Search Results for: delta 8

Commission Starts Effort to Limit Unchecked Use of Delta-8-THC, Other Artificially-Derived Cannabinoids

Concern grows about easy access to intoxicants at neighborhood convenience stores

OREGON:  The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has initiated rule making for Delta-8-THC and other psychoactive components of hemp and marijuana that currently fall outside the adult-use cannabis market’s system of testing and labeling. At their regular monthly meeting on March 18, 2021, Commissioners expressed concern about the general availability of this unregulated intoxicating product. The Commission also approved three stipulated settlements for violations committed by OLCC recreational marijuana licensees.

Delta-8-THC has recently emerged for sale nationwide, including in the supply chain of the OLCC recreational marijuana market, as well as in unregulated brick and mortar convenience stores and internet websites. Delta-8-THC is present in marijuana, but the OLCC only regulates Delta-9-THC produced in marijuana. When consumed by humans Delta-8-THC produces an effect (“high”) similar to Delta-9-THC.

Delta-8-THC can also be created from hemp, which is regulated under the federal Farm Bill of 2018. Typically, hemp-derived Delta-8-THC is converted from CBD through a chemical process, which also produces a large proportion – as high as 30 – 50% – of unknown byproducts. Delta-8-THC created from hemp can be found in food products and sprayed on hemp flower.

Delta-8-THC isn’t addressed in Oregon statutes, isn’t included in Oregon Health Authority marijuana concentration limits, and there’s no testing for the Delta-8-THC or the by-products included in its chemical conversion. But Delta-8 products are currently widely available for purchase outside the OLCC adult-use market, even by children.

“When this was brought to my attention alarm bells went off in my head,” said Paul Rosenbaum, OLCC Commission Chair. “You have minors going into grocery stores and they understand very well what this is all about. And let me tell you, if there’s a way to find it, people will do it.”

OLCC’s proposed rule-making would only address the presence of Delta-8-THC and other artificially-derived cannabinoids in products grown, manufactured and sold in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market. But for OLCC and the Oregon Department of Agriculture to take effective action on total THC measurement and tamp down the availability of such products to minors, legislative action is required.

“We don’t have sufficient authority over total THC in Oregon,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “But until we get that and ability to do final product testing to help get these things into the right markets where they’re supposed to be, either in the unregulated hemp CBD market or into our market it’s going to be hard.”

Marks observed that all states are facing the issue of how to regulate Delta-8-THC, but that Oregon is at the forefront in addressing it. Regulatory gaps do remain surrounding the broader issue of intoxicating hemp cannabinoid products in the general marketplace that can be legally sold to minors, and who should be responsible for regulating those products.

“Unregulated hemp has no final product testing,” said Marks. “They only test for Delta-9 in the field. You can’t regulate what you don’t test for. We’re talking about two species of the same plant. And that means that federal and state regulators need to harmonize their oversight of this plant, and work towards across-the-board testing of marijuana and hemp products designed for human consumption before they enter the marketplace.”

The House General Government Committee of the Oregon Legislature is expected to take up the Delta-8-THC issue at a public hearing on Thursday, March 25, where it could consider legislation ensuring that all intoxicating THC products, properly tested and labeled, are sold within the OLCC regulated system and also ban the sale of currently non-regulated Delta-8-THC products to minors under age 21.

The Commission also ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

STONEY ONLY PORTLAND will surrender its recreational marijuana retailer licenseon the date the sale/transfer of the business is completed, or by 12:00 PM on June 16, 2021, whichever is earlier for two violations.

Licensee is: Stoney Only Portland, LLC; Joseph Babb, Member; Ragna TenEyck, Member; Michael Mullins, Member.

HERB N’ SPRAWL will pay a $4,950 fine and serve a two-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension OR serve a 32-day license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Prairie Song Organics, LLC; Yotokko Kilpatrick, Member; Rick Saga, Member.

DEEP ROOTS CANNABIS in Springfield will pay a fine of $3,465  OR serve a 21-day recreational marijuana wholesaler license suspension for one violation.

Licensees are: Premier Concepts, LLC; Mary Jane Wilson, Member; Susie Polen, Member; Braden Smith, Manager.

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What Is Delta-8 THC?

 

UPDATE: “Understanding Legal Status”

Editor’s Note:  Welcome to the first installment in the new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb.  

For the next two weeks, Curt teaches readers about the hot new phytomolecule delta-8 THC that is causing such a stir among consumers, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals.


CURT’S CANNABIS CORNER

What is Delta-8 THC?

By Curt Robbins

For years, the producers, processors, distributors, marketers, regulators, and consumers of cannabis have focused primarily on only two molecules produced by the plant: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both are sold by thousands of companies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

 

As a wave of medical and adult use marijuana legalization reaches beyond North America to the far corners of the globe, companies are beginning to promote and exploit additional wellness molecules produced by cannabis and hemp. Creative entrepreneurs and product formulators are seeing the advantages, both financially and legally, of leveraging molecular options beyond CBD and THC. 

