Hemp Benchmarks has released its October report, with notable points including a 4% decline in observed prices for delta-8 THC distillate for the fourth consecutive month while sales numbers for this controversial cannabinoid made from hemp remain robust. This mirrors an overall dip in rates for CBD distillate, which is at an all-time low despite larger-volume deals. Newcomer delta-10 THC makes an appearance in the Hemp Benchmarks’ report for the month of October, though it is still unfamiliar to many consumers.
Delta-10, closely related to delta-9, is one of the THC compounds found in hemp and cannabis that is responsible for making consumers feel high or euphoric. While delta-9 is more likely to have an effect on pleasure and memory and delta-8 is often used as a relaxant and sleep aid, some claim that delta-10 enhances energy, creativity, and productivity. (Little is factually known about how this cannabinoid functions in the body or what its effects are.) Unlike delta-9, delta-10 is only found in trace amounts in plant material and requires large amounts of plant matter and significant processing to extract a potent quantity. It exists in the same legal grey zone as delta-8 when derived from hemp and therefore is typically available in states where recreational use is illegal, though this is starting to change. According to Hemp Benchmarks, delta-10 THC Distillate averaged $3,580 per kilogram in October, which is more than four times the average price for delta-8 THC distillate.
The FDA issued warnings about Delta-8 THC in September, which remains especially popular in states where recreational marijuana use is illegal. Since then, restrictions or all-out bans on delta-8 are being initiated that will likely affect sales of delta-10 as well. Both South Carolina and Texas have taken steps to articulate state-specific policies, with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson issuing an opinion that the state’s Hemp Farming Act “does not provide an exception for, and does not legalize, delta-8 THC or any other isomer of THC in itself.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services released an October update which specified that “all other forms of THC, including Delta-8 in any concentration and Delta-9 exceeding .3% are considered Schedule 1 controlled substances.” This is not settling well with some Texas retailers, who pushed back and petitioned for a temporary restraining order against the ruling. The restraining order was denied by a state district judge, rendering delta-8 illegal in Texas, at least for the time being. Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued its own statement that beginning on October 11 “it is illegal for businesses to manufacture, possess, transfer, inventory, sell or give away delta-8 THC or THC-O acetate (a synthetic cannabinoid said to be more potent and have longer-lasting effects than regular THC) without proper licensing from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency.”
Despite this ongoing controversy, growers are dedicating larger portions of their operations to hemp cultivation for extraction and conversion to synthetic cannabinoids as the demand for them continues to rise. The swift rate at which new cannabinoids are being synthesized and new restrictions being issued around their sale and use bodes ill for stability in this corner of the market, though there is no arguing that demand is high, prompting producers to race ahead in search of the next big thing in synthetics.