate was selling for about $550 per kilogram. This difference in price is exactly the type of revenue life-saver that many wholesalers and retailers were looking for. Couple this monetary incentive for sellers with the attractiveness of a legal “high” for many consumers, and you have the next big item for the CBD industry. So, while some avoid D-8 out of fear of legal repercussions, others are rushing in and hoping to make up for lost revenue.
While it is important to keep in mind how safe CBD products are for you (often being tested more than your city’s water before hitting shelves), there are a few caveats when it comes to D-8. Most large CBD brands are transparent with their testing results, with many using 3rd-party labs for testing. D-8 THC, however, often lacks these testing results, with the final product’s quality and ingredients being unverifiable. This lack of transparency, along with the process of converting CBD products into D-8 THC (which is not a simple one-to-one conversion) and the possible addition of other chemicals for flavoring, leads to a product that could be potentially dangerous.
What about us?
Just as we recently avoided the potential legal dangers of selling vape products, we are avoiding legal trouble with the DEA by not selling large amounts of D-8 THC, complying with the 2018 farm bill’s stipulation that no product can contain more than 0.3% THC. This will allow us to help our customers in the way that we set out to do: by improving well-being, health literacy, and by helping our customers to deal with their problems in a natural and holistic manner. Our goal from the very start was to help people, not get them high. We stand by this.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to say “hi” to us, feel free to reach out on social media, over the phone, or through email. You can even stop by our storefront to see us in person now!