News stories are popping up all over the interweb about Delta-8 THC contaminated products. Where did this info come from, and how valid is this story?
What is delta-8 THC?
Most people are familiar with Delta-9 THC, the standard THC associated with marijuana and the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Delta-9 THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid found in marijuana, and is generally sourced from high-THC cannabis plants. Delta 8 THC, on the other hand, is nearly the same as delta-9 chemically with one small difference. Delta-8 has a double bond on its 8th carbon chain rather than its 9th (like with delta-9). Delta-8 is also found in much smaller quantities, and because of this, can be sourced from either high-THC marijuana, or low-THC hemp. The ability to source it from industrial hemp created a loophole of legality at first for delta-8, which is known to have similar effects as delta-9, albeit not quite as intense, and without the anxiety effects, which actually makes it preferable for cannabis users who have issues with the anxiety produced.
In terms of legality, a loophole was created when the 2018 farm bill separated high-THC marijuana from low-THC hemp, legalizing the latter and what is produced from it, while not technically making any legalization of a THC compound. This was further updated by new rules in the summer of 2020. The first bullet point of this update reads as follows: “It modifies 21 CFR 1308.11(d)(31) by adding language stating that the definition of “Tetrahydrocannabinols” does not include “any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that falls within the definition of hemp set forth in 7 U.S.C. 1639o.” While there is still nothing solid in terms of a specific legalization for delta-8 THC, this does back up that substances obtained from hemp are not definitionally THC by US law. Essentially, it continues the delta-8 THC loophole, and the one thing we know from the world around us, is that if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile. Gray area is as good as legal in the world of legal cannabis these days and so delta-8 THC can be found over the counter in tons of places.
So, what’s the problem?
Recent reports have made it around the internet about bleach delta-8 THC contaminated products. The report seems to be curtesy of Julie Helmer, the CEO of Freshbros, which is, itself, a CBD/hemp company. According to Helmer, there are thousands of delta 8 products that are contaminated with bleach, and that consumers never know. The reason for the bleach contaminated products, according to Helmer, is to get rid of delta-8’s naturally rose-ish color, since clear is often a sign of quality for distillates.
The main problem with this story is that the only person who seems to think there’s a problem is Julie Helmer of Freshbros, a private company that sells these products, and seems to want to take the lead in terms of having the ‘safest’ and ‘cleanest’ products. In fact, every article I found written on the topic is relevant to Helmer’s statement’s only, and most of these articles go on to give Freshbros’ advice for cleaner products, the kind of move used to get ahead in a market by putting out the idea that only this company would have or could have done it properly.
As of right now there is nothing official saying there are delta-8 THC contaminated products. No testing facility, or other private company, or third-party watchdog group has said anything. The only statement being made is being made by a private company that stands to gain more market share by denigrating the existing market.
Does this mean all delta-8 THC products are safe? Not at all! The very best point Freshbros makes isn’t the point it was trying to make. New products that don’t go through regulation can be dicey, and it is important to keep an eye on manufacturing practices to ensure corners aren’t being cut. Maybe bleach really is an issue, but maybe its not at all…it certainly can’t be known by the information out right now. More will have to be done in the future to ensure unregulated cannabis products are not messed with, contaminated, or adulterated in any other form.
Where can you get safe Delta-8 THC products?
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