The Big Picture

The cannabis/hemp plant species produces three primary families of wellness molecules that, together, number in the hundreds. There are approximately 146 cannabinoids, 20 flavonoids, and 200 terpenesthe majority of which have demonstrated significant medicinal efficacy, as revealed by thousands of peer-reviewed research studies since the late 18th century. 

Before delving into the details of delta-8 THC, it is important to properly frame the topic.   

Understanding Molecular Analogs 

Most cannabis consumers are ignorant of the fact that the chemical compounds produced by cannabis are members of small groups called analogs (sometimes cited as isomers in research literature). In fact, the CBD family features seven distinct analogs, as does the cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG).    

 

THC is no exception. The analog with which most consumers are familiar is the infamous delta-9 variant (technically called the neutral analog), which produces sometimes significant psychoactivity. There’s also the acidic precursor THCA, which conveys no psychoactivity but significant wellness benefits and is popular as a juiced edible.

Yet another THC analog is the varin version, THCV, which conveys greater psychoactivity than delta-9, but only at more potent doses. An Italian research study published in December 2019 discovered additional THC and CBD analogs, THCP and CBDP, respectively (the researchers dubbed them the phorols). Delta-8 THC is yet another member of this collection of molecular analogs.

While molecular analogs sometimes share many of the same effects when consumed by humans (such as decreased systemic inflammation or an alleviation of depression or pain), such homogeneity cannot be assumed. For example, while delta-8 and delta-9 THC both stimulate appetite, THCV decreases it! Another frequently confusing feature of cannabinoids is a characteristic called the biphasic response curve. This mechanism involves a molecule producing one effect at a low dose and a differentand sometimes polar oppositeeffect at a stronger dose. 

A good example of the mechanism of biphasic response curves is delta-9 THC. At low doses, this molecule is known for helping consumers manage stress and decrease anxiety (“Netflix and chill, dude”). At more potent doses, however, the same molecule can cause increases in anxiety and paranoia and even result in panic attacks. 

In the end, the differences between cannabinoid analogs are good because they provide additional options to patients and lifestyle consumers. Crohn’s disease and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience sometimes extreme nausea and lack of appetite, which can lead to malnutrition and worsen their health. Wellness molecules that function as effective appetite stimulants are of obvious value to such consumer populations. 

Understanding Hemp vs. Cannabis

To properly understand the characteristics of delta-8 THC relative to the myriad molecules produced by the cannabis plant, one must first gain insight into the legal and technical differences between hemp and cannabis. Hemp is considered any sample of the plant that tests below 0.3 percent (one-third of one percent) delta-9 THC in weight by volume (research has indicated that psychotropic effects do not manifest in most adult consumers until samples feature at least one percent delta-9 THC). 

Hemp and cannabis have been illegal in the United States since August 1937, when the Marihuana Tax Act was passed by Congress. In December 2018, Congress reversed course after 81 years of prohibition by enacting the Farm Bill, which legalized samples of the plant containing below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC standard employed in North America. Europe features a stricter 0.2 percent delta-9 THC limit, although this may change to 0.3 percent, in alignment with global market leaders such as the U.S. and Canada, in the near future.    

Delta-9 THC is currently considered a Schedule I drug which, by definition, implies that it provides zero medicinal benefit while displaying a strong propensity for abuse. Delta-8 THC, however, is legally categorized as a component of hemp, meaning that it falls under different regulatory oversight and can be sold in dozens of U.S. states. Legally, delta-8 and delta-9 THC are in different universes. From a regulatory perspective, delta-8 THC is managed more similarly to CBD. 

This important legal distinction means that companies can formulate and market products containing delta-8 THC and sell them in most states. Delta-9 THC products, on the contrary, can be produced and sold in only 15 U.S. states, with no interstate commerce or merchant banking permitted under the current scheme of federal prohibition. 

Understanding Legal Status

Hemp and cannabis have been illegal in the United States since August 1937, when the Marihuana Tax Act was passed by Congress. In December 2018, Congress reversed course after 81 years of prohibition by enacting the Farm Bill, which legalized samples of the plant containing below the 0.3 percent THC standard employed in North America, which it defines as “hemp.” Europe features a stricter 0.2 percent THC limit, although this may change to 0.3 percent, in alignment with global market leaders such as the U.S. and Canada, in the near future.    

Both delta-9 and delta-8 THC are currently considered Schedule I drugs by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. This means that all regulatory oversight and legal restrictions placed on delta-9 THC also apply to delta-8. Some of the companies producing delta-8 products are doing so legally under the laws of their home state, but, just as with delta-9 products, in defiance of federal oversight. 

It must be emphasized that such companies remain legal only if they restrict sales of their product to within the borders of their home state. Any interstate commerce activity falls under the strict purview of federal authorities, including the DEA, and Schedule I status.   

