Delta-8 THC (D8) has been creating a buzz in the hemp-derived psychoactive market, with claims of a milder intoxicating effect compared to Delta-9 THC.
While D8 occurs naturally in small quantities, the majority of D8 products on the market today are made through chemical conversion of CBD into the Delta-8 molecule, leaving room for questions about its safety and purity.
Delta-8 THC is Harvesting Big $$$
According to a white paper from cannabis analytics firm, Brightfield Group Delta-8 THC products generated nearly $2 billion in sales revenue over the last two years. 35 percent of CBD consumers have bought hemp-derived, psychoactive cannabinoid products in the last six months.
Brightfield Group reports that 23% of cannabis consumers in legal states are likely to purchase Delta-8 products. This is putting at least a little pressure on the cannabis industry as a whole which might be experiencing a slowdown, like other economic sectors.
Online CBD Sales Decline, but Vape and Smoke Shops See Growth
The report shows online CBD sales peaked in November 2020 but have experienced a sharp decline in the following months, down 53% from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, sales at vape and smoke shops grew 42% over the same period.
A glimpse into Delta-8's impact on the market can be gained through channel behavior shifts. CBD purchases online have been declining since their peak. This decline has seen an increase in Vape and Smoke Shops purchasers by 42%.— Brightfield Group (@brightfieldgrp) January 5, 2023
Learn more here:https://t.co/YgjmCuyj8M pic.twitter.com/2NCIsF7c0s
Exposure to Delta-8 THC
Brightfield’s report states that the decline in online sales aligns with the increase in purchases at vape and smoke shops. Many shops, with little to no regulation, offer users more exposure to these hemp-derived THC products such as D8. 64% of CBD users use cannabis a few times a year and are open to THC, potentially shifting some use in that direction. Rumor has it some of these newer shops are also pushing Delta-9 under a perceived gray market.
Options for Delta-9 THC Businesses (you know… real weed…)
Brightfield suggests that Delta-9 businesses have three options: beat, join, or ignore Delta-8 THC. BG also warns that Congress may target Delta-8 THC in this year’s Farm Bill. Some CBD companies are adding D8 to their portfolios.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound found in hemp and marijuana plants. D8 similar to Delta-9 THC, in that its an active compound responsible for the “high” associated with pot use, but is less potent and legal under federal law, then its ‘cousin. Delta-8 THC can be found in various forms, including edibles, tinctures, and vape cartridges.
Is Delta 8 Safe?
The safety of Delta-8 THC is still being researched and studied. Overall, it is also considered to be less potent than Delta-9 THC. As D8 THC products continue to gain popularity, the American Chemical Society has raised safety concerns.
The conversion of a CBD molecule into THC is a complex process that requires the expertise of a knowledgeable chemist. Poor technique or improper methods can result in high levels of reaction byproducts, the health effects of which are currently unknown.
These risks highlight the importance of ensuring that Delta-8 THC products are made under safe and controlled conditions.
Just because the product is on a shelf at some store, does not always mean it is safe or well-made.
Why Delta 8 Now, After Never Hearing About It Before?
The demand for CBD and THC products is strong. A strictly regulated legal cannabis market with challenging access is resulting in an increased interest in Delta-8 THC. While D8 is unregulated it is growing rapidly due to its easy access and availability.
Additionally, the increased presence and access to Delta-8 THC products have made it more widely known and used. You can find it at gas stations, convenience stores, head shops, and many other places too.
Delta-8 THC Industry Braces for Impact with 2023 Farm Bill
The 2023 Farm Bill has the potential to bring significant changes to the hemp-derived THC industry. Delta-8 manufacturers are expanding their reach under the 2018 Farm Bill. But, the lack of regulations and safety checks has raised red flags for the industry.
The 2023 bill has some industry insiders worried about the possibility of new restrictions or even a complete ban on D8 products.
The Future of D8
D8 is becoming increasingly popular due to its legality and accessibility.
Although its safety is still under review, overall it is much less potent than Delta-9 THC. As with any new or lesser known substance, we always recommend caution and/or a professional consultation. What is safe today, might not be safe tomorrow. Right now though, it is available at gas stations, every smoke shop and readily available online.