DEA Declares THC-O and Synthetic ‘Novel Cannabinoids’ Illegal, Sparking Market Uncertainty

<a rel="nofollow" title="DEA" href="https://www.dea.gov/">DEA</a>’s <a href="https://leafyleaks.com/tag/thc/" class="st_tag internal_tag " rel="tag" title="Posts tagged with THC">THC</a>-O Ban Creates <a href="https://leafyleaks.com/tag/market/" class="st_tag internal_tag " rel="tag" title="Posts tagged with Market">Market</a> Uncertainty for Hemp-Derived ‘Novel Cannabinoids’

DEA’s THC-O Ban Creates Market Uncertainty for Hemp-Derived ‘Novel Cannabinoids’

The U.S. Administration has declared the use of so-called “hemp-derived” “novel cannabinoids,” such as THC acetate ester, commonly known as , as illegal. This announcement, made public through cannabis attorney Rod Kight from North Carolina, sheds light on the agency’s stance on the controversial topic.

Last year, Rod Kight sought clarification from the regarding their interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act concerning THC acetate, a synthetic cannabinoid that has emerged in various products like vaporizer cartridges and edibles since the 2018 Farm legalized hemp nationwide.

Unlike naturally occurring delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC found in the hemp plant, THC-O does not exist naturally. Chief of the DEA’s and Chemical Evaluation Section, Terence L. Boos, emphasized that since THC acetate can only be obtained synthetically, it falls outside the definition of hemp and is thus classified as a “controlled substance.”

This latest clarification from the DEA follows a U.S. 9th Circuit court decision in 2022 that found delta-8 THC products to be under the 2018 Farm Bill, as they are derived naturally from hemp. However, the impact of the DEA’s interpretation on the market remains uncertain.

While it is unlikely that the federal agency will actively target hemp merchants selling THC acetate products, state regulators have also expressed concerns over the presence of hemp-derived intoxicating cannabinoids.

According to Rod Kight, the DEA’s interpretation is straightforward: if a certain cannabinoid, compound, or substance is naturally produced by the hemp plant, such as delta-8 THC, CBN, or THCV, it is not considered a controlled substance, regardless of how it is processed into a final product. The only exception to this rule is if the product contains more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

In conclusion, the DEA’s ban on THC-O and other synthetic “novel cannabinoids” has introduced uncertainty into the market for hemp-derived products. While federal enforcement is expected to be limited, state-level regulators are closely monitoring the situation. As the industry navigates this landscape, stakeholders are left to assess the potential impact on their businesses and the broader hemp market.

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