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Unlock the Secret: Can You Sell Delta 8 on Shopify?

Can You Sell Delta 8 on Shopify

As per Shopify’s Hemp and Hemp-derived products policy, the answer to the question of “can you sell delta 8 on Shopify ”, remains controversial. Previously, selling Delta-8 and similar cannabinoid products was not allowed. Nevertheless, until recently, numerous brands specializing in federally legal cannabinoid offerings, including Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCOa, and HHC, operated smoothly on the Shopify platform.

However, it appears that this thriving landscape might be facing a reckoning, as Shopify has started taking action against many of these online cannabinoid retailers for non-compliance with their rules. Reports within the cannabis industry’s social media circles indicate that Shopify has begun unexpectedly shutting down Delta-8 websites due to violations of their compliance guidelines.

In the following sections, we will delve into the distinctions between Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC in comparison to Delta-9 THC, while also exploring the challenges encountered by online retailers when selling CBD and hemp-derived products on the Shopify platform.

What’s the Hype Around Delta-8?

What’s the Hype Around Delta-8
What’s the Hype Around Delta-8

Delta-8 THC, a naturally occurring minor cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants, shares a significant resemblance to its federally illicit counterpart, Delta-9 THC. It is classified as a THC isomer, characterized by an almost identical chemical structure with a slight molecular difference. This variance lies in the placement of a double bond: Delta-8 THC possesses a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, while Delta-9 THC features it on the 9th carbon chain.

Despite this structural similarity, Delta-8 THC exists in such minuscule quantities within the plant that extracting a commercially viable amount is impractical. Consequently, the majority of Delta-8 brands opt to produce the compound by first extracting hemp-derived CBD, utilizing it as a precursor in the manufacturing process.

Benefits & Legal Status of Delta 8

Now, let’s delve deeper into the fascinating world of Delta-8 THC and explore its potential benefits and legal status. Delta-8 THC has gained attention for its unique properties and potential therapeutic effects. Some users have reported experiencing milder psychotropic effects compared to Delta-9 THC, making it a compelling option for those seeking a more balanced and controlled cannabis experience.

One of the most exciting aspects of Delta-8 THC is its potential therapeutic applications. While research is still in its early stages, some preliminary studies suggest that Delta-8 THC may possess antiemetic properties, making it a potential treatment for nausea and vomiting. Additionally, it has been investigated for its potential to stimulate appetite, making it a potential aid for individuals with appetite-related issues.

Furthermore, Delta-8 THC is often praised for its anxiolytic properties, which means it may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation without the intense paranoia or anxiousness associated with Delta-9 THC. This makes it an appealing option for individuals seeking stress relief and improved mental well-being.

In terms of its legal status, Delta-8 THC occupies a unique position in the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis legality in the United States. While the federal government has taken a stance that Delta-9 THC is a controlled substance, it has not explicitly classified Delta-8 THC in the same category. This legal ambiguity has led to variations in state regulations, with some states explicitly prohibiting Delta-8 THC and others allowing its sale and consumption.

As the popularity of Delta-8 THC continues to grow, it’s crucial for consumers and businesses to stay informed about the legal status in their respective states. Additionally, ongoing research and clinical trials will provide further insights into the potential benefits and risks associated with this intriguing cannabinoid.

Delta-8 THC Compared to Delta 9 & 10

Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-10 THC are closely related compounds on a molecular level. Delta-9 THC has a double electron bond on the ninth atom in its carbon chain, Delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth atom, and Delta-10’s double bond appears on–you guessed it–the tenth atom. The distinctions between Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-10 THC lie at the molecular level, where the positioning of double electron bonds within their carbon chains sets them apart.

Delta-9 THC, the most well-known and researched cannabinoid, features a double electron bond on the ninth carbon atom of its chain. This specific positioning of the bond contributes to Delta-9’s potent psychoactive effects, making it the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. In contrast, Delta-8 THC contains a double bond on the eighth carbon atom in its chain, resulting in milder psychoactive properties compared to Delta-9 THC.

This subtle difference in molecular structure has led to the emergence of Delta-8 as a legal and increasingly popular alternative in regions where Delta-9 THC remains prohibited or heavily regulated. Delta-10 THC, the relative newcomer in the cannabinoid family, showcases its distinctiveness by having a double bond on the tenth carbon atom in its chain. While research on Delta-10 is still in its infancy, it is believed to possess unique properties and effects compared to its Delta-8 and Delta-9 counterparts.

