Delta-8 THC from hemp is officially banned in Colorado and New York
Colorado and New York have just joined a growing group of states that said no to Delta-8-THC.
Delta-8 THC is a version of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in weeds that brings people high. The Delta-8 variant is naturally made in cannabis in extremely small quantities, but industrial techniques can convert another cannabis compound, CBD, into Delta-8-THC.
What’s the big deal with Delta-8-THC, especially since Colorado and recently New York both legalized weed?
Delta-8 THC is typically made from CBD from hemp, not “marijuana”. For you loud activists out there, “marijuana” is legally defined in the US as cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC – or in other words cannabis that does not intoxicate anyone.
According to a statement from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) released last week, chemical modification or conversion of naturally occurring cannabinoids from industrial hemp does not meet the legal definition of “industrial hemp product”. This includes any process that converts an industrial hemp cannabinoid like the CBD isolate into delta-9, delta-8, delta-10-THC or other tetrahydrocannabinol isomers or functional analogs. “
New York regulators also banned Delta-8 THC earlier this week, while maintaining an earlier ban on all smokable hemp flowers. The new rules allow hemp flowers to be sold in New York, but the products cannot be marketed for smoking.
The problem with Delta-8-THC is largely due to the legal status of hemp, not marijuana. In 2018, the Federal Farm Act legalized hemp nationwide and removed the plant from the Controlled Substances Act. Most American hemp is grown to produce CBD, a cannabis compound that is often sold as a wellness supplement. Like hemp, CBD is legal in the US.
Delta-8 THC found in stores is derived from CBD, which is extracted from hemp. Delta-8 manufacturers have used this fact to justify that their products are legal.
However, unlike CBD, Delta-8 can cause poisoning similar to Delta-9-THC. It’s often dabbed or steamed, but it can also be poured into food to make Delta-8 foods. Some manufacturers even smother lumps of hemp with Delta-8 isolates to make smokable hemp that can make people sky high.
“I have a feeling it will have a short lifespan,” David Threlfall, a Colorado-based CBD producer, told Westword in April. “Let’s be honest: you can aim high with Delta-8, so it’s only a matter of time before you start regulating it [the federal government] figure it out. “
Granted, the government has already looked at Delta-8. Last year, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claimed that Delta-8, like Delta-9, was federally banned. The agency even added Delta-8 to its list of controlled substances based on its drug analogue classification criteria.
However, Delta-8 THC is not specifically listed in the US Controlled Substances Act. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Controlled Substances Act exempted “tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp,” leading some manufacturers to believe Delta-8 was legal until Congress passed a new law making it an illegal drug was performed.
Regarding the intoxicating nature of Delta-8, individual reports generally describe that it is high and less effective than Delta-9. Delta-8 has been viewed by some as an ideal product for introducing new users to cannabis or providing an alternative product to users with lower tolerance with fewer side effects than Delta-9.
Several states such as Utah, Washington and Oregon have already clarified rules for banning Delta-8. Michigan and Alabama are considering laws to officially ban the cannabinoid into law. Regulators have argued that since Delta-8 is causing poisoning, it is not allowed. But how can this be justified when Delta-8 causes less poisoning than Delta-9, which many of these states have legalized and taxed?
In addition, states have not banned other substances that can cause poisoning. Kava kava root extract, nutmeg, and bindweed can reach high AF, but anyone of all ages can purchase these products online or at herbal stores in the United States. (Please try not to trip balls on these herbs as they can come with some non-funny side effects.)
It’s pretty obvious that these Delta-8 bans have nothing to do with public health or safety, and all with government control and taxation. If local regulators had been smarter, they would have put in place new tax systems and licenses for Delta-8 instead of banning this potentially helpful cannabinoid entirely.
But are we surprised? After all, legislators rarely make informed decisions.