The Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (D8 THC) craze continues. Despite Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) efforts and state legislation outlawing them, D8 THC products are still widely available in a number of states. And now that they are settling into the cannabis marketplace, testing is becoming an important part of their sustainability. Unfortunately, these tests are revealing cannabinoid inaccuracies in many D8 products.
Testing is the cornerstone of the cannabis industry. Laboratory results definitively demonstrate whether or not a product contains what it says it does. Testing for cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (D9 THC) has come a long way. Today buyers can choose from a vast array of laboratory-tested products with the confidence that they’re getting what the package says.
Now that D8 THC products are in the market place, they are also being tested for their chemical content. And what testers are finding is that no small number of D8 THC products are inaccurately labeled and also have elevated levels of D9 THC.
These elevated levels of D9 THC place the D8 product outside of the protection of the 2018 Farm Bill, which permits the commercialization of hemp and its derivatives. Put another way, those professionals in the industry producing, transporting or selling D8 THC products with levels of D9 THC over .03% may be subject to state and federal criminal laws as well as civil penalties.
D8 THC is produced by chemically rearranging CBD molecules through a process known as isomerization. During the transformation, other chemicals are produced in small amounts, including D9 THC, and this is often why D8 products contain unallowable levels of THC, even when the source CBD used to make the D8 THC had none.
One round of tests looked at 38 D8 THC products and found that 53% had D9 THC levels above the .03% threshold, with some clocking levels over 15%. Additionally, the same study revealed that 68% of the samples tested contained significantly less D8 THC than advertised.
Results like these are predictable and expected seeing D8 THC products exist in the gray areas of the law, where regulation is scant.