Is Delta-8 Legal in the US in 2021?
Most may have heard by now of THC, the chemical component that produces the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It’s the very thing that makes cannabis what it is, both beneficial and controversial. The legalization of cannabis on the federal level is becoming more of a possibility every day. As such, more people are learning about the benefits of cannabis and its many forms.
In recent years, delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol has become popular due to having many of the beneficial effects of regular cannabis without the downsides. Some would even refer to delta-8 THC as “weed light” because of this. However, the status of its legality is still somewhat complicated.
There are now health and wellness products in stores that contain delta-8, which makes more people curious about them and want to try them out. Sooner or later, the legality of delta-8 will become a much bigger topic, and we’ll need clear answers to those questions.
Let’s take a closer look at how legal delta-8 is and how you can know for sure if you’re able to consume it within the bounds of the law.
What Makes Delta-8 Special?
Delta-8 THC is the little brother of delta-9 THC, which is the main component of marijuana that produces well-known psychoactive effects. They’re both naturally occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis Sativa plant, which produces both marijuana and hemp.
While there’s a significant enough amount of delta-9 in cannabis plants, naturally occurring delta-8 can only be found in trace amounts as it results from the oxidation of delta-9. Meanwhile, hemp is pretty much a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.
With that said, delta-8 is not found in significant concentrations in hemp plants. Thanks to advancements over the years, there’s now a way to manufacture delta-8 from delta-9 as a solvent-free distillate, such as delta-8 gummies.
Why is the Legality of Delta-8 So Complicated?
It seems that most people are still confused about whether delta-8 is legal to purchase and consume. Much of the complication with Delta-8 is that it walks a fine line between the two sides of cannabis. It can be derived from two sources, namely cannabis Sativa and hemp.
If the delta-8 comes from cannabis Sativa, it’ll be considered illegal as a Schedule 1 narcotic, according to Drug Code 7370 under the Controlled Substances Act enforced by the DEA, end of the story. But if the delta-8 is taken from hemp, it’s federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Most of the confusion was clarified by the Department of Justice when they released an article referring to a Ninth District Court appeal in 2004. It stated that products and materials made from cannabis that fall outside the CSA definition of marijuana are not controlled under the CSA. Therefore, unless it’s full-on delta-9 THC, it’s not marijuana and thus not a Schedule 1 drug.
Of course, even if it’s legal at the federal level, it’ll still be subject to state laws. The states that have or are considering banning it (see below for a list of states by legality) come despite many of them having legalized other derivatives, cannabinoids, and isomers of hemp.
Why All This Fuss About Delta-8?
There’s all this hype and confusion about Delta-8 due to its effects on the body. While it’s almost molecularly identical to Delta-9, it interacts with the human endocannabinoid system differently.
Delta-8 may retain some of the psychoactive effects of Delta-9, but they’re less pronounced.
The benefits of delta-8 make it useful for many applications, including being an alternative to anxiety medication, supplement to chemotherapy for cancer patients, neuroprotectant for dementia patients, and replacement for opioid painkillers non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for people dealing with chronic pain.
As a possible viable alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, delta-8 is getting more support. This makes it crucial to find a way to make it more accessible to people who need it.
Delta-8 Legality by State As of 5/2021
How to Acquire and Consume Delta-8 Legally
As long as your state deems Delta-8 as legal, you can get it from a legitimate source. Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar store or an online store, you should be good. They should indicate from where the Delta-8 in their products comes. To be safe, you should look for Delta-8 that comes from hemp, which is covered by the 2018 Farm Act.
Suppose you happen to work in a job that regularly has drug tests and based in a state where the legality of cannabis is mixed (at best). In that case, you may not want to consume delta-8 products. You can undoubtedly try CBD, which produces no psychoactive effects. However, be sure to do your due diligence as laws in this area are evolving rapidly.
Is Delta-8 legal? Yes. No. Maybe.
Hopefully, it will become more precise and less confusing over time, especially as the legalization of cannabis widens in the future.