Yo, what’s good? It’s your boy Dan, and I’m here to break it down for you about the DEA and cannabis-related issues. So, the DEA is the big bad wolf when it comes to enforcing drug laws, and they just said that two types of cannabinoids that have been popping up in state markets are actually controlled substances and not hemp. Attorney Rod Kight wanted clarification on delta-8 THC-O and delta-9 THC-O, and the DEA said that they can only be produced synthetically, making them not hemp.
Now, some people have been worried about THC acetate ester (THCO) for a long time, and Kight was one of them. He believes that it’s a controlled substance under federal law, and now he’s even more worried about it since it can be produced using cannabinoids from hemp but is not a natural component of the plant. This has led to uncertainty in the cannabis industry since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp with a delta-9 THC content of 0.3% or less on a dry-weight basis, causing a surge in both natural and synthetic cannabinoids on the market.
Delta-8 THC has been getting a lot of attention lately, and while it can be made synthetically from CBD, it also occurs naturally in minuscule amounts in the cannabis plant. Some states seek to regulate it despite its differences from CBD since it does have intoxicating effects. The DEA says that delta-8 THC products aren’t classified as controlled substances if derived from a natural plant rather than being synthetically created.
However, when it comes to THC-O, the DEA determined that it’s not a naturally-occurring cannabinoid and is prohibited under federal law since it can only be produced synthetically. This statement adds another layer of complexity to determining the legality of hemp products, according to Michelle Bodian, a partner at the Vicente Sederberg law firm. She believes that this requires a detailed analysis of each cannabinoid and hopes that Congress will soon take action to address the legal status of all hemp-derived cannabinoids.
While there’s been an increased interest in THC-O due to reports of its potency, some studies have raised concerns about its safety. Advocacy groups like NORML have advised against using these unregulated, lesser-known cannabinoids since they’re not subject to control under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This lack of regulation has caused concern for public health and safety since new cannabinoids continue to emerge while the FDA seeks more data to better understand their risks and benefits.
Even though lawmakers, advocates, and stakeholders have called for regulatory guidelines for cannabidiol (CBD), the FDA recently announced that it won’t create such rules. This has left the burgeoning CBD industry without clear regulations which raises concerns about their safety and quality. The FDA plans to work with Congress to create legislative solutions to cannabis-derived products soon after issuing guidance for the development of cannabis-based drugs.
The regulatory landscape surrounding hemp and cannabis-derived products continues to evolve as new cannabinoids emerge and gain popularity. The recent DEA statement on THC-O has brought clarity to some lesser-known cannabinoids but highlighted the need for comprehensive federal regulations that prioritize public health and safety concerns. As advocates and lawmakers continue to push for cannabis reform, we hope for more coherent and consistent regulations for cannabis and hemp products in the future.