The Delta-8 Debate
Is getting high the point?
The Broccoli Report
Friday, November 4, 2022
Time to read: 8 minutes, 35 seconds. Contains 1719 words.
Asking where Delta-8 fits into the cannabis industry and how existing hemp operators feel about it.
This new world of hemp-derived cannabinoids is a weed writer’s nightmare. New acronyms arrive daily—HHC, Delta-10— and there’s even less reliable information about them than there is for good, old-fashioned CBD. Not to mention the whirligig of state-by-state legislation that varies more wildly by the day. But I can’t avoid it any longer: We’re due for an update on the booming hemp-derived THC space.
I dread writing about this realm because it’s messy as hell. Wrapping my head around the variety and vagueness of cannabinoids—ok. Understanding a suite of compounds created through highly technical processing of hemp oil that end up as cannabinoids that exist in cannabis—oof. Because it is so complicated, the editing process on our first Delta-8 dive was much longer than usual as we wrestled with how best to explain it. That was back in November 2020 😳, and boy—Delta-8’s popped off since then. Licensed cannabis brands like Wunder continue to incorporate cannabis and hemp-derived THC, and CBD brands from Terra Vita to Onyx + Rose skincare are adding hemp-derived THC gummies to their lineups—not to mention the debuts of many Delta-8-focused companies.
This segment is no small part of the consumable hemp realm, which is predicted to reach $16 billion by 2026. It’s still hard to say how much profit Delta-8 is generating, as little data has been collected exclusively on Delta-8 sales, but people are typing it into their Google search bar more often. LFTD—a big publicly-traded company out of Florida making lots of products with various kinds of hemp-derived THC—reported that its gross revenue increased by nearly six times year-on-year, up from $2.2 million in Q4 2020. And just anecdotally, I see Delta-8 everywhere I used to see CBD in 2018, from gas stations to grocery stores and online retailers, and in some cases, Delta-8 is replacing CBD’s spot on those shelves. The weird thing is: These aren’t interchangeable hemp products. Delta-8 gets you high. Not to the same degree as cannabis—only about 30-50% as much—but still. It’s not like CBD at all.
So, what does that mean? What does the surge in Delta-8 say about what customers really want?
These issues are a recurring topic of conversation whenever I speak with hemp brands, and after a particularly illuminating catchup during the research for our state of CBD dispatch, it felt like the perfect time to update you on what I’ve heard on these weed streets. In different ways, this trend is affecting CBD brands’ business, impacting products and perceptions, and for some, entering the Delta-8 space feels like it defeats the purpose of what they’ve been working for in cannabis.
While this dispatch focuses on Delta-8, many more hemp-derived cannabinoids are out there, and we’ll explore more of them in 2023. Subscribe to read all about it and to catch the next dive on whatever hemp-derived cannabinoid à la mode follows this one.
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