This growth is notable
According to the January 2021 Hemp Benchmarks report, there is an increasing demand for delta-8 THC, which is not derived from hemp plant material but synthesized from extracted CBD. This is helping drive sales of crude CBD oil, CBD Isolate, and some wholesale CBD products. As the popularity of delta-8 THC increases, Hemp Benchmarks observed a consistent decline in prices. Despite the fact that trading volumes of delta-8 THC remain a small proportion of those for CBD products, it is the fastest-growing product in the hemp sector as of the January report. A Tennessee processor told Hemp Benchmarks that they have seen as many as about 20% of their CBD customers shift to purchasing delta-8 THC.
This growth is notable given the many unresolved questions regarding delta-8’s legality. The compound is a psychoactive cannabinoid, which means it can get users “high”, giving rise to numerous legality issues. Newly proposed regulations from the Drug Enforcement Agency would classify delta-8 THC as a Schedule I controlled substance, which would make it illegal at the federal level. For this reason, laboratories and manufacturers are keeping a restrained and realistic eye out for delta-8’s true market potential. The uncertainty extends to the lack of defined standards around compliance and purity of products containing delta-8 THC. The Hemp Benchmarks report quotes an email from Stephen Crowley, Compliance Specialist and Hemp Processing Technician with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, who wrote that one of his concerns is “what else might be in these products other than delta-8 THC.” This includes a number of chemical impurities that can be generated during the isomerization process.
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