The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), a trade group representing hundreds of companies participating in the United States’ largest regulated cannabis market, has released a white paper entitled “Pandora’s Box: The Dangers of a National, Unregulated, Hemp-Derived Intoxicating Cannabinoid Market.”
The document details the dangers associated with the growing number of increasingly intoxicating products currently being sold as “hemp” by manufacturers exploiting flaws in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill,) calling for urgent reform and proposing four actions to avoid a national public health crisis.
“The proliferation of these unregulated and untested synthetic cannabinoids is a public health crisis and we are calling for immediate action to protect public safety,” says CCIA President, Pamela Epstein.
The Rise Of Delta-8 & Friends
The cannabinoid compounds cited in the report include the well-known Delta-8 THC and other more potent synthetic and derivative cannabinoids such as THC-P, THCjd, THC-O and Delta-10 THC. These new compounds are often many times stronger than traditional delta-9 THC and contain dangerous chemicals leftover from the manufacturing process.
Products containing this new generation of intoxicants have experts raising significant health concerns, including psychosis, seizures and pulmonary issues.
Many of these products are sold nationwide without age restrictions, testing standards or general oversight. Furthermore, they are often packaged to mimic popular snack foods under names like ‘THC Hot Cheetos,’ ‘Cookie Monster’ and ‘Lucky Charmz,’ both confusing adult consumers and potentially appealing to underage humans.
“We urgently need laws, regulatory frameworks, and enforcement that recognizes that an intoxicant is an intoxicant,” says Lindsay Robinson, CCIA’s Executive Director. “It’s currently easier for a kid to get their hands on these products than a six-pack of beer.”
The Farm Bill & The Loophole
The 2018 Farm Bill defines industrial hemp as having no more than 0.3% THC content by dry weight and more specifically, includes “any part of the plant…and all derivatives” of it “whether growing or not.”
According to the CCIA white paper, the “all derivatives” language of the Bill has inadvertently created a Wild West of hemp-derived intoxicants, allowing loopholes for “hemp” product manufacturers to translate it into a massive unregulated industry by extracting and concentrating CBD and THC and chemically modifying it into new synthetic and semi-synthetic cannabinoids not native to the plant.
“There are strong arguments to be made that these new synthetics fall under other forms of federal regulation and control,” says Tiffany Devitt, the paper’s primary author and CCIA board Vice President. “There are steps that can and should be taken to protect the public, ranging from much needed enforcement of existing laws to action by Congress, and federal and state regulators.”
Concluding “Pandora’s Box,” CCIA makes four recommendations for addressing the crisis:
- Enforce existing laws in California and other states prohibiting the sale of hemp-derived intoxicants;
- Action by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to exercise its rightful oversight over novel compounds, including those derived from hemp;
- Amendments to the Farm Bill to close unintentional loopholes;
- The creation of a unified federal framework for regulating both hemp and cannabis-derived cannabinoids.
“Pandora’s Box: The Dangers of a National, Unregulated, Hemp-Derived Intoxicating Cannabinoid Market” can be read in its entirety here: https://members.cacannabisindustry.org/whitepapers/Details/pandora-s-box-the-dangers-of-a-national-unregulated-hemp-derived-intoxicating-cannabinoid-market-131449.
Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash
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