Leafreport Delta-8 Market Survey
Updated: Jul 10, 2022
In June 2021, Leafreport released a market survey report regarding one of the hottest new phytomolecules to hit the market in a long time: Delta-8 THC.
The report contained some shocking news for both consumers and industry professionals alike: The majority of the 38 products examined by Leafreport contained illegal levels of delta-9 THC and an incorrect amount of delta-8 that did not match package labelling.
The sibling to isomer delta-9 THC, the delta-8 variant delivers roughly 50-75 percent of the psychoactivity of delta-9. Perhaps more significantly, delta-8 has gained the interest of wellness professionals due to its desirable characteristic of being less likely than delta-9 to produce negative side effects such as increased anxiety, discomfort, disorientation, and panic attacks.
The sibling to isomer delta-9 THC, the delta-8 variant delivers roughly 50-75 percent of the psychoactivity of delta-9.
The biggest takeaways from the Leafreport delta-8 THC market report, authored by Canadian CBD journalist Gleb Oleinik and California-based nurse practitioner Eloise Theisen, are listed below.
53 percent of the 38 delta-8 products surveyed were over the hemp legal limit for delta-9 THC (0.3 percent), containing up to 15.2 percent delta-9 THC.
34 percent of the products surveyed did not clearly list their delta-8 content either via the package label or an online product description.
68 percent of the products contained the wrong amount of delta-8 THC (different from product packaging).
"It's kind of ironic because the whole point of these [delta-8] products is that they're a legal alternative to delta-9 THC," said report co-author Oleinik.
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"I work with patients who want to use cannabis as a treatment," said Theisen. "Most of them are older adults, so they're very concerned about the euphoric effects of delta-9. Delta-8 is being presented to them as having less psychoactivity and less euphoria. But I don’t think that the research really supports clinical implications yet for delta-8."
"The process used to make delta-8 from CBD actually creates a lot of delta-9 as a byproduct. If you don't remove it after you do that, it's going to stay in the product and it's going to be illegal because of that."
Said Oleinik, "The process used to make delta-8 from CBD actually creates a lot of delta-9 as a byproduct. If you don't remove it after you do that, it's going to stay in the product and it's going to be illegal because of that."
"They're cutting corners there," added Theisen.
The issue of regulatory oversight and standard business procedures is an important one for ensuring that delta-8 products maintain adequate minimum quality levels and accurate packaging in an effort to avoid misleading consumers or producing adverse reactions that could have been avoided with accurate labeling.
The delta-8 THC molecule
Theisen stressed the lack of standardization within the industry. "We don't have standardization for testing," she said. "Every state sets their own levels. We've even heard reports of laboratories working with companies to produce the levels that the companies are looking for."
Theisen said her biggest concern as a healthcare professional is potential residual solvents that may remain in products, even those that undergo testing for other substances.
"The thing I always come back to is education. There’s a lack of education for consumers and I think [we need to] hold some of these companies and brands accountable," she said.