AHPA revises guidance policy for synthesized and artificial cannabinoids, including delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol

Updated policy issued in response to proliferation of synthesized cannabinoid products

January 8, 2024

AHPA's Cannabis Committee has revised the AHPA guidance policy on the marketing of synthesized and artificial cannabinoids, including delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8 THC). The primary revision of this guidance policy adds a new provision recommending that delta-8 THC and other synthesized tetrahydrocannabinols (THCs) be sold only in legal channels of trade for adult use cannabis products, and only in compliance with the regulations in jurisdictions that allow those sales.

AHPA's Hemp Lexicon defines a “synthesized cannabinoid” (which includes synthesized tetrahydrocannabinols) as a cannabinoid produced in a laboratory or by industry using directed synthetic or biosynthetic chemistry, rather than traditional food preparation techniques such as heating or extracting. This new provision is key to strengthening the guidance policy regarding the sale of synthesized cannabinoids that are being produced from hemp biomass and that are likely to produce impairment upon human consumption.

The initial AHPA guidance policy adopted in June 2021 also recommended that products containing synthesized cannabinoids not be labeled as “hemp,” and the policy now encourages the identification of any synthesized cannabinoid ingredient by an accurate common or usual name in product labeling and marketing. The guidance policy also strongly discourages any marketing of artificial cannabinoids; AHPA's Hemp Lexicon defines an “artificial cannabinoid” as any cannabimimetic compound that interacts with cannabinoid receptors but whose molecular structure is not found in nature.

As with all AHPA guidance policies, AHPA encourages its members and non-member companies to adopt these policies to establish consistent and informed trade practices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent warning letters to numerous companies marketing delta-8 THC products as unapproved treatments for various medical conditions or other therapeutic uses. Any company marketing products containing delta-8 THC should be aware these products are coming under FDA's scrutiny. Numerous states have also instituted regulations specific to the marketing of and consumer access to products containing delta-8 THC and other synthesized cannabinoids.




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