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What States Is Delta-8 Legal In?

    • Delta-8 THC has the potential to be an effective, less psychoactive alternative to delta-9 THC. However, since it was legalized through a loophole in the federal 2018 Farm Bill, states have been banning and restricting it, citing the current lack of research and production regulations.

 

    • Delta 8 is legal with minimal oversight in 22 states and the District of Columbia, legal with severe restrictions in seven, and more closely regulated in three.

 


Delta-8 THC has quickly gained popularity for its potent healing properties (and minimal psychoactive effects) since it was essentially legalized at the federal level in 2018.

Only certain forms of delta-8 are permissible, however, and many states have chosen to ban it due to the lack of federal production regulations and quality safeguards. Some states have chosen to severely restrict delta-8 use and sale, while others are still deciding how to rule on this “diet weed.”

Needless to say, delta-8 THC exists in a confusing legal gray area.

TeleLeaf has everything you need to know about delta-8 legality, all in one place. Keep reading to learn more about the healing potentials of delta-8, how it’s currently defined, and the incongruities between federal and state laws.

Understanding Delta-8

Often, when people discuss THC, what they’re actually referring to is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.

Delta-9 THC is a powerful pain reliever, mood booster, and psychoactive compound; it’s used to treat chronic pain and other medical conditions. While delta-9 can be a very effective medication, some patients dislike the high it produces, as it can make them feel anxious or overstimulated.

Delta-9 is one of several forms of THC. The one currently in the spotlight is delta-8 THC.

Chemically, delta-8 is nearly identical to delta-9; the only difference is where one double bond is placed in each chemical structure. This tiny variation is enough to significantly decrease delta-8’s psychoactive properties.

According to many users, delta-8 THC:

  • Is about as effective as delta-9 THC in relieving pain and promoting appetite.
  • Doesn’t produce as many intense effects as delta-9, including potential paranoia

The unique nature of delta-8 THC is promising for medical marijuana patients. But the lack of research on delta-8’s full impact, as well as the largely unregulated production methods, are causing the current federal- and state-level legal jumble.

So, what’s all the fuss?

Federal Delta-8 Laws

top view of green marijuana leaf with wooden gavel on green backgroundIn 2018, the federal government passed the Agricultural Improvement Act, known more simply as the Farm Bill.

The 2018 Farm Bill doesn’t specifically mention delta-8 THC. Instead, it makes an important distinction between different types of the cannabis plant—marijuana and hemp—stating which one is legal and which isn’t.

Here’s how it defines the two:

  • Marijuana – Any plant containing more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. Marijuana typically contains 10% to 30% delta-9; it’s still considered a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow, sell, and use.
  • Hemp – Any plant containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. Under the Farm Bill, hemp is now legal to grow and sell (with strict regulations in place). Hemp has a high CBD content (5% to 15%) and is used in many finished products and textiles. It also contains small amounts of delta-8 THC.

Essentially, this bill legalizes delta-8 via a loophole. Since hemp and hemp-derived products are legal, people concluded that delta-8 products are legal, too. While this is true (at the federal level), there are some important stipulations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said in a 2023 letter that only certain delta-8 products are legal under the new hemp laws. For products to comply, they must:

  • Contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC
  • Be naturally derived from hemp, rather than synthesized from hemp-derived compounds through processes like isomerization

Delta-8 naturally occurs in hemp, but only in very small amounts, which is why many products are made with delta-8 that was synthesized from hemp-derived CBD. Synthesized delta-8 is actually known as delta-8 THC-O, and is considered a controlled substance like marijuana.

Why States Are Banning Delta-8?

If the federal government legalized delta-8, why are some states choosing to ban it?

Experts often cite two reasons for why it’s important to be cautious with delta-8 products:

  1. There is a limited understanding of delta-8 and its effects
  2. There is little (if any) regulation in delta-8 production or quality standards, unlike other marijuana products

Both reasons to ban delta-8 boil down to wanting to protect consumers from contamination, mislabeling, and unknowns.

The FDA has yet to regulate the delta-8 production process. This means that delta-8 products may contain unknown chemicals as well as other cannabis compounds, including delta-9, in quantities above federal or state limits. And the lack of regulated labeling and marketing means you might not know about any of it.

