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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

DEA Declares THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9 to be Illegal

Key Takeaways:

  • The DEA has classified THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9 as Schedule I controlled substances, causing concerns about the legality of products containing these compounds.
  • THC-O is a psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, while Delta-8 and Delta-9 occur naturally in hemp.
  • THC-O is considered illegal due to its synthetic nature, unlike Delta-8 and Delta-9, which are legal under certain circumstances.
  • The DEA’s decision is aimed at addressing potential abuse and protecting users from potential harm, but it has faced criticism from the cannabis industry.
  • The legality of THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9 varies from state to state, with some states allowing its use.

Over the past year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has made a significant declaration regarding the legality of THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9, classifying them as Schedule I controlled substances. This announcement has caused a ripple effect within the cannabis community, raising questions about the status of products containing these compounds and the implications for consumers and businesses alike.

THC-O, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol oxidase, is a compound derived from the cannabis plant. While it doesn’t produce the same level of psychoactive effects as traditional THC, it does possess psychoactive properties, making it an attractive alternative for certain consumers. On the other hand, both Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC occur naturally in the hemp plant.

According to Terence L. Boos, the chief of the DEA’s Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, THC acetate (THC-O) is considered a controlled substance because it can only be obtained synthetically, not from hemp. This distinction sets it apart from Delta-8 and Delta-9, which are present in hemp naturally. The DEA’s decision aligns with the argument put forth by cannabis attorney Rob Kight from North Carolina, who wrote a letter to the DEA in 2022, urging them to clarify their position on THC-O.

While the DEA’s updated stance has been met with criticism from the cannabis industry, some believe it is a necessary measure to address potential abuse and protect users from harm. Overdosing on THC-O or combining it with certain substances, such as alcohol, can be particularly dangerous. By classifying it as illegal, the DEA aims to mitigate these risks and ensure public safety.

It’s important to understand that despite the DEA’s classification, the legality of THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9 varies from state to state. In states where marijuana has been legalized, THC-O is often included in formulations available at dispensaries. Therefore, consumers and businesses need to be aware of the specific regulations in their respective states and comply with the laws in place.

As the issue of THC-O’s legality continues to unfold, users must be mindful of the DEA’s perspective and consider the associated risks. It’s crucial to make informed decisions to avoid any negative consequences for both consumers and licensees. While alternatives to traditional THC are still available, responsible use and adherence to state regulations are paramount.

The recent DEA declaration on THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9 as Schedule I controlled substances has sparked conversations and concerns within the cannabis community. Understanding the nuances of the legality surrounding these compounds is essential for both consumers and businesses operating in the industry. By staying informed and following state-specific guidelines, stakeholders can navigate the evolving landscape and make responsible choices that prioritize safety and compliance.


Q: Why did the DEA classify THC-O as a controlled substance?

A: THC-O was classified as a controlled substance because it is a laboratory creation and does not occur naturally in hemp. The DEA aims to prevent potential abuse and protect users from harm.

Q: Are THC-O, Delta-8, and Delta-9 completely illegal now?

A: The legality of these compounds varies from state to state. While the DEA considers THC-O illegal, it is still legal in some states where marijuana has been legalized. Delta-8 and Delta-9 are legal under certain circumstances.

Q: Can THC-O be dangerous?

A: Yes, THC-O can be dangerous, especially when overdosed or used in combination with certain substances like alcohol. It is important for users to understand the risks and make informed decisions.

Melissa Randalls
Melissa Randalls
Melissa Randalls, a celebrated author and cannabis enthusiast, shares her expertise in crafting tantalizing recipes that combine cannabis and psychedelics, elevating culinary experiences to new heights. Her accessible writing style breaks down stigmas and empowers readers to embark on their own culinary adventures, celebrating the benefits of these ingredients in the kitchen.

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