If you’ve been studying up on the latest cannabis trends, then it’s very likely that delta 8 THC has entered your awareness. This cannabinoid is growing quickly in popularity as more and more people are finding ways to incorporate it into their routine. But still, there are many people, including diehard CBD lovers, who aren’t exactly sure what it is, or whether or not it’s even legal.
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And, we understand. The bottom line is that delta 8 THC, like most things which are cannabis-related, can be complicated in terms of its legal status. Laws regarding cannabis are constantly changing, as many of us can attest to, having only been able to legally use CBD and other hemp-based products for a few years.
However, we want you to know exactly where you stand legally with delta 8 THC, hence why we’ve created this in-depth guide to its overall legality.
What is Delta-8 THC?
First, we need to quickly break down what delta 8 THC is. Delta-8 is a minor occurring cannabinoid in cannabis. In fact, in the hemp plant, from which it’s derived commercially, it makes up less than 0.1 percent of the plant’s chemical composition. For a more in-depth look of what Delta 8 THC is, read this article.
What makes delta 8 unique is that it’s a psychoactive cannabinoid. This is because it’s the little sister compound to delta 9 THC, and delta 8 THC is, of course, THC as well. This is the main reason why so many people are uncertain as to whether or not it’s legal to use – they know that delta 9 THC has been classified as an illegal substance for quite some time.
Delta 8 THC is psychoactive, but not as psychoactive as its big sister. Most people say that they still feel fully clear-minded, only more relaxed or uplifted when they take it, except with no negative side effects such as paranoia or anxiety. In fact, many Delta 9 THC users suggest Delta 8 THC is much better due to the lack of side effects. Many people only receive benefits from Delta 8 THC.
Delta 8 is also a cannabinoid, which means that it, like other cannabinoids including CBD, works to support the endocannabinoid system’s ability to regulate crucial bodily processes that relate to our overall wellness.
Keep in mind that delta 8 is a compound that occurs in the hemp plant, and many of us there for consume it without even realizing it. If you’re using a full spectrum hemp product, for instance, you are getting in that trace amount that is in the plant material. The same goes for those using flower or concentrates that maintain the entire plant’s chemical composition.
So, why all the fuss? After all, hemp was legalized. Well, chemists have figured out a way to extract delta 8 using various techniques, thus turning it into a concentrate. What this means is that rather than consuming that minuscule amount that’s mixed in with all of the other compounds, users can now consume a highly concentrated dose of pure delta 8.
Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
Now, you can understand why so many people don’t understand whether or not delta 8 is legal. After all, delta 8 is technically THC, which is the leading cannabinoid in marijuana, hence its status as an illicit substance federally speaking.
Well, here’s the thing: technically, it is, at least federally. This is because of the Farm Bill of 2018, which declassified hemp as an illicit substance. Before then, cannabis was outlawed federally, meaning that all forms of cannabis, whether they be derived from hemp or marijuana, were illegal to buy, sell, possess, and consume. But the Farm Bill came to be, and the rest is history.
Thanks to the Farm Bill, we can legally purchase and use hemp in all 50 states. This means that we can consume any form of hemp that we want to, including extracts and concentrates of its individual compounds. CBD is a great example. CBD is cannabidiol, the dominant hemp compound. It can be taken in many forms, along with other compounds or all on its own, in the form of isolates which provide highly concentrated doses of pure CBD rather than the full plant’s chemical composition.
So, this same logic applies to delta 8. Federally, delta 8 is legal because it comes from hemp. The reason why hemp is legal is because it contains no more than 0.3 percent THC total, which makes it technically a non-psychoactive substance.
Here’s the thing. As you know, states can override federal law, and so while delta 8 may be legal federally, that doesn’t mean that it’s legal in all 50 states. Some states have criminalized delta 8, and we will be covering those next.
Is Delta 8 Legal in Your State? Here is a Delta 8 State by State Legal List
In other words, delta 8 is illegal in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. In all other states, it is legal, but bear in mind that this is subject to change if state legislators determine that it should be classified as a controlled substance. Therefore, before taking delta 8, you should always check with state laws, as laws regarding cannabis are prone to sudden change.
The FDA’s Role In Delta 8 THC
Presently, the FDA has not yet regulated hemp products, even though they are legal. What this means is that there could come a time when the FDA creates its own guidelines on FDA that are technically not part of state or federal law. At the moment, hemp products are sold in an unregulated market, which means that companies can essentially do whatever they want when producing hemp-based goods. This is largely why we have such an enormous selection of product types to choose from when looking for CBD and other hemp derivatives.
This means that for the time-being, you can legally buy delta 8 (assuming that it is legal in your state) that has not been created with industry regulations. This is a good thing in that it gives us a wider variety of products to choose from. But, it also means that you have to be careful when making a purchase, to know for a fact that what you are getting is not just legitimate, but also high in quality and free of impurities and toxic substances that dilute the product formula.
