MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Small CBD and Delta-8 stores are feeling frustrated as the West Virginia Department of Agriculture warns consumers about illegal hemp products being sold in the state.

The department issued a statement that said cannabis infused edibles are being packaged to look similar to popular foods and candies and some sellers are claiming their products are Delta-8 when they are actually non-naturally occurring cannabinoid products.   

Products under warning from WVDA (WVDA)

“What this means is people are adding an oxygenated asset to these Delta-8 distillates or different products and everything to make them synthetically stronger,” Nick Marie, Owner of Morgantown’s first CBD and Delta-8 bar, Buddy’s Bud Co., said.

The 2018 federal farm bill legalized every derivative of the hemp plant up to a 0.3% Delta-9 THC content. Delta-9 and Delta-8 are very similar. Marie explains the difference as Delta-8 has one less oxygen atom. He said they are so similar you’re going to get a relatively similar effect from both, but feelings will be stronger with Delta-9.  

“It makes about 33% less psychoactive. So, is there a difference? Yeah. It’s not nearly as strong as what you’re getting from a medical dispensary,” Marie said in his very simplified version of how the product’s molecular structure differs for Delta-8 to Delta-9.  

Marie said warnings like these from the WVDA are “incredibly frustrating” for the people who want to do things right.  

“This is a blooming industry that is already coming in with a hard enough stigma and then you have people doing things like this that make it just a little bit harder,” Marie said.  

“High Life” sign (WBOY Image)

Marie’s not very concerned about the warning because he said he’s already taken the necessary precautions to ensure safety in his products.

For Buddy’s Bud Co., Marie works directly with farms where the products are naturally derived. His lab tests ensure customers are getting a “100% hemp derived product.”

Marie said these farms are held to a much higher standard than wholesalers since the Department of Agriculture recommends significantly more testing of the products to make sure they are exactly what they are saying they are. 

“If any of these farms blow their chances, they’re done. Not only are they incarcerated but they lose their licenses, they get fined and everything. Which is why I will only deal with these three farms because they hold it completely to the higher standard,” Marie said.  

Marie has lab tests ready to provide to his customers anytime they ask to see them. Those tests can be cross referenced to the tests on the farm’s websites. He even personally takes it a step further.  

“I am not afraid to do, and I have done, random inspections on my farms where I just pop up out of nowhere and is like ‘hey let me see exactly what’s going on’ and every time it’s the same because they started out doing it the right way and they’re going to keep doing it the right way,” Marie said.  

Marie said for the most part there is a clear distinction between the feelings after taking a Delta-8 product and another THC product.  

“It is very well known that Delta-8 is way less in the head causing way less anxiety. So, if you’re trying a certain product that has been mislabeled, alright, you will know because it’s going to hit you significantly harder,” he said about Delta-8 effects on adults. “It’s not like if somebody’s expecting a shot of vodka and they end up taking a shot of grain alcohol where they could potentially become violently ill and have to go to the doctors or something. Realistically, you’re just going to fall asleep and wake up and think ‘oh my god I don’t want to ever do that again’.” 

However, feelings vary depending on the person’s experience and tolerance levels with products, Marie explained.

“The reality of it is that nobody wants to go through that so it’s important that we take the steps to make sure that no one has to go through that, that dosages should be recommended. That things are labeled properly and please just be compliant,” he said. 

The WVDA is putting out a warning for the effects on children if they ingest these products. 

“Children who may ingest these products could experience a variety of delayed symptoms upon ingesting cannabis edibles, including, but not limited to difficulty breathing, lethargy, dizziness, nausea and loss of coordination. Products found in West Virginia retail locations have affixed legal Delta-8-THC stickers over both the California recreational marijuana symbol and the controlled substance government warning,” said a statement from the WVDA.  

Buddy’s Bud (WBOY Image)

Buddy’s Bud Co. received the warning from the WVDA that was sent to shops across the state. Marie encourages more places, like his, to ensure the safety of their products and heed the warnings from the WVDA. 

“Not only are they putting people at risk but they’re putting other business owners at risk for their own gain,” Marie said about people who are violating the warning. “It’s incredibly frustrating for the people who want to do things right, compared to the other people that just want to manipulate the system and make a quick buck.”