Cannabis Industry Leaders Speak With CLR on Current Delta 8 Issues In The Industry

By Cannabis Law Report |June 4, 2021

We also asked David Marelius of  Infinite Chemical Analysis labs the same questions

David Marelius, PhD. CSO

Born and raised in San Diego, Dave attended San Diego State University in 2009 where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Dave then went on to earn his Phd from the joint doctoral program between SDSU and the University of California, San Diego, where, for his graduate work, he utilized organic and organometallic synthesis to make catalysts for water splitting, the conversion of water into oxygen and hydrogen for energy storage. As a graduate student, he received the IPMI Richard Rubin Memorial Scholarship in 2014 for his research in precious metals. He decided to apply his knowledge and experience to the cannabis industry, and has assisted in developing industry- leading methods of analyses for cannabis and hemp testing since co-founding the lab in 2016.

CO’s MED has just banned the sale of Delta 8 in rec retail. Do you think after the new rules in OR, WA & now  CO that we will see Delta 8 regulated in every state ?

It’s no surprise to InfiniteCAL that Delta 8-THC is becoming more regulated every day, and we believe that it should be regulated nationwide. The products available on the market have been produced by synthetically converting cannabidiol (CBD) with potentially harmful catalysts to Delta 8-THC.

This procedure is a complex process that will also create other byproducts like Delta 9-THC and other compounds that have yet to be identified. If Delta 8-THC products are available for purchase, they need to be tested by a cannabis lab to ensure the products are safe and inform consumers what they are putting in their bodies.

 

What are your views of the regulation of Delta 8 .. Should we just see it as something not to dissimilar from Delta 9 and leave it be or is the fact that is needs processing to manufacture mean that it should be regulated as another compound

Delta 8-THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, just like Delta 9-THC, and legislators should regulate it as such. It seems completely backwards that an unregulated product that gets people “high” and is synthesized in a lab can be sold at gas stations and smoke shops but naturally derived Delta 9-THC must go through rigorous safety testing and can only be sold and handled by licensed companies.

InfiniteCAL has seen cannabis products fail for high lead levels, the presence of mold, and carcinogenic pesticides. Regulators in legalized states have established guidelines to weed out these harmful products, so why isn’t the same being done for CBD and Delta 8-THC?

 

Do you think these new regs will be challenged in the courts?

Based on the amount of claims companies make about Delta 8-THC being federally legal, it’s only a matter of time until someone tries to challenge the new regulations in court.

However, Delta 8-THC is explicitly listed on the DEA 7370 Controlled Substance list, so it’s hard to imagine the cases ending in any other way than saying Delta 8-THC should be regulated like cannabis. 

 

Are there states that you think they’ll let Delta 8 run and be sold alongside other rec products?

To InfiniteCAL, selling Delta 8-THC products in licensed dispensaries makes the most sense. Based on the way it’s produced, Delta 8-THC should be batch tested to ensure consumer safety. We already see products with Delta 8-THC submitted at the state compliance level in California.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regulations stipulate that any cannabinoids that make up 5 percent or more of a product must be labeled. The only cannabinoid that has a limit for how much is allowed is Delta 9-THC. Every cannabinoid has its potential benefits, so as long as it is tracked through the METRC seed-to-sale software and passes state-mandated testing, producers should be able to sell these unique products at the retail level.

 

As and when Federal regulation comes along, would you expect to see Delta 8 provisions written into a cannabisomnibus bill?

InfiniteCAL believes that cannabis will be federally legalized in the near future. When the time comes, these regulations must address naturally derived cannabinoids compared to synthetically derived cannabinoids. Delta 8-THC isn’t the only cannabinoid that one can create in a lab.

Regulations must be drafted in a way to prioritize public safety. More research is needed before these products become widely available at the retail level.

 

Delta 8 appears to be the new boogeyman of cannabis or should we say those who aren’t that keen on cannabis. What is your view of the compound, something to celebrate or not?

The alarming part about Delta 8-THC is that someone is creating it in a lab instead of it naturally occurring in the plant. One thing you hear from lobbyists and activists pushing for legalization is that cannabis is great because it’s this all-natural plant that can be used as an alternative for prescription drugs.

One of the many processes of making Delta 8-THC includes converting pure CBD isolate with a catalyst such as hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid, to name a few, which, if not appropriately neutralized, can be very harmful to consumers. With no research or clinical trials conducted on the effects of consuming these compounds, there is an elevated amount of risk selling Delta 8-THC products. Safety needs to be the number one priority when evaluating whether or not these products should be available for purchase.

  

Delta 8, appears to us at Cannabis Law Report, the canary in the coal mine for new cannabis compounds. Is it important to think very carefully how 8 is regulated and managed as a template for the many other compounds yet to come?

Absolutely, with over 150 cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant, there is no doubt that various cannabinoids will ride the Delta 8 popularity train. It’s vital to create regulation in anticipation of unique products instead of catching up after it’s available to the public. Regulators should use the current Delta 8 market as a learning opportunity to address synthetic versus naturally derived compounds, psychoactive versus non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and the necessity of ensuring consumer safety as the industry continues to develop new products.

 

Do you think there would be such a fuss about 8 if it didn’t get people “high”? 

Yes, Delta 8-THC would cause just as much of a fuss if it didn’t get people “high.” The issue is that it’s synthetically produced and not naturally occurring. Some chemicals potentially used to synthesize Delta 8 can be extremely harmful to consumers, especially when considering these compounds are being combusted and inhaled.

These chemicals include reagents like acids or catalysts, and consuming these compounds can cause serious illness. During the 2019-2020 vaping lung illness outbreak, there were 60 deaths reported due to Vitamin E acetate and other adulterants being added to vape cartridges. It should be the goal of everyone in the industry to take every step possible to prevent another vape crisis.

Research on whether or not new products are safe for consumption needs to be conducted prior to their availability on the market.

 

How do you think the sector should start educating legislators and law enforcement about the many different compounds that are yet to be manufactured from the plant and how do we try to stay away from a new “reefer madness” every time a new compound is discovered?

Based on the way cannabis has been treated in the United States, activists and researchers must take it upon themselves to educate legislators and law enforcement when new cannabinoids come to market.

InfiniteCAL is on the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) advisory board composed of other experts from across the industry. This advisory board recently announced that it adopted National Standards on Indoor Cultivation for cultivators across the country to learn about and implement the best practices for indoor cultivation. Legislators and law enforcement should work closely with the experts at NACB to understand the proposed standards and build them into future regulation.

We’d like to thank both Stuart & David for taking the time to answer our questions and look forward to approaching them again as new cannabis compounds  hit the market.

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