Bring the Picanha and a side of Delta 8, please.
The winter (Champs) Trade Show is brutal. Receipts from the holidays and getting ready for 4/20 make it the most important trade opportunity of the year. A day longer in total, coupled with longer than normal days makes for a lengthy show. As a recharge, I decided on a little treat at an off strip Rodizio restaurant. As the rotisserie spits danced around our table of 8, I noticed one of my invitees was experiencing what appeared to be couch lock. I tried to muster surprise, but after 5 days of literally hundreds of booths handing out every imaginable iteration of edible on the face of the earth, the revelation that they had broken the cardinal rule of cannabis trade shows; don’t eat the samples, was shocking I tell you…shocking. Ok, maybe not.
Apparently, they had munched on a ‘few’ gummies in the Uber to the restaurant. They were just starting to hit. After another 10 minutes, my guest was having difficulty staying upright so I moved them to my vehicle. As an ‘experienced’ (read: old) stoner, I’ve experienced couch lock and over ‘enjoyment’ personally, but this was a new level of high. My guest happened to have the (empty) package, so I was keen to check out what had knocked this individual on their arse. “Grape Ape Delta 8” said Alice as she tumbled into the rabbit hole.
Spoiler alert: I prefer concentrates to extracts. Yes, I know your local budtender uses the terms interchangeably, but no, they are not the same. I am solvent sensitive and self selected away from vape pens because of the solvents and thinners that make cartridges (carts) work. I also understand the chemical mechanisms of Cannabis and don’t like the head space I get from just THC. Yes, if you spend the $, you can in fact find carts that have been re-terped and re-mixed to include some of the other essential cannabinoids that have been stripped out during the extraction process, but….yuck? You still get thinners and solvents. If you want high potency Cannabis without the extra yummy chemicals, you go with concentrate. Most modern edibles are made with Extracts.
Back to tumbling down the D8 rabbit hole. The next day was the last day of the show, typically slower, so I had a bit of time to go and walk around. D8, D10, CBD, Kratom, Mushrooms….holy Toledo, every other booth at the bong show were not bongs, they were edibles. Now, I’m not talking about the tins of brownies the peeps from Magic Butter used to chum us with…these were professional; slick graphics, clearly mass produced consumer products. Exhortations of ‘Natural’, ‘Organic’ and ‘From Hemp’ flashed from packaging and booth servers alike. Scientific looking men and women in white lab coats doled out samples to any and all who approached their booth. Ok, that was the cannabis gummy booths…the Mushroom servers chilled at the back of their booths pointing at the sample dishes as they inspected you from behind dark glasses shielding their half dollar sized pupils, but that’s a different blog.
Natural. Organic. Hemp. Sign me up! I began collecting as many of the samples that caused my guest to miss out on our cornucopia of protein the previous night.
As an aside, I would describe many of my blogs as being serendipitous…the physical feeling of coincidence. Which is why a dead iPhone is part of this blog.
The phone was my mother in laws, and after many years of dutiful service, needed to be retired. Absent any convincing online deals, we trotted off to the store to completely waste what was an otherwise beautiful Sunday in Phoenix. The store happens to be next to a Whole Foods Market. As we crossed the parking lot, I observed a woman precariously attempting to hold two bags and vape at the same time.
Whole Foods. Natural. Organic.
She should just eat a D8 edible! No thinners, solvents or aerosolizers like that pen. In my head, I heard the screeching rubber tire but there wasn’t a single car around us. The screeching noise in my head was from the realization that there was no way in hell ALL of those vendors at Champs actually had what they were marketing.
The spin meisters of Austin have taught our industry well. ‘Shipped from Texas’. ‘Designed in Austin’…the clever marketing misdirections that put lipstick on the Made in China pig. Hemp. Organic. Natural.
Hemp. Obviously this is a Hemp product, aaaannnnd the Trojans will win out…. Not so fast my friend. Yes, at .00008% of total volume by weight, technically Delta 8 Tetrahydrocannabinol is present in Hemp. Consumers once thought that the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 would include derivatives of Hemp as legal. We now understand that those derivatives must be of sufficient percentage to qualify. The scientific fact is that the D8THC is not in Hemp because it is part of the plant, it is there because the infinitesimally small amount of D8THC present in Hemp occurs as small amount of D9THC (.03%, that’s three ONE HUNDREDTH of ONE percent) degrades. Yes, D8 is present when Hemp begins to rot. So, in marketing speak only, there is a scant relation to Hemp which of course means you can cover your packaging in words like ‘Hemp Based Product’.
So, where does D8 come from? That’s an unfortunately easy answer: D8 is an isomer that is synthesized in a lab using extracted and isolated Cannabidiol (CBD). We’re going to ignore the widely known chemicals used in extraction and isolate production of CBD from Hemp and focus on the chemicals used in isomerization.
