Delta 8

Florida Department of Agriculture

Delta 8 | Florida Department of Agriculture

Delta 8 is everywhere, and all people are talking about.  It feels like the initial CBD craze!  Why the craze over Delta 8?  To us it is “lightening in a bottle.”

Before you jump to a conclusion, or assume it’s a great high, read on my friend.

In the music industry the term “lightening in a bottle” was used to explain explosive popularity of an artist with a devote following.  Think Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.  Why them, and why such a strong emotional response from the fans?  After studying the science and facts behind Delta 8, we really don’t have an answer for its popularity either.  

So why is everyone so hyped up about Delta 8?

First, let’s look at how it is made.  Delta 8 naturally occurs in low levels in the Cannabis plant. To produce pure Delta 8 products, you need a lot of hemp biomass to make enough isolate for all the products we see on the shelves today. So where is it coming from?  A chemical reaction.  

In a nutshell, CBD can be converted to Delta 8 with heat under acidic conditions and with the help of a catalyst.  However, this is not meant to be done by the untrained “kitchen chemist” as impure product can present several different hazards to your health.

Is this legal?  The debate has just started with the first lawsuit being filed in Kentucky this summer.  Time will tell.  There are strong arguments on both sides.  

What does Delta 8 do?  Not a lot of research has been done and we all know why.  It seems to be a THC Isomer (one of several in Cannabis) that could provide relaxation and help with nausea. So again, why is it so popular?  Do we have that many nauseous people out there?   Or could it be that most products out there are made by inexperienced “kitchen chemists” who did not get the recipe right, leaving a high concentration of Delta 9 in the product?   So, is it the Delta 8 or the Delta 9 that is creating the high rates of popularity?  We will leave that up to you to decide.  

A couple things we have learned and pondered after 2 years of researching and looking at this trend in the hemp industry:

How do we protect consumers?

1) FDACS has posted a consumer alert on our webpage:

How do you educate consumers? 

1. FDACS does monthly Virtual Town Hall meetings.  Thursday September 30, at 3 pm ET, the topic will be a panel discussion on Delta 8.  Go to the FDACS webpage to get the link to join, or email  

2. NHA offers a mobile app that gives you access to anything you would want to know about hemp.  It even has blogs and an “ask me anything” option.  

3. Florida has the MMERI Cannabis education program which is run by FAMU and gives excellent consumer information.

How do we regulate Delta 8? 

Please keep this in mind – state agencies cannot change statute; only elected officials may do that during session.  

1. FDACS has posted a statement on our webpage saying that Delta 8 is legal to be sold in Florida if the Total Delta 9 THC is 0.3% or less.  Hours of time and thought went into this statement.  And yes, FDACS does buy products and test them.  If they fail the Total Delta 9 THC test, we do a stop sale and start tracing where else the product is being sold and where it was made.  

I have learned that the Cannabis industry is a creative one, and when left with no help or guidance, they will create a solution.  Could the glut of biomass with the need to recoup costs be a major factor?  Maybe the patch work quilt of regulations?  What about the lack of help with economic development and federal programs for PPE, crop insurance, etc.?  

All industry topics we will discuss in the upcoming months.

About The Authors:

Holly Bell | Director of Cannabis
Holly Bell
Director of Cannabis

Holly Bell is the Director of Cannabis for Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bell ensures Commissioner Nikki Fried’s vision for cannabis in Florida continues moving forward.  She oversees the creation, development, and regulaiion of the Florida Hemp Program and assists DOH with the Medical Cannabis Edibles. 

After a 30-year career in entertainment banking and financial services, Holly Bell consulted on cannabis business and banking issues in numerous states. In addition, Bell worked to help organize the Tennessee hemp industry. As a native of Indiana with family roots in northeast Florida, Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University.

Matt Curran | Director of Food Safety
Holly Bell
Director of Food Safety

Dr. Matthew D. Curran is the Director of Food Safety, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Dr. Curran earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Mississippi State University and his Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from Florida State University.  

During his 22 years of public service he has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute in many roles protecting Florida’s environment as well as serving Florida’s industries and consumers.  Early in his career Dr. Curran was appointed to multiple laboratory management positions with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  In 2005 he moved into the consumer service arena when he was appointed Chief of Petroleum Inspection for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).  That role morphed into the Chief of Standards role where he also represented FDACS nationally as the Weights and Measures Director of Florida.  Following this he later served in roles with FDACS as the Assistant Director of Consumer Services, the Assistant Director of Food Safety, and most recently as the Director of Food Safety.