The cannabis market is evolving at a rate that can quickly leave the end consumer stunned. For starters, it’s growing in size – the U.S. market, valued at $10.8 billion in 2021, is forecast to almost quadruple by the next decade, according to a Grand View Research report.
Consumer habits and opinions are changing, too. For example, a 2019 study identified a trend wherein cannabis edibles were becoming increasingly popular among non-daily users while the use of smoking marijuana was declining among both daily and non-daily users.
Finally, the legal landscape has been changing, too. With 24 states, territories, and districts allowing for legal recreational use, things are looking up for the industry. But it’s the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp with Delta 9 THC content up to 0.3%, that’s been most influential recently.
One problem with these ever-growing popular products is that the average cannabis consumer is confused by Delta 9 THC and thinks it’s Delta 8, bad, sketchy, or doesn’t get you high. All of which are false. Delta 9 THC is the same THC that cannabis consumers have consumed since the Native Americans used it.
The Florida-based company Kandy Boy is the perfect example of a cannabis company created to take advantage of all those innovations and trends. The company’s main products are Delta 9 THC gummies that contain 15mg of Delta 9 THC and High THCa Hemp Flower, which is considered hemp under federal law but has just as much Total THC in the flower as the dispensaries. Focusing on providing products that contain the THC people are used to consuming instead of having a large variety of products like Delta 8 THC companies.
Even more interesting is that the company is legally offering to ship their Delta 9 THC gummies to all 50 states. Its website even provides free samples, allowing skeptical consumers to try the product first. The company does charge a $2.99 shipping fee for a sample of 2 of their vegan 15mg delta 9 THC gummies.
From the very start, the company found it necessary to educate the consumers on their products, the process, and the broader community they served. To be able to ship to all states legally, the company relied on the wording of the Hemp Farm Bill that stated it’s able to sell hemp-derived THC as long as it stays within the 0.3% volume threshold. The products contain significant amounts of THC – the company states the gummies contain 15mg of THC, the same THC you would get at the dispensary.
“The total amount of 100% Delta 9 THC in a gummy is less than 0.3% of the gummy’s entire weight. So that’s how we can sell these across the country, and people can buy them without having a medical card,” says Benjamin Boyce, the company founder.
Legality aside, a whole other set of explanations was required to explain the difference between Delta 9 THC-tetrahydrocannabinol, or Delta 9 THC – the type of THC Kandy Boy uses – and the increasingly popular Delta 8 THC. The two compounds might belong to the same class – cannabinoids – and contain the same elements, but they are not identical. Instead, they are isomers, molecules with the same atoms but also something different. A double bond is located between the atoms in the case of Delta 9 THC and Delta 8 THC.
In a cannabis plant, most THC comes in the form of THCa and Delta 9 THC. So much so that when we talk about THC, we mean total THC, which is THCa x 0.877 + ∆9-THC = Total THC.
It’s that dominant. The significantly less present Delta 8 THC has some different properties than its isomeric companion. It’s said to be ⅓ the strength of Delta 9 THC, but more importantly, it’s not as highly regulated.
The recent boom in Delta 8 THC products has led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a series of warning letters to companies selling Delta 8 THC products that are not in compliance. In addition, due to an uptick in complaints of adverse effects, the FDA also released a five-point information bulletin to inform the public of some essential facts about the isomer Delta 8 THC.
Among those are the fact that no Delta 8 products have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Also, thanks to the production process required to create an adequate concentration of Delta 8 THC, the use of harmful chemicals might go undisclosed.
“The regular THC, Delta-9 THC has been extensively studied for decades, so we know an awful lot about it,” says Boyce. “There’s no such wealth of knowledge on Delta 8, not to mention how the lack of regulation opens up the room for bad actors to come in with the bad and potentially harmful product.”
Even though the extraction of Delta 9 THC from hemp might involve similar processes as the extraction of Delta 8 THC, the increased oversight over Delta 9 THC can lead to better quality products. It certainly does in the case of Kandy Boy – their products are tested at a DEA-approved facility, not just for their THC contents. As a result, customers can easily access the test results for heavy metals, pesticides, mold, and fungi.
Kandy Boy went a step further to make accessing their product as convenient as possible. The company recently launched its app on the App Store & Google Play and has started a delivery service around Panama City, Florida. However, Boyce said, “More people are buying off the truck while driving around than ordering off the app, but a lot of people see Delta 9 THC and think it’s something different, or it’s Delta 8. We’re working to educate the cannabis community, but to them, something like this seems unbelievable.”
Kandy Boy is also pushing the envelope with their latest product THCa Flower, which only ships to some states which is cannabis that may look, feel, taste, and smell exactly like marijuana and is classified as hemp when the Delta 9 THC content is less than .3% Delta 9 THC. Kandy Boy says, “You need not worry about the low Delta 9 content in our flower. In fact, most dispensary flowers are actually below 0.3% ∆9-THC. It’s the THCa that gets you high.”
With the changing tides and opinions on the use of marijuana in the whole country, it’s sometimes easy to forget that too many people were put in jail while old laws were on the books. Kandy Boy does its part to shine the light on the plight of all those people and take concrete steps to help.
“With so many people in jail for cannabis, the Last Prisoner Project is something I support. We are currently donating 5% of every sale to Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit dedicated to helping free the 40,000 non-violent cannabis offenders from the American prison system. I wanted to create a company that could provide a great product that tasted amazing, was more effective than the dispensary gummy, and costs a lot less, all at the same time helping give back to the cannabis prisoners,” says Boyce.