The new year is upon us, and that means a restart to the business year, and all new things to look forward to. What will happen this year? Sure hard to say at the moment, but every new year comes with new stories of legalizations, court cases, innovative products, events, and medical findings. What about our newly discovered cannabinoids market? Here are some 2022 predictions for delta-8 THC and the rest of the lot.
My 2022 prediction for delta-8 THC is that the market will survive the year just fine. If you’re looking to try out delta-8 THC and the rest of the cannabinoids, you can do so, even outside of legal markets. In fact, since these products exist outside of regulation, you can buy them online as well. We’ve got great offers for the new year, so check out our deals to find your perfect product. Remember to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter all the latest news and industry stories, as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products. Also save big on Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!
What is delta-8 THC and the cannabinoids market?
If we’re getting into 2022 predictions for delta-8 THC, best to know what we’re talking about first. Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring isomer of delta-9 THC, which means they have the same chemical formula, but a different chemical structure. They are double bond stereoisomers since they vary only in the placement of a double bond.
While the exact way that delta-8 THC shows up naturally is still only theorized, its expected that delta-8 is a less-occurring degradant of delta-9, making up a tiny percentage, which doesn’t become CBN (the main degradant). Delta-8 is more stable than delta-9, having already oxidized, which gives it a longer shelf-life. Delta-8 occurs only in tiny amounts, and though it does show up on its own, it doesn’t in big enough quantities for product production. Thus, to be used in products, delta-8 must be made from delta-9 THC or from CBD, both of which require some amount of synthetic processing.
Perhaps none of this would matter, but delta-8, with its double bond on the eighth carbon atom, seems to have slightly different benefits from delta-9, which can make it preferable to some users. For example, it’s said that delta-8 causes less anxiety than delta-9, which is great for users who have an issue with this. It’s also said that it causes a more clear-headed high, which is slightly less intense than a delta-9 high, and without the couch-locking of standard weed. Medical patients especially, who want treatment without a cloudy head, may find delta-8 a better option.
You’ll notice, when I mentioned 2022 predictions for delta-8 THC, that I included the rest of the cannabinoid offerings. Along with delta-8 THC, a range of other synthetically produced cannabinoids have been making it to the unregulated cannabis market. This includes THCV, CBN, THC-O-A, HHC, and a bunch of others with varying letters to denote their similar-to-THC chemical makeup.
Why are we talking about delta-8 and other cannabinoids?
Also before getting into 2022 predictions for delta-8 THC, its best to know why we’re talking about it, since the whole reason we’re talking about it, can be a reason why the current situation might change. Delta-8 THC is produced under the misconception of legality due to the 2018 US Farm Bill, a misconception that seems to be spurred along by the industry itself, likely in an attempt to continue to sell products without regulation.
The 2018 US Farm Bill legalized the production of industrial hemp only, by simply changing the definition of ‘hemp’ in order to separate it from the rest of cannabis. ‘Hemp’ now refers to lower-THC cannabis, while ‘marijuana’ refers to higher-THC cannabis. Both the US and Europe make the cutoff at .3% THC by dry weight as the divider.
This new definition for hemp, which has led to this mass confusion in the press (but which is soundly understood by any legal professional), is: “The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, including the plant’s seeds, and all the plant’s derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
The 2018 Farm Bill moved regulation of hemp from the FDA to the USDA, but retained FDA oversight for medicines, nutritional supplements, foods, and beverages, meaning anytime a compound is sold for any of these purposes, it requires a pass through the FDA. As such, even CBD in supplements and food products, is not legal, let alone delta-8 and the rest of the cannabinoid crew.
This is partly because synthetics weren’t legalized by the Farm Bill either, meaning once a synthetic process is used to create a compound, it no longer fits under the definition of hemp. Synthetics of Schedule I substances (like delta-9) are also considered Schedule I, which means all these compounds are illegal under the Federal Analogue Act.
2022 predictions delta-8 THC
Now that the legal situation is understood, here are my general 2022 predictions for delta-8 THC, and rest of the cannabinoid market.
