What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is one of over 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Like Delta–9 THC and CBD, Delta-8 THC is a natural chemical found in cannabis plants. Delta–9 and CBD cannabinoids derived from legal cannabis are much more prevalent in use in Tennessee. However, Delta–8 is receiving a considerable amount of attention from cannabis consumers in the State of Tennessee who want to consume a legal product and receive the unique benefits that Delta 8 provides.
Delta-8 THC is chemically different from Delta-9 THC by only a few atomic bonds and still offers a potent high of its own. While Delta-8 THC only exists naturally in fractions of a percent, companies are finding value in concentrating esoteric cannabinoids for their unique effects and applications.(1) Because it is not contained in large concentrations in the hemp flower, it usually sprayed on hemp flower or placed in vapes, concentrates, and edibles.
Because of its molecular structure, Delta-8 THC bonds more to CB2 receptors than CB1 receptors, allowing it to have numerous benefits on the body with fewer side-effects influencing the CB1 receptors in the brain. Ultimately, this makes the health benefits of Delta-8 THC stand out while minimizing its psychoactive effects.
Is Delta-8 Legal in Tennessee?
In December 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which lifted the controlled substance designation for hemp and all its extracts except for Delta-9 THC which must be in a concentration of less than .3% on a dry-weight basis. Under current Tennessee and federal law, marijuana (illegal cannabis) is cannabis that contains more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis, while hemp (legal cannabis) contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is legal under both Tennessee and federal law. There is currently no limit on how much Delta-8 THC a product may contain in order to be considered legal cannabis so long as the Delta-8 THC is derived from the hemp.(2)
DEA being the DEA
In 2020, DEA released the “Implementation of Agricultural Improvement Act 2018“, which outlined a very different interpretation of the 2018 Farm Bill as it relates to Delta-8 THC. According to DEA, Delta-8 THC was not covered under the 2018 Farm Bill as a derivative of hemp and is therefore illegal. Their interpretation of the plain language of the 2018 Farm Bill is based on the fact that Delta-8 THC is not present in extractable levels in hemp and must be synthesized from CBD. The DEA is thus proposing that Delta-8 be considered a synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols and listed as schedule 1 controlled substance.(3) This has been hotly disputed and has not been deemed final by the DEA or any governing body.
Future of Delta-8
Due to the benefits of Delta-8 THC and the minimal psychoactive effect it has on users, it will hopefully become more widely desired and produced by our Tennessee hemp farmers, manufactured by Tennessee businesses, and sold in retail CBD stores in Tennessee. Regulation is almost certain but not necessarily a bad thing. Responsible and informed regulation will allow the responsible manufacturers and retailers to provide consumers with safe and effective Delta-8 THC cannabis products. I only hope our conservative state legislature does not try to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
HEMP LAW GROUP
HEMP LAW GROUP is Tennessee’s first and only legal group dedicated to representing individuals and small businesses navigate the legal cannabis industry in Tennessee. Joey Fuson, partner at Freeman & Fuson, founded Hemp Law Group and is widely considered a leader and expert in the legal hemp and cannabis industry in Tennessee. To learn more, visit www.hemplawgroup.com.