Confusion regarding these relatively new laws surrounds many interpretations of the legal status of delta-8 THC and emerging products. Some parties believe that delta-8 derived from hemp (samples of the cannabis plant genome that feature <0.3 percent delta-9 THC) are a legal loophole that allow them to narrowly skirt any laws of prohibition at the state or federal level. 

“You have a drug that essentially gets you high, but is fully legal. The whole thing is comical,” said Lukas Gilkey, CEO of Hometown Hero CBD in Austin, Texas, during an interview with the New York Times

However, many legal authorities paint a different picture. “Dealing in any way with delta-8 THC is not without significant legal risk,” said Alex Buscher, a Colorado lawyer who specializes in cannabis law, during an interview for the New York Times article cited above.

Some companies have invested in production and multi-state marketing of delta-8 products. Unfortunately, they are doing so under the false belief that their formulations are categorized as hemp under the Farm Bill and, thus, legal.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Delta-8 and delta-9 THC fall under the identical categorization and carry the same enforcement mechanisms and penalties.     

Understanding Delta-8 THC

Regardless of the legal status of delta-8 THC, let’s compare and contrast the medicinal efficacy of both compounds. Despite its reputation for helping consumers unwind from a stressful day, delta-9 THC has a nasty reputation for causing the opposite when consumed in strong doses: Elevated anxiety, paranoia, and sometimes panic attacks. Disorientation, confusion, and other forms of distress resulting from too much delta-9 have been documented by hospital emergency rooms and psychologists for decades. 

Delta-8 THC has been reported, through both formal research and anecdotal testimony, to deliver roughly two-thirds of the psychoactivity of the delta-9 isomer, but without the paranoia. This provides an option for those who avoid delta-9 THC or cannabis overall due to a previous negative experience with the herb. 

That said, it should be noted that the potential for consumers, especially novices, to experience increased anxiety or paranoia when consuming any psychotropic substance, especially in potent doses, always exists. Doctors and wellness professionals should experiment over time and “start low and go slow” with the dosing of delta-8. Many consumers have reported positive experiences when consuming delta-8 THC, especially in comparison to delta-9. 

One distinct difference between these two analogs is their relative volumes in plant samples. Most modern cultivars and chemovars (“strains”) of cannabis have been bred to increase delta-9 THC levels (which typically range from 10 to 30 percent), not CBD or delta-8. As such, delta-8 THC is found in small quantities in natural plant samples (typically well under one percent, similar to CBG). Delta-8 is sometimes extracted and concentrated by complex processing equipment requiring specially trained technicians. More often, however, it is synthesized from molecules that feature similar molecular structures, such as CBD and delta-9 THC. 

Some doctors, including Dr. Benjamin Caplan (a clinical practitioner in Boston who recommends legal cannabis to his patients), are finding superior results with their patients when they mix the correct doses of delta-8 and delta-9. Some wellness professionals are employing such a formulation instead of the more traditional delta-9 and CBD mix. 

“While the combination of delta-8 and delta-9 often yields a less euphoric experience, it can be a very pleasant alternative to blends of delta-9 THC and CBD,” Caplan told me during an exclusive interview.

In addition to appetite stimulation, delta-8 THC delivers anxiety reduction, can help treat pain, has shown antioxidant efficacy, and is a powerful tool in the treatment of nausea. Caplan described delta-8 THC as a “fan favorite” among his patients. 

Delta-9 Tolerance Break Tool?

Some companies and caregivers have begun exploring the use of delta-8 THC as a tool to help daily users, especially heavy cannabis consumers, to lower their tolerance to delta-9 THC. Even slight improvements in the relative potency of delta-9 based on reduced tolerance can equal significant monetary savings for such large volume consumers. 

“It’s not uncommon for those who use delta-9 THC to find that efficacy wanes after a long period of consistent use,” said Dena Putnam, President and co-founder of Leafwize Naturals in Orange County, California. Leafwize Naturals sells a variety of vape cart products featuring the dominant ingredient of delta-8 THC.  

Putnam explained how the delta-8 isomer of THC “may offer a way to circumvent the body’s tolerance of delta-9 while delivering similar benefitsall while taking a break from delta-9 in an effort to bring back the full effectiveness” she explained during an exclusive interview. 

Putnam said that delta-9 THC tolerance breaks “can be scary for those who depend on it for daily pain relief and mood management,” but explained that it is “sometimes necessary to reset the effectiveness of the medicine.” She explained how “delta-8 may offer a way to take a delta-9 break while providing a level of medicinal relief that is similar to delta-9.”

When queried about the success of this approach, Putnam explained how she and her staff noted two positive outcomes from their experiment: Delta-8 efficacy that mirrored that of delta-9 and the overall goal of achieving a lowered tolerance for delta-9 THC. Both target outcomes were achieved, somewhat of a unicorn in the world of science-based health and wellness.      

“We found that, after a period of switching from delta-9 THC to delta-8, that delta-8 helped in a manner similar to delta-9,” said Putnam. “More important, when the user resumed consumption of delta-9, the effects were greater, as if they had taken a conventional tolerance break,” she added.

