The gray area of cannabis laws has led to the emergence of a market for not-quite-legal cannabis products, including various psychoactive cannabinoids synthesized from legal hemp. Delta-8 THC, delta-10, HHC, and THC-O are all examples of these psychoactive cannabinoids that have different psychoactive properties similar to THC. While delta-8 THC is currently legal on the federal level, it is important to note that some states have taken issue with these products and have passed laws regulating or making them illegal.
Delta-8 THC is synthesized from legal cannabinoids obtained from hemp, often CBD. The process of creating delta-8 often involves using harmful chemicals that can leave chemical remnants. Without regulations, anyone can technically enter the delta-8 market and potentially release products that can make users sick. The lack of testing and regulation means the chemicals used to convert the cannabinoids from legal hemp into delta-8 can have chemical remnants from the conversion process, exposing people to toxic chemicals.
While delta-8 is a milder form of THC, there is a wild west of semi-legal cannabinoids on the market that do not face the same regulation or rigorous testing as legalized and medical marijuana. This lack of oversight means many issues could slip through the cracks.
The legality of delta-8 THC can sound illogical considering natural THC from cannabis is illegal but psychoactive cannabinoids like delta-8 made from hemp are legal. However, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growth and cultivation of cannabis plants that contain less than .3% THC, including any products cultivated from that hemp.
Delta-9 THC, the traditional THC found in cannabis, is definitively illegal on the federal level despite being legal on a state level in states where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal. Traditional delta-9 THC is natural; however, one can technically synthesize delta-9 THC from legal hemp using different chemicals to convert cannabinoids into delta-9 THC.
Delta-10 THC which is a cannabinoid with milder psychoactive effects is also legal on the federal level but has been outlawed in several states. Delta-10 was discovered accidentally when cannabis company Fusion Farms found cannabis contaminated with chemicals and developed strange crystals. The delta-10 THC on the market is synthetic.
THC-O-acetate (THC-O) is a synthetic cannabinoid that has been exposed to acetic anhydride boasting three times the potency of traditional delta-9 THC. However, it functions completely differently and can be very dangerous while using a man-made chemical as there hasn’t been adequate study about its long-term health effects of prolonged usage.
The changes to the law by the DEA have made THC-O illegal on the federal level due to its dangers when vaped. Heating any acetate chemical such as vitamin-E acetate in some e-cigarettes has been linked to EVALI which causes lung damage even with mild exposure.
In conclusion, while people want access to cannabis for its medicinal properties, US government regulations are slow to consider legalization on a federal level leading people to purchase not-quite-cannabis products that may prove problematic for their health. It’s essential to note regulations established by states for understanding cannabinoid levels, dosages, and testing parameters for impurities when purchasing these products. Additionally, applying for your medical marijuana card may provide access to legal cannabis in your area.