On September 14, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued consumer warnings about the potential risks of the cannabinoid delta-8 THC.
The psychoactive compound delta-8 THC has grown in popularity in recent years but exists in what is being called a grey area from a regulatory perspective. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been legal under federal law only when it contains less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC, or as most of us think of it: THC. However, delta-8 THC can be synthesized from legal hemp using CBD.
This has allowed some manufacturers to extract and sell delta-8 THC in states that have yet to legalize cannabis. As a result, the CDC and FDA are warning the public.
However, the announcements are not outright bans on delta-8 THC—in part because all tetrahydrocannabinols, whether synthetically derived or not, remain schedule I controlled substances and illegal. In other words, they’re already banned at the federal level.
The gyst of the warning seems to stem in part from concerns that the synthesis process might cause contaminated products. The idea is to warn consumers, caution sellers to test and label products properly, and generally put states on notice.
Of course, all of this overlooks the central issue here: people are only working this hard to synthesize THC because cannabis remains illegal. Until this loophole is permanently closed, expect to see delta-8 THC products continue to grow in popularity, warnings or not.