Is delta 8 legal in your state? What about on a federal level? Although delta 8 is federally legal, laws differ from state to state. This can be confusing for consumers who want to use delta 8 THC products or CBD products that contain cannabinoid-rich formulas with delta 8 THC in them.
Using more parts of the hemp plant in your CBD product formula can offer greater benefits to you as a consumer – but delta 8 comes with controversy. Not necessarily for what delta 8 does, but more because of how delta 8 is manufactured.
Because THC is a psychoactive component of hemp, it is regulated for sale and use, although it is no longer considered a controlled substance so long as it’s hemp-derived. Because delta 8 THC, specifically, is created a little differently, it is legal by federal law but states sometimes come to a different conclusion.
To clear up the confusion, we’re explaining today what the controversy is all about and listing out for you which states allow the use of delta 8 THC and which don’t – and which states don’t have a clear decision on this to date.
- What Delta 8 THC is and why it’s so controversial
- How Delta 8 is made and sold under the law
- Which states allow the sales and distribution of products that contain Delta 8 THC
- How you can find more information or get involved
What Is Delta 8 THC?
As we said earlier, THC is a psychoactive component of hemp plants. Hemp plants are a breed of cannabis plant with little THC but plenty of other cannabinoids such as CBD. These CBD-rich plants are used instead of marijuana plants to create a less- or non-psychoactive product for consumers to use for health and wellness purposes.
Each cannabinoid is extracted a little differently from the hemp plant, and because of how delta 8 is manufactured, it is federally legal. But states are taking a wide variety of stances on how to handle this controversial cannabinoid. So what, exactly, is all the fuss about? What is delta 8 THC? Take a look at the following distinctions which help to answer these questions:
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) — THC is a crystalline psychoactive compound derived from Cannabis sativa varieties including legalized hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp products containing THC must, by law, have no more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. This is because of the psychoactive effects of THC and potential to become addictive at higher levels.
Delta 8 THC (Δ-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol) — Delta 8 is one type or strain of THC identified by a double bond located at the eighth carbon. Delta 8 is legal under federal law, but states’ laws are varied. Delta 8 THC is a psychoactive compound, just like regular THC, but is thought to have slightly less potent psychoactive effects, and can be manufactured within a gray area of the law.
The Controversy of Delta 8
Until the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into action, THC fell under a blanket classification for controlled substances. The Farm Bill removed this classification for hemp, opening the door for the CBD industry to manufacture and sell products derived from hemp. Delta 8 isn’t controversial because it is THC, it is controversial because of how it is extracted from hemp, with a little “help” from the manufacturer who simply wants to increase the output.
Some varieties of hemp plants are really high in THC (usually referred to as cannabis plants or marijuana plants) and these are not preferred by manufacturers of CBD products who need to remain compliant with federal law on THC content. Therefore, to increase the natural output of delta 8, particularly in the less-THC-producing industrial hemp plants, manufacturers use what they know about how delta 8 is produced naturally, and they create more of it in the extraction process.
This generates criticism by those who say this process makes the resulting delta 8 synthetic. This creates a legal gray area concerning whether or not this type of produced delta 8 is still legally compliant, not legal, or something altogether not explained with the current structure and verbiage of the laws.
Uses for Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 is typically used for health and wellness purposes along with other cannabinoids like CBD. It is thought to be a little less psychoactive than other varieties of THC, which could mean the effects are a little different for users.
Delta 8 THC Effects and Uses
- May produce less drowsiness than other varieties.
- Potentially better for THC-sensitive users.
- Still provides the entourage effect with fewer of the psychoactive effects commonly associated with THC. Think of it as THC-lite.
- May provide fewer adverse reactions than other forms like delta 9.
Where to Find Delta 8 THC:
- Smoke shops or vape shops
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- CBD stores
- Online retailers
- Online manufacturers and distributors
- States where the sale of delta 8 is legal
Most THC and CBD manufacturers want to be compliant with the law, keep their consumers safe, and avoid negative attention from government agencies or law enforcement – but there are still manufacturers and distributors you should avoid. Consumers should research the manufacturer and be wary of where they purchase any delta 8 products.
