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THC-O Acetate: Will it replace Delta 8 THC?

THC-O Acetate: Will it replace Delta 8 THC?

What is THC-O Acetate and is it like Delta 8 THC?

As more states begin banning and regulating Delta 8 THC, manufacturers are looking for alternatives to skirt the rules. Bring in THC-O Acetate.

Before we dive into the latest designer cannabinoid that aims to replace Delta 8 THC as it becomes banned in several states and regulated in some others, let’s briefly run through what Delta 8 THC is itself.

All cannabinoids, from CBD to THC and beyond begin as CBGA. Because of the shared molecular structure of cannabinoids, manipulating them is simpler than it may seem. While Delta-8 is relatively new, producers have been using these methods to manipulate cannabinoids for a long time to find exotic new cannabinoids.

While Delta-8 THC exists in a wide range of cannabis strains, it is in minuscule, trace amounts. To extract and purify Delta-8 from raw plant material with less than one percent of the targeted cannabinoid is unprofitable. This is why producers have begun converting other, more prevalent cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9 THC into Delta-8.

Through a synthetic isomerization process, CBD is combined with a solvent to create Delta-8 THC. This is why the most popular products are vape cartridges and gummies. Cannabis cannot produce enough Delta-8 on its own.

Why Delta 8 THC is being banned

If you read the above section and started thinking, “That sounds pretty similar to those designer cannabinoids like spice that hurt a lot of people”, you would be on the right track. That is why over a dozen states have already banned Delta 8 THC.

Due to grey areas in the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp and all of its derivatives (besides Delta 9 THC), producers of Delta 8 believe they technically aren’t breaking any laws. However unlike CBD which was immediately popular and thus regulated by the FDA for safety, Delta 8 has had no such treatment.

In 2020, the DEA released a set of rules for hemp production in the country. This ruling states that any naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinols in the hemp plant that has a Delta 9 THC percentage below .3% is not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act. In other words, it would seem like Delta 8 in the clear.

However the DEA also includes that for synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols (like Delta 8 which is created synthetically), the concentration of D9 -THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances. In other words, maybe Delta 8 is not so in the clear.

For the states that have already banned Delta 8 THC, it seems the easiest solution to a product that the FDA and DEA have made no mention of regulating. For producers however, THC-O Acetate is the solution.

What is THC-O Acetate?

While Delta 8 THC occurs in low concentrations in cannabis that must be extracted and isolated, THC-O Acetate — commonly called ATHC or THC-O — is not naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and can only be made synthetically.

THC-O is a man-made cannabinoid produced by using specific chemicals to acetylate THC. Acting as a metabolic prodrug for THC itself, THC-O works in the same manner as heroin does as a metabolic prodrug for morphine. That alone is enough to rub many cannabis users the wrong way, especially whole plant advocates.

THC-O Acetate can also be made from Delta 8 THC, so in states where it has been banned and producers may have a bulk supply of Delta 8, it can be converted relatively easily. And what truly makes THC-O so popular is the effects users feel.

Traditional THC Molecule:

Delta 9 THC vs THC-O AcetateTHC-O Acetate Molecule:

What is THC-O Acetate and is it safe?

A better high than Delta 9?

According to user reports and the little science behind it, THC-O Acetate has been shown to be two to three times stronger than Delta 9 THC. You read that right. THC-O can be 300% more potent than traditional Delta 9 THC.

Users have claimed that THC-O Acetate is a much more introspective and psychedelic experience compared to Delta 9 or Delta 8 THC, which is likely due to the extreme potency. Similarly to Delta 8 THC, THC-O can only be made through isolation, which means most products will be either a vape cartridge or edibles.

While for most, normal Delta 8 or Delta 9 THC does the trick just fine and taking such a concentrated product would be excessive, there is a real appeal for medical applications of THC-O Acetate. For some, traditional Delta 9 doesn’t provide enough relief from pain, anxiety or other issues.

Due to its potency, many believe that THC-O could be a great beneficial medicine for those who want to use cannabis but need a more concentrated dose that isn’t easily attainable through traditional consumption. With that said, THC-O Acetate is treated similarly to Delta 8 currently.

That means in states where Delta 8 has already been banned, you may be unable to have THC-O products delivered, or find them at smoke shops. However since there is so little information on THC-O, few states actually know about it, which means distributors may be able to get away with it for a while.

Is THC-O Acetate the new designer drug?

Of course for now it is too soon to say if THC-O is likely to end up in a similar grave to Spice or K2. These were synthetically created cannabinoid products that ended up hurting a lot of people, leading them to be banned across the country. However the way these products skirted the law was by minutely adjusting their chemical makeups every time one was banned.

Because the government would ban specific makeups of these products, small adjustments made them different products technically. It is always possible, being a fully synthetic creation, that THC-O befalls a similar fate. In grey markets, profits typically rise above safety. As competition grows, just like Delta 8 became more widespread, the same will likely happen to THC-O Acetate.

