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What is Delta 8 THC and is it Legal? Regulated or Banned in 19 States and Counting [March 2023]

We explore the fascinating possibilities behind Delta 8 THC, the lesser-known “sister” of Delta 9 THC, which is the cannabinoid most think of when hearing THC. There’s a lot to know about THC Delta 8 and how it works.
Hayley Smith
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Delta 8 THC in a nutshell

Delta-8 THC may just be one of the hottest topics in the cannabis and hemp markets right now, but it has the community divided due to its dubious legal status.

If you’re interested in buying and trying delta 8, then keep reading to find out more about the legal status of delta 8 THC, depending on where you live.

We also explore the fascinating possibilities behind Delta 8 THC, the lesser-known “sister” of Delta 9 THC (THC). There’s a lot to know about THC Delta 8 and how it works.

Exploring Cannabis Cannabinoids

While only two are widely known, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis plant produces over a hundred distinct cannabinoids.

Each one has a different effect on the body, and we don’t fully understand the effects of many, even those that have been widely studied.

What we do know is that cannabinoids imitate naturally occurring compounds in the human body known as endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids mediate communication between cells. As you can imagine, being the human body is composed of cells, these compounds have wide-reaching health effects—again, that we don’t yet fully understand.

Different cannabinoids bind to or affect different receptors within the endocannabinoid system and produce varying effects. This aspect is part of why different strains of cannabis and hemp produce different effects.

For instance, Indica-dominant cannabis strains are known for their relaxing effects, because they tend to be higher in CBD than THC, while Sativa-dominant cannabis strains typically have higher THC content than CBD and are known to produce a more euphoric, uplifting feel.

THC binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are primarily found in the central and peripheral nervous systems. These receptors seem to have behavioral and cerebral effects, leading to the “high” THC causes.

On the other hand, CBD works indirectly by stimulating the production of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, the bliss molecule. It also affects serotonin receptors and immune system function. That’s why CBD is more commonly used for therapeutic purposes and produces no psychoactive effects.

All forms of the cannabis plant, from hemp to high-grade medical marijuana, contain some level of CBD, THC—and Delta 8 THC—among other cannabinoids.


What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is a stereoisomer of Delta 9 THC (often referred to simply as THC), meaning it has the same molecular formula but its atoms are arranged slightly differently. Delta 8 has a double bond on the 8th carbon of the chain and delta 9 THC has a double bond on the 9th carbon.

Some believe that Delta 8 may be formed as Delta 9 degrades, which could explain why it’s found in such low levels in the cannabis plant. While Delta 9 THC can reach levels as high as 30% in some cannabis strains, Delta 8 rarely exceeds 1%, regardless of strain.

Delta 8 THC is also only found in plants with some level of Delta 9, though keep in mind that even hemp contains low levels of Delta 9.

While Delta 8 also binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors just like Delta 9, the effect is less pronounced and doesn’t generally produce psychoactive effects although it is known to give a head buzz or euphoric high which is why it has become so popular as of late.


What is the Difference Between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC?

On the surface, Delta 8 tetrahydrocannabinol is different from Delta 9 THC only because of a small shift in a single chemical bond.

Delta 9 THC has a double bond on the ninth molecule, and Delta 8 has a double bond on the eighth molecule. That tiny difference gives Delta 8 THC an entirely different effect on endocannabinoid receptors.

Some people claim that Delta 8 THC has more substantial positive effects than Delta 9, but without the cannabis-related risk of paranoia. Others say the high from Delta 8 is longer lasting.

Personally I feel like the “high” from D8 products is much more controllable and functional. It just gives me a nice relaxing buzz without taking it overboard. The only downside being that most Delta 8 THC products (especially the smokable ones) give me a terrible cotton mouth and red eyes.

Like any cannabinoid products containing THC, Delta 8 has effects that can vary from person to person.

How Are Delta 8 THC Products Made?

As mentioned, Delta 8 THC is found in very low concentrations in all forms of cannabis. That’s one reason prior to the loosening of cannabis regulation in the US (and other parts of the world), most notably the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Delta 8 received very little attention.