And while many users have benefited greatly from delta-8 products, it hasn’t been studied extensively, like many other synthetic cannabinoids.

As researchers continue to learn more, hopefully, these states will consider new information and amend their rulings to accommodate it.

Breaking Down Delta-8 Legality, State by State

As you can now see, delta-8 legality isn’t a question you can answer with a simple “yes” or “no.”

While naturally derived delta-8 products are federally legal, the states have their own rights to legalize or ban them—the same as they do with other marijuana products.

Many states have made conclusive rulings, but in others, delta-8 legality is still up for debate. And even in states where delta-8 is legal, there are varying levels of restrictions to consider.

States with Few Delta-8 Restrictions

Here are the 22 jurisdictions that defer to the current federal delta-8 laws as described in the 2018 Farm Bill, more or less:

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

Of these states, several have ruled that you must be at least 21 to purchase and use delta-8 products. Some states are also in the midst of legal actions to further regulate or ban delta-8.

States with Severe Delta-8 Restrictions

Seven states technically allow delta-8 THC, but the restrictions in place make it nearly impossible for these products to comply.

In these states, all marijuana products must contain less than 0.3% THC of any kind—including delta-8 THC. Here are the states where this applies:

  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Virginia

Where the 2018 Farm Bill created a loophole that legalizes delta-8, these states have created a loophole of their own to effectively ban it, since practically all delta-8 products contain more than 0.3% delta-8 THC.

States with Comprehensive Delta-8 Regulations

Three states—California, Connecticut, and Tennessee—have chosen to legalize delta-8 while also regulating its production and sale. This is a step up from the federal delta-8 laws, which don’t include any quality or safety standards.

Here’s how each state regulates delta-8:

  • California and Connecticut – Both states define delta-8 THC as marijuana, which is currently legal for adult use. Because of this, delta-8 products are held to the same high standards as other marijuana products. They must be properly tested, labeled, and marketed to protect and inform consumers each time they buy.
  • Tennessee – Under Tennessee law, delta-8 THC is defined as a “hemp-derived cannabinoid” that you can use if you’re 21 or older. Delta-8 product testing and marketing must follow stringent regulations that ensure consumers receive uncontaminated products and full transparency. Products are also limited to 25mg servings.

Hopefully, these comprehensive safety guidelines can serve as models for other states as they work through their own delta-8 legislation.

TeleLeaf Simplifies the Medical Marijuana Recommendation Process

Your marijuana access begins with a medical recommendation from TeleLeaf.

At TeleLeaf, we believe in providing convenient and efficient patient care. Thanks to our telehealth program, you never have to leave your home to receive your recommendation. Virtual appointments mean no lines or waiting rooms; you can even book same-day appointments for lightning-fast approval. These are just a few of the perks that make us the best online medical marijuana card service provider out there right now.

With a medical marijuana recommendation from TeleLeaf, you can rest easy knowing you’ll always have access to high-quality, holistic pain relief in your state of residence. Reach out today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and caring doctors.


Sources:

Healthline. Delta 8 vs. Delta 9 vs. Delta 10 — What’s the Difference?
https://www.healthline.com/health/delta-8-vs-delta-9-vs-delta-10

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.
https://theconversation.com/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-204171

Marijuana Moment. DEA Classifies Novel Cannabinoids Delta-8 And -9 THCO As Controlled Substances, Even When Synthesized From Legal Hemp.
https://www.marijuanamoment.net/dea-classifies-novel-cannabinoids-delta-8-and-9-thco-as-controlled-substances-even-when-synthesized-from-legal-hemp/

The National Law Review. The Cannabis Paradox: Clarifying the Confusing Legality of Delta-8, THC-O, THCV, and Synthetically Derived THC.
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/cannabis-paradox-clarifying-confusing-legality-delta-8-thc-o-thcv-and-synthetically#google_vignette

NBC News. Delta-8 THC is legal in many states, but some want to ban it.
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/delta-8-thc-legal-many-states-some-want-ban-it-n1272270

National Cannabis Industry Association. Where Is Delta-8 THC Legal and Where Is It Banned? CBD Oracle’s Map Has the Answers.
https://thecannabisindustry.org/member-blog-where-is-delta-8-thc-legal-and-where-is-it-banned-cbd-oracles-map-has-the-answers/

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