It’s a Wrap

Delta-8 THC, only one of several THC analogs that includes THCA, THCV, and THCP, offers a number of advantages over its sibling delta-9. From the perspective of medicinal efficacy, delta-8 provides 60-70 percent of the psychotropic (psychoactive) effects of delta-9 THC while, typically, delivering little or none of the paranoia and anxiety that may result from delta-9.

Medical practitioners and business entrepreneurs are beginning to recognize the advantages of a world in which phytocannabinoids beyond CBD and delta-9 THC are readily available in thousands of products from hundreds of companies. If businesses like Southern California’s Leafwize Naturals have anything to say about it, that world will be here sooner rather than later.   

Clarifying Statement Regarding WSLCB Rule Making Authority Re THC Isomers Other Than Delta-9

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board issued the following clarifying statement regarding its rule making authority re: THC Isomers other than Delta-9.

Issue

Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive compound naturally occurring in very low levels in cannabis. With the recent federal legalization of hemp, delta-8 and other THC compounds other than state regulated delta-9, can be chemically derived from CBD that was originally generated from hemp.

Delta-8 derived from hemp has emerged for sale nationwide, including small amounts within the regulated Washington State supply chain, as well as in unregulated convenience stores and commercial internet websites. It is an emerging issue nationwide with concerns surrounding it that include: youth access, health effects resulting from the extraction process, and the impact of a product that is generally unregulated competing with a tightly regulated state cannabis marketplace.

Research

In recent months, the LCB has been researching delta-8 through multiple channels. Discussions are ongoing with state public health officials, cannabis industry representatives and other state regulators through the national trade organization the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA). Most states are currently fact finding and communicating with Washington and other states. Some have moved quickly to prohibit delta-8 through rule or legislation.

Reason for Policy Statement

On April 28, 2021, LCB issued Policy Statement Number PS-21-01 regarding: The regulation of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), other than Delta-9; and the conversion of CBD, hemp, or both to delta- 8 THC, delta-9 THC, or any other cannabis compound that is not currently identified or defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), or both. The LCB’s policy statement is in response to multiple stakeholder requests and national concerns for clarification.

Through PS-21-01, the LCB is notifying the public and stakeholders that the agency will be addressing the issue. State law encourages agencies to advise the public of its current opinions, approaches, and likely courses of action by means of interpretive or policy statements. Current interpretive and policy statements are advisory only. To better inform the public, agencies are encouraged to also convert long-standing interpretive and policy statements into rules.

LCB Intent

The LCB’s intent is to open public discussion around this issue. While the Board has broad rule-making authority to act quickly when the public health, safety or welfare is at risk, the Board’s intention is to approach the issue conservatively and transparently, collecting input and actively collaborating with stakeholders. Until the LCB has reached a conclusion through the public rule-0making process whether to adopt rules to create enforceable requirements regarding products that contain delta-8, this policy statement is advisory. The LCB will continue to enforce existing rules pertaining to packaging and labeling reviews to ensure there is not an excess of 10 mg of any type of THC in edible products.

The policy statement represents the Board’s continued effort to make the public and stakeholders aware of our intentions and invite participation. The Board will soon approve a CR 101 to make the process public and begin standard rule-making. As always, interested parties may sign up for email notifications or check the LCB website at lcb.wa.gov for updates.

WSLCB Issues Policy Statement On Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Compounds Other Than Delta-9

WASHINGTON: Consistent with RCW 34.05.230, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has published a policy statement concerning tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compounds other than delta-9 and the conversion of CBD, hemp, or both to delta- 8 THC, delta-9 THC, or any other cannabis compound that is not currently identified or defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), or both. 

Policy statements are agency-level documents declaring plans or intentions of an agency. Policies are different from procedures, standard operating procedures, or guidance because they apply to the entire organization and are primarily intended to set direction. In contrast, procedures or guidelines typically include specific instructions used to accomplish defined tasks that may be described in a policy.

Notice of WLSCB Policy Statement #PS21-01 was filed with the Washington State Code Reviser on April 28, 2021 as WSR 21-10-045. The policy statement is offered in response to multiple stakeholder requests and national concern for clarification regarding the regulation of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), other than delta-9; and the conversion of CBD, hemp, or both to delta- 8 THC, delta-9 THC, or any other cannabis compound that is not currently identified or defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), or both.

Additional information can be found on the WSLCB Policy Statements webpage.

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What is Delta-10 THC?

Welcome to the next installment in the new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week we’re dealing with a newcomer to the world of commercial cannabinoids, delta-10 THC. Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™!


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

What is Delta-10 THC?

By Curt Robbins

 

 


All cannabis consumers and industry professionals are familiar with the phytomolecule THC that is produced by the cannabis plant. Many, however, aren’t aware that this popular psychoactive chemical compound is but one of several similar THC molecules produced by the plant called analogs (or, more technically, isomers).

The version of THC that differentiates hemp and cannabis, the measure of which has determined the market value of cannabis flowers and related products for decades, is delta-9 THC. However, a variety of analogs of the THC molecule exist. These include THCA (no psychoactivity), delta-8 THC (about two-thirds the psychoactivity of the delta-9 isomer), and THCV (the varin version that delivers psychoactivity, but only in relatively potent doses).  

Other cannabinoids are produced by the plant as similar isomer families, including cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG). In fact, each of these cannabinoids manifests as more than half a dozen isomers. (For CBD, these include CBDA, CBDV, CBDVA, and CBDP. Similarly, CBG offers the isomers CBGA, CBGVA, and CBGV, among others.)   

Recently, the delta-8 isomer of THC has gained attention. A variety of companies in the U.S. have begun selling delta-8 products, mostly in an effort to skirt the federal regulations that prohibit delta-9 THC. Meanwhile, an additional isomer of THC has attracted the attention of entrepreneurs: Delta-10 THC. 

History in California

The story of delta-10 THC is rife with irony. The phytomolecule was recently discovered by Fusion Farms in Adelanto, California. During a wildfire, a batch of outdoor grown plants became contaminated by fire retardant chemicals. These chemicals caused one or more of the cannabinoids in the plants to convert to delta-10 (most likely from cannabichromene [CBC], CBD, or delta-9 THCall of which feature very similar molecular structures). 

Thus, delta-10 THC has been dubbed an “artificial cannabinoid” because it may occur very rarely, or almost never, in nature. Modern manufacturing processes, however, offer the ability to produce the molecule in volume by converting closely related cannabinoids.

Some industry professionals believe that, during testing, delta-10 THC is commonly misidentified as similar cannabinoids, including CBC. “A lot of people had been seeing this mystery compound show up as a minor component on their distillate COAs [Certificates of Analysis], but they thought it was CBC,” said Josh Jones, an organic chemist who consults for Fusion Farms.

 

Business Opportunity

The tenuous nature of regulatory oversight of hemp and cannabis products in the United States means that the legal status of delta-10 is both ambiguous and could change at any time. 

The challenge for companies wishing to produce products rich in delta-10 THC is use of a production method that synthesizes the molecules in sufficient volume to satisfy potential market demand and cause true efficacy in consumers.   

The saga of delta-10 THC illustrates how industrious entrepreneurs and managers within the industry will pursue opportunities to develop novel cannabinoid isomers. These molecules will naturally feature a different binding affinity, which is the exact method by which they attach to specialized cellular receptors in the human body (part of the endocannabinoid system). As such, wellness professionals seeking novel approaches to the management of particular disease states and conditions may be able to fine tune the efficacy of molecules to match use case scenarios and bolster the safety profiles of molecules or particular products. 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What Are Flavonoids?

Welcome to the next installment of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, a new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about flavonoids, a third category of wellness molecule produced by the hemp/cannabis/marijuana plantbeyond psychotropic cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes. 

Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™ by sharing this article far and wide!


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER

What are Flavonoids?

By Curt Robbins

 


Most cannabis consumers are familiar with cannabinoids and, more specifically, the two commercially dominant examples produced by the cannabis/hemp plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). However, the herb produces two other families of wellness molecules beyond the set of roughly 146 cannabinoids discovered to date: Terpenes and flavonoids. 

The functional distinction between these two families of phytomolecules is clear. Terpenes employ aroma to protect hemp and cannabis plants from pests and predators while simultaneously attracting pollinators (insects or human cultivators). Likewise, flavonoids perform the same basic evolutionary function, but do so with plentiful pigment rather than abundant aroma. 

Modern peer-reviewed research has revealed that both terpenes and flavonoids possess value in the treatment of literally hundreds of disease states and adverse health conditions. All three families of chemical compounds produced by hemp have exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This makes these phytomolecules potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of common diseases such as cancer, arthritis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and a variety of eating and sleeping disorders. 

The following excerpt from the Higher Learning LV™ course Cannabis Core Concepts will teach you more.


Overview

Flavonoids, sometimes called bioflavonoids, are the third major family of wellness molecules produced by the hemp plant. The lack of attention to flavonoids by hemp industry professionals and the scientific community has inspired some thought leaders to label them “the red headed stepchildren of phytomolecules.” 

Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant chemicals found in a large number of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. These special compounds are responsible for the sometimes vivid colors of the plants that produce them. Perhaps of greater value to humans, they also have demonstrated significant medicinal efficacy—most notably anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Like terpenes, flavonoids are produced by thousands of plant types in nature beyond cannabis. In fact, tens of thousands of plant species collectively make more than 6,000 types of flavonoids. Of these, about 20 appear in the hemp genome (DNA). 