Isomerization is the process of deconstructing a molecule (breaking the bonds that hold molecules together) and re-constructing them into a similar molecule with small atomic adds and/or deletes. Think Propylene Glycol (edible/wearable) to keep your cosmetics from drying out before it is isomerized to Ethylene Glycol (toxic/deadly) Antifreeze for your car radiator.
Isomerization can be safe. Large corporations have the financial wherewithal AND the legal impetus to offer ‘clean’ isomerized products. In general, that’s not who we are talking about. The trade show was not attended by Proctor and Gamble. My couch-locked guest pointed to the booth that gave her the edibles. Yup, that Grape Ape Delta 8 was right there for purchase….next to the Horny Goat Weed, non-Psilocybin ‘Mushrooms’, Tianeptine and Bath Salts. Totally reputable I thought as I approached the booth. “Can I see your most recent testing?” I said. The nice lady dressed in a stripper version of a Nurse outfit answered that they were fresh out, but the website had a record. And indeed it did…from 2020. Today is 3 March 2023.
Here’s a screen shot of a site selling Delta 8.
I mean, Great, right? I’d prefer a testing date of course, and, I guess maybe test for not only the cannabinoids, but, maybe solvents and non-cannabinoid contaminants. The same site talks about using solvents, why not show that they tested clean?
Natural. Defined as ‘existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind’. The isomerizing reagent that transforms CBD to D8 is Toluene and the reaction catalyst is trichloroacetic acid (the stuff used to burn off genital warts). In actuality, Toluene is a ‘natural’ part of and is distilled from Crude Oil. Mmmmm, like the cereal I had this morning, it’s magically delicious! And it’s ‘Natural’! I’m just left wondering why “Processed with Toluene!” isn’t slathered all over the slick graphics of the packaging materials.
Are there legit processing facilities? Yes, and most of them are in the USA….and they keep their records up to date because they have to: real, traceable, trackable, litigation averse regulated cannabis businesses have to AND embrace, EMBRACE these records because they also want clean and safe access to cannabis.
And then, there are the fly by night Labs. I left my card with a few of the more truck stoppy looking graphics booths at the trade show. Here is a screen grab of an email I received just from one of them this week.
Maybe it’s just me, but leading with price doesn’t fill me with a belief that these are Made in USA or that I should be looking for rock bottom pricing for something I ingest.
Organic. Defined as relating to or derived from living matter and produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. Refer to previous paragraphs as needed to debunk the use of the term Organic as it applies to the marketing of D8 products.
Yup, a bit of a buzz kill. Both Head and Marketing ‘buzz’ wise. But that’s where we’re at these days. Personally, I don’t blame the ‘ganjapreneurs’, this is a failure of omission at the Federal Level. I’m not a big regulation nut job, but there are some things I want to be completely assured of…like the things I put INTO my body. You’ll find my name all over 2009’s AZ Prop 203 because I believe we should all have safe access to Cannabis in all of its forms. But the FDA refuses to provide any direction which means that while the market appears to be colorful and vibrant, it is still a black market, and the black market does not care so much for your long term health.
We all have every reason to believe (even if we don’t want to) that the wild wild west of the cannabis industry is going to create some monsters. Philip Morris knew they were peddling cancer sticks. We’ve already seen the poop soup THC carts from china, full of popcorn lung causing E-Acetate, all of the claims by RAW papers completely debunked in the ‘RAW Truth’ and the completely false claims of Made in USA by any number of well known paraphernalia brands. My point is to scratch the surface instead of being spoon fed. If it’s too good to be true….where there’s smoke….these are common sayings because misleading graft is all too common these days.
What do you do, you ask? Well, first and foremost, whenever possible, buy from a licensed and accredited cannabis provider. I understand that at this time, there are states where that is impossible, but, you understand the concept. Buying your Delta 8 at a gas station may be convenient since the Slush Puppie machine is after all, right there, (next to the Horny Goat Weed) but it’s still not necessarily the right call, right now. I am aware of several smoke shops that are buying cannabinoid gummies and having them batch tested themselves. That’s a business that is concerned about safe access.
So why the blog Ken? What’s in it for Chameleon? Well, not so much other than to point out that for all the NEW and all the COOL and all the SPIN, I keep coming back to what we do: fabricate excellent function and artistic implements for your cannabis consumption.
My advice to you is skip the hype surrounding extracts and gummies and go for simple, locally grown flower and concentrate (ice water or press) for the full spectrum cornucopia of cannabinoids your body is seeking for support of your endocannabinoid system. Of course, you can utilize any of our ‘Designed for Hash’ “FOCUS” branded products like the Glenn’s Briar or Gandalf Hash models Chameleon has been making since 2004; available at Chameleon Glass
I have no idea how long this link will remain active, but academic societies typically leave stuff up for a while. Care to take a deeper, chemistry driven dive into the science behind isomerization and extraction? Click this: