Delta-8 is one of the cannabinoids that are naturally found in hemp and cannabis plants. It’s become popular because of its similarity to Delta-9 THC, which is the main compound in cannabis that gets people high.
The National Cancer Institute describes Delta-8 as:
“An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8-THC) binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, located in the central nervous system; CB1 receptor activation inhibits adenyl cyclase, increases mitogen-activated protein kinase activities, modulates several potassium channel conductance, and inhibits N- and P/Q-type Ca2+ channels. This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC), the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
It’s important for the general consuming public to know and understand that Delta-8 THC products have not been properly evaluated nor have they been approved by the FDA for safe use. Delta-8 products should always be kept out of reach of children and pets because some of the products have been marketed in such a way that the public and their health may be at risk.
Even if Delta-8 is not as potent as Delta-9, it’s included on the DEA’s list of controlled substances under the “tetrahydrocannabinols” category. Therefore, it’s classified as a Schedule I drug.
One thing the Farm Bill (the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) did not impact is the control status of tetrahydrocannabinols that are synthetically derived, which makes Delta-8, illegal. This is because there is no acceptable federal definition of Delta-8’s legality.
Delta-8 also violates the federal law as a “controlled substance analogue” and is viewed as a “synthetically derived” substance. The Federal Analogue Act, 21 U.S.C. § 813, treats a controlled substance analogue, if intended for human consumption, as a federally controlled substance in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
To define, a “controlled substance analogue” is any substance that has: (1) a substantially similar chemical structure to a schedule I or II controlled substance; and (2) a substantially similar stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system.
Delta-8 is described by the National Cancer Institute as an analogue of THC that has properties which affects the central nervous system and coupled with the fact that Delta-8 has a potency of 75% of Delta-9, suggests that it would be considered as a “controlled substance analogue”, which is regulated under federal law.
Many states have explicitly banned Delta-8 products and one major factor of banning the substance is due to reported increase in Delta-8 hospitalization cases.
To curb such cases, many states have reiterated that Delta-8 is a synthetic form of THC and therefore, is a prohibited substance under the Controlled Substance Act.
Please note that this blog was written for informational purposes only and not intended as legal nor medical advice. This is a developing news and we may soon see certain states require more clarity when it comes to the legality of Delta 8 THC.
For more information on cannabis and how to insure your cannabis business, contact Cover Cannabis.