Is THCO Illegal? The DEA’s New Ruling on THC-O: What You Need to Know…

DEA’s new ruling on THC-O, what you need to know

The DEA’s New Ruling on THC-O: What You Need to Know

Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared delta 9 THC-O and delta-8 THC-O Schedule 1 Controlled Substances. In a letter sent to cannabis attorney Rod Kight confirming the status of these 2 popular, albeit synthetically made cannabinoids, the DEA stated:

“Delta-9-THC-O and delta-8-THC-O are tetrahydrocannabinols having similar chemical structures and pharmacological activities to those contained in the cannabis plant. Thus, delta-9-THC-O and delta-8-THC-O meet the definition of ’tetrahydrocannabinols,’ and they (and products containing delta-9-THC-O and delta-8- THC-O) are controlled in schedule I”. 

In an email to Cannabis Business Times, Kight explained the reasoning for the DEA’s ruling. “Since THC-O is not produced by the cannabis (hemp) plant, I had concerns that the DEA would view it as illegal ‘synthetic THC,’ rather than lawful ‘hemp.” Because delta 8 or delta 9 THC-O aren’t naturally occurring compounds in the hemp plant, they aren’t protected under the Federal Farm Bill. 

Does This Include All THC-O Products?

Yes, all Delta-8 THCO and delta 9 THC-O products are now considered illegal under these new DEA guidelines. Because of the DEA’s ruling, all THC-O products including, infused flower, vapes and edibles were removed from our shelves. We will now only focus on naturally-present cannabinoids such as delta 9 THC (D9) Delta-8 THC (D8) THCa, HHC, THC-P, THC-B and CBD (an so many more…).

We know THC-O products were very popular among our customer base due to their potent effects and similarity to traditional cannabis products. However, recent research has also shown the potential harm in inhaling THC-O in vape form. So, the DEA’s decision may actually keep potentially harmful products off dispensary shelves. For example, THCa and THCp products also have potent effects on par with or even stronger the traditional Delta-9 THC, have no known harmful effects when inhaled and are naturally-occurring. These products and many more are still available to be sold legally in stores like ours.

Are Other Hemp Products in Trouble?

As far as we know, all other hemp products are safe under DEA regulations. There was some misinformation spreading about the legality of delta 8. But, according to Kight, the DEA has only commented on the status of delta 8 THC-O and delta 9 THC-O. 

There are over 130 distinct naturally-occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, all of which are federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill (except Delta-9 THC at a concentration above 0.3%). The DEA’s interpretation of the Farm Bill is that its does not protect any hemp-derived cannabinoids that are NOT already found naturally in the cannabis plant. THCO is NOT found naturally in the cannabis plant, and therefore, is considered a schedule 1 controlled substance.

Out of an abundance of caution, we will not carry any products that include HHC-O, Hydroxy 11 THC, and THC Infinity from our shelves, as these cannabinoids are not found naturally in the cannabis plant, and therefore, would fall under the same ruling as THC-O. 

All naturally-occurring cannabinoids, whether they are naturally-derived or synthetically-created are legal under the Federal Farm Bill. So, these cannabinoids aren’t listed as controlled substances. 

What About the THC-O Products I Already Bought?

Unfortunately, there is no real answer from the DEA or other law enforcement agencies on potential charges for possession and use of THC-O products specifically. As for North Carolina laws, marijuana is decriminalized and hemp is legal. While we don’t recommend driving or traveling with THC-O products, we encourage our customers to do research and decide what is safest for them. 

In short, you should treat THCo products as if they are marijuana products, because in the eyes of the DEA, they are.

If you need to replace certain products or want to try more natural hemp products, we still have a wide selection of vapes, flower, edibles and tinctures. 

If you have questions about the THC-O DEA ruling, please visit us in-store or give us a call for a personal consultation. Rest assured, hemp is here to stay and we’re here to answer all your questions. 

Which cannabinoids are legal? Which cannabinoids are naturally occurring?

Naturally occurring cannabinoids: (this list is not exhaustive…)

  • Delta-9 THC
  • Delta-8 THC
  • CBD
  • CBN
  • CBG
  • THCa
  • THCp
  • THCb

Which cannabinoids are illegal according to the DEA? Which cannabinoids are NOT naturally occurring?

Cannabinoids that are NOT naturally-occurring: (this list is not exhaustive…)

  • Delta-8 THC-O (D8o or Delta 8 THO)
  • Delta-9 THC-O (D9o or Delta 9 THCO)
  • HHC-O (HHCO)
  • Hydroxy-11
  • THC Infinity
  • PHC
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