The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is yet to make an official declaration regarding the status of delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC); however, an internal email authored by a DEA official implies the agency’s inclination towards considering it a controlled substance.
Delta-8-THC, a psychoactive compound sourced from the cannabis plant, has triggered debates over its legal status. Manufacturers use chemical processes to extract, isolate, and refine the compound, as the cannabis plant itself contains minimal delta-8-THC.
Delta 8 can be found on the market as various products. Including gummies, oils, and vaping liquids. These products have found a market in 29 U.S. states and Washington DC. Notably, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated or granted approval for delta-8-THC products.
Is Delta 8 illegal?
The classification predicament of delta-8-THC centers on its presence within the cannabis plant, which the 2018 Farm Bill categorizes as hemp. This legal amendment removed hemp. And its derivatives containing less than 0.3% THC from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)’s marijuana definition.
“THC synthetically produced from non-cannabis materials is controlled under the CSA as a tetrahydrocannabinol.”In a response letter to the Alabama Board of Pharmacy in 2021, Terrence Boos, DEA’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief
Adding complexity, attorney Shane Pennington’s recent Substack article dated August 11 highlights the possibility that the DEA might regard all forms of synthesized delta-8-THC as illicit.
Pennington’s article spotlights a 2021 email by Boos, affirming that “Arriving at delta-8-THC by a chemical reaction starting from CBD makes the delta-8-THC synthetic and therefore, not exempted by the [Agricultural Improvement Act] AIA. Any quantity of delta-8-THC obtained by chemical means is a controlled substance.”
The typical procedure to synthesize delta-8-THC involves chemically converting hemp-derived CBD. This information comes from Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Pennington asserts that Boos’ statement could lend weight to ongoing legal disputes against state-level bans on delta-8-THC.
Among the ongoing doubt, the DEA’s forthcoming definition of delta-8-THC – whether as naturally derived or chemically produced – remains a question. Until further clarity emerges, the availability of delta-8-THC is likely to persist in states allowing its distribution.
- FDA. Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill.
- On Drugs. Told You So…
- Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Delta-8 Information.