The differentiation between these three cannabinoids at the molecular level underscores the complexity of the cannabis plant and its potential for producing a wide array of compounds with varying therapeutic and psychoactive attributes. As scientific understanding of these cannabinoids deepens, it opens up new possibilities for harnessing their benefits and tailoring them to specific medical and recreational applications.

Why Would Shopify Restrict Delta 8 Sales, But Not CBD?

Delta-8 THC, classified as a minor cannabinoid, is synthesized by manufacturers using hemp-derived CBD as a starting point. The process involves several steps: initially, companies extract CBD utilizing various methods such as CO2 extraction or hydrocarbon extraction.

Subsequently, they employ a combination of acids and solvents in a chemical transformation that converts CBD into Delta-8. It’s a remarkable testament to the scientific capabilities at play in this industry. Although CBD plays a pivotal role in the production of Delta-8 THC, these two compounds diverge significantly in terms of structure, effects, and properties.

Delta-8 is known for its psychoactive properties, while CBD lacks such psychoactivity. Consequently, Shopify tends to grant CBD companies more latitude compared to Delta-8 THC businesses. Nevertheless, it’s essential to note that even within the CBD and Hemp product categories, there are limitations and regulations imposed by Shopify. Therefore, it is advisable to consult Shopify’s guide to selling CBD, which is available in their merchant Help Center, to ensure compliance with their policies.

What’s the 2018 Farm Bill Got to do with it?

‍What’s the 2018 Farm Bill Got to do with it?
‍What’s the 2018 Farm Bill Got to do with it?

The 2018 Farm Bill brought about federal regulations concerning hemp. It effectively legalized commercial hemp, defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, as well as hemp-derived compounds. However, shortly after the bill’s passage, the FDA issued a warning to CBD companies, asserting its authority to regulate ingestible CBD products and promising swift action against those making unapproved therapeutic claims.

‍How has Shopify Operated Freely in the past?

While FDA hesitancy persists, various factors like the Advancement Act of 2022, multi-state bans, and online Delta-8 and Delta-10 shops have continued shipping products nationwide. Delta-8 and Delta-10, as naturally occurring hemp compounds derived from hemp-derived CBD, are deemed federally legal if they contain less than 0.03% Delta-9 THC.

Shopify’s Stance on “Hemp and Derived Products”

In light of the question “can you sell Delta 8 on Shopify”, it appears that they were initially in alignment with federal regulations regarding hemp and derived products. They state that merchants can sell these products on their platform as long as they adhere to local laws and regulations. However, further examination reveals additional requirements.

US merchants wanting to sell hemp and hemp-derived products containing CBD must submit an Attestation for the Sale of Hemp and Hemp-Derived Products for approval, along with compliance with Shopify’s rules, which may include disabling SMS notifications to customers.

Moreover, Shopify does not differentiate between Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC. CBD brands using Shopify must confirm that they do not market products with any medicinal benefit unless FDA-approved and that their products contain less than 0.3% THC, including Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10.

Laws and regulations for selling hemp or hemp-derived products internationally

Selling hemp or hemp-derived products is permissible as long as it aligns with legal regulations and marketing laws in your region and the regions of your customers. It’s essential to ensure that the products you offer do not exceed 0.2% THC content, irrespective of the specific compound type, be it delta-8, delta-9, or delta-10. To maintain a sustainable and compliant business in the hemp industry, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to prioritize transparency and rigorous quality control measures.

This includes regularly testing products to ensure they meet the THC content requirements set by local and regional regulations. Furthermore, businesses must invest in accurate labeling and marketing practices to provide consumers with clear information about the products they are purchasing.

Building trust with customers by adhering to these regulations and ethical business practices not only protects the business from unexpected disruptions but also fosters a positive reputation in an industry that is heavily reliant on consumer confidence.

Yet, Shopify Has Nothing to Lose…

Shopify, like any business, is interested in the potential revenue from Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC. However, as a multinational e-commerce company, it is acutely aware of the associated risks. Shopify is at risk of government penalties if it fails to comply with regulations, and therefore, it is inclined to err on the side of caution. In a cost-benefit analysis, Shopify may prioritize losing merchant business over the possibility of shutdown or fines.

Shopify Payments: A Dead End for Delta 8?

While CBD companies can typically sell their products online if they follow the FDA’s guidelines, there have been warnings and potential shutdowns for those making illegal claims. Delta-8 and Delta-10 companies might continue to operate on Shopify for a while, often using high-risk payment gateway providers. However, Shopify’s stance is clear: they do not support these hemp-derived compounds, despite their federal legality, potentially putting these businesses at risk.

