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Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which permits the distribution of hemp-derived products at the federal level, the popularity of delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10 products has surged. These products must contain less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, many of them are still psychoactive, albeit at lower levels than traditional cannabis sold in legal states.
Due to the lack of regulation akin to legal medical or recreational marijuana sales, delta-8 can often be found in gas stations, smoke shops, and similar establishments. It frequently contains unknown ingredients or levels of THC, and it is easier to purchase than regulated marijuana.
A new delta-8 study has revealed that people in states without access to legal cannabis products are far more likely to seek out and consume delta-8 and delta-9 variants, whether it be flower, edibles, or tinctures. Cannabidiol (CBD) use is also higher in states without legal cannabis.
Understanding Delta-8 and Delta-9 Products
Delta-8 and other variants are created from hemp, not traditional cannabis. Since marijuana products are still illegal in many states, this is the only psychoactive form of the plant available to millions of Americans. While hemp and cannabis share similar compounds, their processing methods differ significantly.
Two methods are employed to process delta-8: one involves the chemical conversion of CBD into delta-8 and delta-9, while the other entails extracting natural delta-8 THC from hemp plants.
The laws surrounding these products have some stipulations. Since hemp products must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, there is room for heavier products like edibles to contain more grams of THC. An edible with as little as 10 milligrams of THC can cause psychoactive effects, and many delta-8, 9, or 10 edibles contain far more than 10 milligrams.
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The Evidence Against Cannabis Prohibition
Since delta-8 is still a relatively new product, there have been few studies on its use nationwide. Fortunately, this has started to change. A new delta-8 study funded by the American Medical Association questioned more than 1,000 American adults on their CBD, delta-8, and delta-9 use. They found that the use of these products is increasing rapidly, with more than 20% of respondents using CBD regularly. Around 25% of participants reported using some form of cannabinoid in the past year, and about 12% of them used delta-8 or 9 products.
The use of delta-8 products is significantly higher in states without access to legal cannabis products, which led researchers to a few key conclusions. First, prohibition doesn’t work. Second, Americans are rapidly increasing their support for legalized marijuana. Finally, there is a growing need to regulate delta-8 products due to concerns over the manufacturing process and ingredients used to create them.
What Federal Marijuana Legalization Could Mean For Delta 8
Federal legalization of cannabis-derived products could lead to a massive decline in consumption of delta-8, but this is likely to be a good thing. Regulated cannabis is safer and less processed than delta-8. Since delta-8 is so unpopular in states with legal cannabis, the data suggests that it is often less appealing to consumers than actual weed.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is working on amending the Farm Bill in 2024 to create new rules and regulations regarding synthetic weed. Regulators have not actively enforced the rule designating Delta-8 synthesized from CBD as a controlled substance in recent years, although it still holds that status.
With the future of federal legalization of cannabis still a bit uncertain, it’s unlikely that delta-8 products will disappear from shelves anytime soon. To ensure the consumption of safe products, it is advisable to purchase them online from companies that refrain from using contaminants such as pesticides. You can also confirm that you’re buying more potent edibles or cannabis vapes.
To learn more about your access to medical cannabis or legal products, talk to one of our doctors today.