One of the larger stories in the cannabis industry of late has been the growing popularity of Delta-8 THC products. Sometimes called “marijuana lite,” Delta-8 is a product derived from hemp, which is legal, and tweaked in a laboratory to more closely resemble marijuana. It’s been widely available not only from CBD sellers but even convenience stores. Like cannabis, Delta-8 is sold in a variety of forms from edibles to vapes to tablets.

Delta-8 essentially straddles the line between CBD and Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Some proponents have found it even more effective than traditional CBD products for pain relief, sleeplessness and other symptoms. But like THC products, Delta-8 products produce a high, the extent of which seems to depend on the user. Generally speaking, Delta-8’s effects are milder and shorter-lasting than those of traditional THC products.

So what’s the problem? First, in a market where relatively little comprehensive research has been done on CBD, Delta-8 is even more of an unknown. Most CBD and marijuana products are natural, but Delta-8 products must be manipulated in a lab, often using acids, to create its effects and sometimes to strip out the Delta-9, keeping it below the legal limit of 0.3% THC. That’s a lot of unknowns in terms of health risks, especially if the product is being inhaled.

Second, as a hemp-based product Delta-8 falls under the protections of the Farm Bill of 2018, which returned hemp to legal status at the federal level. And therefore it’s unregulated in many states, for now anyway, a concern for any product with psychotropic effects.

Regulators are taking notice. A dozen states have banned Delta-8 products outright, while others, including legal cannabis states such as California and New York, are working on regulations to require testing of products with any form of THC. Those would cover both Delta-8 and traditional Delta-9 THC products.

Some supporters of Delta-8 products suggest that those regulations are more about protecting the legal marijuana industry and collecting sales tax, and they may be right. But given the long and tortuous road to legalization in many states, and the investment made by cannabis growers and dispensaries, it seems pretty logical to head off unregulated sales of untested products.

Brytemap produces a full suite of seed-to-sale software products for growers and dispensaries in the cannabis industry. To learn more, request a demo.

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