What is Shopify Telling Delta 8 Sellers?

What is Shopify Telling Delta 8 Sellers?
What is Shopify Telling Delta 8 Sellers?

Imagine you worked hard to build a Delta-8 business. You’re selling a high-quality, laboratory-tested product. You’ve built up organic traffic to your site through hard work, clever marketing, and public relations. After countless hours, you’re finally seeing the reward for your efforts–sales! Then one day, you wake up to a Shopify email announcing you can no longer collect payments. Adding insult to injury, you have no recourse; no human you can call to rectify the matter.

That’s it. Overnight, while you were sleeping, you lost your business, your customers, and your income. That’s precisely what seems to be happening today. Shopify is telling non-compliant Delta-8 sellers that they can no longer take orders through the platform, and the matter is not up for debate.  

The scenario described above is a stark illustration of the challenges and uncertainties that many entrepreneurs and business owners face in today’s rapidly evolving regulatory landscape. Delta-8, a cannabinoid derived from hemp, has gained popularity in recent years for its potential therapeutic effects and psychoactive properties. However, its legal status in various jurisdictions remains ambiguous, subjecting businesses in this space to significant risks.

The sudden suspension of payment processing by Shopify for non-compliant Delta-8 sellers underscores the critical importance of staying informed about changing regulations in any industry. For business owners, especially those operating in emerging markets or dealing with products in the gray area of legality, staying up-to-date with legal requirements is essential.

What Are the Consequences of Suspension?

This incident highlights the vulnerability of relying heavily on third-party platforms for e-commerce operations. While these platforms offer convenience and access to a wide customer base, they can impose strict rules and limitations, leaving businesses at the mercy of their policies. Moreover, this situation serves as a reminder of the broader issues surrounding the legality of certain products and substances, particularly in industries like cannabis and hemp.

The evolving legal landscape often leaves business owners in a constant state of uncertainty, where the rules can change overnight. This emphasizes the need for clear and consistent regulations that provide a level playing field for businesses and enable them to operate with confidence. In the meantime, entrepreneurs must navigate the complex regulatory environment with caution and adaptability to mitigate potential disruptions to their businesses

Best Options for CBD e-Commerce Websites and Payment Processors

While Square technically permits the sale of CBD and Delta-8 products, not all merchants will successfully navigate the application process or be willing to cover the associated fees. If this applies to your business, you may want to explore alternative options, though fees may still be a consideration. Stripe recommends PaymentCloud for CBD companies, highlighting its high-risk tolerance, relatively low rates, strong approval rates, and user-friendly setup.

However, it seems that PaymentCloud does not extend the same courtesy to compliant Delta-8 merchants. Another viable processing option for CBD businesses is PayKings, which claims the ability to reinstate your CBD merchant account, even if PayPal, Square, or Stripe has previously suspended it, while also offering comprehensive payment solutions. The encouraging news is that if you sell high-quality CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC (of any type), you should be able to conduct online sales.

The Bottom Line for Online Cannabinoid Vendors

Navigating the world of e-commerce can be a challenging endeavor for startup CBD companies. As for the final conclusion; “Can you sell Delta 8 on Shopify?” – Shopify’s official stance no longer supports Delta-8 sales, despite its federal legality. At the same time, the real bottom line is that you can sell hemp or hemp-derived products if it’s legal, and you comply with all marketing laws in your jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of your customers.

The products you sell can’t contain more than 0.2% of THC, regardless of the compound type, such as delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10. Compliance with legal regulations and marketing laws is the cornerstone of a successful and sustainable hemp-derived product business.

Ensuring that your products consistently adhere to the specified THC content limit of 0.2%, regardless of the specific THC compound variant, is essential for both legal compliance and consumer safety. This strict adherence not only safeguards your business from potential legal issues but also fosters trust and confidence among your customer base, which is paramount in an industry where transparency and quality control are key to long-term success. By staying within the legal boundaries and prioritizing product integrity, businesses can thrive while contributing to the ongoing normalization and acceptance of hemp-derived products in the market.

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Marshan B.

Marshan Beals is a co-partner at Client Verge Inc. With 8 years of experience in digital marketing, his expertise extends beyond digital marketing for cannabis brands. He is also a sponsor of the High Profits ebook, available for download when you sign up for our email list.