Producers will try to create stronger and cheaper versions of the drug, the latter effort being that which leads to danger. We all saw what happened when illicit market vape cartridge producers tried to cut costs by including Propylene Glycol and Vitamin E Acetate in their products. This resulted in hundreds of hospitalizations and even deaths.

With any grey or black market cannabis products, it is always on the user to ensure they are getting a safe and reliable product. If demand for THC-O Acetate grows enough, you can bet there will be a market for it.

However as a non-natural cannabinoid, THC-O isn’t measured with most testing methods used for cannabis currently. While some have claimed to created a reliable process for measuring THC-O, nothing has become the standard. Due to this it might be a while before there are truly reliable providers of THC-O products, but that hasn’t stopped consumers before, and likely won’t this time around either.

Cannabis growing facility proposed for former New York prison

Cannabis growing facility proposed for former New York prison

A New York prison that closed in 2011 may be repurposed for cannabis and hemp production.

When Mid-Hudson Correctional Facility closed in 2011, it freed up 740 acres of prime property that its host community, Warwick, readily bought for $3.1 million.

During the past decade, the town has actively worked to repurpose the property and has seen positive results from its efforts. With Covid-19 fading and the state reopening, business is again percolating on the former prison property, now known as Wickham Woodlands.

Along with a new Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park on the campus, where the town’s business accelerator is working with three-startup companies, business is growing along its winding State School Road: a former administration building has become the trendy Drowned Lands Brewery; the prison’s old guard tower is now the gateway to Hudson Sports Complex; and the land surrounding Wickham Lake, which inmates could view from behind barbed wire fencing, has been turned into a town park.

The Warwick Valley’s fertile landscape also offers ample opportunities for those who grow hemp and its soon-to-be-street legal counterpart, marijuana, and is seeing that business beginning to boom within Wickham Woods’ borders.

When the United States eased federal regulations on growing hemp in 2018, the floodgates of products produced from hemp’s byproduct, cannabidiol — better known to the public as CBD — started hitting the shelves.

Medical marijuana has been legal since 2016, and the state also relaxed its regulations for CBD-infused food and beverages. In April, 2021, the New York state Legislature approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, which has opened a whole new revenue stream for cultivators.

Those measures have propelled Wickham Woods into the spotlight for those with a vested interest in both legal hemp/cannabis cultivation and CBD production.

Chicago-based Fiorello Pharmaceuticals/Green Thumb Industries is poised to build a 100,000-square-foot cannabis growing and processing facility on 40 acres in the technology park.

The company received approval in May from the Orange County Industrial Development Agency for subsidies that include a sales and tax use exemption, mortgage recording tax exemption and a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes, as well as approval for the issuance of taxable revenue bonds.

Another Big Beverage Maker Is Getting Into Cannabis

Another Big Beverage Maker Is Getting Into Cannabis

boston beer company potentially making cannabis infused drinks

When Constellation Brands announced it was investing in pot producer Canopy Growth back in 2017, it marked a major turning point for the industry, with outsiders beginning to show a lot more interest in cannabis. Since then, Molson Coors has gotten involved in the development of cannabis-infused beverages, as has Anheuser-Busch. With the volume of beer sales declining by 2.9% last year, the industry could benefit from more growth opportunities, so it may not be surprising if companies turn to a hot new sector like cannabis.

One more big name that is starting to explore cannabis is The Boston Beer Company(NYSE:SAM). Last month, management announced it would be dipping its toes into the industry and begin researching nonalcoholic beverages. Is a move into cannabis drinks inevitable for Boston Beer, and if so, does that make the stock a must-buy?

Is Boston Beer going to start developing cannabis-infused beverages?

On May 14, Boston Beer announced that it was going to set up a subsidiary that would be a “research and innovation hub” for cannabis beverages in Canada (where pot is legal federally). The company did not offer a date as to when it might sell the beverages, but that’s understandably hard to estimate right now given the federal ban on cannabis in the U.S. And while management is researching cannabis beverages north of the border, they haven’t given any indication of plans to sell them there.

The focus appears to be on the U.S. market. CEO Dave Burwick stated in the release that the company “[wants] to be ready for future opportunities in the U.S.”

Boston Beer is simply focusing on innovating the next wave of products and making sure that it is ready to go when the federal government legalizes marijuana in the U.S. Although more states are legalizing pot (New York, New Mexico, and Virginia are among the latest to pass legislation), it’s unclear when pot will be legal federally; President Joe Biden has only gone so far as to talk about decriminalizing pot, not outright legalization.

Many potential partners out there

While Boston Beer is going to create a subsidiary, it’s possible that it could also join forces with a cannabis company to expedite the process. Many cannabis producers would likely be eager to partner up with the top beer maker.

