The global market for cannabidiol (CBD) has seen tremendous growth in recent years. With an expected compound annual growth rate of 22.2% from 2019 to 2025, the interest in other cannabinoids beyond the traditionally-known cannabis molecule, delta-9 THC, has only increased. The new up-and-comer seems to be delta-8 THC. Although it shares a similar composition as its psychoactive counterpart delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC tends to impart a more subdued, controlled experience.
Why Accurate Testing for Delta-8 and Delta-9 is Important
Cannabis product research and development has significantly accelerated in recent years. Producers are now creating delta-8 THC concentrates using unique manufacturing methods such as CO2 extraction from processed hemp. Hemp is federally legal, so products originating from it like CBD and delta-8 THC are no longer considered scheduled 1 drugs. Furthermore, delta-8 THC extracted into concentrates has gained popularity with the medical community and for recreational users.
Delta-8 THC Testing: The Problem and the Solution
Depending on the extraction method used, some laboratories have a hard time separating Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC during the testing process. Moreover, the regulation of the substances complicates the process even more. Delta-9 is classified as a Schedule I illicit substance, while delta-8 remains unregulated and legal to produce. The problem arises if third-party labs cannot accurately distinguish between Delta-8 THC from Delta-9 THC. The combination of the two may accidentally produce inaccurate results and allow Dela-9 THC products to get in to the hands of consumers.
With a recent audit to see what was on the shelves in Chicago, Origo Labs, which uses an HPLC-DAD and the industry’s universally accepted method to cleanly separate the two cannabinoids and saw that most Delta-8 vape cartridges and concentrates being sold are exceeding the legal Dela-9 THC threshold of 0.3%. Products that are over the legal limit of 0.3% delta-9 THC should not be hitting the shelves for consumption. That’s illegal!
Delta-8 THC is supposed to be a much milder, less psychoactive high than regular Delta-9 THC with the same health benefits. However, with the current flawed testing methodology, labs must continuously re-evaluate and innovate new reliable testing methods. Companies dealing with Delta-8 and Delta-9 should rely only on accurate results from a licensed and accredited labortory to sell compliant products or otherwise face serious repercussions.