Delta-8 THC products are smoking their competition, largely due to a possible loophole in federal law.

Wholesalers are using Delta-8 THC because it gets around the psychoactive specifics that make marijuana use against the law in many jurisdictions.

Marijuana uses a compound called Delta-9 THC, a very close relative of Delta-8 THC, which is being marketed as a “legal” way for people to get stoned.

The 2018 passage of the Federal Farm Bill authorized hemp and may have opened that loophole. 

From a New York Post report:

“… Hemp and products related to hemp, so long as they have less than .3 percent Delta-9-THC — marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient — (are) legal. Thirty-eight states are cool with this.

“Proponents view Delta-8 as a slightly buzzy diamond in the rough that nobody thought to criminalize.”

Marijuana is illegal in South Carolina, for instance, and confusion from a recent drug case illustrates the gray area.

According to a local TV station report, police seized cannabis products but the store owner said it was Delta-8-THC, which can be extracted from hemp or synthesized from CBC.

And both of those processes are legal in the state.

“Both the marijuana and hemp plants have over 140 cannabinoids — one of those cannabinoids is Delta-8-THC, which is found in … very small concentrations, both in the marijuana plant as well as in the hemp plant,” Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, vice president of research at the University of South Carolina, told

Nagarkatti has studied cannabinoids for over 20 years.

The distinction is legal, not scientific.

“It’s not clear whether (Delta-8 products) are illegal under the 2018 farm bill,” said Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, in a Politico story. “It is clear that it violates the spirit of the law.”

The DEA, still mulling hemp restrictions, had no immediate comment.

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