Bypass distributors such as grocery stores and gas stations (unless they’re selling a brand you already trust) and opt for a brick and mortar business in your area with a stellar reputation or for an online company such as cbdMD which posts COAs right on their website and has an impeccable reputation.
Potential Health Risks
Undetermined. There isn’t conclusive scientific research at this time. Likely the risks are similar to that of other varieties of THC, but more research on the matter is needed.
One concern for health risks involves, specifically, THC vape cartridges or THC vape carts. This more concentrated form of THC is vaped by the consumer using a vape pen or other vaping device. Potential health risks such as lung damage have been reported. Consult both the law in your state and your medical doctor before you choose to vape THC or other cannabinoids.
What Makes Delta 8 Appealing to Consumers?
Some consumers want the mild psychoactive effects of THC and find that it helps them to be more relaxed. Other users are specifically interested in the extra help managing a regular and healthy sleep cycle and find that CBD formulations that include some form of THC are more helpful than formulas that do not.
Each of the varieties of THC gets a reputation among cannabis enthusiasts, and this one has a reputation of being “lighter” than the more potent form of THC called delta 9. Also, many users of CBD products experiment with different varieties before they settle on the product or combination of CBD products that work best for them. Delta 8 products are simply one more option to help consumers get the benefits they need from their CBD products.
Note: ANY type of THC in your CBD products can cause you to fail a drug screening test.
Is Delta 8 Legal on a Federal Level?
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp products containing THC are no longer on the DEA’s list of controlled substances, though THC from marijuana is still banned. This creates the door through which all these various CBD and THC products have been rolled out, but not without regulation. Still, the federal law states that any of these products must keep the amount of THC included under 0.3 percent by dry weight of the final product.
Is Delta 8 Legal in Your State?
Each state can opt to follow the federal law’s lead on this or choose to regulate delta 8 a little differently. Some states mirror the 2018 Farm Bill’s distinctions, others refuse to decriminalize hemp products altogether, and some others allow for certain cannabinoids but not others.
The only way to find out is to research the state in which you live or need to purchase CBD products and find out what is or is not legal in your state. Here are some lists and helpful resources to help you get started.
List of States Where Delta 8 Is Legal to Purchase and Use
Hawaii (except for edible or inhalable products)
Louisiana (inhalable is banned)
South Carolina (though law enforcement raids on vape shops seem to suggest the laws are unclear on delta 8)
Virginia & Washington, D.C.
States Where Delta 8 Is Legal with Restrictions or Conditions
Connecticut (can only buy delta 8 from licensed cannabis retailers)
Michigan (Regulated the same as marijuana. Must be purchased from licensed marijuana retailers)
Some States Are Undecided
Illinois (working on safety laws)
Some States Have “Gray Area” Legality for Delta 8
California (AB-45 muddies the language around delta 8 and many retailers stopped shipping to California.)
Arizona (regulates the same as recreational marijuana)
Delta 8 Is NOT Legal in These States
For More Information on Delta 8 THC
As a consumer, it’s important that you stay informed when it comes to delta 8 or other cannabis products because the laws change, and legal directions may change with new shifts in state leadership.
Where to Find Information
The National Conference of State Legislatures Website provides a wealth of information on cannabis products and the states.
Google Scholar is a subset of Google search that allows you to look for current medical and scientific studies on any topic, including delta 8 THC and other cannabis components.
You can keep track of current bills involving delta 8 or other cannabinoids by using the search tool on Congress.gov.
How You Can Make a Difference
If delta 8 or other cannabis derivatives are not legal or are heavily restricted in your state, contact your state’s legislative offices and let them know how you feel. Watch for cannabis-related bills and share your perspective with your governor’s office and other elected officials.
Post your support of bills that are being considered to government websites, leave comments on public forums, or write up your own articles of support and post them to your social media.
Find out if your state supports a citizens’ initiated state statute.
And lastly, find out if candidates are cannabis-friendly — and vote!
Follow cbdMD to Stay in the Know on Delta 8
We plan to update this article on a regular basis because our consumers have lots of cannabis and delta 8 related questions.
These and other questions are addressed regularly on cbdMD’s informative blog.