Delta-8 is just the beginning…

By Alex Halperin
Aug 2, 2021

The latest controversy roiling the cannabiz is Delta-8 THC, an intoxicating chemical produced from CBD, which is now easy to locate at gas stations and headshops in states without legal weed.

The idea of Delta-8 or other chemicals manufactured from CBD competing with the more familiar Delta-9 THC has growers scared, since the method costs a lot less than cultivating plants.

  • In Washington state, growers breathed a sigh of relief when regulators banned the processing of CBD into Delta-9 THC. (Confused? Canna Law Blog explains.)

Growers shouldn’t be too relieved. So-called synthetic cannabinoids could become a $115B industry, according to a piece in Insider. Several companies are using yeast and other inputs to produce cannabinoids through a process similar to brewing beer. The process could be especially useful for making massive quantities of rare cannabinoids.

  • These compounds may have valuable MED or REC applications, but cannabis plants only produce them in trace amounts. 

Canadian operator Cronos Group has partnered with Boston biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks to produce cannabinoids in this way, starting with CBG. (I previously wrote about the partnership for the Guardian.) 

  • Ginkgo has announced plans to go public at a $15B valuation.
  • Beyond the cost savings of not having to grow plants, the Insider story says synthetic cannabinoids with medical benefits may have regulatory advantages in countries which are unlikely to legalize THC products.

Information about rare cannabinoids is hard to verify, but in case you’re curious, the site Marijuana Doctors introduces readers to THC-O, which is said to be like Delta-9 THC, but more potent.