The cannabis industry has been booming in recent years, with the legalization of hemp and CBD products leading the way. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced that two popular cannabis products, Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o, are now illegal.

This has caused confusion and concern among both cannabis business owners and consumers. In this article, we will explore what this announcement means, what led to it, and how it may affect the industry.

What is Delta 8 THC-o and 9 THC-o?

Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o are two forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. The THC-o versions of the THC cannabinoid are made synthetically through chemical and heating processes.

What Led to the DEA’s Announcement?

The DEA’s announcement regarding Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o is based on a ruling that redefined the definition of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. However, the new rule states that this form of THC is synthetic, so it does not fall under the protection of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Terrence L. Boos, Chief Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Diversion Control Division provided an official response on the agency’s stance towards delta products. According to Boos, “The only substances of which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is aware of the THC acetate ester are delta-9-THC-o (delta-9-THC acetate ester) and delta-8-THC-o (delta-8-THC acetate ester).” Furthermore, the DEA reviewed the CSA and its implementing regulations with regard to the control status of these substances.

As outlined in the CSA, “tetrahydrocannabinols” or THC are categorized as “naturally contained in a plant of the genus Cannabis (cannabis plant), as well as synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the cannabis plant and/or synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity to those substances contained in the plant.”

Given the definition, delta-9-THCO and delta-8-THCO do not qualify as hemp since they are not naturally found in the cannabis plant and can only be obtained synthetically. Boos concluded that “Delta-9-THCO and delta-8-THCO do not occur naturally in the cannabis plant and can only be obtained synthetically, and therefore do not fall under the definition of hemp.”


Therefore, neither delta-9-THC-o or delta-8-THC-o are considered to be hemp by the DEA.

What Does This Mean for the Cannabis Industry?

The DEA’s announcement has caused concern among business owners and consumers in the cannabis industry. Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o have become popular in recent years, with many companies selling products containing these compounds. However, with the compounds now illegal, these companies may face legal challenges and potential product seizures.

Consumers who have been using Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o products may also be affected. They may no longer be able to access these products or may face legal consequences for possession.

The DEA’s announcement that Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o are illegal has caused concern and confusion within the cannabis industry. While the compounds are still legal in some states, businesses that sell products containing these compounds may face legal challenges.

Consumers who have been using these products may also be affected. It remains to be seen how this announcement will ultimately affect the cannabis industry, but it is clear that it has the potential to significantly impact businesses and consumers alike.

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Q: Can I still buy products containing Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o?

A: The legality of these products varies by state. However, they are now considered illegal under federal law, so businesses that sell these products may face legal challenges.

Q: Will Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o be removed from shelves and off online?

A: It depends. Some may continue to sell these products, while others may remove them from their shelves and websites.

Q: What are the potential consequences for using Delta 8 THC-o and Delta 9 THC-o now that they are illegal?

A: The consequences vary by state and may include fines, probation, or even jail time.