In this post:
- What is Delta-8-THC?
- Is Delta-8 federally legal?
- What does Florida say about Delta-8?
- Future of Delta-8 regulations
It took the US government more than two years to finalize hemp cultivation rules after they legalized the crop in 2018. And even though hemp-derived CBD has been on shelves since that time, the FDA still hasn’t determined its legal status.
Yet, the industry has forged ahead. Today, despite the lack of legal clarity, innovative hemp companies have already moved beyond CBD to Delta-8 THC–a legally ambiguous and mildly psychoactive hemp-derived compound. But many question whether Delta-8 here to stay or if it will face the wrath of a legal ban?
Truthfully, no one really knows what the federal government will decide. But Delta-8’s near-term fate depends entirely on state-by-state determinations. Here we discuss Delta-8-THC’s future outlook in Florida and throughout the country.
First, What is Delta-8-THC?
Delta-8 THC is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis. However, it appears in such small doses that processors can’t extract it directly from the plant. Instead, they must convert other cannabinoids, like hemp-derived CBD, into Delta-8-THC using solvent-based synthesis methods.
Like other cannabis compounds, Delta-8 THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce its therapeutic and psychoactive effects. But unlike Delta-9 THC–the compound that binds with the CB1 receptors to produce a psychoactive effect –Delta-8 is more like CBD and attaches to both the CB1and CB2 receptors for less of a cerebral impact and more of a body balancing experience.
Is Delta-8-THC Federally Legal?
Delta-8 is a cannabinoid derived from hemp, which means it’s technically legal according to federal legislation. However, the method by which Delta-8 is produced could affect its future legal status. Here’s what we know today: On August 2020, the DEA issued an Interim Final Rule stating that “All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol remains a schedule I controlled substance.”
However, the IFR did not define what it meant by synthetic. And as of today, the DEA has not issued final rule updates. In the meantime, hemp is a federally legal plant, and extracts like CBD are permissible for sale in almost every state in the country. Since Delta-8 is produced from hemp-derived CBD, states have the authority to determine what to do next.
What is the future of Delta-8 THC in Florida?
Like most states, Florida’s lawmakers are well aware of Delta-8 THC’s increasing popularity–especially in the form of vape products. In fact, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer services discusses Delta-8 regularly as new articles come out on the topic.
“At this time, we have taken the stance that if a product has a total Delta-9 THC of 0.3% or less, companies can sell it,” says Holly Bell, Director of Cannabis at FDACS. FDACS has no plans to intervene in legal sales of Delta-8 THC, but it is keeping a watchful eye.
In fact, FDACS is skeptical that Delta-8 THC products can pass the required regulatory tests. “My team has studied the chemistry of it, and we found that most products are testing hot [above the legal limit of Delta-9 THC] likely based on how they’re being made. That’s why I encourage Delta-8 companies to find a reputable laboratory and make sure they trust the Certificate of Analysis (COA).”
Aside from the Delta-9 issue in Delta-8 products, Holly’s team encourages companies to watch out for harmful contaminants. “We have tested various Delta-8 THC products and put out several stop-sale notices due to the presence of illicit levels of Delta-9 THC and other product quality/safety issues. Ultimately, the recipe is only as good as the cook.”
When FDACS issues a stop-sale notice, the company must correct the issue and take products off shelves immediately. FDACS also notifies the manufacturer about the stop sales. Non-compliant companies can sell other batches of Delta-8 THC products, but they must ensure the products are clean, compliant, and safe before selling to consumers.
“We as an organization came at the Delta-8 THC question from a science-based perspective. Even before the market buzz, we made many calls to find out how the compound is produced and ran several laboratory tests to learn as much as we could regarding its safety and quality. We have tested some Delta-8 THC products that are compliant, but most that we have tested are not,” says Holly.
What is the Future of Delta-8 THC Throughout the Country?
Delta-8 THC is currently legal in nearly every state in the country. Today, 11 states have banned the compound, including Utah, Rhode Island, Montana, Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alaska. The remaining states have allowed legal sales of Delta-8.
Russell Lombard, CEO of Canna Redux and Forge Hemp company, told ACS that Delta-8 is here to stay. But Russell also believes regulators will step in to place some limits on the compound. For instance, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission recently released a notice saying they’re starting efforts to limit Delta-8-THC sales out of fear that children may easily access them.
“My hope for the future is that regulators step in and manage Delta-8 responsibly, considering it is not just a product for people to get high. Delta-8 is a therapeutic cannabinoid that helps people with anxiety, depression, and pain management.”
At ACS, we trust that the community can come together and elevate itself through proper manufacturing practices, valid testing, and clear consumer labeling with warnings for children. There are many positive testimonials about how Delta8 helps people get through symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and depression. As more of these stories come to light, we believe legislators and banks will take notice.