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Delta-8 and others on the chopping block in South Dakota

todayMay 29, 2024 6

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — House Bill 1125 was signed into law by Governor Kristi Noem on March 18, 2024, starting the count-down to the ban of certain hemp-derived THC products in South Dakota.

The new law, which prohibits the chemical modification or conversion of hemp, will go into effect July 1, 2024.

What the law in particular targets are products falling under the category of delta-8, delta-10, THC-O, THC-O-acetate, HHC and THCP, all derived from compounds found within the cannabis plant.

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The majority of products impacted by this law going into effect will be those sold as delta-8 and delta-10.

What the law specifically prohibits is the production and sale of THC products that are created through a chemical reaction which changes the molecular structure of a compound.

When we think about the intoxicating chemical in marijuana, the specific compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, aka delta-9 THC. The numbers in these compounds refer to where they have double bonds along their chain of carbon atoms.

Your traditional THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon atom in the chain. For chemicals like delta-8 and delta-10, the bonds are simply on the 8th and 10th carbons, respectively. The reason why delta-9 THC has stood out as the primary THC is simply that it is typically the most abundant THC compound produced by a cannabis plant.

While compounds like delta-8 do occur naturally in cannabis plants, they do so only in small quantities.

In order to produce a delta-8 product that has an intoxicating effect similar to marijuana, the delta-8 must be produced artificially. This can be done by converting another compound found in the plant — cannabidiol (CBD) — into delta-8 THC.

CBD is naturally occurring and non-intoxicating, but with the addition of an acid compound, it can be chemically converted into delta-8 THC.

The idea of acids in a consumable may sound concerning, and indeed it can be, but it should be mentioned that acids are in many kinds of products. Skittles, for example, contain citric acid as a listed ingredient.

There is no apparent industry-standard acid used in the production of delta-8 THC. A pH wash can be done to neutralize acids after the conversion, though testing is often lacking or insufficient to ensure this. A description of the process can be found here.

All this is to say that it is this type of chemical process — as well as the sale of products produced by it — that the new law is set to prohibit.

While an un-modified delta-8 THC product could still be sold post-July 1, there would likely be little appeal to it, as the amount of THC in the product would be far too little to produce a psychoactive effect.

The law however does still leave a loophole for those seeking non-medical THC in South Dakota.

Lines 16 and 17 of the enrolled version of the bill state that “cannabinoids produced by decarboxylation from a naturally occurring cannabinoid acid without the use of a chemical catalyst” do not count as a “chemically derived cannabinoid.”

In essence, this leaves another type of product — THCA — still on the market.

This window may also be set to close, however. Currently, THCA is sold as a legal hemp-derived product, but a recent letter from the DEA indicated that the agency’s Chief of Drug and Chemical Evaluation does not believe it meets the qualifications of a hemp product.

This comes as the U.S. Congress prepares updates to the 2018 Farm Bill, which could close the door on the THCA loophole.

You can read our deep-dive on THCA in South Dakota, here.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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