As the industry has grown, more advanced extraction techniques have grown with it, leading to methods of increasing Delta 8 production and isolating it, namely, distillation, selective breeding, and molecular isolation.

A method of converting CBD into Delta 8 THC was also discovered, which significantly increased its market feasibility. Why not Delta 9 THC? We’ll get to that in a moment—hint—it’s a matter of legality.

Where is Delta 8 available?

Finding a good Delta 8 vendor can be a little tricky since the boom in demand has created an opportunity for shady e-commerce stores to sell fake or low quality products.

Many of the Delta 8 carts on the market, especially from new brands are not recommended to purchase due to their poor business practices, customer service and dubious lab results.

Some of the best sources of D8 THC on the market at the moment are Secret Nature and PlainJane.

Delta 8 THC Vape Cart


Secret Nature is one of the best (if not the best) CBD flower brand on the market with consistent top-shelf indoor CBD buds. Lately, they have started releasing fantastic Delta 8 THC products that deliver the same fabulous quality as their flower.

My recommendation are their vape carts. They come in Indica and Sativa options and are full of clean flavor and sharp effects that keep you nice and faded for a long time.

View product here

Delta 8 THC Gummies


Plain Jane offers some of the best Delta-8 THC gummies on the market. Great price and guaranteed to take you to the moon.

I popped two of these and was sent flying into another dimension that I only thought was reachable using cannabis.

Buy em now, thank me later!

View product here

Best Delta 8 THC Vendors

So among the new vendors that are adding Delta 8 products to their menus, which one is good and which one is bad?

Honesty, the best way to look at buying Delta 8 is by starting with potency and price and then looking at which brand you want to support.

Hempire Direct Review


As mentioned earlier, Hempire Direct offers a great variety of D8 gummies, vape carts and candies that all pack a great punch at a great price.

Some people however are offended by the flashy sales tactics and aggressive marketing that the brand is doing. Expect a lot of emails and text messages post-purchase.

Some of the more “classic” brands are offended by the flamboyant brand and feel like its holding the industry back by giving it a bad image.

Personally… I say the proof is in the puddin’ and the quality of the Delta 8 products are really high and the price is great. For that reason, I put Hempire Direct at the top of Mount D8.

View Delta 8 THC from Hempire Direct here

Plain Jane Delta 8

Plain Jane offers a much smaller line of D8 products but they deserve to get mentioned just because their gummies are great!

Take a look at their D8 gummies here

A word of caution… The Delta 8 pre-rolls are not nearly as effective and powerful as the other D8 products.

How Do You Use Delta 8 THC?

As Delta 8 THC’s extraction methods lead to concentrate or distillate, it can be purchased for use in a variety of forms.

D8 THC Vape Carts

You can get vape cartridges, or “carts,” loaded with concentrated liquid. Vaping Delta 8 THC is a potent option that gives you quite a serious buzz that cannot be compared to CBD.

Delta 8 THC carts are available in a wide variety of flavors with the Super 8 Sativa being my personal favorite.

Delta 8 THC Edibles

Delta 8 THC cannabinoid-infused edibles, such as gummies, are also widely available. These are good if you need a discreet method of consumption.

You can also make edibles using Delta 8 THC. Make small batches while you are still determining how much you need and consume small amounts to gauge your tolerance. Brownies are a favorite, but you can make all kinds of edibles using Delta 8 distillate.

Remember to keep all CBD and THC items, especially appealing edibles, away from minors. This is especially true now that the market is getting more “creative” with their products. You can find Delta 8 Nerd Ropes, Skittles, Air Heads (Pot Heads) and other candy-like variations.

Delta 8 THC Oils

Much like CBD, you can dab-on infused oils or take tinctures sublingually. An infused cream can be helpful after a good hard workout or a day of heavy lifting. Just rub the cream on the area that feels stiff or tight.

Delta 8 THC Flower

Some cannabis growers mist down their harvested flower with Delta 8 THC concentrate. If you prefer smoking CBD flower, this can be the easiest way to access a higher Delta 8 concentration. Keep in mind that this is only an option for hemp flower with THC levels within the legal limit or if you live in a state where marijuana use is legal.

