The legal status of Delta-8 THC and other naturally occurring hemp compounds is not in question at the Federal level. Read the HIA’s legal opinion. This position, which was controversial when issued, has since been confirmed by the Drug Enforcement Agency as well as a Federal Court. Read the HIA’s full editorial The HIA Stands for All Parts of the Hemp Plant, Including Delta-8 THC as well as our follow-up editorial What We Mean When we Talk About Defending Hemp.
Cannabinoids converted from CBD require testing and remediation protocols beyond those of other cannabis products. Required tests for safety include:
In addition, to ensure compliance, THC potency testing must be conducted using GC-MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry). HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) cannot provide a reliable accurate result because the technology cannot distinguish between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC accurately.
Many people have pointed to the fact that Delta-8 THC is only found in small quantities in the hemp plant and the manufacturing process for hemp-derived cannabinoids, called (chemical synthesis) as evidence that these products are not natural. But plenty of industries produce naturally occurring compounds safely for consumption using chemical synthesis because it is the most cost-effective way of producing them at scale. Aspirin was originally derived from tree bark, for instance, and the active ingredient in Red Bull, taurine, occurs naturally in bile (you can see why we’d rather be drinking the synthetic version).
Cannabidiol (CBD), the most abundant cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, also requires a chemical reaction—called decarboxylation—in order to convert the naturally occurring CBDa into the CBD that is used in products from tinctures, to topicals, to gummies. This is typically a much cleaner process than the conversion to Delta-8 or other cannabinoids that follows, but producing CBD nonetheless requires tests 1-4 above in order to make the finished products safe for consumers.
Further confusing the issue is that the Drug Enforcement Agency has a created a label for a class of dangerous “synthetic THC” drugs that are entirely unnatural, in that they are created in a lab rather than found in nature and replicated, like CBD and Delta-8.
What is concerning about the manufacturing process isn’t that these natural compounds are chemically synthesized, it is that a manufacturer must have the right equipment and procedures in place in order to make sure the finished product doesn’t have any residual solvents or toxins left in it from the conversion. You can make these products pretty cheaply and easily if you don’t care about making them safe.
History has shown that prohibition only exacerbates the threat to consumers by leading to markets, creates criminals instead of preventing crime, and is antithetical to the spirit of free enterprise. The HIA calls on lawmakers to eschew ineffective bans in favor of partnering with hemp industry experts to craft hemp policy that safely opens markets, fosters innovation, spurs investment, and creates valuable jobs.
The HIA calls on consumers, retailers, farmers, manufacturers, and hemp supporters to stand up for hemp cannabinoids and resist any legislative changes to the definition of hemp that would have the effect of returning Delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids to the Federal list of Controlled Substances.