In the past, Aurora Cannabis was looking for a deal and was even rumored to be in talks with Coca-Cola. Sundial Growers, which is sitting on lots of cash, presents another option — management there could be looking to make a big move to bolster their sales numbers. And those are just some of the bigger names out there; Boston Beer wouldn’t have a problem finding potential suitors to work with if it went that route.

 

Why cannabis looks to be a great fit for the company

Boston Beer has been growing phenomenally over the years; sales of $906 million in 2016 grew to nearly double that in 2020, reaching $1.7 billion. In its most recent quarter, for the period ending March 27, the company has still done incredibly well.

It posted sales of $545 million ,which were up 65% year over year due to a 60% increase in shipments. Boston Beer’s willingness to change and adapt to consumer trends have led to this fantastic growth. The most recent example is hard seltzer products; its Truly brand has captured more than 28% of the market, according to the company’s latest results.

Colorado Hemp and Marijuana Growers at Odds Over Proposed Cannabis Farming Law

Colorado Hemp and Marijuana Growers at Odds Over Proposed Cannabis Farming Law

Colorado hemp and marijuana growers can't agree on new legislation to help farmers plan for weather

A bill in the Colorado State Legislature attempts to cut outdoor marijuana farmers some slack in the face of bad weather and reduce cross-pollination between marijuana and hemp grows. However, not all of the Colorado hemp industry is on board yet.

House Bill 1301 — a beefed-up version of a similar bill last year that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — would allow outdoor cannabis growers to create a contingency plan to prevent crop loss during extreme weather conditions. The measure would create working groups to reduce cross-pollination between marijuana and Colorado hemp plants, as well.

Home to spontaneous weather, Colorado is more than capable of an untimely freeze for outdoor cannabis farms, which only harvest once per year, during the fall. Representative Daneya Esgar, the prime bill sponsor, says that these farmers deserve more protection for such financial impacts.

“This bill was introduced last year in response to outdoor grows having very stringent regulations and losing millions of dollars because of adverse weather,” Esgar told her colleagues on the House Finance Committee during HB 1301’s first successful vote, on May 24. “We’re just bringing it back and making it better than it was.”

The best practices to prevent crop damage from bad weather would be created and enforced by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, according to Esgar’s bill.

The other outdoor cannabis issue HB 1301 hopes to address — cross-pollination between plants — could be more polarizing among farmers. Although marijuana and hemp are regulated and grown differently, they’re still of the same plant genus and can easily cross pollinate miles away from each other if grown outdoors. Marijuana plants grown for THC content are feminized and don’t have seeds, just like hemp grown for CBD. However, industrial hemp grown for grain and fiber is full of seeds and pollen, which can pollinate seedless cannabis plants, including hemp.

“We’re trying to figure out how we can educate everyone, because there are some unintended consequences of cross-pollination,” Esgar said.

When cross-pollination between marijuana and hemp occurs,  a handful of problems with regulations, including loss of yield and profit, are presented, according to Zack Dorsett, a Colorado hemp farmer for Blue Forest Farms in Longmont.

“It’s so bad,” he says in an interview with Westword. “We had a neighbor one year that grew un-feminized seeds and was spraying pollen all over the place, and the whole crop pretty much got ruined that year.” Hemp can also be harmed in the cross-pollination process, with some Colorado hemp crops testing above the federal THC limit of 0.3 percent after being pollinated by other cannabis plants.

There is pushback against the bill from some hemp industry members, however.

Why Delta-8 is Being Made Illegal

Why Delta-8 is Being Made Illegal

Delta-8 THC is illegal

As quickly as Delta-8 THC blew up, it’s being made illegal by states across the country.

It was only a matter of time.

Consumers and entrepreneurs have been an enjoying a regulation free, sub-legal way to get high and profit from Delta-8 THC. Now the DEA and USDA have taken notice, and in addition to the numerous states already taking action to make Delta-8 illegal on their own terms, the official law regarding Delta-8 is becoming more clear.

In fact, the current laws regarding hemp may already have it covered.

What is Delta-8 THC?

A very, very close relative to Delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, Delta-8 THC is separated by just one subtle difference in its molecular structure. The similarity in molecular structure also leads to similar psychoactive effects although slightly suppressed.

Studies done on Delta-8 THC have revealed it to be roughly 75% the potency of traditional Delta-9 THC. With modern extraction technology and isolation techniques, manufacturers of D8 THC are able to produce products that get users high.

The reason that D8 THC is able to operate currently with near impunity is because of the wording of the 2018 Farm Bill. In the bill, “Hemp” is defined as:

The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

Because the definition specifically includes Delta-9 THC and nothing else, this has been used by manufacturers as a de facto legalization of other tetrahydrocannabinols. However, looking a little more deeply into current rules and regulations on the books by the DEA and USDA, and depending on your definition of “synthetic”, the future of Delta-8 may have already been decided.

