There are at least 144 recognized cannabinoids that have been extracted from the cannabis plant, as per data from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, that substance that makes you high) are among the most popular of these cannabinoids. Yet, another cannabinoid has burst onto the scene in the last few years and is fast gaining huge popularity among many users.
No, it’s not CBG, CBC, or CBN—It’s delta-8 THC. This is an active compound that has some psychoactive effects similar to delta-9 THC and is fully legal in some areas. The popularity of delta-8 shows how clever cannabis entrepreneurs essentially create brands from different flavours, potencies, and THC.
Thus, the high demand for delta-8 THC products has raised issues surrounding the legality of delta-8, which falls into a gray area. Read on to find out the countries where delta-8 is legal.
What Is Delta-8 THC?
Just like other cannabinoids, delta-8 is naturally found in the weed plant. Apart from the actual position of its double bond, the rest of its molecular structure resembles that of delta-9 THC.
As a form of THC, delta-8 THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, resulting in a high. But because of the position of its double bond, delta-8 attaches to those CB1 receptors in a somewhat contrasting manner compared to delta-9 THC, thus causing only a mild high.
So, users experience relief from pain and stress symptoms without feeling anxious, agitated, or other side effects associated with THC. Users can consume delta-8 THC in the form of gummies, flower, topical creams, oil tinctures, and vape cartridges, with no federal oversight.
Where Is Delta-8 Legal in the United States?
The legal setting of D8 in the United States is paradoxical at best. Federally, marijuana is deemed an illegal and hazardous drug under the Controlled Substances Act. At the state level, things appear more permissive, with 36 states legalizing marijuana for medical use. And in 14 states, it’s permissible for recreational use.
But thanks to an ambiguity in the 2018 Farm Bill, delta-8 THC is not regulated federally. That piece of federal legislation legalized hemp farming and distribution. It defined hemp as a weed plant having no more than 0.3% of delta-9 THC. These levels were seen as too low to result in any psychotropic effect.
However, the legislation did not mention delta-8 levels. As such, the omission makes it legal for dispensaries to sell delta-8 THC derived or extracted from hemp even in states that still criminalize the recreational use of cannabis.
The sale and possession of delta-8 THC products are permitted in various states provided they’re derived or extracted from hemp plants and contain a maximum of 0.3% THC. Here’s a breakdown of the states in the United States where delta-8 is legal.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
There are four states presently reviewing the legality of delta-8 THC. They include:
Some states have taken decisive action and banned delta-8 THC completely. They include:
- Rhode Island
- North Dakota
- New York
Where Is Delta-8 legal in Canada?
The Canadian cannabis regulations on delta-8 THC are clear-cut in comparison to other countries. This is because the regulations apply to all cannabis products, leaving no loopholes.
Canada legalized cannabis in 2018, including hemp plants. Essentially, it means all cannabis derivatives are legalized across the country. Because delta-8 THC is a hemp derivative, it automatically becomes legal under Canadian federal regulation. Adults can buy weed online, including delta-8 THC, and even cultivate it in their residences for personal use.
After weed legalization, Canada formulated a system in which cannabis entrepreneurs must send their applications to the state for selling their marijuana products legally. The application process stipulates that retailers’ products must be lab-tested for safety, purity, potency, and quality. This helps create a market in which cannabis and hemp products are of high standards. As such, the delta-8 industry in Canada is autonomous, meaning products from other countries have a hard time penetrating the Canadian cannabis market.
Legality in Provinces/Territories
Delta-8 THC is legal across Canada under federal regulations. However, each province and territory can formulate specific laws on how delta-8 THC products, and all marijuana for that matter, should be sold, bought, and cultivated.
For example, the law in British Columbia, including major cities like Victoria and Vancouver, stipulates that you must be at least 19 years old to buy delta-8 THC products. The law also allows you to cultivate hemp and cannabis to make your own D8 edibles or any other product. However, you’re allowed to be in possession of up to 1,000 grams.
In Quebec, you must be at least 21 years to purchase delta-8 THC. They also enforce a possession limit of a hundred and fifty grams. And you can neither grow your own hemp or cannabis for personal use nor smoke or vape delta-8 in public spaces.
Is Delta-8 Legal in Australia?
The sale and purchase of delta-8 is illegal in Australia, except when a certified medical doctor approves its use for a patient due to medical reasons. All forms of THC are banned in all states in Australia under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). However, Australia Capitol Territory (ACT) is the only exception where delta-8 THC is allowed because it legalized cannabis in 2019.
Clear-cut federal regulations are the solution to helping remove delta-8 THC from its current legal gray area. With the increase in demand for delta-8 THC, chances are we may see proper classifications about the legality of this active compound from the concerned regulators.
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