Flavonoids = Pigmentation

The Latin root of “flavonoid” is flavus. Literally interpreted, flavus means “yellow” (it is sometimes translated as “organic/natural yellow”). Despite the understandably common misinterpretation of the root term’s meaning as “flavor” in modern English, flavonoids serve the pigment-driven evolutionary function of attracting pollinators and dissuading pests for the plants that produce them (flavor, for the most part, is provided by terpenes).

In this respect, flavonoids are the visual equivalent of the aroma produced by terpenes. Both serve as sensory siren songs for pollinating insects (of critical value to the propagation of the species) while simultaneously warning predators to stay away and seek their meal elsewhere.

The Butterfly Effect

Interesting, flavonoids provide the color for not only thousands of plants in nature, but also some of the insects that feed on them. In fact, one of the most photographically coveted insects in nature, the butterfly, maintains an intimate relationship with flavonoids and the plants that produce them.  

According to a 1994 article by Nicolas Wade entitled “How Nature Makes a Butterfly Wing” that appeared in The New York Times, flavonoids are responsible for the sometimes vibrant dyes in the wings of butterflies. 

“In the pupil stage, the patterned wing cells develop a rainbow of tones as each crafts a scale of a single hue,” wrote Wade. It seems that butterflies are among insect species that are incapable of producing flavonoids. “The rich palette of dyes in butterflies’ wings are all derived from…flavonoids, which the insects cannot make themselves and must sequester from their food plants,” he continued. 

Copyright © 2021 Higher Learning LV™. All Rights Reserved. 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What is Nanoemulsion Technology? Part 1

Welcome to the second installment in the new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

For the next two weeks, Curt will teach readers about the hot new manufacturing process for cannabis- and hemp-infused products called nanoemulsion

What is nanoemulsion? How can it help patients and consumers while offering additional marketing opportunities for entrepreneurs? How does it compare to traditional formulation technologies? Read on to learn!

The following is an excerpt from the Higher Learning LV instructor-led course Cannabis Core Concepts


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

What is Nanoemulsion Technology?

Part 1

By Curt Robbins

Those who work in the cannabis industry know that there’s plenty of hype regarding a relatively new molecular infusion technology called nanoemulsion (sometimes labeled miniemulsion, ultrafine emulsion, or submicron emulsion). 

Operating at the extreme microscopic size level that scientists call nanoscale, nanoemulsion offers a slew of advantages over traditional formulation technologies such as non-emulsified oils, macroemulsions, and microemulsions involving liposomes. Unfortunately, nanoemulsion tech has also resulted in significant marketing hyperbole and marketplace confusion.    

For engineering nerds, an interesting fact of nanoemulsion tech is that various underlying methods can be employed to create a nanoparticle emulsion liquid. All of these approaches, including ultrasonic generators, rotor devices, and high pressure homogenizers, are intended to result in a lifestyle beverage or liquid medicine that efficiently delivers wellness molecules, including cannabinoids and terpeneswithout degradation or other loss of potency during their path from processing and packaging to consumption and onset of effects. 

Another major reason companies are excited about nanoemulsions: Speed of onset. This molecular encapsulation approach results in significantly faster onset of bioavailability. In some cases, nanoencapsulation reduces the onset wait period from two or more hours (a traditional infused product) to about fifteen minutes (a roughly 800 percent improvement). 

It should be noted that nanoemulsion technology does not magically make hydrophobic fat-soluble molecules like cannabinoids and terpenes water soluble (as the marketing materials of some companies would lead one to believe). Rather, it is a method by which these fat-loving, water-fearing chemical compounds can be efficiently stored and transported on the way to their biophysical destinations (in the case of cannabis and hemp, microscopic CB1 and CB2 cellular receptors within the brain, central nervous system, and tissues of the immune system).  

Overview

Nanoemulsion technology is quickly gaining popularity with wellness professionals, consumers, and emerging hemp and cannabis brands. This approach to the consumption of some types of molecules that display poor water solubilityincluding the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids produced by cannabisis complex in detail, yet easily grasped in general theory. 

Many cannabis and hemp companies, especially those offering products intended to enhance health and wellness, are flocking to nanoemulsion tech for two primary reasons: Improved stability and faster onset of bioavailability (with the bonuses of significantly greater potency and more accurate dosing). The potential downside of nanoemulsions? Production cost (especially at smaller volumes).

Improved stability is important for heavily regulated industries like hemp and cannabis that involve supply chains featuring detailed distribution cycles and sometimes lengthy storage periods. Faster onset is critical for patient populations where conditions such as pain, nausea, social anxiety, or seizures demand the fastest possible onset of efficacy.

Nanoemulsion involves use of an agitative force (such as ultrasonic sound waves) to break up a solution containing two liquified substances (often an oil and an aqueous [water] element) that, under normal circumstances and in traditional preparations, would not form a homogeneous mixture. 

The compound of medicinal or therapeutic focus, such as a cannabinoid like cannabidiol (CBD) or delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is infused into an oil. Despite their differences, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes share one trait: They are fat soluble but not water soluble. Because of this important biochemical characteristic, these molecules must be infused into a lipid (fat) or oil for practical consumption by humans.

