Legal and Regs

Delta-8-THC Hype: US Hemp Round Table Is Not Impressed

Written by Lydia Kariuki

Here is what the US Hemp Round table has to say about this “also-psychoactive” phytocannabinoid.

Recently, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the newish kid on the block; Delta- 8- THC. If you are late to join the conversation, delta-8 is a phytocannabinoid that is found in small amounts in hemp and happens to have significant psychoactive properties. Now that hemp is federally legal, it appears that there is a legal way to get high and delta-8-THC is that legal way.

Is it that straight forward?

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR), has issued caution against commercializing the euphoric properties of hemp-derived delta-8- THC calling this move “irresponsible.” The USHR did not directly call out delta-8-THC but made claims that more or less made it clear which hemp compound was being referred to.

Delta-8-THC sales are giving CBD a run for its money and business that have centred on this phytocannabinoid are poised to make significant financial gains in the near future. That said, caution is advised as this is a legal grey area. It has been argued that the contested Interim Final Rule once executed could lead to the crackdown of businesses selling delta-8 for its euphoric benefits.

Here is the thing.

Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug while hemp has been legalized under federal law.

The major difference between marijuana and hemp is the psychoactive property that is attached to the former. Hence, legal hemp must contain less than 0.3% of the psychoactive cannabinoid delta-9-THC. How then can hemp be promoted as a psychoactive compound legally? This definitely throws a spanner in the works and sooner rather than later, the DEA is likely to restrict the sale of psychoactive hemp-derived compounds aka delta-8-THC.

That said, delta-8-THC has other properties that can be harnessed for medicinal reasons. Studies have shown that is has significant anti-emetic, analgesic, appetite-stimulating, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective benefits. It has great similarities to delta-9-THC with only a difference of a few atomic bonds. It exists in small amounts in hemp; but companies are finding ways of concentrating it for its unique properties.

For now, the USHR prefers that intoxicating cannabinoids should not be marketed as “hemp” or dietary supplements. In a nutshell, psychoactive cannabinoids are subject to the regulatory restrictions such as is the case for marijuana.

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Lydia Kariuki

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