There’s more rough news for the U.S. hemp industry this week. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a letter stating that “delta” cannabinoids, including Delta-8 THCO and Delta-9-THCO, synthetically derived from hemp do not qualify as hemp and will be viewed as Schedule I drugs. This is not a surprising stance from the DEA, considering our understanding of the delta derivatives and the law enforcement agency’s mandate.
For those unfamiliar, the delta market includes a group of new cannabinoids synthesized chemically from legal hemp. Delta-9-THCO and Delta-8-THCO are the most common delta compounds in the market, and both produce an intoxicating high similar to that of Delta-9 THC – a compound specifically called out in the Controlled Substances Act (opens in new tab) as a Schedule I drug.
THCO (tetrahydrocannabinol-o-acetate) is a modified form of THC that has been chemically altered by adding an acetyl group to the molecule. This modification changes the way the body metabolizes and processes the compound, making it longer-lasting and potentially more potent than THC. Because THCO is not found naturally in cannabis plants, and is instead created through chemical synthesis or modification of existing THC, it is often used in delta products for its unique effects, which may be longer lasting and more potent than standard THC.
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