What is Delta 8 THC and why is it considered 'legal weed' in Texas?
A lush green plant is creating buzz in Texas as the cannabis industry is
booming, despite federal and state law banning marijuana.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp plants, which contain extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound Delta 9 THC.
That's the THC typically found in pot which gives users a high.
Entrepreneurs are now extracting any compound they want from the hemp plants and have narrowed in on Delta 8 THC.
They're making products including edibles, tinctures, and smokables with it.
Delta 8 THC isn't as strong as Delta 9 THC.
You'll likely spot the Delta 8 products in stores around the Greater Houston like at HydroShack Hydroponics
on West 20th Street in The Heights which sells Oilwell Cannabis products
is like this," said Chris Powers, the owner of HydroShack Hydroponics,
as he made a gesture with his arm showing an upward-moving graph.
"People are grateful that we're here and selling it. Very grateful.
That's the feeling I get."
Colin Valencia with Oilwell said the
products offer therapeutic benefits at affordable prices. Valencia
remained unabashed by his enthusiasm for them. He offered a pretty blunt
explanation about how some might use Delta 8.
"Why would someone want to smoke that?" asked ABC13 reporter Steve Campion.
"I don't give a sh** if it's wrong to say you'll get high off it," said Valencia. "Maybe you want to get high."
Michael Weaver, an addictions specialist with UTHealth and UT
Physicians, said Delta 8 is chemically close to Delta 9 so he'd expect
similar effects to the human body.
Long-term effects of using the products still remain unknown, according to Weaver.
8 hasn't been looked at, so we just don't know. We're gathering data
now, so the more people who use, the more information we'll have. You
probably don't want to be a guinea pig just yet," he said. "We know
Delta 9 THC is habit forming. Delta 8 THC is likely to have that
property as well. If you're using it, you may find it's harder to stop
than you thought."
ABC13 then asked him if he would advise anyone to take it.
think there is not enough information to say it's good to try," said
Weaver. "The safest thing I can say is we don't know enough about it to
make a recommendation. Don't try it until we know more."
Experts said using Delta 8 THC will likely lead to failed drug tests for employees.
Heather Fazio with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy
told ABC13 some lawmakers already want to ban Delta 8 products in the state.
She said the conversation should be on regulation, not prohibition.
seeing the market become innovative. Entrepreneurs getting creative
with the ways they can abide by the law and still provide their
customers with the product they would like," said Fazio. "What we're
looking at here is simply the result of supply and demand. We know there
is a demand for cannabis products in the state of Texas. Unfortunately,
our state continues to deprive legitimate business owners of the
opportunity to sell these products in a regulated way, products that are
tested that are labeled appropriately."
The Drug Enforcement
Administration released the following statement to Eyewitness News when
asked for comment on the legality of Delta 8.
The agency responded with the following statement but did not address any specific questions.
8 THC was added to the controlled substances list in August 2020 on an
interim basis while pending final disposition. As DEA is currently
undergoing the rulemaking process regarding the implementation of the
Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 - which includes the scope of
regulatory controls over marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols, and other
marijuana-related constituents - we would be unable to comment on an any
impact in legality of tetrahydrocannabinols, Delta 8 included, until
the process is complete. We are in the process of reviewing thousands of
comments and do not speculate on what could happen as a result.