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Can You Fly With Delta-8 Products?

  • Delta-8 THC is known for its potent pain relief and modest high. It’s also closely scrutinized under state and federal marijuana laws, which makes traveling while possessing delta-8 a confusing ordeal.
  • Under the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta-8 THC is federally legal if it’s naturally derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. However, several states have either banned or restricted its use since it’s still unregulated.
  • Your ability to fly with Delta-8 depends on whether or not your products comply with both federal regulations and your destination’s laws.

Delta-8 THC is a gentler, less psychoactive variant of the more widely-known delta-9 THC. This “diet weed” is often derived from the hemp plant, which, unlike marijuana, is currently legal (though unregulated) in the U.S., according to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Despite this fact, the federal and state governments are still debating the legality of delta-8. These murky gray areas can make interstate travel especially confusing.

According to the TSA, you can fly with medical marijuana as long as it complies with federal regulations and contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. By this simple definition, delta-8 THC complies. But several factors can throw this into question, including how the delta-8 was made, if it contains other illegal cannabis compounds, and more.

As patients ourselves, we at TeleLeaf seek to demystify the complex world of medical marijuana, one question at a time. We have the delta-8 information you need to know before you pack your carry-on.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Nicknamed “diet weed” and “delta-9’s nicer younger sibling,” delta-8 THC shares the potent pain-relieving properties of delta-9 THC but produces a more modest high.

These unique qualities are particularly desirable for users who often grow anxious or overstimulated when they use the more psychoactive delta-9.

man laying on grass relaxing

Most users agree that delta-8 THC:

  • Makes you feel relaxed and euphoric
  • Relieves pain with the same effectiveness as delta-9 THC
  • Produces very mild cognitive distortions

The reason for these reactions lies in your body’s natural regulatory system—the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—and the unique chemical properties of delta-9 and delta-8.

Delta-9 activates the main two receptors in the ECS:

  • CB1 receptors – Regulate the main functions of the ECS, including mood, memory, and appetite. They also trigger a psychoactive high.
  • CB2 receptors – Relieve pain by lowering inflammation and strengthening immune responses.

Delta-8 also activates both receptors, but while it activates CB2 receptors at full strength, it only partially activates CB1—resulting in delta-9-grade pain relief without the delta-9-grade high.

The Delta-8 Legal Conundrum

Delta-8 has been making waves in the U.S. since the 2018 Farm Bill effectively legalized it via a loophole.

Whereas before, the legal definition of marijuana was vague, the federal government now makes these two distinctions:

  • Marijuana – contains more than 0.3% delta-9 THC
  • Hemp – contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC

Marijuana is still illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug, but thanks to the Farm Bill, hemp—and any products derived from it—can be produced, bought, and sold (with some restrictions).

close up marijuana buds

Delta-8 and delta-9 are extremely similar, with only a single bond difference between their chemical structures. Yet because delta-9 comes from marijuana, and delta-8 comes from hemp, the former is illegal while the latter is not.

However, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Though naturally derived delta-8 is allowed, synthetic delta-8 (known more accurately as delta-8 THC-O) is not. And because most hemp plants only have small amounts of naturally occurring delta-8, most delta-8 products are made synthetically through the isomerization process.

In addition to this, delta-8 products are unregulated, meaning they could contain other unknown chemicals and cannabinoids, including delta-9.

Some states are cracking down on delta-8 THC because of all these unknowns, either outright banning it or severely restricting use. So, what does this mean for travel?

Flying With Delta-8 THC

When flying with any type of medical marijuana, including delta-8 THC, you need to be familiar with the laws of:

man holding phone and airplane ticket

  • Your departure state
  • Your destination
  • The federal government

If you’re a medical marijuana cardholder, you likely know where your state stands on medical marijuana and delta-8 THC, but you probably don’t have every state’s laws committed to memory. If you’re flying out of an airport in a different state, make sure to familiarize yourself with their delta-8 laws as well.

