More than half—53%— of Delta-8 THC products sent for independent testing by Leafreport contained Delta-9 THC over limits allowed under U.S. federal law, while 68% contained less Delta-8 than advertised.
The study included 38 Delta-8 products in all with 12 products being deemed “excellent,” 10 rated “decent,” four considered “poor,” and 12 failing.
Products received their ratings based on how close Delta-8 levels were to the packaging. A product received an excellent rating if independent lab tests showed Delta-8 levels within 10% of what was stated on the label; products were considered decent if the lab tests showed Delta-8 levels within 20% of the label; poor products were within 30% of the label; while failing products differed from the label by more than 30%. Products with no information automatically received the worst rating.
At least one product contained 15.2% Delta-9 THC, which far exceeds the 0.3% federal threshold.
Just 12 of the 38 products tested had the advertised amount of Delta-8, the researchers found, adding that “the rest were off by 10.7% to 102.7% from the label.”
Leafreport also noted that Delta-8 pre-rolls and gummies were more likely to have inaccurate levels than tinctures and vape products and all of the products passed tests for heavy metals. The names of most products tested were obscured in Leafreport’s results, so it is unclear which Delta-8 brands contained Delta-9.
For clarification on the science involved, Ganjapreneur reached out to Kristen Goedde of Trichome Analytical, who did not test the products from Leafreport’s study directly, but who has tested numerous Delta-8 products for various manufacturers.
According to Goedde, nearly all of the Delta-8 products tested by Trichome Analytical have contained levels of Delta-9 THC that would make them illegal under federal law. She believes this may be due to the process by which Delta-8 THC is synthesized from CBD isolate.
“In the conversion process from CBD isolate into Delta-8 THC, other THC isomers including Delta-9 THC are created in varying amounts. At Trichome, we have yet to see a compliant, high potency Delta-8 product that can be manufactured on a large scale. It is quite likely that all Delta-8 vape cartridges on the market contain non-compliant levels of Delta-9 THC.” – Kristen Goedde, in a statement to Ganjapreneur
One way for labs to ensure they are detecting any Delta-9 THC in a product, Goedde says, is to implement an “orthoganal” approach when it comes to testing Delta-8 products — in other words, using two different testing methodologies to verify results.
However, Goedde believes that many Delta-8 brands may be intentionally working with labs that are not configured to thoroughly test for Delta-9 THC, in order to get compliant certificates of analysis.
If one lab tells a brand that their product is non-compliant, the brand can simply send their product to another lab that is less-equipped to handle such specialized testing, and they could still wind up with a compliant certificate to show retailers and consumers. As Goedde points out, this reality makes it “difficult for the consumer or store owner to figure out the true composition of these products.”
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