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| 1 minute read

The CDC and the FDA weigh in, sort of, on delta-8 THC

Friends, my apologies for the delay in getting out this latest Cannabis Musings. What with the various holidays and all, it’s not always easy to find fresh, interesting content for your reading pleasure.

The FDA and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) came out this week with separate consumer health alerts on delta-8 THC. (link; link) I’ve written and spoken before about the kopdreyenish of whether delta-8 THC is a controlled substance under federal law (for example, here, here, here, here). It’s still an active topic of debate within the Cannabis bar (a fancy word for “lawyers”).

Although the alerts are primarily focused on many of the health and safety issues addressed by industry and states, to me, the most interesting takeaway is that neither alert takes a position on whether delta-8 THC is a controlled substance (though the FDA’s alert is very clear that delta-8 THC hasn’t been FDA-approved). The Drug Enforcement Agency sort of weighed in on this back in 2020 (link), but that agency also sidestepped making a definitive public statement on the question. It’s worth noting, though, that the CDC’s alert explains that “CBD [presumably, this means hemp-derived CBD] can be synthetically converted into delta-8 THC, as well as delta-9 THC and other isomers,” which hearkens back to the DEA’s reminder in its 2020 statement that synthetically-derived THC is a Schedule I controlled substance. (link) These consistent positions seemingly counter the arguments of some that delta-8 THC isn’t actually derived through a synthetic process.

Another curious takeaway is that the CDC’s alert refers to “regulated marijuana dispensaries in states, territories, or tribal nations where marketplaces operate under law,” grouping them with companies selling hemp products. To me, it’s surprising, in a positive way, to see state-compliant cannabis businesses treated on equal footing with businesses that aren’t breaking federal law. I wouldn’t read too much into it – the CDC doesn’t decide federal cannabis policy. And yet, it’s progress to see a federal agency acknowledge the industry this way.


cannabis, delta-8 thc, dea, fda cannabis

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