Interstate travel is tricky for medical cardholders. Most states only allow resident cardholders to buy and carry medical marijuana, though some exceptions apply. Things get even trickier with federal guidelines.

When you fly, you occupy federal airspace—that’s why the TSA defers federal marijuana laws rather than the laws of the state the airport resides in.

While you’re at the airport and in the sky, as long as your medical marijuana products contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC, you’re in the clear. But before you pack your delta-8 gummies or vape cartridges, you also need to factor in your destination’s rules.

To find out what your departure and destination states’ delta-8 laws are, check out this map.

We understand better than most how convoluted state and federal marijuana laws can be. Plan for your travel on a case-by-case basis to avoid any negative repercussions. And if you’re ever in doubt about your rights as a medical marijuana cardholder, consider talking to a lawyer.

International Travel with Delta-8

When traveling to a different country, apply the same caution you would when traveling domestically.

Always research laws thoroughly. Even if delta-8 is legal for a country’s residents, many governments don’t allow you to enter the country with any foreign substances, even if you have a medical card.

Traveling with Delta-8: Best Practices

Once you’ve confirmed that your delta-8 products comply with both federal regulations and your destination’s laws, you’re free to start packing.

Before you arrive at the airport, though, remember to consider these additional safeguards: 

passengers on plane going on vacation

  • Bring your ID and up-to-date medical card with you – Being able to verify your identity and your qualifications for possessing marijuana may come in handy if a TSA agent questions you for any reason. Technically, since delta-8 is federally legal, anyone should be able to have it. But your medical card may hold some extra weight in the conversation.
  • Keep products in their original packaging – Even if your delta-8 product is legal, TSA agents may find unlabeled packages suspicious. You should also keep receipts or any identifying papers that can prove your product is naturally derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.
  • Ensure your products comply with other TSA regulations – Even if your delta-8 products fall under the 0.3% threshold, they can be confiscated if they break other TSA rules. For example, if your product is in liquid form, make sure it’s under the 3.4 ounce limit and is securely sealed in a plastic bag.
  • Check if your destination state will accept your medical card – Though it’s illegal to travel to a different state with medical marijuana that contains more than 0.3% delta-9 THC, some states offer medical marijuana reciprocity, meaning you’ll be able to purchase products with your out-of-state medical card (with some restrictions). Note that you may have to register for reciprocity ahead of your trip.

If you’re nervous about traveling with delta-8, even if you’ve triple-checked that you’re diligently following all the rules, remember that the TSA agents’ job, first and foremost, is to protect passengers from harmful threats. Finding and confiscating medical marijuana isn’t necessarily their top priority.

As long as you do your pre-travel homework, you (and your medication) will be able to fly with confidence. 

Renew Your Medical Marijuana Card Before You Fly with TeleLeaf

When flying with delta-8 THC products, it’s always better to know more than you need to than to be caught unaware. It’s also a good idea to apply for or renew your medical marijuana card.

A medical marijuana recommendation from TeleLeaf grants you access to your state’s dispensaries that sell regulated, high-quality cannabis, including products with lower doses of THC. And when it’s time to renew your card, TeleLeaf is here for you.

Learn more about how to renew your medical card online with TeleLeaf before your next flight. Contact us now for a same-day, virtual appointment.


Brookings. The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer.

Transportation Security Administration. Medical Marijuana.

Journal of Cannabis Research. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling?

Harvard Health Publishing. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious.

The Conversation. Cannabis-derived products like delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC have flooded the US market – two immunologists explain the medicinal benefits and potential risks.

Marijuana Moment. DEA Classifies Novel Cannabinoids Delta-8 And -9 THCO As Controlled Substances, Even When Synthesized From Legal Hemp.

National Cannabis Industry Association. Where Is Delta-8 THC Legal and Where Is It Banned? CBD Oracle’s Map Has the Answers.

Transportation Security Administration. Liquids Rule.

Criminal Defense Lawyer. Medical Marijuana and Reciprocity Between States.

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