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Legality
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Medically Reviewed By:

Nidra Sidhu, M.D. Integrative Medicine

Why Is Delta 8 Legal? – How Delta 8 Became Federally Legal

Delta-8 leaf with legal gavel

Delta 8 THC online has risen in popularity rather quickly, so quickly that many people are left wondering: what is delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is a compound found in the hemp plant that acts similarly to delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol but is federally legal and offers a smoother, more prolonged high for many people.

Experts estimate there are more than 100 different phytocannabinoids and over 400 distinct chemical compounds found in hemp plants and the cannabis plant.

Of those 100 compounds that contain the more well-known compounds and delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, there lies delta 8 THC.

Yes, delta 8 THC is a type of THC, but the high is much smoother than the more intense delta 9 from the cannabis plant. It’s also compliant with federal law!

Is delta 8 THC legal when it has psychoactive properties?

We have the 2018 Farm Bill to thank for that. We’ll talk about it more below.

The benefits of legal delta 8 THC mean that for some people who live in states that prohibit delta 9, delta 8 THC is a way to take care of yourself and experience the high without breaking the law.

As always, check the laws in your state to ensure everything is on the up and up.

If you want answers to the questions around delta 8 THC legality and what does delta 8 THC do, keep reading.

Delta North

Why Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

Is delta 8 THC legal? As of this writing, yes, it is.

Some states — we’re talking to you, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont — have shipping restrictions, which is most unfortunate, and federally, it is legal.

We’ll get into the history of its legality a bit so you can understand the journey this plant, and hemp in general, have been on.

The 2018 Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill is the reason that people get to grow legally, manufacture, sell, and consume hemp and its derivatives. This includes delta 8 THC but excludes medicinal marijuana.

Many states, such as North Carolina follow this. It's also what made CBD legal.

Let’s talk about it.

The 2018 Farm Bill was a piece of legislation that brought hemp back into the limelight.

Since 1937, the United States has dedicated way too many dollars to fighting against this nourishing and powerful plant and punishing the people who use it to elevate their life, manage stress, and all kinds of other reasons.

This bill matters for legalization because it legalized hemp on a massive scale — not just pilot programs and the like.

It was also an expansion of the 2014 Farm Bill, with those expansions including:

  • The removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (hemp being classified as the plant and all of its derivatives with less than 0.3% delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis.
  • Allowing for broad hemp cultivation beyond pilot programs
  • Allowing the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines — woo! 

While these were significant wins, some restrictions involved giving shared power between federal and state over the legality of this plant.

As you may have guessed, this can cause some problems, especially for states who are notoriously anti-hemp.

So How Is Delta 8 THC Legal?

How is delta 8 THC legal if THC isn’t legal above 0.3%?

The biggest distinction is that the bill only says delta 9 is illegal above that threshold - delta 8 THC isn't mentioned.

Yes, similar to the differences between indica and sativa, they are both a type of THC, and no, they aren’t the same thing.

The biggest problem is that states share power in deciding how to interpret the laws.

Derivatives of hemp are included in the 2018 Farm Bill, and some states are arguing that delta 8 THC isn’t a derivative because of how it’s produced.

While it all sounds complicated because of politics and nitpicking, the important thing to note is that delta 8 THC is legal federally and in most states.

Delta North

The Importance of Delta 8 THC

Why is delta 8 legal?

Delta 8 THC is legal because of the laws surrounding it. What does delta 8 THC do? That’s another question entirely.

Many people use delta 8 THC as a way to get high, without being glued to the couch. Delta 8 THC is a smooth high that doesn’t climb too high like delta 9 THC.

I imagine it as an invisible fluffy blanket draped around your shoulders and a hot cup of herbal tea in your hands.

What does delta 8 THC do? What are delta 8's effects?

It offers an alternative for those who live in states where delta 9 is illegal entirely and those who just want a softer experience without sacrificing the quality of the high — if anything, it will elevate your standards of what a high is.

Overall, delta 8 THC offers milder psychoactive effects with some users reportedly taking it for pain relief.

Delta North

The Takeaway

Delta 8 THC is legal at the federal level because it is derived from the hemp plant.

It’s taken some time in our history to get to this point, and a lot of that history still needs to be written.

You can read more about delta 8 THC legality, legalized marijuana, and the cannabis plant in your state and learn more about this powerful compound on the Delta North delta 8 THC blog.

If you’ve got other questions, we’ve got answers. Does delta 8 THC show up on a drug test? Learn more at the link.

Legal Disclaimer: You should still consult an attorney for the best legal advice regarding Delta 8 THC in your state, as the material shared here is for informational purposes only. Always check with your medical doctor before starting on recreational marijuana or recreational cannabis for any health risks. If you have any adverse effects please contact national poison control centers.

author avatar
Clayton McCall

Clayton is a Senior Content Specialist, researcher, and holistic healthcare practitioner. Having been in the supplement industry for more than 15 years, Clayton brings a wealth of experience to the delta 8 space. His publications include alternative therapy, stress and coping, and alternative health.

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