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DEA Confirms: Delta-8 THC Derived from CBD is Federally Illegal, Raises Concerns for CBD Industry

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In a recent letter from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief Terrence Boos, it has been confirmed that the DEA considers delta-8 THC, when synthesized from CBD, to be federally illegal. This revelation has sparked discussions and concerns within the industry and among consumers.

The letter, which was revealed by attorney Shane Pennington via his “On Drugs” Substack, clarifies the DEA's stance on the legality of delta-8 THC derived from CBD. According to Boos, any quantity of delta-8 THC obtained through a chemical reaction starting from CBD is considered a controlled substance and therefore illegal.

This announcement has significant implications for the CBD industry, as the majority of consumer delta-8 products are made using hemp-derived CBD.[0] Delta-8 THC has gained popularity in recent years for its perceived therapeutic benefits and its ability to produce a milder psychoactive effect compared to delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

The DEA's position on delta-8 THC is based on the interpretation of the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp and its derivatives. Boos argues that synthesizing delta-8 THC from CBD makes it a synthetic compound, not exempted by the Agriculture Improvement Act.[1] This interpretation contradicts the understanding that trace amounts of delta-8 THC naturally occur in cannabis plants and would be legal if extracted directly from the plant.[1]

The legality of delta-8 THC has been a subject of debate and confusion in the industry. Some states have explicitly banned the compound, while others have allowed its sale and consumption. This disparity in regulations has created a gray area that has allowed the market for delta-8 THC products to thrive.[2]

The DEA's letter adds another layer of complexity to the legal landscape surrounding delta-8 THC. It raises questions about the future of the delta-8 market and the potential consequences for businesses involved in its production and distribution.

Furthermore, the letter highlights ongoing concerns about the quality and regulation of CBD products. A recent study found that 92% of CBD products contain less CBD than advertised, with most falling below the advertised concentrations. This raises concerns about poor manufacturing standards and the need for improved regulation of CBD-containing consumer products.

Additionally, the study found that CBD-infused liquid products available in the United Kingdom typically contain lower percentages of CBD than stated on the product labels. This discrepancy further emphasizes the need for better regulation and quality control measures to ensure consumer safety and product consistency.[3]

The growing popularity of vaping CBD and cannabis products among young people has also raised concerns. Dr. Diane Tanaka, the medical director of the Teenage and Young Adult Health Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, warns that young people often underestimate the risks associated with vaping CBD or cannabis. This underscores the importance of education and awareness campaigns to ensure that young people are informed about the potential dangers of these products.

In conclusion, the DEA's recent letter confirming the illegality of delta-8 THC derived from CBD has created significant repercussions for the CBD industry. It has raised questions about the future of the delta-8 market and the need for improved regulation and quality control measures. Additionally, concerns about the accurate labeling and safety of CBD products, as well as the risks associated with vaping CBD among young people, highlight the need for increased awareness and oversight in this rapidly growing industry.

0. “Delta-8 THC Derived from CBD is Illegal, According to DEA Email …”, 18 Aug. 2023,

1. “DEA Considers Delta-8 THC Products Federally Illegal When …”, 18 Aug. 2023,

2. “How to Get a CBD License in Illinois & Start Your Business”, 18 Aug. 2023,

3. “Lawmakers introduce bill to fully legalize CBD trade | Natural …”, 18 Aug. 2023,

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