Delta-8 and its Significance to the Cannabis Market
Delta-8 THC– “Diet Weed” or “Weed Light”, is the newest commodity on the Cannabis market and has gained popularity for its (widespread) current legality, lack of regulation, and mild but similar “euphoric effects” to cannabis. Following the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and its derivatives made of less than .3% THC content on a dry weight basis, CBD companies have seen hemp-derived products shift from accounting for a small percentage of sales to their main source of revenue. John Kagia of the cannabis industry analysis firm New Frontier Data, refers to Delta-8 as “a phenomenon that has taken the industry quite by storm”.
Delta-8 THC (Δ-8-tetrahydrocannabinol), is a psychoactive cannabinoid and an isomer of Delta-9 THC (Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the primary psychoactive compound that creates a cannabis induced THC “high”. Delta-8 has become available across the United States at gas stations, convenience stores, tobacco shops, cannabis dispensaries, and online, as consumables, vape cartridges, flower, tinctures and other products.
Considering how naturally-occuring Delta-8 is only available in small amounts, many companies have turned to profitable synthetic extraction methods. The Food and Drug Administration has marked “synthetically derived” THC and Delta-8 as illegal, following research indicating toxic byproducts and residual heavy metals from certain extraction processes. The FDA issued a warning because there had been an “uptick in adverse event reports to the FDA and the nation’s poison control centers” and emphasized their concerns related to its accessibility to minors.
Delta-8 may pose an opportunity for cannabis companies already in the business of producing products with Delta-9 THC for credibility and safety reasons. For example, Connecticut announced that only licensed cannabis businesses will be allowed to sell the products. So, it seems credible cannabis operators that meet requirements and regulations for Delta-9 are seen as more legitimate sources for Delta-8.
Certain state legislators see the Delta-8 market as an opportunity, while others have taken action against it. Recent measures have been taken to ban Delta-8 (or restrict sales) in: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. Legality is currently pending in Illinois, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Alabama.
There is no doubt that Delta-8 THC is unknown territory for the government, and presents a gray-area for cannabis-industry producers. It will be interesting to watch how states handle its manufacturing, sale, and legality. At Greenbelt, we regularly monitor pending legislation and any ongoing legislative activity that may impact our clients and the Cannabis industry as a whole.
Greenbelt is a Los Angeles based boutique consulting group dedicated to helping businesses navigate the ever-evolving Cannabis industry. With a collective 60 years of diverse experience working with dynamic, industry-leading brands and companies, our national team provides c-suite concierge support through various segments of the industry that include: brand, product and operational development, capitalization, compliance & licensing, and access to a network of cultivators, laboratories, manufacturers, and distributors for all varieties of Cannabis products, to ensure maximum exposure in the marketplace.