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US reprimands makers of counterfeit snacks laced with delta-8-THC

Published on July 12, 2023
A fake Oreos bag from the brand Dabisco called Stoneos. (Courtesy Food Drug Administration)
Come on, man. Counterfeit snack packaging found in unregulated stores, and not in legal dispensaries. (Courtesy Food Drug Administration)

America’s millions of consumers of CBD and other hemp-derived drugs face a dizzying array of new products and rules this July across the US. Entrepreneurs work to cash in just as regulators have begun moving to protect public health. The Grateful Dead’s drummer has a new CBD line. The FDA is warning makers of delta-8 to knock it off with the copycat packaging.

Will the feds regulate delta-8 THC? What do emerging studies say about CBD? What about Delta-10, THC-O, or other weirdness synthesized from CBD in hemp?

The answer? Anything but simple or static. Novel cannabinoid news comes out daily, so here’s your monthly news roundup of all things CBD, delta-8, and other hemp molecules for July 2023.

Top CBD, delta-8 news of July

On July 5, the FDA sent warning letters to makers of counterfeit snacks laced with delta-8-THC—a poisoning risk. Makers laced delta-8 into lookalike Doritos, Cheetos, and Oreos packaging. In the last two years, d-8 products poisoned more than 1,000 children, killing one. [Reuters]

“Marketing edible THC products that can be easily mistaken by children for regular foods is reckless and illegal. Companies must ensure their products are marketed safely and responsibly, especially when it comes to protecting the well-being of children.”

Samuel Levine, director, Federal Trade Commission – Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Storage solutions to keep kids out of your weed stash

The Drug Enforcement Administration proposed a plan in May to drastically limit the allowable amount of THC in CBD products and kill the delta-8 market. At a conference in Houston, the unfortunately-named DEA brass Terrence Boos announced that the agency will propose putting hemp-derived cannabinoids on the Controlled Substances list. He said that the agency also wants to shrink the allowable THC in CBD products from 0.3% to 0.1%. Sellers have exploited the 0.3% limit to ship intoxicating hemp products.

In June, the DEA stated that both delta-9-THC synthesized from hemp oil, as well as the novel cannabinoid HHC are not legal hemp products, and are subject to enforcement under the Controlled Substances Act.

What’s the deal with all the delta-8 these days?

CBD products exploded thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp. CBD bathed in an acid can form delta-8-THC, which is one atom different from delta-9 THC. Delta-9-THC remains prohibited in most states, so this delta-8 loophole in hemp legalization has triggered a billion-dollar hemp oil rush as entrepreneurs move to satisfy Americans’ high demand to get lifted.

CBD culture news

CBD is possibly the mildest stuff The Grateful Dead has ever gotten into. (Courtesy Bill The Drummer CBD)

The Grateful Dead’s Bill the Drummer has launched a CBD line—Bill the Drummer CBD. [Louder Sound]

In June, a 12-story Hemp Hotel in South Africa opened as the tallest building made with hempcrete in the world. For those not in the know, hempcrete is a concrete alternative made from hemp stalks and lime. Research shows that it puts way less carbon into the air, insulated buildings remarkably well, and is fire-resistant. 

USA Today has jumped on the delta-8 bandwagon with an explainer of its own.

The respected information and advocacy website Project CBD updated its page on “What is CBD?”

Is THC-M The Future Of Cannabis? [Herb]

The complete guide to CBD (cannabidiol)

Federal hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoid legalization update

US Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced a March bill to remove many testing regulations around industrial hemp. Proponents hope it would facilitate the expansion of hemp grown for non-extraction purposes, like fiber, seed, or hempcrete.

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State-by-state novel cannabinoids legal updates

The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill criminalizing the sale of delta-8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids to anyone under the age of 21. The bill passed the state Senate in February. As of this writing, Governor Kay Ivey (R) has not signed the bill.

In April, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee-Sanders (R) signed Act 629, which prohibits the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids. It goes into effect on August 1 for adults. It went into effect for minors immediately.

Florida is awash in delta-8 products and they’re legal for now. [Tampa Bay Times]

Illinois dispensaries and others called for delta-8 bans. [ABC]

Expert CBD flower reviews
Godfather OG CBD—MedMeridian / Green Unicorn Farms, summer 2023

An April bill in Missouri would regulate hemp-derived cannabinoids like marijuana. It would put the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in charge of overseeing the state’s hemp industry, and ban sales to minors.

Over in Minnesota, newly enacted marijuana legalization also allows cultivators to manufacture and sell hemp-derived cannabinoids.

On May 22, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R) signed a bill that bans the manufacture and sale of delta-8 and other hemp-derived cannabinoids. It went into effect immediately.

On May 19, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) signed a bill that regulates the state’s hemp-derived cannabinoid market—including a 6% tax on sales—and prohibits sales to minors. It went into effect on July 1.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board ruled in late April that only dispensaries can sell hemp-derived cannabinoids. Unsurprisingly, confusion has ensued.

Virginia banned delta-8; effective July 1. [WTKR.com]

New research on CBD, delta-8 and more

Weird science: HHC comes from CBD converted by an acid. (Nature)

Researchers reported evidence in May that CBD kept muscles strong. “CBD appeared to prevent reductions in peak anaerobic output in physically active adults. … The observed outcome of CBD preventing reductions in peak anaerobic output may be explained by the combination of CBD and exercise-induced oxidative stress.” [Nutrients]

CBD’s brain healing properties may be tied to reducing inflammation, a study of songbirds found in May. [Scientific Reports]

Researchers on June 29 concluded that THC-O-acetate does not cause psychedelic experiences. “Some reports of psychedelic experiences may be due to expectations or contaminants.” [Journal of Psychoactive Drugs]

Nature did a deep dive into how to chemically create HHC. [Nature]

Weed too strong? 5 stellar high-CBD Oregon flowers for summer 2023

Using CBD during pregnancy may have fetal effects, researchers conclude after studying mice. “These results show CBD consumption during pregnancy can adversely affect fetal neurodevelopment in mice.” [Molecular Psychiatry]

CBD need not only come from cannabis but other plants like “trema.” [Japan Today]

International CBD and novel cannabinoid legal news

France plans to institute a ban on the hemp-derived cannabinoid HHC.

Hong Kong authorities sent a woman to prison for CBD and ketamine. [High Times]

A man in Nigeria received two years in jail for possession of hemp. The judge ruled he could also pay a fine of N50,000, which is equivalent to roughly $100. [DailyPost]

The UK Government issued a report on testing for CBD in foods. [Gov.UK]

CBD and Delta-8 press releases and sponsored content

Strain Snobslaunched a new line of HHC and hemp-derived delta-9 gummies.,

The Hemp Doctorlaunches a collection of HHC and THCP-infused CBD blunts.

Furthermore, The Hemp Doctor has introduced a new gummy that combines Delta-8, Delta-9, and HHC into one hell of a combo they’re calling Zooted. Godspeed.

Sponsored content for CBD appears to be jumping the shark. They’re selling it for hair growth now. [Discover Magazine]

That’s all the news that’s fit to post on novel cannabinoids this past month. Make sure to download the Leafly app and turn on notifications to stay current.

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David Downs and Max Savage Levenson
David Downs and Max Savage Levenson
David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as the California Bureau Chief for Leafly.com. He's written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the author of several cannabis books including 'Marijuana Harvest' by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns Max Savage Levenson likely has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.
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