The 2022 Utah legislative session recently ended with quite a bit of activity relating to the state’s medical cannabis program. Among the many changes enacted by lawmakers is a new ban on THC analogs. The ban directly addresses substances like Delta-8 THC.
Utah lawmakers are not alone and their concerns over Delta-8 and other analogs. As thing stand, they and their counterparts in other states do not see any scientific evidence suggesting THC analogs are either safe or effective as medicines. And because some of those analogs could have psychoactive effects, lawmakers are reticent to green light them without knowing more.
A big problem in Utah is cannabis’ legal status. The Beehive State approved medical cannabis by way of a voter proposition back in 2019. Recreational use is still prohibited. As such, lawmakers feel that THC analogs should be treated the same way as Delta-9 THC, the naturally occurring cannabinoid that makes marijuana users high.
Getting Around the Law
Delta-8 THC has been a source of controversy in recent years because some cannabis processors are using it to get around the law. They are able to do so because federal law does not require industrial hemp growers to test their products for Delta-8. Growers can engineer their plants to naturally produce more of it. That is not normally done because processors can synthesize Delta-8 from CBD.
It turns out that synthesized Delta-8 is the norm. This is where it becomes a problem. Processors in states like Utah, where THC is highly regulated, can produce Delta-8 from legal industrial hemp. They can include that analog in their CBD recipes, thereby creating CBD products infused with Delta-8. They turn around and sell those products at retail locations outside of licensed cannabis dispensaries and pharmacies.
The practice essentially gives people a way to legally get high in states where recreational cannabis is still prohibited. But the other side of that coin is the reality that the Delta-8 high is different. It feels different and it is less intense.
Concerns About Delta-8 Synthesis
Another concern, according to the experts at Utahmarijuana.org, is how Delta-8 is actually synthesized. Most states do not require processors to reveal how they do what they do. They do not have to reveal their cannabinoid extraction methods. They do not have to explain how they distill cannabis crude oil. They do not even have to reveal how they synthesize Delta-8 from CBD.
This concerns many cannabis users who go out of their way to make sure they do not consume products processed with harmful chemicals. For example, there are some users who refuse to use products with cannabinoids extracted through a solvent-based process involving ethanol or butane. They insist on either CO2 or natural solvent extraction.
Without information explaining how Delta-8 was synthesized, users cannot be sure if any toxic chemical residue remains. That is enough to scare some of them away from Delta-8 altogether.
Research Could Change Things
Utah lawmakers have taken Delta-8 off the table in the Beehive State, at least for now. Some of those who voted in favor of the ban say they are waiting for more research data before they can see their way clear too okaying THC analogs. This suggests that they may reverse the ban at some point in the future.
For now, though, THC analogs have been banned by Utah legislators. The substances can no longer be included in legal CBD products with THC content at or below 0.3% by volume. Other states are likely to pass similar bans in the absence of any data on Delta-8 safety and efficacy.