The DEA and Hemp Companies
The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is known to change their minds regularly, and many hemp companies producing delta 8 products have been on pins and needles wondering whether or not their operations will get shut down due to a sudden change in legal status. The problem with delta 8 is that it’s becoming more popular, which is good for companies, but also draws more attention to the compound, which can lead to more attention from the DEA themselves.
If they decide that delta 8 is becoming a social concern, they may end up putting it on the list of controlled substances, which would harm hemp companies that are simply complying with the law by deriving delta 8 from hemp through completely legal means according to the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill does explicitly state that all hemp cannabinoids are legal. However, the DEA is often capable of overriding federal law on a whim. The main issue that companies may run into has to do with how delta 8 is made. While hemp and its cannabinoids are legal, synthesized THC is not.
The DEA though may wrongfully accuse hemp companies of making synthesized delta 8, as the methods used to produce it could be mistaken for ones that rely on synthetic means. This is why hemp companies are already preparing to defend themselves. Ultimately, the extraction methods used are natural-based, meaning that they do not result in synthesized THC in any way.
Can Delta 8 Result in a Failed Drug Test?
Now, let’s get back into the practicalities regarding delta 8. One question that we’ve been getting ever since CBD hit the scene is whether or not hemp can cause you to fail a drug test. Well, here’s where it gets tricky. Hemp as a whole, in the form of flower or full spectrum hemp, will not cause a failed drug test. This is because the amount of THC, including both delta 8 and delta 9, is so low in hemp that it won’t even register.
But taking concentrated THC derived from hemp is a different story. Also, standard tests don’t differentiate between delta 8 and delta 9. That being said, taking delta 8 will likely result in a failed drug test. Therefore, keep this in mind if you get tested regularly.
Of course, if you live in a state in which recreational marijuana is legal, the repercussions may be different.
How Delta 8 THC Products Are Made
To take the hemp plant and produce from it delta 8 concentrate, companies can choose a few different ways.
Manually isolate the delta 8 compound from the hemp’s composition and extract it to create a concentrate. As you can imagine, extracting a compound that is present in less than 0.1 percent of the plant’s entire makeup is tedious and expensive, because an enormous amount of plant material must be used to produce a fair amount of extract.
Method #2: Rearranging Compounds
Becoming increasingly popular and a bit more complex, although less expensive overall. Delta 8 is an isomer of cannabidiol (CBD). This means that the molecules in each compound have the same atoms, only they are organized differently. Companies have found ways to rearrange these atoms in order to turn cannabidiol compounds into delta 8 compounds. What’s unique about this process is that it’s also much more “sound” in terms of its legality. CBD is known to be a largely safe substance, and by using molecular chemistry to turn it into delta 8, you’re helping to break the association to delta 9 THC.
Can Delta 8 Be Discovered on a Lab Test by Law Enforcement?
Another concern that many have is that delta 8 may be read as standard delta 9 THC if analyzed by a lab. Let’s say a cop pulls you over and discovers your delta 8 oil. Then, they confiscate it and test it to see whether or not it’s legal. Again, delta 8 will read as plain old THC when analyzed by a lab, which means that you could face legal penalty.
Guide for Using Delta 8 Legally
After learning all of this about delta 8, you might be ready to dive into it, but want to make sure that you do so with as little a risk of legal repercussion as possible. Let’s walk you through the steps of using delta 8 safely and legally.
Tip #1: Make Sure Your State Allows It
The first thing that you need to do is make sure that your state does allow delta 8 according to law. Now, like we said, state law can change at any time. This means that just because it was legal in your state six months ago doesn’t mean that it still is.
Tip #2: Ensure It’s Hemp-Derived
Delta 8 must come from the hemp plant to be considered legal. This is because the hemp bill is not considered a classified substance as marijuana is. So, ensure that the company you’re buying from uses the hemp plant to stay within legal limits.
Tip #3: Find Out the Extraction Method Used
Another thing to do is find out how the delta 8 was extracted by the company that you plan to buy from. If you cannot find info on their website, contact them yourself. We said that the FDA has not regulated delta 8, nor any other hemp products. This means that sadly, companies can get away with producing delta 8 synthetically, which is illegal. These companies unfortunately give the hemp industry as a whole a bad name, so avoid them as much as possible.
Tip #4: Look for a Lab Analysis
Next, look for a lab analysis. Any good company producing delta 8 products wants to prove their legitimacy, and so they will provide a third-party lab report to customers. This means that they had their delta 8 tested by an unbiased facility. When looking at this lab report, make sure that it contains pure delta 8.
Tip #5: Be Mindful of When and Where You Use it
Finally, make a point to use delta 8 responsibly. Even though it may be legal in your state, law enforcement may be confused by what it is and decide that you’re using an illegal substance. While technically they may be in the wrong, it’s not worth the hassle of having to explain yourself. Further, many law enforcement officials don’t even know what delta 8 is, and so they might not believe you when you explain to them that it’s a federally legal substance.
The history of delta 8 is quite complicated, and it’s barely been on the market for a few years total. What’s important is that you know whether or not delta 8 is legal where you live and stay up to date with ever-changing laws regarding its use, both on a state level and on a federal level.