Legal and Regs

Washington State Bans Delta 8 THC

Written by Asia Mayfield

The rash of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) bans sweeping the country has now hit Washington. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) recently issued new guidance regarding delta-8 THC and other chemically derived cannabinoids. Naturally occurring compounds are legal, while those that have been altered in some are not.

“Delta-8 cultivated in licensed LCB facilities that is derived from marijuana and not otherwise synthesized may be added to marijuana products produced and processed in the licensed marijuana system,” the group said in a policy statement.

“Delta-8 THC created by a process of genetic or chemical alteration of licensed marijuana may not be added to marijuana products produced and processed in the licensed marijuana system.”

Interest in delta-8 THC and its psychoactive potential has been growing steadily. The cannabinoid is naturally present in hemp and cannabis plants, but only in trace quantities. So if you want a usable amount, you’ll need to extract or synthesize it. And that’s exactly what has so many regulators worried. In their statement, the WSLCB expresses concern over delta-8 THC’s potency and over the chemicals used to synthesize it.

For many, delta-8 THC represents a loophole to get around THC bans and regulations. Delta-8 THC can be derived from hemp, which became legal in 2018 after the passage of the Farm Bill. Hemp and hemp-derived products were legal in the bill’s original language if they contained less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. This seemed to mean that delta-8 THC was legal across the country as long as it came from hemp.

However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published an addendum to the bill stating: “For synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols, the concentration of Δ-9 THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances.”

Washington state has a legal cannabis market. Consumers can still find products with natural delta-8 THC.


Image source:  Elsa Olofsson at CBD Oracle

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Asia Mayfield

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