Delta-8 THC is derived from federally legal hemp. Here, workers sort and trim dried hemp buds at a farm in upstate New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Delta-8 THC, aka delta-8, the intoxicating cannabinoid synthesized from hemp, is making waves across the United States, and especially in states where marijuana remains illegal.
That’s because delta-8 is derived from federally legal hemp, which by law contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC. In fact, many manufacturers and retailers label it “delta-8 CBD” to emphasize its CBD-like legal status. (Confusing? Yes. Delta-8 is derived from CBD extracted from hemp, but in scientific terms it is delta-8 THC. For more on the difference between delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, read Leafly’s complete guide to delta-8.)
Kelly O’Connor, director of business development at Oregon-based Columbia Laboratories, said her company has seen a 30% increase in requests for delta-8 product testing compared to this time last year.
D-8 is legal federally, and most state laws don’t specifically address it. But how long will that last?
“It’s definitely exploded,” she told Leafly. “There’s big enthusiasm [for Delta-8] in the Southeastern states, the Carolinas, the Dakotas, Texas, anywhere…where people can’t get high legally.”
O’Connor was interviewed while attending a recent CBD expo in Indianapolis, the largest city in the prohibition state of Indiana. “I’m surrounded…by delta-8 manufacturers and distributors here,” she noted.
Due to ambiguities in the 2018 farm bill, which legalized hemp and hemp products, delta-8 is currently not prohibited by federal law. Because delta-8 is such a new product, many state laws don’t address it at all, which puts it in a gray area of de facto legality.
But how long will that legal status last?
Published: April 27, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News