What Is It? What Makes It Different From Delta-9 THC? Where Is It Not Legal? Can You Take It Across State Lines?
In 2018, when the U.S. Congress discussed and passed the Agricultural Improvement Act (the “Farm Bill”), they unintentionally made it possible for a new cannabis product to become popular in the market. The Farm Bill inadvertently legalized hemp, which has many of the same components as marijuana, except that its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels are typically under 0.3 percent.
The THC component in hemp is called delta-8, whereas the THC in marijuana is delta-9. Due to the loophole in the Farm Bill, delta-8 is not banned by federal law, while marijuana remains illegal nationwide. Since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, there has been an explosion of delta-8 products across the country. Delta-8 THC exists only in trace amounts in the hemp plant and is usually synthesized from cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from hemp.
How Does Delta-8 Differ from Delta-9?
Delta-9 is significantly more potent than delta-8, with some believing it to be roughly twice as powerful overall. Moreover, delta-9 is associated with more pronounced side effects, including mental fog, paranoid delusions, impaired motor skills, and heightened feelings of anxiety. These same side effects may occur with use of delta-8, particularly with use of large quantities.
Commonly referred to as “diet weed,” delta-8 has a significantly diminished psychoactive impact on users when compared to the same amount of delta-9. It should be noted, however, that using or consuming a larger quantity of delta-8 can get a person just as ‘high’ as a lesser amount of delta-9. Users should also be mindful of the fact that safety concerns exist due to the fact that delta-8 products are largely unregulated and may contain impurities or even higher levels of THC. Both delta-8 and delta-9 are available in various forms, including edibles, topical applications, and smoking or vaping methods.
Many people have reported on social media of using delta-8 products to help with depression or other issues. Some say that it is also effective for easing nausea or pain or to boost appetite or mood. Experts warn, however, that there is little research or evidence to support the proposition that delta-8 has any medical benefits.
Where Is Delta-8 Illegal?
Though the Farm Bill legalized delta-8 nationwide, that’s only under federal law. Several states have enacted statutes or rules banning the substance, including:
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Delta-8 may be technically legal in California, but it is highly restricted.
In Mississippi, delta-8 is arguably legal, but only when purchased for use with a vape pen in doses of one milliliter or less.
Is It Legal To Take Delta-8 Across State Lines?
Because delta-8 is not federally banned, you can buy a delta-8 product in one state and transport it to another. However, in states where delta-8 is prohibited, both possession and sale are generally illegal. This means that if you legally acquire delta-8 and bring it into a state like New York or Minnesota, where it’s banned, you could still face arrest and prosecution for possession of an illegal substance.
The 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp paved the path for nationwide sales of delta-8 THC products. You won’t face federal prosecution for selling or possessing delta-8, which has milder psychoactive effects. However, at least 20 states have banned the sale and possession of delta-8 products. If you take even legally-purchased delta-8 products into these states, you could still face state-level prosecution for sale or possession.