Home Uncategorized Dangerous Synthesized Cannabinoids Threaten the Legal Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Marketplace

Dangerous Synthesized Cannabinoids Threaten the Legal Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Marketplace


By John Hartsell

Most people know CBD as a cure all for a myriad of ailments and as a less intimidating alternative to cannabis. However, when in the wrong hands and paired with lax policy, an offset of this cannabinoid is creating a gray market of harmful drugs as unnatural as most pharmaceuticals.

For over 45 years, there has been a resilient push to liberalize cannabis laws with decriminalization in Oregon in 1973 and the first legalization of medical cannabis with the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act (1978) in New Mexico. These strides have paved the way for future states to not only decategorize cannabis as a controlled substance, but to finally understand the benefits of the plant and its healing nature.

With the strides made for the cannabis industry, there has also been a tradeoff politically to make these changes, such as high taxes on cannabis products. Plant-touching companies also must maneuver around the 280E tax code which prohibits the deduction of business expenses. Both stipulations not only hurt legal cannabis businesses, but also empowers sales through the black market.

What we are now seeing is another market, gray market inundated by genetically modified products derived from cannabinoids and hemp that do not require testing and have shown to be harmful to humans. These products are known as Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (or Delta-8 THC), THC-0, and D10. According to the FDA, Delta-8 THC can cause serious health risks and is exposing users to “much higher levels of the substance than naturally occur in hemp cannabis raw extracts”.

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The reason these THC variations exist is due to the passing of the Farm Bill which commercialized hemp derived products at a federal level.  The expressed intent of this bill was to enable products with less than 0.3% THC, such as CBD, in our general marketplace. People soon learned they could manipulate the legalized Delta-9 compound into products such as Delta 8, THC-0, and D10. These and other genetically modified (GM) cannabinoids are not technically legal as they’ve taken on the make-up of D9 or TCH, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. Self-serving entrepreneurs are using the Farm Bill as a loophole to illegally sell products through head shops and other fringe retailers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA has delivered a clear stance on Delta-8, the more popular manipulated compounds. Delta-8 is found in cannabis plants, but alone does not cause the same level of effect as THC. However, when this compound is concentrated it can cause a level of “high” similar to consuming cannabis. The FDA is very clear that Delta-8 is not approved and products containing it often have harmful chemicals. Genetically modified cannabinoids, which are intended to mimic THC and its psychoactive effects, is as big a threat to the legal cannabis retail sector as the black market.

As of March 2022, 13 states have banned Delta-8 sales. These states include Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Washington. Connecticut and Michigan are now regulating Delta-8 the same way as adult-use cannabis but are still allowing sales. Some states such as Arizona are still in the process of determining the regulations on Delta-8. Arizona bill SB1715, sponsored by Sen. David Gowan and co-sponsored by Sens. Sonny Borelli (R-LD5) and Rebecca Rios (D-LD27)l,  would ban “hemp-derived manufactured psychotropic cannabinoids,” including Delta-8.

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The first step to gaining control of the gray market is notifying state regulators in legal markets to pass legislation that requires these modified and harmful products to be sold in regulated dispensaries only. On a larger scale, these manipulated compounds should not be used by humans until more research is compiled.

The main problem for many of these genetically modified cannabinoids is they are not subject to the same testing requirements for mold, pesticides, fungicides, and other dangerous contaminants.

Another concern is that Hemp-derived plant material or any live products such as resin will continue to “get hot” meaning the amount of THC found in the material will exceed the legal percentage. These purveyors of these products are manipulating their overall amount of THC by using the gross weight of the product to assess the percentage.

If hundreds of pounds of hemp are sent to a facility in Florida for extraction in Oregon, the product potency can grow in transit surpassing the legal limit of 0.3%. That product would then be illegal and could be confiscated. This scenario also holds true for products such as an edible gummy. If the company uses not only the weight of the oil which was infused in the gummy but also the weight of the gelatin the gummy clearly will contain more than 0.3% THC.

As states continue to learn about these unregulated, genetically modified products, we can only hope they will be held to the same testing and compliance standards that the purveyors of real medicine, cannabis, must abide by. With regulations in place, we may soon learn the magnitude of damage these modified products may impose on those who use them.

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The post Dangerous Synthesized Cannabinoids Threaten the Legal Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Marketplace appeared first on Cannabis Business Executive – Cannabis and Marijuana industry news.


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