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Is Delta-8 Legal in Louisiana?

  • While Delta-8 THC is legal in Louisiana (even if you don’t have a medical marijuana recommendation), patients who use it should tread with caution—these products aren’t well-regulated yet.
  • The safest way to access medical-grade cannabis in Louisiana is via legal pharmacies. TeleLeaf makes it easy for patients to get a doctor’s recommendation, visit a pharmacy, and start healing with medical marijuana.

If you’re considering using cannabis for anxiety or another debilitating health issue, you’ve likely heard about hemp-based products that are widely available—even if you don’t have a medical marijuana recommendation from a healthcare provider. Delta-8 THC is just one example of these hemp-based compounds, and it’s legal in Louisiana.

But even though you can use Delta-8 without legal consequences (as long as you’re over 18), should you? Is Delta-8 compatible with medical applications and your personal healing goals?

In this guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Delta-8 THC: what it is, its legal status in Louisiana, and concerns for anyone looking to use it. We’ll also touch on the only safe way to access lab-tested, regulated cannabis products: legal marijuana pharmacies.

What Is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid found in various strains of the Cannabis sativa plant. Delta-8 is:

  • Cannabis Marijuana Leaf Background. Aesthetic beautiful medical marijuana leaves. Long banner with big purple cannabis leaf in colored light. Colorful hemp backgroundIntoxicating – Like its close relative, Delta-9 THC (one of two major cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa plants), Delta-8 can produce intoxicating effects in high enough doses.
  • Often sold as an isolate – To skirt legal concerns, most Delta-8 products are sold as “pure” isolates (though claims of purity can be misleading). You’ll find these isolates in vape, edible, and liquid products.
  • Widely available – Since it’s technically legal in most states (per a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill and limited DEA enforcement), Delta-8 is widely available in convenience stores, gas stations, and even online.

Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC

If you’ve heard of Delta-9 THC before, you might be curious about the differences between these two cannabinoids.

Here are some distinctions:

  • Delta-8 and Delta-9 are, chemically speaking, very similar. They’re almost identical in chemical structure—the only difference is the placement of one double-carbon bond.
  • While Delta-9 is one of two major cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, Delta-8 is a very minor cannabinoid. Delta-8 is found in very small quantities in various strains.
  • Most non-flower Delta-9 products on the legal cannabis market are directly extracted from the cannabis plant via oil or alcohol extraction. However, most Delta-8 products (including flower) feature synthesized Delta-8. We’ll explain this distinction in more detail later.
  • Delta-8 and Delta-9 can both intoxicate users in high enough doses. Many users describe the Delta-8 high as milder than the Delta-9 high.

Breaking Down the Legality of Delta-8 THC in Louisiana

If it’s so similar to Delta-9 THC (which is illegal for recreational use in Louisiana), why is Delta-8 legal? Let’s explain how Delta-8 fits perfectly into a cannabis legislation loophole.

The 2018 Farm Bill

While all cannabis products were considered Schedule I drugs per US federal law at one time, the 2018 Farm Bill changed the cannabis legality game in a big way: it legalized the growth, processing, sale, possession, and use of hemp for anyone over the age of 18 nationwide.

Hemp is a subtype of the Cannabis sativa plant that features mostly CBD and 0.3% or less THC concentration. Since it has a negligibly low concentration of THC, hemp does not (in theory) produce intoxicating effects.

The Farm Bill only explicitly federally outlaws one cannabinoid: Delta-9 THC remains on the list of controlled substances. So, hemp manufacturers have taken advantage of this ultra-specific law to produce and sell numerous hemp-derived isolates, including:

  • Delta-8 THC
  • THCA
  • Delta-10 THC
  • CBC
  • CBG
  • CBN

Per the Farm Bill, any non-Delta-9 compound derived from hemp (marijuana flower containing less than 0.3% THC) is federally legal.

Hemp-Derived Delta-8 vs. Marijuana-Derived Delta-8

It’s important to note that, in almost all strains of the Cannabis sativa plant, Delta-8 appears in very low concentrations. Hemp is no exception.

But, in order to be considered federally legal, Delta-8 THC must be derived from hemp. Manufacturers can take one of two approaches to isolate Delta-8:

  • Extraction – An extraction pulls a compound out of one substance and dissolves it into another—there are no chemical changes to the extracted compound. CBD and Delta-9 THC are commonly extracted from cannabis flower using alcohols and oils. These tinctures and oils are sold by themselves or added to edible or vape products.
  • Synthesis – To synthesize a compound, manufacturers must perform a chemical reaction to permanently convert a compound into another substance. Synthesis often requires chemical reagents, heat, and time.

Since Delta-8 THC is present in such small quantities, traditional extraction typically doesn’t yield much pure isolate—so, it’s not very cost-effective.