Synthetic Tetrahydrocannabinols

In August of 2020, the DEA released a set of interim rules regarding hemp. In this ruling they say, “For tetrahydrocannabinols that are naturally occurring constituents of the plant material, Cannabis sativa L., any material that contains 0.3% or less of D9 -THC by dry weight is not controlled, unless specifically controlled elsewhere under the CSA,” CSA being the Controlled Substances Act.

However in the same paragraph further down, we get to the part that matters to Delta-8 THC advocates; “For synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols, the concentration of D9 -THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances.

By establishing a difference between naturally occurring cannabinoids that are produced in hemp and those that are derived and enhanced synthetically, the DEA virtually made a ruling against Delta 8. This is because, to the likely surprise of many (including myself), Delta 8 THC while naturally occurring in hemp, is in fact synthetically made from CBD when produced for retail sale.

How Delta 8 THC is Made

All cannabinoids, from CBD to THC and beyond begin as CBGA. Because of the shared molecular structure of cannabinoids, manipulating them is simpler than it may seem. While Delta-8 is relatively new, producers have been using these methods to manipulate cannabinoids for a long time to find exotic new cannabinoids.

While Delta-8 THC exists in a wide range of cannabis strains, it is in minuscule, trace amounts. To extract and purify Delta-8 from raw plant material with less than one percent of the targeted cannabinoid is unprofitable. This is why producers have begun converting other, more prevalent cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9 THC into Delta-8.

The process of creating Delta 8 from CBD is nothing new, and is actually a patented isomerization process. It involves dissolving CBD in a solvent like heptane. An acid is then added into the solution and stirred constantly up to 18 hours on a heat plate. Once the chemical reaction is complete it will separate, where it can then be washed and dried and tested.

Compared to how your average Delta-9 extract is made, Delta-8 is a more lengthy, “synthetic” process. The Delta-8 is not there in the beginning, it is created in the end. And that’s why it’s a problem.

What does this mean for Delta 8 THC?

Unfortunately for producers and consumers alike, the great days of Delta-8 THC are likely coming to an end sooner rather than later. Over a dozen states have already banned Delta-8 THC, and more are considering passing their own laws against the cannabinoid. With the ruling by the DEA being brought into the open, it will be difficult for manufacturers to argue that Delta-8 is not in fact a synthetic cannabinoid.

In other words, those who continue to manufacture and sell Delta-8, even right now, are technically manufacturing and distributing a Schedule 1 substance. States in which Delta-8 THC has not been explicitly banned likely don’t need to worry about prosecution for the time being, as no official ruling on Delta-8 specifically has been passed down.

But as concern grows and more states ban Delta-8, it is going to become more difficult and less profitable for manufacturers to continue making it. Soon enough, Delta-8 will likely be another banned substance nationwide.

Cannabis cultivators again facing severe wildfire season

Cannabis cultivators again facing severe wildfire season

forest fires threaten cannabis farmers in the west for another year.

Historic drought conditions again will bring the threat of extreme wildfires to U.S. cannabis growers, especially those in Western states.

Wildfires and the ash and smoke created by them are becoming a bigger threat to life and property as average temperatures rise and water resources dwindle amid climate change.

Western states experienced historic destruction in the summer of 2020, when everything seemed to be on fire, including cannabis farms in California and Oregon.

Smoke and ash also blocked out essential sunlight and delayed the growth of outdoor marijuana plants by weeks, leaving growers with less-than-ideal options for when to harvest their plants.

Last season’s 58,950 wildfires burned 10.1 million acres across the United States, double the acreage burned in 2019 and almost 2.3 million more acres than the 10-year-average.

But that is not uncommon.

In four of the past 10 years – 2020, 2017, 2015 and 2012 – wildfires have burned 9 million or more acres in the U.S.

Three of Colorado’s largest recorded wildland fires – Cameron Peak, East Troublesome and Pine Gulch – occurred in 2020, tearing through more than half a million acres combined.

California had its worst wildfire season on record, with an estimated 4.3 million acres burned, 33 fatalities and 10,488 structures damaged or destroyed.

And the conditions that feed large wildfires already are worse this year.

Reservoirs across much of the West are sitting at below average levels, and snowpack runoff is not expected to provide much relief.

Southwestern states, including Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, recorded their driest April-March period in 126 years.

The situation is similar in California and Colorado.

In fact, the amount of water in the snowpack has dropped to below normal for much of the West, excluding parts of Alaska and Washington state.

A map showing the lack of snow water going into this years wildfire season.

Drought conditions, a key indicator for predicting wildfire seasons, escalated this month compared to the same time last year.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest outlook, released last week, shows that much of the area where cannabis is grown in the West and Southwest is experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions, which can lead to water emergencies and widespread crop and pasture losses.

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