Summary: A letter from 2021 by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief Terrence Boos reveals that the DEA considers delta-8 THC, synthesized from CBD, to be federally illegal.
Hemp-Derived Delta-8 THC Considered Federally Illegal by DEA
A recently disclosed letter confirms the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s stance that delta-8 THC synthesized from CBD is federally illegal. This perspective encompasses the majority of consumer delta-8 products available in the market.
The letter, penned in 2021 by the DEA’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief Terrence Boos, was unveiled last week by attorney Shane Pennington on his “On Drugs” Substack. Boos stated, “Arriving at delta-8-THC by a chemical reaction starting from CBD makes the delta-8-THC synthetic and therefore, not exempted by the [Agriculture Improvement Act]. Any quantity of delta-8-THC obtained by chemical means is a controlled substance.”
The Agriculture Improvement Act, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, permitted states to launch their hemp programs. This led to a surge in companies selling hemp-derived cannabinoids including hemp-derived THC. Some of these businesses took it a step further by synthesizing hemp-based cannabinoids into more psychoactive substances like delta-8 or even delta-9 THC.
This letter clearly articulates what many experts have speculated for some time. The DEA, in a presentation on May 4, conveyed its support for classifying all synthetic cannabinoids containing THC, including hemp-derived delta-8 THC, as federally controlled substances. Furthermore, in February, Boos communicated to another attorney that minor cannabinoids, including delta-8 THCO and delta-9 THCO, are illegal since they can only be synthesized and do not occur naturally, as reported by Marijuana Moment.
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