August 10, 2020 3 min read

Many consumers may not have known what delta 8 THC was until a surprise interim final report (IFR) from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration went viral after August 20, 2020. In this report, the DEA asserted that all synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols were Schedule I controlled substances—even though the only kind of THC that is actually listed on the Controlled Substances Act is delta 9 THC at a concentration over 0.3% and all cannabinoids and extracts derived from marijuana.

The issues currently at stake for CBD processing with the new IFR are:

  1. The legal status of THC varieties that are synthesized from lawful CBD.
  2. The legal status of Work in Progress Hemp Extracts (WIPHE) with THC concentrations over 0.3%. This affects all hemp customers who enjoy hemp, including those who purchase THC-free hemp products.

THC and CBD Processing

The word “THC” stands for tetrahydrocannabinols—a family of isomers that all come from a common precursor, called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. THCA itself is not psychoactive and offers a range of therapeutic properties.

When THCA is heated, it goes through a process called decarboxylation, in which it loses a carboxyl ring and changes from an acidic state to a neutral state. In this process, THCA turns into the 30 different kinds of THC that we find in the cannabis plant. This can occur naturally in the plant and also during the gas chromatography processes used in many states to separate and test for THC.

Some forms of THC—like delta 8 THC—can also be created through CBD processing by adding a catalyst and causing a chemical reaction to take place. Delta 8 THC is not contained in CBD itself, and CBD doesn’t turn into delta 8 THC during CBD processing unless this specific catalyst is added.

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is very similar to delta 9 THC in its structure, except for the placement of one double bond. The effects are slightly different, too. Delta 8 THC is less psychoactive and doesn’t make the individual as anxious. This cannabinoid is present in hemp, but at levels so low that its extraction would not be commercially viable.

With hemp being legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, some producers have begun to use the CBD processing mentioned above to turn the more abundant CBD from hemp into delta 8 THC and sell it to consumers for a legal buzz. It’s being sold as sprays, in drinks, and as extracts for vaping. However, the growing success of this little-known compound might be in for a sharp decline with the DEA’s interim final ruling.

How CBD Processing Could Be Affected

Knowing what delta 8 THC is might not appear to be that important if you’re mainly interested in the wellness benefits of THC-free CBD and not looking to get high. However, the DEA’s aggressive “clampdown” on THC in hemp could cause major problems for the industry.

By definition, a legal hemp plant contains no more than 0.3% THC “on a dry weight basis,” and this is the plant from which we source our broad-spectrum CBD oil. However, when processing the “wet” CBD-rich hemp oil initially, the THC level is naturally higher than it is in the whole, unharvested plant.

Work in Progress Hemp Extracts (WIPHE) like the above are a means to an end and are not sold or marketed to consumers. However, the interim final ruling (IFR) is set to criminalize this extract, which could cause problematic changes for CBD production in general.

What You Can Do to Help the CBD Community

Hands typing on a computer keyboard with a yellow watch on the side.

If you love our CBD oils, topicals, and pet products, you still have a short window of time to act.

Using the website, citizens are invited to submit comments on the IFR until October 20, 2020. To make sure that your comments have the greatest effect, please read the legal analyses of the situation here and here, and be sure to reference “RIN 1117- AB53 / Docket No. DEA-500” on all correspondence and attachments.

When writing, it’s important to be succinct and polite in your comments. Reference up-to-date research about what delta 8 THC is to help substantiate your comments.

Support Responsible CBD Processing by Shopping at EndoCoast

From our non-GMO hemp to the way we process our CBD oils, EndoCoast maintains the highest standards of CBD production. We’re committed to giving you the cleanest products to enhance your well-being and help you find your coast. We’re doing this by ensuring a product that’s free from pesticides, solvent residues, and psychoactive compounds like delta 8 from CBD that could disrupt your flow.

Discover nutritious CBD oils, edibles, and topicals based on the latest in nutraceutical science, and be reassured about the CBD processing details with our third-party laboratory certificates of analysis. Inner balance is just around the corner. #findyourcoast with EndoCoast today.