This marriage of oil and water, with the oil acting as a carrier for medicinal wellness compounds such as cannabinoids like CBD and THC, is accomplished with the assistance of a third element called an emulsifying agent (a common example of which is lecithin). This relatively technical concoction produces what scientists and product formulators dub a “single phase” mixture that is comprised of extremely small particles that fall within the nanoscale range (described below).

Understanding Nanoscale

Nanoscale (and the entire model for scientific measurement) is based upon the metric system, not the English scheme of inches and feet. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter (a meter being 3.3 feet). The root term nano is derived from ancient Greek, where it means “dwarf.” 

A micron, or micrometer, is the unit of measure directly above nano and is 1,000 nanometers (nm). To better gain a sense of the size of nanoscale, consider that a human hair is about 75 microns (75 μm), or 75,000 nanometers, in diameter. A sheet of standard notebook paper is just slightly thicker, at about 100,000 nanometers. 

According to the U.S. federal government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative:

  • A strand of human DNA  is 2.5 nanometers in diameter
  • An inch contains 25,400,000 nanometers
  • A gold atom is about one third of a nanometer in diameter

Infused beverages or tinctures containing broad-spectrum (involving molecular filtering) and full-spectrum (lacking filtering) nanoemulsions of hemp or individual cannabinoids (such as CBD or cannabigerol [CBG]) are defined as chemically and physically stable liquid-in-liquid dispersions featuring relatively minuscule droplet sizes of approximately 100 nm. 

Some strict sources define particle (droplet) sizes that exceed 100 nm to be outside of the nanoscale. However, technically speaking, 50-999 nm serves as an acceptable industry standard for nanoencapsulation particle size. A February 2021 market analysis defined nanoemulsions as “oil-in-water emulsions with mean size ranging from 50 to 1000 nm” that feature an average droplet size of “between 100 and 500 nm.”

Bioavailability & Delivery Dynamics

Nanoemulsions manifest as liquid solutions packaged as tinctures, infused beverages, eye drops, topicals (creams, lotions, balms, etc.), or transdermal patches. They are designed to circumvent the relatively lengthy process of digestion that is performed by the stomach and liverwith the overall goal of improving bioavailability compared to conventional “edibles.” 

Nanoencapsulated liquids also avoid the potential harms caused by inhalation of smoke and vapor. While research has revealed cannabis vapor to be considerably safer than the combustion involved in smoking the herb, chronic consumption via either method of inhalation may lead to lung damage and conditions such as bronchitis. Nanoencapsulated edibles and sublingual tinctures, while slower in onset than inhalation (the fastest consumption avenue at only 2.5 minutes), offer an improved safety profile that, in many use cases, justifies the slower onset.    

Methods of creating nanoemulsions include sonication (the application of ultrasonic sound) and high-pressure homogenization. Nanoemulsions produce significantly greater overall bioavailability (described in detail below), including faster onset and enhanced potency. This is true not only when nanoemulsions are eaten, but also when they are consumed sublingually (as with tinctures) or via transdermal patches. This fact gives this particular emulsion technology an unusually broad application range within the cannabis industry. 

A 2015 research study entitled “Nanoemulsion: An Advanced Mode of Drug Delivery System” reported that nanoemulsions “are manufactured for improving the delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients” and that the process involves a “thermodynamically stable isotropic system in which two immiscible liquids are mixed to form a single phase by means of an emulsifying agent.” 

The improved stability of nanoencapsulated formulations makes them of significant interest to wellness professionals because they can increase the precision of dosing. This is of importance for many conditions, including those whose treatment involves compounds that feature biphasic response curves or other peculiarities that can be exploited by a lack of dosing accuracy. 

Tune in next week for What is Nanoemulsion Technology?: Part 2 when we’ll dig into the hard research evidence behind the value of nanoemulsion tech for both companies and consumers and learn more about bioavailability. Don’t miss it! 

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs Votes On Recommendations For Cannabis And Cannabis-Related Substances

AUSTRIA:  December 2, 2020 – Today, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) took a number of decisions on the international control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances.

Cannabis and cannabis-related substances have for many years been included in the schedules of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol (Schedule I and IV: cannabis and cannabis resin; Schedule I: extracts and tinctures of cannabis), as well as in the Schedules of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 (Schedule I: tetrahydrocannabinol (six isomers of delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol); Schedule II: dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)). The inclusion in a specific schedule determines the control measures that States parties are required to apply to the respective substances.

In January 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a series of recommendations to change the scope of control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances. After intensive considerations (more information below), the Commission took action today on these recommendations.

WHO recommendation to delete cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention, but to maintain it in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention: The Commission decided by 27 votes to 25 and with one abstention to follow this recommendation. Cannabis and cannabis resin will accordingly be deleted from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention. They remain in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention and thus remain subject to all levels of control of the 1961 Convention.

