The hemp market has been fully operational for a few years now, as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the hemp plant for recreational and medicinal purposes. Since then, cannabidiol (CBD), the plant’s dominant cannabinoid, has proven to be a superstar, offering a massive array of valuable and beneficial properties to those dealing with everything from anxiety to chronic pain. But, CBD is one of over 150 individual cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and new ones are emerging on the market constantly, offering their own exciting properties to users. Without a doubt, the second most popular cannabinoid on today’s market is delta 8 THC.
Delta 8 THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that results from aging delta 9 THC, which converts into delta 8, maintaining only about 70% of its original psychoactive effects. Delta-8 is known for its enjoyable intoxicating buzz, and it also offers some potential benefits of its own, related to mood, sleep and even epilepsy. But, as a psychoactive cannabinoid, it’s not without controversy, as twelve states have banned it so far.
Still, the ever-growing popularity of delta 8 THC is proving to take the hemp industry into new heights of success, and this is directly benefiting hemp farmers which have been on a rollercoaster with constantly evolving hemp laws on a state level.
Slowing CBD Sales During the COVID Era
The CBD market was launched roughly a decade ago and has sustained its popularity ever since thanks to the surprising value that cannabidiol has to offer, proving itself to be a lot more than another wellness fad. Still, all industries have suffered thanks to the COVID crisis that began in March of 2020, and the hemp industry has not been immune. In early 2021, hemp farmers began reporting excess leftover crops due to slowing demand combined with supply chain issues causing traffic jams between “seed and sale”.
Marijuana sales, meanwhile, haven’t been as affected, because states that permit medical marijuana programs treat the plant in an entirely different way. With doctors recommending marijuana to their patients, those people who use marijuana for medical purposes are far less likely to drop it due to new, pandemic-based financial hardships.
Delta 8 THC: A Lifesaver for the Hemp Industry
Delta 8 THC was discovered in 1965, but it wasn’t until the end of 2018 that delta 8 THC emerged on the hemp market. Once companies developed clean and sustainable methods for creating delta 8 extracts, this cannabinoid began popping up on the most popular hemp retail websites, and it took off quickly from there.
Delta 8 began to rapidly grow in popularity shortly before March of 2020, when COVID turned the world upside-down. And, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the hemp industry. The buzz that delta 8 THC quickly generated allowed it to thrive while other industries showed early signs of dwindling, as consumers began spending less out of fears of the pandemic’s seemingly unavoidable impact on the economy.
Because of this massive surge in interest over the new cannabinoid, hemp farmers were able to continue selling their crops successfully, not only for CBD but delta 8 as well. Therefore, delta-8 has done a lot to sustain hemp farmers across America during one of the most challenging periods in our country’s history.
Delta 8: A Legal Alternative to Delta 9 THC
A huge part of the appeal of delta 8 THC is, perhaps unsurprisingly, its intoxicating effects. Many people describe the buzz that comes with delta 8 as euphoric and blissful at the same time, and a good amount say it helps them with pain and mood-related issues. Meanwhile, unlike delta 9 THC, delta-8 is protected under federal law. This compound acted as the first intoxicating cannabis derivative that is fully legal throughout the country.
The fact that those who live in states in which marijuana is illegal could simply buy a psychoactive cannabis derivative legally from an online website acted as not only a novelty for recreational users, but a godsend for anyone looking to use tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for medicinal purposes, who is unable to acquire a medical card from their state’s department of health. This is the primary reason why delta 8 has proven to be hugely successful and has allowed hemp farmers to thrive more than ever before.
Even in states in which marijuana is fully legalized, you’ll find residents who simply prefer delta-8 products over marijuana. Delta 8 THC’s high is milder, and there are plenty of cannabis enthusiasts who simply don’t want to be extremely intoxicated. Today’s marijuana breeders tend to breed new strains with more than 15% THC, compared to 1%-4% which was the norm just a few decades ago. Those who are more prone to feeling anxious or paranoid after consuming marijuana often find that delta 8 gives them exactly the experience that they were looking for.
Radically Changing Delta 8 Laws on a State Level
While hemp farmers are enjoying huge profits thanks to the growing popularity of delta 8 THC, some states are interfering with their livelihood by banning the cannabinoid because of its intoxicating effects.
However, not all delta 8 farmers are too discouraged. Delta 8 THC is proving to be so popular that many farmers are finding themselves fulfilling large international orders of their crops, for companies outside of the U.S. who are also seeing delta-8 sales soar. Remember that many countries in Europe continue to keep marijuana banned but allow for hemp sales. So, these countries are seeing impressive demand for delta 8 THC, alongside many states in our own country.
The Future of Delta 8 THC and Hemp Farmers in America
While we cannot predict how delta 8 laws will evolve in our country over the coming years, it’s clear that this cannabinoid acts as one of numerous valuable compounds derived from the hemp plant. Essentially, hemp farmers across the country remain in relatively good shape compared to many other industries which have been very negatively impacted since early 2020. Between CBD, CBN, CBG, delta 8 THC and newer cannabinoids to emerge like delta 10 THC, THC-O, and THCV, it’s safe to say that hemp farmers have a crop that isn’t going to be going out of style any time soon, in America or in the rest of the world.