Delta-8-THC has certainly become the next big thing in the cannabinoid world, the hype surrounding it arguably matching the CBD buzz. But all that may come to a premature end, in fact, it’s possible that delta-8-THC is living on borrowed time, granted by a legal loophole that could soon be closed, leaving this cannabinoid’s potential largely untapped.
As we know, cannabis and THC are still classified as schedule 1 drugs. Their illegal status basically comes down to their intoxicating properties prevailing over their medicinal ones.
But being THC’s isomer, delta-8-THC has the same intoxicating effects that THC has, be it a milder version. To make delta-8-THC legal while keeping THC illegal is something like legalizing 60 proof alcohol while keeping 80 proof alcohol illegal, regardless of quantities consumed. It’s nonsensical,
Delta-8-THC comes predominantly from hemp. More importantly, because of its extremely low levels, extracting it isn’t cost-efficient. But synthesizing it from CBD is, very much so.
And unlike cannabis, hemp is legal on a federal level under the 2018 Federal Bill.
Ensured by teams of lawyers that they’re not breaking the law, many companies have dived into the lucrative delta-8-THC market headfirst, often coming over from neighbouring niches like vaping, or sometimes even from distant and completely unrelated business fields.
One famous example of such a sharp business turn is Jay Barrios, who sold his Tesla stocks to invest in a vape shop, which eventually led him to delta-8-THC and his new, highly lucrative brand, No Cap Hemp Co. His prematurely sold Tesla stocks no longer seem like a missed opportunity next to his brand’s projected financial success, estimated at $10 million by 2022.
Too Good to be True?
Cannabis and legislators haven’t exactly seen eye to eye so far, and it wouldn’t make sense for the latter to suddenly become lenient when it comes delta-8-THC.
On August 20, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Interim Final Rule came into play, which touches on the legal gray zones, in which cannabinoids like delta-8-THC can survive.
“The definition of hemp does not automatically exempt any product derived from a hemp plant, regardless of the Δ9-THC content of the derivative. In order to meet the definition of ‘hemp,’ and thus qualify for the exemption from Schedule I, the derivative must not exceed the 0.3% Δ9-THC limit,” the Interim Final Rule states.
In other words, being derived from hemp doesn’t provide legal cover for delta-8-THC anymore. On the other hand however, delta-8-THC products shouldn’t be of any more danger of exceeding the 0.3% THC limit, at least not technically, in theory, even though in practice, their effects do.
The bottom line is, delta-8-THC’s faith remains uncertain. While DEA’s Interim Final Rule may not render the compound illegal, it does reveal unfavorable intentions towards its kind.