Bloom Lab's Δ8-THC Explained:
In recent months Hemp-Derived Delta 8 THC has grown rapidly in popularity. While manufacturers and retailers are rushing to sell it, consumers are still educating themselves on what delta 8 is, the legality, and the benefits. Delta 8’s legality is still being debated and is currently somewhat of a grey area.
However, under the 2018 Farm Bill, all isomers of hemp testing below the compliant delta-9 limit is considered federally legal. The DEA recently put out an Interim Final Ruling which states their interpretation of the Farm Bill and how the industry should be regulated and enforced. The DEA’s IFR specifies that all “Synthetically Derived” Tetrahydrocannabinols remain Controlled Substances, but did not provide any guidance specific to Delta 8 or isomers of CBD. The DEA does not have the authority to modify or change the legislation enacted by Congress & the Senate, which has sparked a debate about the definition of “Synthetic”, the legal status of Delta 8 THC, CBN, and other isomers of hemp, and whether or not the DEA is overstepping its bounds with the IFR.
What is Delta 8 THC?
According to the National Cancer Institute, delta-8-THC can be defined as:
“An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. [Delta-8-THC] binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, located in the central nervous system…This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than [delta-9-THC], the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
Is Delta 8 THC Legal? YES
Delta 8 THC was made legal by H.R. 2: The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill. It was specifically made legal when hemp allowed for all derivatives, isomers, and cannabinoids of hemp that were not Delta 9 THC. Up to that point, Delta 8 THC had been illegal and was specifically named in the Controlled Substances Act. However, in addition to making all hemp cannabinoids, isomers, and derivatives legal, H.R. 2 specifically includes text to remove all confusion between laws by amending the Controlled Substances Act to exclude Delta 8 THC from hemp. Delta 8 THC is federally legal and legal in most states, but it is not legal in all states. Delta 8 THC is legal in most states that have hemp laws mirroring H.R. 2, however not all states do this. Some states specifically exclude Delta 8 THC or have laws that do not specifically make all cannabinoids, isomers, and derivatives of hemp legal, creating a grey area for the compound.
How is Δ8-THC Made?
Delta 8 manufacturers are creating Delta 8 by putting CBD isolate through a process called isomerization. This is done by utilizing temperature, solvents, and catalysts to achieve the isomerization from CBD isolate to Delta 8. There are many different methodologies being used by labs that make Delta 8, which has led to a large variance in quality between end products. An incomplete isomerization can result in Delta 8 that has illegal amounts of Delta 9 as well as other harmful byproducts.
Another hot topic that is up for debate is the accuracy of analytical potency testing for Delta 8 as compared to Delta 9. Analytical testing for isomerized delta 8 has not been standardized like it is for other cannabinoids. This has caused a lot of confusion, with most labs having conflicting results. The occurrence of coeluting peaks on a chromatogram has labs debating whether or not the “Mystery Peak” that appears in some samples is Delta 9 or another isomer, possibly HU331, CBDHQ, or even Benzopyrene. The “Mystery Peak” coelutes with the Delta 8 peak and does not match the standard retention time for Delta 9. There has been a rush for testing labs to create and finalize methodology that can accurately detect the presence of Delta 9 in isomerized Delta 8 samples.
Several labs have switched over to a new method which they claim is more accurate when identifying the compounds. Other labs are claiming that the new methodology is inaccurate. Even Mass Spectrometry, which is the gold standard for identifying compounds, has been shown to have difficulty separating the two due to the fact that the primary ions have an identical molecular weight and the only difference between the two is a swapped double bond on the 8th and 9th ring. If you find a Delta 8 product that has been verified by a lab you trust, you can expect to experience a mild psychoactive high similar to the effects of delta 9. In fact, consuming delta 8 will cause the user to test positive for marijuana in a urinalysis due to the same metabolite, 11-Nor-9-carboxy-THC, being produced by the body. Consumers have reported the uses of delta 8 as increasing appetite, pain relief, and sleep aid. Users have also reported the beneficial anti-anxiety properties of delta 8. For consumers who become too anxious or feel delta 9 is too intrusive and are seeking a more mild psychoactive effect, Delta 8 may be the perfect match.