What Is Delta-8?
With a lower percentage of THC potency than Delta-9, Delta-8 is quickly becoming a favorite of cannabis enthusiasts who want to enjoy the milder effects of THC. While Delta-8 still provides feelings of relaxation, calmness, and euphoria, it’s not as potent as Delta-9. Sometimes called “diet weed” or “cannabis-lite”, Delta-8 contains hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) instead of the cannabis-derived THC found in Delta-9.
Is Delta-8 Legal to Purchase and Use in the U.S.?
Hemp belongs to the cannabis Sativa plant species but has negligible amounts of THC. Hemp refers to cannabis containing 0.3 percent or less THC, a percentage established by the Agricultural and Nutrition Improvement Act of 2018 to differentiate hemp from cannabis. Hemp farmers have to apply for a permit from the DEA to grow hemp crops. However, hemp farmers are rarely denied a permit to cultivate commercial hemp.
The ANI Act of 2018 removed hemp from the DEA’s list of controlled substances, making hemp legal to grow and use at the federal and state level. Since Delta-8 is not mentioned anywhere in the bill, cannabis attorneys assert that it is legal to buy, sell, and consume Delta-8 products in most states.
This loophole in the ANI Act of 2018 made Delta-8 one of the most popular cannabis products in the nation. But in August 2020, the U.S. DEA unexpectedly issued an amendment to the farm bill, stating that “all synthetically derived THC products will remain listed as a Schedule I Controlled Substance”. In addition, the DEA also stated in the ruling that percentage amounts of Delta-9 THC contained in Delta-8 products do not determine whether the product is a controlled substance.
So what does this mean? Is Delta-8 legal or illegal to sell, buy, and use? Fortunately for cannabis enthusiasts, this ruling makes Delta-8 appear to be illegal only at the federal level. By complicating the farm bill’s original language, the DEA only muddied the issue of whether Delta-8 is actually illegal at the federal level.
On that note, 21 states have enacted laws that ban or restrict the sale and use of Delta-8. Idaho, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, New York, Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, and South Carolina have banned Delta-8. California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, South Dakota, Louisiana, Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington, DC have regulated the sale and use of Delta-8 products. It remains legal to buy, sell, or use Delta-8 products in the remaining states–for now.
Why Have Some States Banned or Restricted the Use of Delta-8?
Legislators wield a somewhat compelling argument for banning or regulating Delta-8 in their respective states–the lack of FDA studies done on the safety of Delta-8 products. However, some companies that make Delta-8 products perform tests on their products in their own laboratories. Good quality Delta-8 products typically have a batch number or QR code printed on the packaging that let you see the test results on the company’s website. On the other hand, Delta-8 products that can’t provide valid test results may possibly contain dubious substances mimicking the effects of Delta-8.
What Are the Benefits of Delta-8?
Anecdotal statements from Delta-8 users suggest you still get the benefits of THC but at a more measured level. Potential health benefits you may enjoy from Delta-8 products include mild to moderate relief from anxiety, pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and occasional nausea. Since Delta-8 is a relatively new low-THC product, studies investigating its effects have yet to be completed and published in academic journals.
How Long Does a Delta-8 Last?
Depending on how a Delta-8 product is used will generally determine how long your high lasts. For example, smoking or vaping Delta-8 may give you an hour-long, mild buzz while eating Delta-8 gummies may give you a longer buzz. This happens because inhaled Delta-8 gets metabolized and eliminated by the body faster than consumed Delta-8.
Delta-8 vs Delta-9
Why would someone prefer Delta-8 instead of Delta-9? Some people respond more intensely to the psychoactive effects of THC. They may feel anxious and jittery after using a Delta-9 product. Their heart may beat rapidly and uncontrollably, leading to hyperventilation and a panic attack. Alternately, people who are sensitive to THC find that Delta-8 doesn’t give them unpleasant side effects like Delta-9. Instead, Delta-8 makes them feel soothingly relaxed, calm, and slightly euphoric. Anecdotal comments from Delta-8 users say it also enhances their creativity as well.
Can You Get Delta-8 Products by Mail?
If you live in a state that has made Delta-8 illegal on a statewide level, you’ll probably find it difficult or unlikely to have Delta-8 products mailed to you. Before purchasing Delta-8 products online, check the company’s website for information about which states they ship to and which states they won’t or can’t ship to. The best way to buy and receive Delta-8 products online is use search terms that include your particular state.
What Kind of Delta-8 Products Are Available?
In addition to Delta-8 weed that can be vaped or smoked, Delta-8 gummies, edibles, tinctures, topicals, and capsules are also available online, at smoke shops, or in some convenience stores (depending on your state’s Delta-8 laws).
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