The popularity of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been growing for months, with businesses rushing to market delta-8 THC-infused products to consumers. The reason for this?
Delta-8 THC is reported to cause many of the same effects as delta-9 THC (the cannabinoid you’re usually referring to when you say “THC”). However, while these compounds are chemically similar, the main difference is that delta-8 is less potent than regular THC.
However, delta-8 has a complicated legal status, and investing in the latest cannabinoid with traction isn’t necessarily a straightforward decision. Here are some of the pros and cons of investing in delta-8 THC.
A Useful Legal Loophole
The federally-passed 2018 Farm Bill distinguishes hemp and cannabis, and defines illegally-produced hemp as having “a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3 percent”.
Because delta-8 THC is a separate compound from delta-9, this use of language excludes any quantity of hemp-derived delta-8 from illegal status under Schedule I. Some businesses see this as a convenient loophole and are willing to capitalize on it, producing hemp with high quantities of delta-8 under the assumption that it’s legal.
An Uncertain Legal Future
While it currently exists in a legal gray area, the potential for legislation regulating delta-8 THC makes its future viability uncertain for growers and distributors. It’s important to note that some states haven’t adopted the wording of the 2018 Farm Bill into their own legislation, so delta-8 is illegal in those states.
The legal complications don’t end there — in August of 2020, the DEA released the Interim Final Rule (IFR). This document was intended to articulate the differences between hemp and cannabis, but it also declared that “All synthetically-derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain Schedule I controlled substances”. This wording includes delta-8 as it is developed synthetically from the hemp plant.
Until October of 2021, when the IFR is finalized, there’s no sure way of knowing whether delta-8 will be classed as a legal or illegal substance.
A New Market For People Wary of Delta-9 THC
Delta-8 THC can provide happiness, euphoria, and relief from pain in the same way as delta-9. But it also offers a clearer, more mellow, and more functional high. It’s also less likely to produce the unpleasant side effects some users experience with delta-9, such as anxiousness and paranoia.
This provides an opportunity to promote delta-8 to people who are apprehensive about delta-9, but keen to try a milder alternative. Delta-8 products are not yet available in dispensaries, making the present a great time to corner this undeveloped area of cannabis sales.
Less Research Has Been Done
Most of the evidence of delta-8’s effects is anecdotal, as it hasn’t yet been examined extensively. It isn’t known exactly how it interacts with the body, how strong it is, or the effects it can have. Even product testing was initially difficult, as new products were constantly being developed. To compound that difficulty, many labs didn’t have the correct standard operating procedures to effectively test delta-8 products.
This uncertainty reflects delta-8’s dubious legal status, and how relatively new it is in the public eye. You’ll likely see delta-8 combined with other cannabinoids and designed for specific applications in the future, but for now, there’s plenty of work still to be done to uncover its full potential.
The Decision Is Yours
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to considering investing in delta-8 THC. The legal status of this exciting new cannabinoid is a matter of interpretation, but the demand for it is clear and its potential is overwhelming.
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