WHO recommendation to move dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and tetrahydrocannabinol (six isomers of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which are psychoactive components of cannabis, from the respective schedules of the 1971 Convention to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention, which already includes cannabis and cannabis resin: The Commission rejected by 23 votes to 28 with 2 abstentionsthe recommendation to add dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention. Due to the conditionalities included in the WHO recommendations, the Commission therefore did not vote on the recommendation relating to the deletion of dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) from the 1971 Convention. It also did not vote on the recommendation to move tetrahydrocannabinol (six isomers of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) from the 1971 Convention to the 1961 Convention.

WHO recommendation to delete extracts and tinctures of cannabis from Schedule I of the 1961 Convention: The Commission decided by 24 votes to 27 and with 2 abstentions not to adopt this recommendation.

WHO recommendation to add a footnote to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention to read “Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0.2 per cent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are not under international control”: The Commission decided by 6 to 43 votes and with 4 abstentions not to add such a footnote.

Lastly, WHO recommendation to add certain preparations of dronabinol to Schedule III of the 1961 Convention: As the Commission had predetermined in a procedural decision, adopted at the beginning of the meeting, this recommendation was deemed rejected, due to the rejection of the recommendation to add dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention.

Aphria Announces Strategic Entry Into The United States With An Agreement To Acquire Sweetwater Brewing Company

SweetWater’s Portfolio of Beer Brands, Including the Flagship 420 Brand, Aligns with a Cannabis Lifestyle and Provides a Scalable Platform for Expansion into the U.S. and Canada

Accretive Acquisition Significantly Expands Aphria’s Addressable Market and Diversifies Product Offerings

Establishes an Infrastructure in the U.S. Enabling Accelerated Entry into U.S. Cannabis Market, Subject to Federal Legalization

Aphria to Host a Conference Call and Webcast on November 4, 2020, at 4:15 pm EST.

CANADA:  Aphria Inc., a leading global cannabis company inspiring and empowering the worldwide community to live their very best life, today announced it has entered into an agreement of merger and acquisition to acquire SW Brewing Company, LLC. SweetWater Brewing Company is one of the largest independent craft brewers in the United States  based on volume. Beginning with the flagship 420 beverage offerings, SweetWater has created an award-winning lineup of year-round, seasonal and specialty beers, a portfolio of brands closely aligned with a cannabis lifestyle. The approximately USD $300 million acquisition has been unanimously approved by Aphria’s Board of Directors and is expected to close before the end of December 2020. Aphria expects this acquisition to be immediately accretive to EBITDA and diluted earnings per share. All dollar amounts in the press release are expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

Founded in 1997 by Freddy Bensch, SweetWater has broad consumer appeal and has established strong distribution across 27 states plus Washington, D.C. and has ample capacity to support distribution efforts into new geographies, with limited capital expenditure. From its state-of-the-art brewery in Atlanta, Georgia, SweetWater produces a balanced variety of year-round and seasonal specialty craft brews, with SweetWater beverages available in approximately 29,000 off-premise retail locations ranging from independent bottle shops to national chains. SweetWater’s significant on-premises business allows consumers to enjoy its varietals in more than 10,000 restaurants and bars.

In addition to its traditional distribution footprint, SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale and IPA are served on all Delta flights nationwide plus internationally totaling more than 50 countries across six continents which have served to extend SweetWater’s brand reach on both a national and international level. The Company also hosts an annual music festival, “SweetWater 420 Fest,” that has evolved into one of the largest and most anticipated music festivals in the U.S., increasing brand awareness nationwide. In 2019, the 420 Strain G13 IPA became the top new craft brand in the U.S. in the first 12 months after its launch. In addition to branding, SweetWater’s various 420 strains of craft brews use terpenes and natural hemp flavours that, when combined with select hops, emulate the flavours and aromas of popular cannabis strains, to appeal to a loyal consumer base that made the 420 Strain G13 IPA their #2 best-selling beer and #1 best-selling new craft beer in the U.S. For the year ended December 31, 2019, SweetWater Brewing Company generated net revenue and adjusted EBITDA of $66.6 million and $22.1 million, respectively, and production volume increased 7% year-over-year to nearly 261,000 barrels, twice the growth rate of the craft beer market nationally, according to the Brewers Association.

“Our strong balance sheet and access to capital have enabled us to enter the U.S. through this strategic and accretive acquisition. We will establish and grow our U.S. presence through SweetWater’s robust, profitable platform of craft brewing innovation, manufacturing, marketing and distribution expertise. At the same time, we will build brand awareness for our adult-use cannabis brands, Broken Coast, Good Supply, Riff and Solei, through our participation in the growing $29 billion craft brew market in the U.S. ahead of potential future state or federal cannabis legalization,” said Irwin D. Simon, Aphria’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to building upon the strengths of each of our respective and complementary brands, diversifying our product offering, broadening our consumer reach, and enhancing loyalty with consumers.”