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The Unclear Legal Future of Delta-8

You have likely seen it in magazine articles, in blogs, and on the pages of your favorite social media influencers. In fact, it is unlikely that anyone who has been following the larger CBD and THC communities hasn’t heard news of Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8) and the myriad of new products coming out featuring the compound. There has been a near-constant buzz surrounding Delta8, and every week we have seen new variations of oils, gummies, and other extracts containing it hit the shelves.

This massive spike in popularity makes sense. Delta-8 THC products are relatively new, and offer many of the same psychoactive and medicinal effects of classic THC, but with enough variation to attract the attention and keep the interest of both long-time and new Cannabis users. In many of these communities Delta 8 is regularly referred to as “weed light”  for the mellow high it offers, and the fact it is less prone to cause the anxiety some experience with Delta 9 (classic THC).

There is, however, another reason the Delta 8 made so many waves and attracted so many investors; this popular cannabinoid has been stuck within an interesting grey area of federal law, allowing it to circumvent many of the regulations that have held back the sale of Delta 9 and other marijuana products.

The Legal Confusion Over Delta-8

Delta-8 is just one of many cannabinoids, and like Delta-9, it binds with our endocannabinoid system to offer both medicinal and recreational side effects. However, Delta 8 is derived from the hemp plant, rather than the cannabis plant from which Delta 9 THC is extracted from. While a scientist wouldn’t differentiate these two plants, our legal system does. For legal purposes, hemp is a cannabis plant that has less than .3% THC, while marijuana is a cannabis plant with over that amount of psychoactive ingredients. 

This legal framework was put into place after the 2018 Farm Bill, whose intention was to limit products that had ‘intoxicating’ psychoactive effects, while still allowing the benign hemp to be used in supplements and other products.  However, with large scale Delta8 extraction having recently been made commercially viable through advancements in technology, we are now seeing people able to get “high” from extracts of the hemp plant. Thus Delta8 products fell into a strange legal grey area. Delta8 was offering the same “high” as Delta9 THC products without actually being outright banned at a federal level, or so the thought process went.

In fact, back in August of 2020, when the DEA released a ruling saying that “synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol remain schedule 1 controlled substances.” really nothing was clarified. It is still not clear what products are considered “synthetically derived” and thus Delta8 sales and production continued unabated.

Lawmakers are Beginning to Respond


The Future of Delta-8 Rests in the hands of State Lawmakers Currently

Lawmakers and industry leaders are now coming around to taking action and making new laws on what they perceive to be a threat to the hemp industry. One of the most notable voices leading this charge against Delta8 products is The U.S. Hemp Authority. The U.S. Hemp authority was created in order to provide a certification program and guidelines that have helped to formulate regulations and provide quality controls to the wider hemp industry -and they see Delta-8 as a threat to the image they have cultivated over the years. The fact Delta-8 THC is a hemp product that contains intoxicating effects has run contrary to the messaging and arguments that hemp producers have been making for decades. In response, the U.S. Hemp Authority announced in April that they won’t be offering their certification to Delta-8 based products.

State lawmakers are also now beginning to follow suit and release statements clarifying their stance on the Delta 8 compound. In Washington State, the Liquor and Cannabis Board clarified that they are maintaining (or making clear) a ban on hemp-derived ‘delta-8’ cannabis products. States like Alabama, Oregon, and North Dakota are also planning on issuing similar bans. In 12 states, these types of laws have already gone into effect with Delta-8 products being prohibited in Utah, Rhode Island, Iowa, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Delaware, Arizona, Alaska, and Arkansas.

Not all the news is bleak for Delta-8 producers, however. In Florida the state lawmakers have decided instead to provide the legal grounds for approval and regulation of D8 products and other states will likely be watching the results of this stance with interest.

The Future of Delta-8 THC is Still Bright

Regardless of legal setbacks in the short term, the approval and growing acceptance of THC products across the nation, and in the world, likely means that the future of Delta-8 is bright, and usage will only increase in the years to come. While some states may feel pressure to take the product off of shelves, as long as the studies and customers of those using Delta8 products remain so positive, the pressure to legalize and regulate it will also grow. 

As the science around substances like Delta8 continues, and we begin to see a growing number of viable uses in the medical field (especially around alleviating symptoms of those undergoing cancer treatment or suffering from seizures) it is unlikely that the public sentiment around Delta8 will provide a basis for the bans to continue.

The Future of Delta-8 is Likely Linked to the Health of the THC Industry Overall

For the time being, though, we are looking at a nation divided on how to respond to the growing demand for Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol. Much as with the earlier days of general marijuana legalization, we are likely to see medical acceptance in many places slowly force lawmakers into a more generalized acceptance of the compound for its recreational uses over the course of years. Though, as usual, we will see a patchwork of states that are likely to maintain outright bans, even in the face of a populace hungry for the product.

At CBDOil.com, we will continue to provide coverage of the Delta-8 THC industry, as well as provide Delta8 products from respected producers in the places where it remains legal. We will watch the future of Delta-8 with great interest. We have ensured that all Delta 8 products we promote are made to the highest standards of quality and safety and are proud to offer such products to our customers who seek relief.

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