Colorado bans delta-8 THC, other THC isomers derived from hemp

Colorado has banned delta-8 THC from hemp extracts, joining states like Oregon in saying the THC isomers can’t be sold if they come from hemp.

The Colorado health department said Friday that “chemically modifying or converting any naturally occurring cannabinoids from industrial hemp is non-compliant with the statutory definition of ‘industrial hemp product.'”

The move comes as THC isomers derived from hemp extracts such as CBD have shaken up the cannabis market. The health department cited uncertainty about how the isomers are made in its ruling Friday.

“Insufficient evidence exists to determine whether or not any toxic or otherwise harmful substances are produced during these reactions and may remain in the regulated industrial hemp products ingested or applied/used by consumers,” the agency said.

“Therefore, these tetrahydrocannabinol isomers are not allowed in food, dietary supplements or cosmetics.”

Proponents of products such as delta-8 and delta-10 THC argue that because the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp extracts, the products are legal.

But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration disagrees, because delta-8 THC is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD, not extracted directly from the hemp plant, it is a controlled substance.

The conflict has not yet been decided in court; the Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina hemp manufacturer are challenging that rule in Washington DC.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Marijuana Enforcement Division said they would convene “stakeholder conversations on this topic as necessary.” No exact date was set.

It was not immediately clear whether regulated marijuana retailers in Colorado would be allowed to sell marijuana-derived THC isomers to adults over 21.