What Are the Effects of Delta 8 THC?

While we touched on this briefly already, to quickly recap, Delta 9 THC interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system, producing a euphoric “high” effect. Delta 8 THC has a lower psychotropic potency than Delta 9 THC, meaning it won’t get you high.

Most users describe its effects similar to CBD, but also noted feeling “clear-headed.” It’s relaxing and non-sedative. It can be uplifting when your mood feels off. It’s great for evening use if you have a busy schedule the next day.

Some users also suggest dosing with Delta 8 makes it easier to notice positive cannabinoid reactions when coupled with other cannabis products. Others report that Delta 8 THC makes them feel much better than Delta 9.

Like mentioned above, there is a high risk of getting both extreme cotton mouth and red eyes from delta 8 smokables. More so than with Delta 9 THC in my experience.

There is a lot of conversation around what constitutes “legal THC,” and this is where Delta 8 THC coming from hemp becomes important. Marijuana, and THC derived from it, is still classified as a schedule 1 drug and is illegal on a federal level. However, as of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and any cannabinoid derived from it are not.

Yes and no. Depending on who you speak to, delta 8 is federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, but illegal according to the DEA, thanks to the Federal Analog Act.

Hemp, to be legally classified as such, must contain 0.3% or less delta 9 THC, but the laws don’t say anything about other forms of THC. Therefore, as long as delta-8 is extracted or synthesized from hemp, according to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, it is technically legal under federal law.

Per section 297A of that bill: ‘‘The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”

Illegal according to the DEA

However, there are some that would argue that delta 8 is automatically a controlled substance, and therefore federally illegal, due to something called the “Federal Analog Act”.

The Federal Analog Act, introduced way back in 1986, makes all compounds illegal, that are either;

  • Chemically similar to a controlled substance
  • Or have similar stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effects to a controlled substance

A divided industry

Many hemp producers (and users) believe that delta 8 is significantly different enough from delta 9 THC for the Federal Analog Act not to apply here. But many other people involved in the hemp and cannabis industries believe that delta 8 is a threat to years of hard work getting hemp legalized in the first place.

Much of the argument for legalizing hemp involved declassifying it as a controlled substance due to its lack of psychoactive effects and now, thanks to this legal-ish loophole, producers have found a way to get you high from hemp-derived delta-8 THC products.

No. Whether or not delta 8 is legal at a federal level, many states have already banned delta 8 THC, as well as other forms of THC, outright.

If you want to know “is Delta 8 Legal in my State?”, then check out the lists below (updated Mar 2022).

Where is Delta 8 available?

Delta 8 is currently available in 28 states (plus one district), so if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself and are lucky enough to live in one of the states listed below, then you should probably get some sooner rather than later! After all, who knows how long this legal loophole will last?

Delta 8 is currently state-legal in:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Where is Delta 8 restricted?

To date, a total of 19 states have either regulated, restricted, or outright banned the sale and use of delta 8 THC, including:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Michigan (as of October 2021)
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Where Delta 8 still is under review

If you live in Alabama, Illinois, Oklahoma, or Oregon, then watch this space, as delta 8 is currently under review where you live.

Will Delta 8 THC Trigger a Positive Drug Test?

While Delta 8 THC is legal, you could run into issues if, whether for employment or other reasons, you have to undergo drug testing.

CBD, which is almost exclusively derived from hemp, may or may not show up on a drug test. THC, including Delta 8, is much more likely to show up. If you’re worried about an employer’s no-tolerance policy, using a THC cannabinoid of any kind might be a poor choice.

Consume Responsibly

If you have questions about using Delta 8 THC, get advice from a legal professional. Any form of THC cannabinoid, including Delta 8, could cause effects on your body and mental status. If you don’t know how you will react, use Delta 8 THC first in the safety and privacy of your home.

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There are a number of factors that decide how long Delta 8 remains detectable in your blood or urine. It depends on frequency of usage, your age, how you consume it, your metabolism, dosage, and even which medications or supplements you have taken alongside it. It can be as short as 2 days, or as long as 30 days. Read on to learn more!
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