The blurred lines of the legality of Delta-8

Despite having a similar chemical structure to the federally-banned Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC is not specifically listed as a controlled substance—and many see this compound as a loophole to bypass US laws.

“Delta-8 has exploded onto the scene in recent months, as manufacturers and brand owners have looked for ways to utilize and sell their amassed hemp biomass in a difficult market, due to federal regulatory uncertainty concerning CBD,”​ explained Marielle Weintraub, president of US Hemp Authority. 

What is it

There are at least 113 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and Delta-8 is one of them. The compound is a less potent version of Delta-9, which is commonly known THC. While Delta-8 is weaker than Delta-9-THC, they are chemically similar and users can still get high if they take enough. Many have described Delta-8 as a happy medium between CBD and THC.

Jeff Gray, SC Labs co-founder and CEO, explained that Delta-8 can either be extracted from hemp on a smaller scale or manufactured from CBD, resulting in volumes of Delta-8 that we’ve never seen before. 

“Delta 8 is actually a derivative of CBD. It is naturally occurring in some plants, but in very, very, very small amounts—and because of having so much CBD product on the market, producers were looking for something else we could do with it. So this is discovered, and some people say that it’s a synthesis, but it’s actually not synthesized, it’s more derived,” ​said Gray.

“So yes, they are changing the molecules, but they’re not making something new by adding chemicals. It’s not a synthetic cannabinoid. It’s just a derivative,”​ explained Kat Merryfield, founder of CBD brand Kat’s Naturals.

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