The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed changes to the way that delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is regulated in the U.S. on March 5, and the agency’s decision has ignited a firestorm of activity in the nation’s capital. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the proposed rule would allow the sale of medical marijuana products in which the THC content does not exceed 10% by weight. The FDA has also proposed to allow the sale of products with a higher percentage of THC in liquid form, but the agency is not proposing to remove the 10% limit on THC-containing products in all forms. In short, the FDA will not allow
After months of on-going debate over the merits of the THC-8 bill, its passage in the 2015 Legislative Session was a huge step forward for cannabis patients in Washington State. Along with the passage of the highly-anticipated MMJ referendum, the passage means that both MMJ and THC-8 patients in Washington State will now be able to access medical marijuana without the need for an additional doctor’s recommendation.Regulators in Washington state say they are ready to regulate the sale of products containing delta-8 THC in licensed cannabis dispensaries, although chemistry experts say the issue needs to be studied before regulations can be developed. The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board has announced that it will regulate the sale of Delta-8 THC products sold in marijuana dispensaries licensed in the state. Last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled that Delta-8 THC, a naturally occurring cannabinoid that can also be processed from CBD, is an unprotected controlled substance under the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp cultivation and products derived from the plant. Since then, at least a dozen states, including New York, have banned the manufacture and sale of Delta-8. In a policy statement issued in April, the Washington Cannabis Council said the DEA’s interpretation of federal cannabis rules was unworkable and that the agency would set rules for Delta-8 sold in licensed cannabis dispensaries. At a council-organized meeting of chemists from the University of Washington, Washington State University and private laboratories last week, researchers said the study of Delta-8 has been limited so far. Frankly, they haven’t done much in this area with Delta-8, because it does pretty much the same thing as Delta-9, says Nefi Stella, professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at the University of Washington and co-director of the university’s Cannabis Research Center. According to the Cannabis Council’s policy statement, it is not legal to sell Delta-8 made from CBD or other cannabinoids in licensed dispensaries. However, some groups, including the Washington State Cannabis Association, believe that the Alcohol and Cannabis Commission can regulate the production of naturally occurring delta-8-THC. We think we’re unfortunately moving toward (the cannabis agency) focusing on what’s good or bad about cannabis rather than consumer safety, said Vicki Christophersen, executive director and lobbyist for the trade group. Brad Douglas, an organic chemist at The Werc Shop, a Southern California-based cannabis testing laboratory, had no opinion on whether state authorities should regulate Delta-8, but he said it was possible. I see a way to have standards for ingredients and regulations to test and regulate these products so they can be used safely, Douglas said. This is purely an opinion based on my knowledge of science and toxicology. But I think it’s possible.
Colorado deregulated delta-8 THC
Last week, Colorado lawmakers rejected an amendment to the HB 1301 cannabis cultivation bill that would have, among other things, made all products containing Delta-8 THC illegal. In a statement to the High Times, Henry Baskerville, a partner at Colorado-based Fortis Law Partners, praised House Majority Leader Danea Esgar for convening a conference committee to consider the amendment. The committee rejected the amendment Friday by a 5-1 majority. Because Delta-8 is a cannabinoid derived from cannabis, it does not belong in HB 1301, which seeks to regulate outdoor cannabis cultivation, Baskerville writes. If passed, the amendment could end outdoor cannabis cultivation in Colorado and impose an impermissible ban on Delta-8. Faced with the prospect of arbitrarily excluding Delta 8 from Colorado’s business landscape, lawmakers backed down. However, Baskerville also noted that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment decided in May to ban Delta-8 in all foods, beverages and dietary supplements. The attorney urged the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Colorado Division of Marijuana Control to exercise restraint when regulators approve stakeholder proposals this week to regulate delta-8 THC. Delta 8 products in states across the country are made from hemp, which is a legal crop thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, Baskerville said. Hemp products, from textiles to building materials to cannabinoids, are as legal as the plant itself.