Should I Work in the Delta-8 THC Industry?
Published on Sep 4, 2021
Delta-8 THC seems to be all the rage these days, both in good and bad ways. With many touting it as a legal alternative to Delta-9 THC, some states downright banning it, even and many people looking at it as a big-time business opportunity, it can be a difficult cannabis topic to navigate. Let's take a look at what Delta 8 THC is, what the conversation surrounding it is and why you might want to take a chance on it as a business opportunity.
What is Delta 8 THC?
There are over 400 chemical compounds in cannabis, the most prominent and well-known being delta-9 THC (it is usually simply referred to as THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and has several variations with differing effects). Delta-9 THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that causes the high associated with marijuana. It is a federally illegal substance, classified as a Schedule I drug with no medicinal properties and highly addictive. Legalization efforts have drastically increased over the last decade and there are campaigns to remove marijuana (and subsequently Delta-9 THC) from Schedule I status. Understanding Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 is very important in understanding what Delta-8 is and why it's such a hot (and controversial) topic.
As you likely guessed from its name, Delta-8 THC is very similar to Delta-9 THC. There are, however, several key differences. Delta 8 THC is a variant of tetrahydrocannabinol that is double bonded on the eighth carbon (Delta-9 THC is double bounded on the ninth carbon). It is a very rare form of THC, usually accounting for only 0.01% of the cannabis plant (as opposed to Delta-9 THC, which sometimes accounts for upward of 35%). Delta 8 is found in small percentages in both marijuana and hemp plants, while Delta 9 is found heavily in marijuana and rarely above 0.3% in hemp - this leads us to the crux of the controversy.
The 2018 Farm Bill & Delta 8 THC Legality
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as The Farm Bill) made hemp products legal, so long as they possess less than 0.3% THC (more specifically, delta-9 THC). Hemp is what CBD products are derived from, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid commonly used as a medicinal supplement. If Delta-9 THC is extracted from hemp, it is still federally illegal. Delta-8, however, is not explicitly stated as a Schedule I substance and, therefore, can be federally legally extracted from hemp thanks to The Farm Bill. Delta 8 is known as the legal alternative to Delta 9 because, while not as potent, it is still psychoactive. In larger concentrations, Delta 8 THC effects are very similar to its Delta 9 counterpart and can cause a mellow body high.
States That Have Banned the Sale of Delta 8 THC
Even though it is federally legal, there are now 14 states that have banned the sale of Delta 8 THC. Some of these states are ones you would not likely expect. As of June 2021, here are the 14 states you will not find Delta 8 for sale: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah. You may be wondering why states like Alaska, Colorado, and New York are on this list when they have legalized recreational marijuana? While some states have banned it for more traditional methods, not wanting it to be the slippery slope between CBD and full legalization, most states have banned the sale of Delta 8 because they are concerned about the lack of studies on its psychoactive effects. Scientists have been aware of the compound since the 1970s, but because it is found in such small quantities, it has been researched even less than CBD and Delta 8 THC (which are still understudied in many ways).
Pros & Cons of Getting into the Delta 8 Industry
While we are going to give both pros and cons, please note that nothing in this section is given as professional advice. What you do with the information below is of your own volition.
States Are Continuing to Ban It
You can't just open up shop anywhere. While there are currently 14 states that have banned the sale of Delta 8, there are others (Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma, for example) that have introduced legislation that would make it illegal to produce or sell the cannabis compound. If you take on a Delta 8 business venture, it may get shut down due to future legislation.
The Verdict is Still Out
Many states are concerned about the health risks of Delta 8's psychoactive properties in concentrated form, and so are some scientists. If Delta 8 is found to not be safe in concentrated amounts, the entire Delta 8 industry will go up in smoke along with any businesses built upon it.
Like CBD and Delta 9, Delta 8 can be concentrated and produced in a variety of products. Delta 8 gummies, topicals, tinctures and cartridges are all popular. This also allows you to find your niche in a given market, options to have a unique, desirable product.
It's A Major Trend (Especially in States Where Marijuana is Illegal)
Right now, People are seeking out Delta 8 THC like crazy. Searches like "Delta 8 THC near me" and "Where can you buy Delta 8 THC" are big right now with no signs of slowing down. This is especially true in states like Kansas, where no form of marijuana has been legalized but Delta 8 is still technically legal. People want a product that can legally get them high. If you can find the right market, delta 8 THC could be a very lucrative business opportunity.
Do you use Delta 8 THC or already gotten started within the industry? Let us know your thoughts on how states are handling this cannabis product and what you're next steps are. Comment below!