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Is Delta 9 Legal?

Is Delta 9 THC legal? Federally, yes. At the state level: It depends on where you live. Employers or athletic organizations may also have rules. Read on.

Delta 9 THC is one of the cannabis components we get asked about most frequently, especially “Is Delta 9 is legal in my area?” People want to be compliant with the law – and they also see news stories that are pretty scary about people being detained at the airport or fired from their jobs for carrying or using Delta 9 THC products. So, how can you keep this from happening to you?

We thought we’d answer that question for you – Is Delta 9 legal? – as well as some of the related questions concerning Delta 9, Delta 8 vs Delta 9, Delta 9 gummies – and the legalities around these important cannabis molecules. Because your health needs, fitness goals, and quality of life may call for that extra measure of calm and support of Delta 9 THC. And as with many things in life, it’s important to play by the rules.

Federal Laws Around THC, in General

There are several areas of concern when it comes to legal issues around Delta 9 THC. Because THC is psychoactive, it can get you high when used in large enough amounts. In CBD products, however, the levels of THC are federally regulated and further stipulations for use may be in place for your particular state.

In addition, your employer or athletic organization may also have rules you need to abide by.

What Is Delta 9? What Is Delta 8?

Before we take a look at the legalities of Delta 9 or Delta 8 vs Delta 9, let’s define each.

THC is a compound in Cannabis sativa plants that provides health and wellness benefits, but also has a psychoactive property that makes it unique among the cannabinoids. Delta 9 and Delta 8 are different isomers of THC, meaning they differ slightly in molecular structure based on where in the molecule the double carbon bond is located. While each affects the human body slightly differently in terms of how calming they are or how they help regulate various bodily functions, Delta 9 THC is considered the most potent of the THC isomers.

Now, let’s take a look at the federal law.

The 2018 Farm Bill – Federal Level Regulation

The 2018 Farm Bill helped to make an important distinction between products made from marijuana plants and those derived from hemp. Though all of these plants are Cannabis sativa plants, some of them are cultivated to be lower in THC levels while providing more of the other cannabinoids often used for CBD products. This means that your CBD products are viewed differently under the law than, say, marijuana or high-concentration THC vaping products derived from marijuana.

CBD, Delta 9 THC (and other isomers of THC), and other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN that are derived from hemp will not be as heavily regulated, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. This means that the FDA monitors these products a little differently than it would marijuana, but there are still some pretty important guidelines that must be followed:

 Delta 9 symbol with a legal document in the background - cbdMD

  • CBD products with Delta 9 THC (or other isomers of THC like Delta 8 or Delta 10) in them are federally legal in all 50 states.
  • The amount of THC must be at or below 0.3 percent THC by dry weight of the final product to be legal under federal law.
  • The THC must be extracted from industrial hemp rather than from marijuana. Industrial hemp products containing THC are no longer on the DEA’s list of controlled substances, though THC from marijuana is still banned.
  • Products must not be sold as dietary supplements per the FD&C Act guidelines.


State Level Regulation

While Delta 9 THC products are federally legal under certain conditions, there are also states’ laws to consider. Each state has the right to choose their own legal restrictions on Delta 9 and CBD products. To use them legally, you need to be aware of how your state defines their use.

States may choose to:


  • Follow the federally mandated guidelines.
  • Take a more relaxed approach, decriminalizing all or most CBD products with THC in them.
  • Or, they may choose to criminalize THC use of any kind, or of a particular isomer of THC, like Delta 8, for example.


States set up their own CBD and THC regulations, and for many states there are ongoing legislative efforts that vary from state to state. The difficult thing for you as a consumer is that states may not always side with the FDA on how Delta 8 vs Delta 9 THC products are regulated.

Many states stipulate that users must be over the age of 21 to buy or use any kind of CBD product, with or without THC in it, including those with Delta 9 THC. Here at cbdMD, we go by this recommended age for purchasing our wide variety of full spectrum CBD products, which contain a variety of THC isomers or which feature the more potent Delta 9 THC.

Delta 9 THC Legal Challenges

The legal challenges facing Delta 9 THC are likely the ones representing all THC-related CBD products because this is THC in its most true and widely used form for health and wellness enthusiasts. THCa molecules in the living hemp plants naturally convert over to Delta 9 THC molecules during the extraction and drying process.

