Oregon will become the first state in the Union to ban synthetic cannabinoids starting in July.
Oregon regulatory authorities (Oregon Liquor and Cannabis CommissionOLCC) said they were restricting the over-the-counter sale of these products due to concerns about the chemicals used in their manufacture.
What are synthetic cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis. Different chemical processes make it possible to isolate them but also to create them synthetically in abundant quantities.
The Farm Bill of 2018, which legalized hemp at the federal level in the United States, allowed for easier extraction of cannabidiol (CBD), often used as a starting point to synthetically recreate natural cannabinoids present in minute quantities in the hemp plant.
As synthetic cannabinoids are derived from hemp and are not accompanied by THC (or below the legal limit of 0.3%), they are almost unregulated and can be sold freely, especially in supermarkets, stations -service and other retailers. However, some states have begun to ban their sale due to health risks and lack of controls for synthesis and before sale.
The best-known synthetic cannabinoid in the United States is delta-8 THC, popular because it reproduces the effect of THC at a lower potency, not without risk. The Centers for Disease Control warned consumers last year that there were more than 100 exposures to delta-8 that required hospitalization in just six months nationwide in 2021.
Delta-8 or delta-10, like CBD and CBN, occur naturally in hemp. However, since they exist in very small quantities, an acid chemical process is used to extract it from the CBD.
“The supply of CBD exceeded the demand for CBD,” said Steven Crowley, hemp compliance and processing specialist at the OLCC.
“And so people who had CBD on hand were looking for other ways to market it. People started working on different products that they could turn CBD into. This is how delta-8 THC products are obtained. »
The ban comes into effect in July, but from July 2023 the sale of synthetic cannabinoids will be allowed in cannabis stores authorized by the OLCC – which therefore have a license to sell cannabis – and after the products have undergone rigorous and costly testing and received approval from the FDA, the US food authority.