Editors Note: This is a guest post.
When people talk of marijuana, what comes to mind is Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the most popular cannabinoid. It is rather controversial because it has rich medicinal benefits but also psychoactive. Some people love it for its health and wellness benefits, but others claim that its psychoactive side effects could be harmful.
But do you know that THC is not a single compound but rather a group of related cannabinoids? THC is a family of analogs, each with its unique properties though they share most properties. When you hear the term THC, you should understand that it is not necessarily Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
One of the THC analogs that has recently caught the attention of scientists is Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC). You may have seen products labeled THC at your local cannabis dispensary and wondered if they are legal since THC is illegal, as you understand it. Yes, you can now get legal and trusted delta 8 THC in 2021.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol has three primary analogs, including Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC, and THCa. The most abundant, Delta-9 THC, is a highly potent psychoactive cannabinoid but shares similar properties with Delta-8 THC, which is less potent. THCa is the acidic form of THC and is not psychoactive.
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Delta-8 THC seems to lack the intense psychoactive effects of its analog, Delta-9 THC. It gives a mild “high” but has stronger health and wellness benefits. Unlike the regular THC, Delta-8 THC’s benefits far outweigh its side effects, which are minimal at the least.
Delta-8 THC could revolutionize the role of cannabis in the health and wellness industry. If you are just coming across Delta-8 THC, you must wonder why you’ve never heard about it alongside other cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and THC. Well, legal restrictions on cannabis have hindered research, and there are over 100 other cannabinoids that you have probably not heard about as well.
Delta-8 THC is gaining popularity because of its highly potent medicinal properties. It possesses the medicinal benefits of both THC and CBD based on how it binds to the endocannabinoid receptors. Based on its properties, some people already believe that Delta-8 THC could dwarf the CBD market.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
Delta-8 THC has a complicated legal status. It is not a straight yes or no response. It is not like Delta-9, which is outrightly illegal under U.S. federal law. The FDA classifies Delta-9 as a Schedule 1 substance in the same category as heroin and LSD.
The more reliable answer about the legal status of Delta-8 is, it could be legal or illegal depending on the laws one reference. No law explicitly bans it like Delta-9, so it depends on legal interpretation and reference.
If you refer to the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill, then you’d argue that Delta-8 is perfectly legal. What does this law say? The bill permits the manufacturing and sale of cannabis products if they come from the hemp plant and contain less than 0.03% Delta-9 THC.
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The main concern here is the level of Delta-9 THC in the product. If any hemp-derived product contains more than 0.03% Delta-9 THC, then consider it illegal. Note that the bill talks exclusively of hemp. So, what about marijuana? Marijuana contains higher concentrations of Delta-9 THC, making it and any of its products illegal since 1970.
Even with the Farm Bill coming into action, the legal clarity on cannabis products was still lacking. The Controlled Substance Act sought to make clarifications by introducing amendments about hemp products. It removed hemp products that comply with Delta-9 levels from the list of controlled substances. Technically, this makes Delta-8 legal.
But still, there is a caveat. Just because Delta-8 is federally legal does not mean it is legal in your state. Individual states have their laws on cannabis. In states where cannabis products are illegal, Delta-8 also remains illegal. At the federal level, though, it all depends on the source: if it comes from cannabis Sativa, it is illegal.
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However, getting Delta-8 from hemp is not easy because it only occurs in trace amounts in the plant. So, most manufacturers go the synthetic way. This involves altering CBD to produce Delta-8. While it is cheap and reliable for producing commercial Delta-8, it is illegal at the federal level.
It seems that despite the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta-8 still finds itself in a tight legal corner. Furthermore, it is under increased legal scrutiny, which may signal further restrictions in the future.
If you are concerned about the legal status of Delta-8, buy your products from reputable retailers who derive their products from legal sources. It’s important to note that most of the products you’ll get in the streets contain high levels of Delta-9.
Your best bet of getting legal Delta-8 is through certified dispensaries. With that, you can rest assured that your product is safe and legal. But if you live in Delaware, Iowa, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Mississippi, Nebraska, Arkansas, or Utah, you can’t enjoy the benefits of Delta-8 because all cannabis products are illegal in these states.