A report published by Hemp Benchmarks has found an increase in demand for Delta-8 THC gummies in the US, with prices falling consistently as the popularity of the product rises among consumers.
While Delta-8 THC represents a small portion of the US market compared to other CBD products, it is one of the fastest growing categories in terms of popularity.
The cannabinoid is not extracted from the hemp plant but synthesized from extracted hemp CBD. However, it is still able to get users ‘high’ as it has psychoactive effects, raising issues of illegality.
If proposed regulations by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are put in place, Delta-8 THC will be classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, making it illegal at a federal level.
Many cannabis companies are reluctant to invest in it as a result.
Hemp processing technician and compliance specialist Stephen Crowley said the regulations are being put in place due to a lack of properly defined standards around purity and compliance, with the possibility of chemical impurities being generated while the isomerisation process takes place.
He added: “We do not know what else can be in these hemp products other than just Delta-8.”
The consumer market demographics for Delta-8 products are quite similar to those of Delta-9 THC, as both have psychoactive properties.
Advocates have warned more education is needed to ensure Delta-8 does not endure the same fate as CBG, a product that rose to popularity in the US but has seen the price biomass drop by 82 in the last few months due to lack of promotion and guidance .