- Delta-8 will continue on. As a part of the no-one-will-do-anything-about-it loophole, delta-8 enjoys being in a position where there doesn’t seem to be an ability to go after it by the federal government. And if there is an ability, but the federal government is choosing not to at the moment, I don’t think anything will explicitly happen in 2022 that will change this situation. Best to keep an eye on the news to ensure no sweeping legal updates, or increased law enforcement in this area.
- Delta-8 will not threaten the standard cannabis industry. Though delta-8 created a lot of press stories about the possibility of threatening the regular weed market earlier on, this seems like media overkill on the wrong point. Truth is, weed is a standard, and its existed for thousands of years in its own market that never required synthetics to be made. People want the regular thing, and the regular thing is not delta-8 THC. Plus, regular cannabis can be grown by a user, meaning its far more accessible, and easier to get a clean product.
- Delta-8 sales might go down by year’s end. Though I expect it to continue on just fine, my 2022 prediction for delta-8 is that by year’s end this fad will be fading out. I don’t think it has to do with illegalization either, simply with the fact that temporary fads are temporary fads. Delta-8 is up against regular cannabis, and its hard to imagine such a seismic shift in a stable industry.
- The delta-8 market will get increasingly dirty, and this says something as it already operates as a pretty dirty industry. How dirty? These companies aren’t being regulated which means they can put anything they want in their products, or use any processing techniques desirable. In fact, the industry is so dirty, that it developed its own black-market testing to give the illusion that testing is going on, when in reality this has been exposed as a sham. With a mad dash to get any income from it, I expect companies will get seedier and seedier in their attempts to seem like the good guy in a sea of criminals.
- More states will create legislation specifically banning this market. Technically this is overkill since no state allows synthetics in their markets legally. Even so, state after state has been setting specific legislation, possibly at the behest of the US government, which doesn’t appreciate untaxed items being sold. I expect more will follow this pattern in 2022.
- Little to no regulation will be made. The previous point goes along with this point. While states will likely be making legislation to ban the market, this will be done instead of regulating it to ensure no bad chemicals or processing are used. Since these products are being sold outside of regulation, it would make way more sense to simply regulate them, and bring them to the above board market. The lack of regulation hints at the federal government looking to simply wait out the fad (or to wait for a tank out and then pharma/corporate buyout of the current industry, which it might be more excited to police).
- More fear stories will come out. Whether about people getting sick from adulterants put in, or stories of faked lab results, I expect more and more news on the dangers of delta-8 and the other cannabinoids, will fill the press. These stories will not be centered around the dangers of the compounds, but the dangers of what can happen to them in an unregulated market. They won’t be framed as such though, but rather they’ll be framed to give the story that the compounds themselves are dangerous.
- I think the rest of the cannabinoid market will start to peter out. Delta-8 is one thing, but when a new compound comes out everyday, there’s no way consumers can keep up, or care. THCP, THCVA, CBDVA…I mean, come on, it starts to look shady, and untrustworthy. And it’s not very smart. Focusing on a couple cannabinoids might have worked, but inundating the masses with compound after compound, when these compounds aren’t even understood in the world of science, is a great way to scare people off them entirely.
- CBD might finally get some legalization. CBD is essentially just as illegal as the other compounds mentioned, not because its synthetic, but because its already an active ingredient in a pharmaceutical medication, and in the US, that makes it a no-no for use in supplements or food products. There has been a push to get some level of legalization for CBD, and I think 2022 might see some progress in this vein, particularly because the UN already gave CBD a pass as a medicine. It should be remembered that what qualifies as a ‘medicine’ in one place, can qualify as a ‘supplement’ in another.
- The last 2022 prediction I’ll make for delta-8 THC and the cannabinoids market, is that I think people will realize more during this year that these products can’t change their lives, if they aren’t going to make changes outside of them. With any fad that comes without the lasting power to stay, once people realize the answer isn’t as easy as they think, they generally decide to try something else instead. Does this mean people will start making bigger changes to the rest of their lives? Well, maybe not, but I expect they’ll start looking for a new easy answer.
Maybe I’m right on some of these points, and maybe I’m wrong. When it comes to 2022 predictions for delta-8 THC, we can all have our own, but in the end, we just have to wait and see what happens.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.