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Is Delta 8 THC Legal in the United States?

— September 19, 2023

Laws at the state level regarding delta-8 THC are consistently evolving, with a growing number of states opting to prohibit or oversee the use of this cannabinoid.

In the recent few years, the popularity of delta 8 is quite remarkable, particularly in regions where the recreational use of marijuana isn’t permitted in the United States. Several individuals have shown their support to delta 8 vape pens, oils, edibles, and tablets, drawn by the allure of experiencing both enjoyable leisure and potential therapeutic benefits. Every individual seeking diverse experiences is loving this evolving landscape of alternative options. 

Many people are excited to know about the legality of delta 8 in the United States. People want to know if delta 8 is legal in the US or not? At present, delta 8 THC is federally legal only if derived from hemp (cannabis with low delta-9 THC levels).

But there are many states where this cannabinoid is banned or regulated. In this article by LegalReader, we’ll talk about the legality of delta 8 THC in the United States.

Delta 8 THC: Introduction

Majority of people referred to THC as Delta 9 THC due to lack of knowledge. Delta 8 THC is the newest member of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“Despite being an isomer of Delta 9, the Delta 8 and Delta 9 share the same molecular formula but their atomic arrangement is completely different. As per the studies, THC has 4 isomers delta-7, delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10.

Many research indicates that delta 8 produces sedation effects similar to Delta 9. The reason behind this is the potency of Delta 8 that is around 66% of Delta 9. That’s why after consuming Delta 8, you might feel the high, and other sedative effects.

But the most important reason behind the popularity of Delta 8 is lesser chances of side effects, and anxiety to its consumers. 

Legality of Delta 8 in the United States

The 2018 Farm Bill has legalized hemp all across the nation. But this bill has a loophole. The bill put the limitation of all the hemp derived products to no more than 0.3% of delta-9 THC but it excluded the Delta 8 THC. Since hemp and cannabis plants naturally contain a very low amount of delta 8 THC, it was never a topic of discussion for the legislators.

Legislators weren’t aware that with a simple chemical process, you can easily make large amounts of delta-8 from hemp-derived CBD. This way the Delta 8 THC is considered legal as per the bill’s definition.

There is also a huge debate around whether Delta 8 THC is synthetic or not. The chemical process by which delta 8 THC is derived from CBD products isn’t natural.

Many people believe that delta 8 is not synthetic as it is derived from CBD which is a natural cannabinoid, whereas many people believe that creating a new cannabinoid from an already existing cannabinoid makes it synthetic.

An industrial hemp field. Image via Pixabay. Free-to-use image.

Legality of Delta 8 State-Wise

At federal level hemp-derived delta-8 THC remains legal. But every states have their own laws for Delta 8 THC that fall into following categories:

  • Legal (few products may be banned)
  • Illegal
  • Regulated (only available from licensed retail cannabis stores)
  • Unclear/legal grey area

Delta 8 is legal in 26 states at present, regulated in 3 states just like recreational cannabis, completely illegal in 18 states, and legality is unclear in 4 states.

How Many States Have Legalized Delta 8?

Here’s a complete list of states where you can buy the delta 8 products legally.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Washington D.C

How Many States Have Regulated Delta 8?

In these states, delta-8 THC is managed similarly to recreational cannabis. This implies that your sole option for purchase is through licensed cannabis retailers.

  • Connecticut
  • Michigan
  • Nevada

In How Many States Delta-8 is In a Legal Gray Area?

Within these states, the legal status of delta 8 THC remains somewhat ambiguous. It is uncertain whether it is fully permissible, partially prohibited, or entirely outlawed.

  • California
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Arizona

In How Many States Delta-8 is Illegal?

Certain states ban delta-8, but lax enforcement allows purchases.

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

What is the Future of Delta 8 THC in the United States?

The future of Delta 8 THC is uncertain at present. In 2022, a suggested bill for Congress known as the Hemp Progression Act was introduced, aiming to redefine the 0.3% THC threshold for hemp to encompass delta 8 and other THC isomers. This alteration would effectively render products derived from hemp delta 8 unlawful.

Industry experts also anticipate that the 2023 Farm Bill will ultimately address the gap concerning delta-8 THC and similar mind-altering products derived from hemp.

Meanwhile, the laws at the state level regarding delta-8 THC are consistently evolving, with a growing number of states opting to prohibit or oversee the use of this cannabinoid.

The most probable result is that the majority of states will opt for overseeing delta-8 THC in a manner similar to how recreational marijuana is handled.

This means that delta-8 items will solely be accessible through authorized enterprises and will undergo proper assessments, marking, and adherence to other established rules.

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