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Bad Boy, Bad Boy, Whatcha Gonna Do? (Or Why We Don't Sell Delta-8)

Hello friends of Carolina CBD Solutions! I've been batting around the idea for this post for quite a while, and wrote the original draft back in April while we were on vacation, but it's taken me until now to actually put it out there for you to read.

So who is this Bad Boy, you say? Are you talking about THC? We know all about THC already. Uh, well, I am talking about a TYPE of THC, but not the one we're all familiar with.

I'm talking about another cannabinoid, one that for the most part is a synthetic cannabinoid in the marketplace. I'm talking about Delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid that has taken the hemp industry by storm in the last couple of years.

You're probably saying to yourself, "Why's she calling that a Bad Boy? I thought D-8 was harmless, "weed light," "gets you just a little high," helps with pain and sleep, etc. You may know people who are using it and like it. You may reside in a state without legal access to marijuana and think that it might be worth trying it because technically it's "not THC."

Well, let me explain myself. And this may take a while, so please be patient.

In nature, cannabis plants contain numerous cannabinoids, with those plants or species highest in Delta-9 THC being known as Marijuana, and those highest in CBD known as hemp, with the cut-off percentage between the two being 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBL, CBN, Delta-8 THC, and Delta-10 THC occur in very small amounts in comparison. Many of these cannabinoids are similar in chemical structure, and under certain conditions (heat, drought, time) can convert from one cannabinoid to another within the plant. We're talking about what happens in nature here, not in a laboratory.

In nature, Delta-9 THC can convert to CBN or Delta-10 THC over time. Delta-8 THC can also occur, but we're talking about these converted cannabinoids occurring in very small amount in the plant over time. Growers are not growing cannabis plants for their Delta-8 or Delta-10 or CBN content for commercial products. These cannabinoids, although they may occur in nature in small amounts, have to be converted from another substance in a lab for commercialization.

At this point you're probably thinking, "Isn't CBD extracted in a lab?" Extracted - Yes. Converted - No. There's a difference.

So with these lab-created/converted cannabinoids we get into the legal conundrum that has ensued with Delta-8 THC. Hemp is legal, thanks to the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. CBD is extracted from hemp and made into many wellness products available today. While it is not formally regulated currently, the hemp industry itself has developed standards for CBD products that have done much to improve the safety and efficacy of these products.

The hemp industry has worked very hard to separate itself from the concept of psychoactive cannabis, marijuana, weed, or whatever else we call THC-rich cannabis. We're about health, not high. And that's an important point to remember, because we're still trying to get over this huge hump of stigma that's been hovering over cannabis for almost a decade thanks to "Reefer Madness" and Richard Nixon, to name a few.

Delta-8 THC is also derived from hemp, and is converted from CBD to D-8 THC in a laboratory setting using various solvents. Unlike CBD, it does have psychoactive properties, which could be a safety consideration depending on who is using it.

Many states have outright outlawed it, others have integrated any synthetically-derived THC-like cannabinoids into their state Marijuana laws, and others are still trying to figure out what to do about it. Twenty-one states have restricted, regulated, or banned D-8. Of these, 12 states have banned it completely.

Here in South Carolina, but Attorney General Alan Wilson claims delta-8 products derived from hemp plants carrying the federal 0.3% THC limit aren’t permitted anywhere in the state. Wilson’s comment on the legality of delta-8 in South Carolina means the use, possession, sale, distribution, and production of delta-8 products are in a grey area but likely not officially prohibited. It's been confiscated from some CBD stores and smoke shops in different areas, but it's still available just about everywhere that CBD is sold.

Meanwhile the federal Ninth District Court of Appeals has ruled in a case involving trademarks and insurance that Delta-8 is federally legal under the definition of Hemp set forth by the 2018 Farm Bill. Are you confused yet??

How in the world did we get to this point with Delta-8 so fast? Why all the press and the legislative and judicial activity over something that is NOT THC? Several reasons.

A big factor has been the fast start up of the hemp industry and CBD products in particular. Farmers in 2019 grew many acres of CBD-rich hemp and flooded the market quickly. The price of hemp and raw materials derived from hemp, like crude oil, distillate, and isolate, dropped over just a couple of years dramatically and extractors and chemists started looking for a way to stay afloat. Methods for converting CBD to Delta-8 were developed and the resulting D-8 distillate sold like hotcakes to finished product manufacturers looking for something new and hot to offer customers.

After all, it wasn't really THC, and it wasn't regulated like THC, and it didn't get you as high as THC. The problems started when less-than-reputable manufacturers and sellers began releasing products onto the market that could be dangerous to consumers. The conversion process from CBD to D-8 in the lab involves solvents that must be removed before the process is considered complete, but some labs are not removing these solvents successfully. There are numerous reports of people consuming Delta-8 products and ending up in emergency departments with a variety of problems. No wonder 20 + states are restricting its use so far. Better safe than sorry.

Besides what the courts and the state legislatures have to say about Delta-8, it's a Bad Boy in my book because of the uncertainty of the cannabinoid. There's a lack of research and a lack of evidence. And a whole lot of negative press. And we've all heard the old saying that where there's smoke there's fire, right? We don't have good data on dosing or what conditions it might help with, who should or shouldn't take it, how it can contribute positively to your health and well-being. And there's a chance that if you buy an unknown product from an unknown brand that it could have a negative effect, like a fall or liver injury from a solvent you didn't sign up for or know you were ingesting.

Hopefully one day we'll have a clearer picture of if/where Delta-8 fits into the cannabis world from a health and wellness standpoint. For now we're in a wait and see mode with this particular cannabinoid.

We're about wellness here and we're not going to steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to cannabinoids. Providing healthful products you can trust is the only way we can stay in business. We stay in the know about what's on the horizon, and we offer new products along the way, in an effort to give you the best possible outcomes.

So stay tuned to Carolina CBD Solutions and stay healthy.

The Canna Chemist

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