DEA Official Clarifies Delta-8 THC is Illegal Even When Extracted From Legal CBD

A top official at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has clarified that delta-8 THC is a federally illegal substance.

Gummies made with delta-8 THC.

The official notes that delta-8 THC is illegal even when it is derived from legal cannabidiol (CBD). This is likely to have a chilling effect on the growing industry of delta-8 distributors. Currently there are hundreds of stores selling delta-8 THC products in states where delta-9 THC (derived from marijuana) is illegal.

“Arriving at delta-8-THC by a chemical reaction starting from CBD makes the delta-8-THC synthetic and therefore, not exempted’ by any federal law, says Terrence Boos, DEA’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief.

Boos says that “Any quantity of delta-8-THC obtained by chemical means is a controlled substance.” This means that it is illegal throughout the United States.

These comments were unearthed by Attorney Shane Pennington while reviewing documents, and they were shared on the Substack On Drugs, which Pennington founded with attorney Matt Zorn. Boos remarks were found in a letter from 2021.

At the 2023 Supply Chain Conference Boos said the DEA is in the process of developing rules that will finalize and clarify the DEA’s position on delta-8 THC. The 2021 remarks by Boos gives clear insight into what this policy may look like.

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