Is Delta 8 THC Legal? A Timeline

Delta 8 THC is one of many cannabinoids present in cannabis and hemp plants and has rapidly gained attention across the United States. Since Delta 8 is THC and cannabis containing Delta 9 THC is still federally prohibited in the United States this has a number of people questioning the legality of this cannabinoid they had never previously heard of. While Delta 8 may be seen as federally legal in the US, as a result of the Farm Bill passed in 2018, of course, it’s slightly more complicated than that and its legality is currently open for interpretation. But before we get into the legality, let’s describe what Delta 8 is.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid that is naturally occurring in both cannabis plants. Structurally the only difference between Delta 8 and Delta 9 is the location of the double bond on its molecular structure. That being said, Delta 8 provides a unique experience to the user. Some people describe Delta 8 as ‘THC lite’ because it feels as though it’s the halfway point between Delta 9 THC and CBD. While it does provide a psychoactive experience, it’s less intense and the user also gets the therapeutic benefits associated with CBD. This makes Delta 8 appealing to a number of users.

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill brought about significant changes to the cannabis and hemp landscape in the United States. This bill removed hemp from regulation under the Controlled Substances Act. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

Following this bill, Delta 9 THC has continued to be tightly regulated, therefore it has remained up to each individual state to determine whether or not to legalize it.

How does the Farm Bill impact Delta 8?

The 2018 Farm Bill expressly includes the “derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” While not litigated yet in court, many attorneys in the cannabis industry believe delta 8 products, when derived from hemp-derived CBD, to be lawful in light of the 2018 Farm Bill. with states that federally, products manufactured from hemp that have less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC are legal. It’s important to note that some states have prohibited Delta 8, so it’s important to look into the regulations of your state prior to purchasing.

As a result of the publication of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Interim Final Rule in August 2020, the legality of Delta-8 on the federal level has been called into question. For this reason, it is imperative to ensure any Delta-8 product be derived from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC on a dry-weight basis.

Although Delta 8 exists naturally in both hemp and cannabis plants it’s in such small quantities that extraction is challenging. As a result, most manufacturers create Delta 8 synthetically from CBD. This is done through a process called isomerization. When Delta 8 is synthesized, the CBD used must also be legally compliant for the subsequent D8 product to be legal.

If you’re concerned about the legal status of Delta 8, purchase products from reputable retailers who derive their products from legal sources and are transparent about the Delta 9 content in their products. Read more about Laughing Buddha’s D8 products, how they’re made, and access the third-party lab testing results for all of our products.

Why Invest in Delta 8?

Since Delta 8 exists in such small quantities in cannabis and hemp plants you may wonder why companies would invest in the delicate and expensive process of extracting it – or synthesized it from CBD. When the 2018 Farm Bill made other cannabinoids legal it made sense for companies to invest in alternatives to Delta 9.

So, while Delta 8 has always been present in cannabis and hemp plants at the time it didn’t make sense to invest in it because it would have been illegal anyway. Following the Farm Bill, chemists began to investigate the best ways of extracting and synthesizing Delta 8 and it became available for sale a little over a year later in 2019.

We still have a lot to learn about Delta 8, but research is continuing to develop surrounding this and other novel cannabinoids deepening our understanding of the potential benefits.

The Future of Delta 8 THC

The future of Delta 8 depends, in part, on the DEA and whether or not federal regulations change in regards to cannabis and hemp. This is something we will see unfold in the coming years. That being said, fifteen years ago most of us wouldn’t believe cannabis legalization would happen in the United States and now numerous states have legalized cannabis and it is a part of continued discussions across the country. As a result, we are seeing an increased normalization of cannabis and products such as Delta 8. So, we are hopeful Delta continues on a path of community acceptance and receives legislative support.

Final Thoughts

The legal status of Delta 8 is a bit complicated. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill indicates Delta 8 THC would be lawful provided it did not exceed 0.3% Delta 9 THC, but recent actions by the DEA have caused confusion regarding the legality of Delta 8 on the federal level. Further, many states across the country have prohibited Delta 8, so it is important to understand the laws in your jurisdiction before purchasing a Delta 8 product.

It’s also important to note that while Delta 8 is legal in most states it may cause a person to fail a THC drug test as the structure of Delta 8 and Delta 9 are so similar. So, those who are subject to drug testing should be cautious.

That being said Delta 8 has the potential to provide users with a unique and therapeutic experience that is a potential alternative to Delta 9. While users will experience a psychoactive high it will be less intense and may allow the user to feel more focused and clear-headed. [1]

Ready to try Delta 8? Check out Laughing Buddha D8’s product line. Not ready to commit yet? That’s okay. Explore the other educational resources on our website to learn more about Delta 8 THC and its numerous benefits. [2]

[1] These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Laughing Buddha’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

[2] This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed as such.

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