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  • by Nicola Boulton September 05, 2022 5 min read

    Is Delta-8 Legal?

    Delta-8 THC is making its way into people's lifestyles due to its soothing, calming, and relaxing properties. However, the main question many ask is if the compound is legal. This article dissects the dilemma by providing information on what delta-8 is, the legality of delta-9 THC, delta-8 states legality, why delta-8 is legal in some states, why other states delta-8 illegal, and the future of delta-8 THC.

    Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most popular and recognized compound in cannabis plants. As scientists are investigating deeper into the cannabis compounds, new molecules of THC are being discovered. One of the trending molecules of THC is delta -8, a mild and intoxicating version of Delta-9 THC. The delta-9 THC is famous for causing a feeling of highness and confusion in marijuana users. In contrast, delta-8 lies in the middle of cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 THC. It does not cause highness but is not over the mark; additionally, many people who use the drug reported that it is very useful in controlling pain, inflammation, and seizures and helps in appetite loss. However, the main question to many is if delta-8 is legal.

    What Exactly Is Delta 8?

    Tagen et al. (2022) mentioned that delta-8 (dronabinol) is a form of THC from cannabis Sativa plants. It can be consumed as a pill or capsules or inhaled through vaporization. It is legal in many states since it is characterized by providing highness that is remarkably calming, enhances mood, and in higher doses, can alleviate pain. If you have never tried cannabis-derived products, delta -8 makes you feel;

    • deep relaxation
    • A floating feeling
    • A chilling and fresh vibe
    • Boosted appetite

    The Legality of Delta -9 THC

    The users tend to be out of control in high doses, increase heart beat rate, increase blood pressure and users are paranoid and have high anxiety. Reports have shown that delta-9 differs from delta-8 regarding psychoactive effects. Leas et al. (2022) explained that delta-9 is illicit in most states by federal law. However, in 2018, a farm law signed by Donald Trump legalized the growing and selling of hemp-derived products; thus, hemp delta-9 is legal in 42 states but still illegal in federal law. This means you can't cross borders with the THC molecule.

    Delta 8 State Legality

    Under federal law, delta-8 is legal across the United States; however, in some states it is illegal under state law. Leas  (2021) highlighted that the legality of delta-8 falls into four categories, namely;

    • Legal
    • Regulated
    • Unclear
    • illegal

    States Where It Is Legal

    You can buy any delta-8 products in the below states without any issues, but in some states like Texas, Virginia, and Maryland, you can't purchase edibles or vapes delta 8. The following are states where delta -8 is legal;




    New Jersey






    New Mexico

    South Carolina





    North Carolina

    South Dakota







    Washington. C.






    West Virginia


    State Where Delta-8 Is Regulated

    Michigan and Connecticut states are where delta 8 is not legal but is regulated in such a way that you can only purchase it from licensed cannabis stores or pharmacies. They treat the compound the same way as recreational drugs.

    Unclear States About Delta-8

    In these states, authorities do not have to release a clear statement if the delta-8 is legal, partially legal, or completely illegal. They include; California, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Arizona.

    States Where Delta-8 Is Illegal

    The following states have legislation prohibiting the use of delta-8in any way.






    New York



    North Dakota


    Washing Ton



    Rhode Island



    Why Is Delta-8 Legal in Some States

    States authorities may have different opinions regarding the THC molecule; some believe its benefits exceed its side effects, therefore, legalizing it. Clinical trials and studies done in legal states show the following benefits;

    • They provide smoother psychoactive effects- unlike delta-9, it does not cause anxiety or confusion. Instead, it provides a body with a safe feeling of relaxation and calmness, and actually, you can remain focused while you are under its influence.
    • It stimulates appetite- The appetite stimulation from delta-8 is twice stronger than any other cannabinoids.
    • Like CBD is neuron protective in the brain, delta-8 has shown remarkable neuroprotective properties. It inhibits the release of cyclase that damages nerves and allows regulate calcium and potassium channels in the central nervous system.
    • It boosts better sleep- Delta-8 induces a mellow high in users, ensuring cooling effects for people with insomnia.
    • It reduces vomiting and nausea- delta-9 is great in inhabiting these symptoms; however, there is a significant roadblock due to its solid psychoactive nature. Fortunately, Delta 8 has similar antiemetic features but has no paranoia incidences.
    • High doses of delta-8 can help pain relief- upon consumption, the compound offers anti-inflammatory properties, regulating neurons and hormones used in pain transmission. It also binds with cannabinoids receptors, especially CB2, whereby it acts as body cannabinoids to tackle pain by sending electric impulses to the affected area and blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain,

    Why Other States Consider Delta-8 As Illegal?

    The food and drug administration (FDA) has not regulated the production and selling of delta-8 products; therefore, most states believe the THC molecules can be contaminated with chemical residue altering its benefits. Moreover, the THC form is associated with the following side effects;

    • Fast heartbeat- it is dangerous for patients with heart conditions such as high blood pressure, hypertension are at risk of panic attacks due to the compound
    • Causes dizziness and sometimes nausea- this is the main reason people are not allowed to drive under the influence of cannabis plants.
    • Dry mouth- even if the compound helps moisturize the skin, it causes the lips and inside the mouth to dry, especially if you vape it.

    The Future of Delta-8 THC

    Livne et al. (2022) said the future is uncertain or great for all THC forms. A proposed bill in the congestion chamber called the hemp advancement bill will render delta-8 products illegal. The bill seeks to regulate hemp to a 0.3% THC limit. Even if the bill fails, there is a high chance that individual state laws will regulate delta-8 in a way that it will be available from licensed stores.


    Delta-8 is a THC molecule with less psychoactive effects than delta-9. It can portray health benefits like soothing addiction to drugs, pain relieving, providing better sleep, and many more. However, it is associated with dangerous side effects like a high heartbeat, dry mouth, and dizziness, thus not good for children, pregnant women, and other delicate people. All these facts have affected the legality of the molecule, whereby in some states, it is legal while in others, it is an illicit drug. It all depends on individual state laws, even though it is illegal if manufactured from the hemp plant under federal law.


    Leas, E. C. (2021). The hemp loophole: A need to clarify the legality of delta-8-THC and other hemp-derived tetrahydrocannabinol compounds. American Journal of Public Health, 111(11), 1927-1931.

    Leas, E. C., Nobles, A. L., Shi, Y., & Hendrickson, E. (2022). Public interest in∆ 8-Tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC) increased in US states that restricted∆ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) use. International Journal of Drug Policy, 101, 103557.

    Livne, O., Budney, A., Borodovsky, J., Walsh, C., Shmulewitz, D., Fink, D. S., ... & Hasin, D. S. (2022). Delta-8 THC use in US adults: Sociodemographic characteristics and correlates. Addictive behaviors, 107374.

    Tagen, M., & Klumpers, L. E. (2022). Review of delta‐8‐tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8‐THC): Comparative pharmacology with Δ9‐THC. British journal of pharmacology, 179(15), 3915-3933.





    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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