As a result, almost every Delta-8 THC product on the market is created via synthesis: manufacturers synthesize Delta-8 by combining CBD with acid reagents and heating the mixture to convert CBD to Delta-8.

While hemp-derived Delta-8 appears to fall into a legal loophole, this isn’t actually the case: the DEA has stated that synthetically-derived THC products (including Delta-8) remain Schedule I substances. Yet, a lack of enforcement makes this ruling functionally moot.

Louisiana Law

While some states restrict Delta-8 access, Louisiana is not one of them. So, anyone over the age of 18 in Louisiana can legally purchase Delta-8.

However, intoxication-related laws (regulations related to driving under the influence, for instance) still apply to both Delta-8 and medical marijuana products legally obtained via a cannabis pharmacy.

Concerns for Delta-8 Users

So, if you live in Louisiana, you likely have legal access to Delta-8 even if you don’t have a medical marijuana recommendation. But should you use Delta-8?

Let’s explore some very pressing concerns for Delta-8 users nationwide.

Regulation

While products sold in legal medical marijuana pharmacies are regulated, Delta-8 and other hemp-derived products available outside of pharmacies are generally not regulated.

This has major implications for users, including:

  • Potency – Since manufacturers aren’t required to verify that the contents of a product match the label, users can’t be confident about what they’re using when they purchase Delta-8 or the concentration of Delta-8.
  • Safety – Since Delta-8 manufacturers aren’t required to test their products and report the results, they could contain a variety of unknown compounds—and some of these may pose health risks.

Third-party and government regulation keeps products and consumers safe—and Delta-8 products are largely unregulated nationwide.

Testing

Per most states’ regulations, marijuana products sold in dispensaries and pharmacies must be tested by third-party or government agencies to confirm:

  • Safety
  • Purity/concentration
  • Overall ingredients and contents
  • Nutrition facts (for edible products)

But since Delta-8 products generally aren’t sold at dispensaries, manufacturers aren’t required to test their products for leftover reagents, unknown compounds, or even dangerous toxins.

This is especially concerning for Delta-8 users because Delta-8 is typically synthesized—this means that manufacturers use a variety of strong acids to convert CBD to Delta-8, and they’re not confirming that all of these strong acids have been removed from their product before it’s sold to consumers.

Simply put, Delta-8 users are at risk of consuming potentially harmful compounds used to synthesize the cannabinoid.

Accessing Cannabis Safely via Pharmacies

If you’re considering pursuing a medical card for depression or insomnia, don’t worry—all products sold at dispensaries and pharmacies are lab-tested, well-regulated, and safe.

In fact, cannabis pharmacies remain the only source of medical marijuana that’s guaranteed to be safe. Luckily, getting access to a pharmacy in Louisiana is simple:

  • Make an appointment with a healthcare provider – Any licensed provider in Louisiana can recommend medical cannabis to any adult patient for any condition they think could be treated with cannabis. Today, many providers offer cannabis recommendations via telehealth—including TeleLeaf’s providers.
  • Send your recommendation to a pharmacy – If your provider determines that medical cannabis is a good match for you, they’ll send your recommendation to a medical marijuana pharmacy.
  • Pick up your prescription – In Louisiana, patients won’t receive a physical or digital card—instead, the pharmacy will match their government ID to the name on their doctor’s recommendation. Once you show your ID, you’ll be free to peruse your pharmacy’s selection of legal, safe, regulated cannabis products.

TeleLeaf Connects Patients with Medical Marijuana Care

While Delta-8 is legal in Louisiana, using it may be outside of your risk tolerance—especially if you’re looking to use marijuana for medical applications.

Luckily, patients can easily forge a path of plant-based healing with medical cannabis by partnering with TeleLeaf: the best medical marijuana card service provider on the market today. Our providers are licensed, open-minded, and up-to-date on clinical cannabis applications. Our network is here to help you find the recovery you deserve.

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor now.


Sources:

Chemical and Engineering News. Delta-8 THC Craze Concerns Chemists.
https://cen.acs.org/biological-chemistry/natural-products/Delta-8-THC-craze-concerns/99/i31

The Brookings Institution. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization, and the Status of CBD: An Explainer.
https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/

Drug Enforcement Administration. Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-17356.pdf?utm_campaign=pi+subscription+mailing+list&utm_source=federalregister.gov&utm_medium=email

Nola.com. Marijuana, Delta-9, Hemp, CBD: Everything You Need to Know about Louisiana’s Cannabis Laws.
https://www.nola.com/news/louisianas-laws-on-marijuana-delta-9-delta-8-explained/article_8799abc4-d1a2-11ee-98ed-afbb717e79df.html

Marijuana Times. California Lab Offers Cautionary Notes Regarding Delta-8 THC.
https://marijuanatimes.org/california-lab-offers-cautionary-notes-regarding-delta-8-thc/

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