If you want to use a Delta 9 THC product (or if the type of THC is not specifically stated) then check to see if the product is 2018 Farm Bill compliant, and that it’s legal for you to purchase and use in the state in which you reside or travel.

Delta 8 THC Legal Challenges

Delta 8 THC products are a little different under the law because of how the molecules are created, generating some concern for these molecules being “synthetic.” In truth, they aren’t synthetic, but they do not occur naturally. During the extraction process the THC molecules are manipulated to force Delta 8 THC isomers, which is like Delta 9 THC, only slightly less potent. Sometimes this involves solvents that can be harmful to human health – hence the concerns.

Some states view this laboratory manipulation a little differently and may have more strict regulations for buying or using Delta 8 THC products, or outlaw them completely. At this time there are no federal regulations that differ for Delta 8, specifically, as long as it comes from hemp and meets the other federal guidelines.

Once again, check to see that Delta 8 THC products are legal in the states in which you live and travel to make sure you are following the law.

The Right Way to Purchase Delta 9 THC Products


Hemp derived delta 9 thc capsules 1 mg microdose with softgels coming out of the top with cannabis leaves in the background - cbdMD


We’ve mentioned a few things you need to keep in mind so you can legally use Delta 9 THC products, but here’s a more comprehensive list for responsibly purchasing and using your Delta 9 products. Some are for safety purposes, but if you want to use Delta 9, you need to do it responsibly and with the right intention.


  1. Make sure you are over the age of 21 before purchasing or using any type of THC product, Delta 9, Delta 8, Delta 10, or otherwise.
  2. As we mentioned before, make sure the products you want to use are legal in the state where you live – but also wherever you intend to travel and take your products with you.
  3. While some folks are looking for a recreational high, these products are not designed for that purpose and should not be used for that purpose. Follow ALL packaging instructions by the manufacturer.
  4. Talk with your doctor before using Delta 9 products, especially if you have specific health concerns or if you are taking medications or supplements.
  5. Make sure the source for your Delta 9 products is legit. We do not recommend purchasing from gas stations, flea markets, or other vendors who may not be 2018 Farm Bill compliant, or who may not have your health and safety as their top priority.


Traveling with Delta 9

You may see well-meaning advice on cannabis sites to remove all of the packaging on cannabis products, or to wrap them in plastic when you travel. This is to keep you from getting into trouble for carrying likely illegal substances.

This is not the case for CBD products with THC in them. Please understand this very critical distinction. When you travel with CBD products with THC In them (called full spectrum) or Delta 9-specific CBD products, the goal here isn’t to avoid “getting caught” but to demonstrate your legal right to carry these products.

Here are some helpful tips for how you can do just that (aside from checking ahead and knowing your legal rights to use your products in each state you’ll travel to or through).

Note: This applies to Delta 8 vs Delta 9 or any type of THC in your CBD products.

CBD and THC products are becoming far more popular and normalized – but if you are concerned about traveling with your products, it couldn’t hurt to err on the side of caution.


  1. Do not carry tons of product with you. You can leave the majority of your softgels at home, for example, and only carry what’s needed for your trip, plus a couple of extra as a just-in-case in the event that your trip gets extended.
  2. Store all of your products in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and out of reach of minors or animals.
  3. If drug testing is performed on your full spectrum products, this may result in a positive test for marijuana. This is because many tests check for all of the parts of the cannabis plant, not just THC. It may help you to know the laws for the state regarding any marijuana products as well. This may help you to make wise decisions about traveling with your CBD and THC products.


Helpful References:

FDA website on cannabis

States’ Information on Cannabis Legislation (use the search feature)

Our helpful guides on cannabis & hemp products on our Blog’s Education Tab

What You Can Expect from cbdMD

To recap: Is Delta 9 THC legal? Federally, yes. At the state level: It depends on where you live.

All of our products are federally compliant with the law. We choose not to ship our Delta 9 THC products to certain states because of the states’ laws, but it is ultimately your responsibility to only purchase and use what is legal in your area. We are happy to answer any of your questions. You may use our chat feature on cbdMD.com or contact us with any questions you may have about any of our products.