Is Delta 8 THC Legal in All 50 States?

Sophia Delphi May 25, 2022 - 7 min read
Fact Checked
Image of a Gavel and Delta 8 THC Buds

Is delta 8 THC legal? That’s a good question because it doesn’t have an obvious answer.

In theory, delta 8 THC is federally legal as long as it comes from hemp. But practically, some states have imposed a ban on its sales due to the murkiness associated with extraction methods.

Delta 8 THC is definitely more available than delta 9 due to that small legal loophole left by the 2018 Farm Bill.

But is it really legal? Is there absolutely no risk of being jailed for possession?

Here’s what you need to know about the legal status of delta 8 THC in all 50 states.

What Is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 and 9 have very similar molecular structures, the primary difference being the placement of a double bond at the carbon chain. The more significant difference lies in cognitive effects and overall experience after consumption.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is about twice as potent as delta-8 THC. For this reason, delta 8 THC is often referred to as ‘diet weed’ or ‘cannabis light’.

Delta 8 shares some health benefits with delta 9, the most common being:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Relief from pain
  • Better sleep quality
  • Appetite boost
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Elevated mood

You can find it in similar formats as CBD products, including vapes, capsules, tinctures, flowers, edibles, and topicals.

Vaping delta 8 THC tends to induce more uplifting, heady sensations. Many users like to vape during the day, as it’s easy to control your dose with a small puff here and there. Others prefer taking delta 8 in edibles because it’s convenient and tasty.

Your product choice will also have an impact on cognitive effects, duration, potency, and how quickly it kicks in (or how slowly).

Now you’re probably wondering if you can go out and find some delta 8 THC in a dispensary near you.

Let’s discuss the legality of delta 8 THC in the United States.

Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

Yes, but it depends on the source.

Some delta 8 THC products are extracted from marijuana; they’re federally illegal and allowed only in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

But the majority of delta 8 THC extracts come from hemp, which is a non-intoxicating species of cannabis, with no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC by dry weight.

Such products are legal at the federal level because hemp and its derivatives were completely legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. By signing the new law, President Trump removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, bringing it back as an agricultural commodity.

Factors That Determine The Legal Status of Delta 8 THC

Cannabinoids originate from CBGA, which is cannabigerolic acid. Enzymes within the cannabis plant use CBGA to produce CBD, CBDV, THC, and many more. Delta 8 is a byproduct of delta 9 THC’s degradation process.

Most delta 9 THC converts to CBN, or cannabinol. CBN is around 10% as potent as THC. Only a minimal amount of delta 9 THC transforms into delta 8 through this process. Even high-THC marijuana strains only have around 1% or less of delta 8 THC by weight.

Anyone looking to produce large amounts of delta 8 THC can choose between the following two different extraction methods:

  • Covert Delta 9 into Delta 8. Efficient, but only legal in states that permit recreational use.
  • Convert CBD into Delta 9 and then into Delta 8. Complicated but federally legal and compliant with the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Extracting delta 8 THC from CBD demands the use of solvents, reagents, and acids. Experienced and knowledgeable lab technicians and high-tech equipment will ensure that the product is purged of toxic or harmful chemicals. Someone who doesn’t know what they are doing could potentially do something incorrectly, contaminating the product with the aforementioned agents and making it dangerous.

Is Delta 8 THC Legal In My State?

So far, so good. Only a handful of states have chosen to ban delta-8 THC, while most have kept it legal.

Even though delta 8 is federally legal, states can always decide to place their own rules and restrictions on delta 8 products if they feel the need to do so.

These states have either regulated or banned delta 8 THC from sales:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

If you live in any of the states listed above, you’re out of luck for now. That’s not to say that things will stay that way forever. The current legal landscape for delta 8 THC is very dynamic. Once the federal government legalizes cannabis nationwide, the issues with delta 8 and other isomers should disappear.

How To Find A Trusted Delta 8 THC Vendor

The delta 8 THC space is thriving but lacks regulation because the FDA has yet to investigate safety and efficacy, similar to what unfolded with CBD.

Unfortunately, the lack of regulation allows more people to take advantage of consumers, creating shady businesses that offer subpar “miracle cure” delta 8 products.

When choosing a delta-8 vendor, lab testing should be performed on each batch of products.

Ask yourself these questions when looking at the lab reports:

What do the laboratory tests cover? For example, do they list potency, or do they also test for potential contaminants and harmful additives? Testing results should be as detailed as possible.

You should know what’s in it since you will be ingesting this product (unless you are using a topical). Find vendors that offer delta 8 products from organic hemp, ensuring your product is free of any trace amounts of pesticides or other chemicals.

Does living in a state where delta 8 sales are illegal makes you unable to purchase such products?

Not at all.

Since delta 8 THC is federally legal, you can order it online and have it delivered to your door legally.

Because you’re not buying it in your state — voila.

Buying delta 8 THC online gives you access to a myriad of products in the comfort of your home. You can easily compare different formulas, flavors, strengths, and prices to find a good match for your needs.

And speaking of prices, delta 8 THC products sold online are often less expensive than those you can find in local stores — so there you have it, another perk.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is unique because it offers many of the traditional health benefits of Delta 9 THC while being milder in terms of its psychoactive potential. Many people prefer this isomer because it doesn’t get them anxious or paranoid in high doses as its stronger cousin.

While research surrounding delta 8 and its effects is still in its infancy, what we already know leads us to believe it shares many benefits with delta 9 THC, including:

  • Pain reduction
  • Nausea relief
  • Lowered inflammation
  • Mood elevation
  • Better stress response
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Neuroprotection

As the legalization movement is gaining momentum, researchers spend more time researching delta 8 THC, its benefits, and safety. The near future should reveal more exciting facts about the “diet weed.”

Final Thoughts

Delta 8 THC is legal as long as it comes from hemp.

That’s because hemp and all its derivatives were legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. As long as your delta 8 product doesn’t contain more than 0.3% THC, it’s federally legal.

That being said, some states have imposed their own limitations on the availability of delta 8 THC products. At least 18 states restrict or ban the sales of delta 8 THC.

Thankfully, due to its federal status, you can buy delta 8 THC online from states where it’s fully legal. The market is thriving with innovative companies and great professionals working hard to deliver high-quality products in this unregulated space.

Always make sure to buy your delta 8 THC products from reputable brands that provide complete, batch-specific certificates of analysis for their products. Only then can you be sure that your product is safe (no contaminants) and legal (no significant levels of THC).