In the last decade, the legal marijuana market has seen many products quickly rise to prominence only to quickly be replaced by the next big thing. The latest cannabis compound craze is delta-8-THC, a cousin of delta-9-THC, the well-known molecule responsible for the plant’s mind-altering effects. Seemingly legal in all 50 states (at least for now), delta-8 products are available across the country and have exploded in popularity thanks to their mildly psychoactive effects.
Derived from either hemp or cannabis, delta-8 is an isomer of delta-9-THC. Synthesized in labs using advanced extraction techniques, the compound recently came under fire when its manufacturing process came to light.
Often called “THC light,” delta-8 has been garnering a lot of attention — and not all of it good. Some retailers are concerned the federal government may soon crackdown on the compound. On the flip side, others worry the current lack of oversight is allowing for shady practices to occur leading some to argue the trend is another vape crisis waiting to happen.
Many consumers in states still under prohibition are grateful for access to products that mimic the typical THC experience. Others in legal states appreciate the fact delta-8 isn’t as potent as traditional cannabis but still offers some of the benefits.
Knowing all of this, the cannabis industry is wondering: is delta-8 another moment of hype, or could it have staying power?
For the time being, it appears that delta-8 is unstoppable. But there’s a caveat: a looming ban on the shipping of vape products could put the entire category in jeopardy. The majority of delta-8 sold in the US is in vape cartridge form, and if online retailers (a huge source for many consumers across the country) are unable to get their merchandise out it could pose a serious issue.
Some politicians also wish to criminalize delta-8 altogether due to its psychoactivity. It could be only a matter of time before the bubble bursts.
On the other side of the coin, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently reiterated his commitment to federal decriminalization of traditional cannabis, stating legislation was coming “shortly.” If this were to occur, it may make delta-8 products less desirable for consumers truly desiring legit weed.
It is unlikely that delta-8 will completely disappear from the marketplace, but it’s this writer’s opinion that the current hype will soon fade. Between regulatory issues and the demand for full-spectrum delta-9-THC products increasing, the category will likely shrink. Fans of delta-8 should enjoy it while it lasts and look forward to the next big thing.