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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What is Delta 8 THC?
Before we start getting into delta 8, let’s take a quick look at the more familiar Delta 9 THC, the type of tetrahydrocannabinol that is most commonly associated with cannabis. THC is the cannabinoid with psychoactive properties, and thus, the most controversial of the plant compounds.
Delta 9 THC is derived from THCA – or Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid – which is found in raw plants before heat is applied and it loses its carboxyl acid group, or CO2 molecule, creating the chemical formulation (C21H30O2), and then turning into Delta 9 THC. This process is known as decarboxylation.
From this point, a small percentage of Delta 9 will oxidize to become Delta 8 THC – a delta 9 analogue that is only found in trace amounts in the finished/cured flower. This is because delta 8 is only a slightly altered version of delta 9. More specifically, Delta 8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon atom whereas Delta 9 has it on the 9th one.
Much like other cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN), which appear in small amounts in the cannabis plant, delta-8 THC must be isolated and extracted to produce concentrations than what could be achieved via smoking or vaping. As far as medical benefits of Delta 8 THC, there are quite a few that are of particular interest.
Why is it important?
Numerous studies dating back to the 1970s, most of which come from Israel and were conducted by Professor Raphael Mechoulam and his associates, found Delta 8 to be associated with a number of different health benefits. As with other cannabinoids, it stimulates the endocannabinoid system can be used very diversely.
Delta-8 is already associated with a number of health benefits. The National Center for Biological Information (NCBI) describes delta-8 THC as follows: “An analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” It goes on to say: “This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), the primary form of THC found in cannabis.”
Most notably is this cannabinoid’s ability to fight cancer and treat associated side-effects. This was first observed in a 1974 study that found delta-9 was able to slow tumor growth after a number of days, while delta-8 combined with CBN actually caused tumors to shrink after 20 days. Another study in 1995 on children with leukaemia, showed a high rate of efficacy for treating the cancer, while also controlling nausea and vomiting induced by other therapies.
What remains unknown, on a scientific level anyway, is exactly how the psychoactive effects of Delta 8 THC compare with those of Delta 9. According to another study from the 1970s, they found Delta 8 to have 2/3 the psychoactive effects of Delta 9, which is substantial, but still enough that a user will feel some noticeable effects.
Federal laws regarding Delta 8 THC
There was recently some controversy whether Delta 8 would be added to the DEA’s list of controlled substances, with many in the industry believing it would be prohibited under the Interim Ruling regarding “synthetically-derived” cannabinoids. This turned out not to be the case.
Although a few changes were made, the final result is this: if the end Delta 8 product is derived from hemp and has less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC, then it’s likely legal. The DEA does included Delta 8 THC on its list of controlled substances which was just updated in August 2020. But since the 2018 Farm Bill expressly exempts “tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp”, this means that any form of THC derived from hemp that falls within the already established limits will remain legal.
So yes, Delta 8 THC is federally legal… however, states can override federal laws if they choose to. It happens all the time with industries like alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. So, while Delta 8 may be federally legal, that doesn’t mean it’s legal in all 50 states.
What’s also interesting about this, is that the laws surround Delta 8 are not based on whether recreational cannabis is legal or not. Quite a few states with legal cannabis, including Arizona and Colorado, have banned the manufacture, sale, and possession of Delta 8 THC.
- Alabama: Legal
- Alaska: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Alaska
- Arizona: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Arizona
- Arkansas: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Arkansas
- California: Legal
- Colorado: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Colorado
- Connecticut: Legal
- Delaware: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Delaware
- Florida: Legal
- Georgia: Legal
- Hawaii: Legal
- Idaho: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Idaho
- Illinois: Legal
- Indiana: Legal
- Iowa: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Iowa
- Kansas: Legal
- Kentucky: Legal
- Louisiana: Legal
- Maine: Legal
- Maryland: Legal
- Massachusetts: Legal
- Michigan: Legal
- Minnesota: Legal
- Mississippi: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Mississippi
- Missouri: Legal
- Montana: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Montana
- Nebraska: Legal
- Nevada: Legal
- New Hampshire: Legal
- New Jersey: Legal
- New Mexico: Legal
- New York: Legal
- North Carolina: Legal
- North Dakota: Legal
- Ohio: Legal
- Oklahoma: Legal
- Oregon: Legal
- Pennsylvania: Legal
- Rhode Island: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Rhode Island
- South Carolina: Legal
- South Dakota: Legal
- Tennessee: Legal
- Texas: Legal
- Utah: Delta 8 is illegal in the state of Utah
- Vermont: Legal
- Virginia: Legal
- Washington: Legal
- West Virginia: Legal
- Wisconsin: Legal
- Wyoming: Legal
To summarize, Delta 8 is illegal in 11 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah. In all other states, it is legal, but keep 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.
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