Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 - THC is THC right?

Delta-8 THC vs. Delta-9 - THC is THC right?

When most people hear “THC” they immediately think of the high they’ll get from marijuana. However, that is only one type of THC, specifically delta-9 THC. There is another type of THC that is derived from hemp called delta-8 THC.

While delta-9 THC is banned explicitly by many states, delta-8 is not since it is derived from hemp and not marijuana. We’ll explain all of the details here.

Marijuana vs. Hemp

Both marijuana and hemp are in the cannabis family but are not the same. They look alike, smell alike, and have many of the same qualities. But, the big difference is in the levels of delta-9 THC. Marijuana typically averages around 15% delta-9 THC. On the other hand, hemp averages 3% or less delta-9 THC.

However, hemp is rich in another cannabinoid, CBD, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and relaxing benefits. Delta-8 THC can be synthesized from CBD derived from hemp plants. 

The Farm Act of 2018 legalized the licensed growing of hemp and the manufacture and sale of CBD products. This also left a legal loophole for the production of delta-8 THC. However, before you buy delta-8 online, make sure it can legally be shipped to your state.

Technical Differences: Delta 8 vs. Delta 9

The technical difference between delta 8 vs. delta 9 occurs on a molecular level. Specifically, the difference involves the placement of a double bond on the chain of carbon atoms. Delta-9 has a double bond on the ninth carbon atom, while delta-8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon atom. Thus, the names delta-9 and delta-8 THC.

The placement of these double bonds might seem insignificant to the average person. But, this placement determines how THC interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the body and, thus, the type of high.

Another difference is the natural concentration of both types of THC in cannabis plants. Since marijuana has a high concentration of delta-9 THC, the high is readily and naturally available. However, to release the psychoactive effects of THC, marijuana must be heated. You can smoke weed, as people have done for thousands of years, or heat it through cooking.

On the other hand, hemp plants only have minute amounts of both delta-9 and delta-8 THC. First, CBD must be extracted from hemp plants. Next, delta-8 THC needs to be extracted from the CBD and concentrated. It’s quite a process, and in the end, the extracted delta-8 THC is typically made into vape cartridges and edibles.

The High: Delta 8 vs. Delta 9

People who have experienced both a delta-9 and a delta-8 high report that delta-8 THC produces a milder high. Most people feel that the high is around half as potent. Furthermore, delta-8 THC is less likely to cause paranoia or anxiety as a side effect compared to delta-9 THC. Overall, the delta-8 high is often described as a gentler and calmer high compared to delta-9 THC.


The benefits of delta-8 THC include:

  • Uplifted mood
  • Relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Improved appetite


However, that’s only if you use a recommended dose of delta-8. While consuming too much delta-8 is not known to be fatal, overdosing on delta-8 could make you feel anxious. There needs to be more research into delta-8 THC to verify the benefits versus the risks.

Legality: Delta 8 vs. Delta 9

Before you spend any money ordering delta-8 vape cartridges or gummies online, verify that these products are legal in your state. Cannabis laws are in flux right now and changing quickly.

Alabama: Delta-8 is legal. Furthermore, it is not considered to be a controlled substance. However, the state legislature has attempted to ban or further regulate its sale and use. So, if you live in Alabama, check for the current legal status of delta-8.

Alaska: The sale, possession, production, distribution, or use of delta-8 is prohibited under state law. Depending on the quantity and intent, the possession of delta-8 THC ranges from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Arizona: Delta-8 THC products are illegal in Arizona. You can not buy, possess or travel to the state with delta-8.

Arkansas: According to state law, delta-8 is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance. However, the Arkansas state health department hasn’t explicitly banned the production, possession, or sale of delta-8 products.

California: Under state law, Delta-8 products are restricted. Moreover, it isn’t very clear. You can’t possess hemp-derived delta-8 THC products with more than 3% delta-8 THC. But you can possess marijuana-derived delta-8 THC from a state-licensed dispensary.

Colorado: The state of Colorado does not permit the production, distribution, or sale of delta-8 products.

Connecticut: State law regulates the sale of delta-8 products. You can only buy it at a licensed dispensary.

Delaware: Delta-8 THC products are not legal in Delaware. You can not buy, produce, distribute or sell it in the state.

Florida: Hemp-derived delta-8 products are legal in the state, but marijuana-derived delta-8 is not.

Georgia: Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal in the state, but marijuana-derived delta-8 is not legal.

Hawaii: While delta-8 is not explicitly mentioned, all cannabis-derived products are illegal since they do not comply with FDA rules and regulations.

Idaho: Hemp-derived products can not contain any THC. That includes full-spectrum CBD and hemp-derived delta-8. Moreover, penalties for possessing marijuana-derived delta-8 include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in prison.

Illinois: The Illinois Department of Agriculture issued a policy in May 2022 banning producers from making chemically synthesized delta-8 THC. But, since this was merely a policy statement, it is not legally backed by law. But, recreational weed and marijuana-derived delta-8 products are legal.

Indiana: In 2022, there was a failed attempt to ban hemp-derived delta-8. For now, it’s legal. Both medical and recreational marijuana are illegal in Indiana, as well as marijuana-derived delta-8.

Iowa: The Iowa Controlled Substances Act declares that all forms of THC are Schedule I controlled substances. Essentially, delta-8 is illegal in Iowa.

Kansas: For now, delta-8 is legal in Kansas. However, that might change soon. Medical and recreational weed is also illegal.

Kentucky: The production, sale, and possession of delta-8 THC products are illegal in Kentucky.

Louisiana: Delta-8 is highly regulated in Louisiana. Vendors must now be licensed by the state, and each product must be submitted for safety testing.

Maine: Both hemp and marijuana-derived delta-8 are legal under state law.

Maryland: Hemp-derived delta-8 products are highly regulated under state law. However, there is a task force studying the safety of delta-8 THC, so the legality could change.

Massachusetts: The Massachusetts government website states that delta-8 THC is a controlled substance. Thus, the production and sale of synthetically manufactured delta-8 are illegal.

Michigan: Only state-licensed companies can produce, distribute, or sell delta-8 products according to state law.

Minnesota: Delta-8 is highly regulated. Also, hemp-derived products can only contain a maximum of 3% of any type of THC, including delta-8.

Mississippi: Both hemp and marijuana-derived delta-8 are controlled substances and illegal under state law.

Missouri: Hemp-derived delta-8 is entirely legal in the state of Missouri. However, marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 remain illegal.

Montana: Delta-8 THC is considered to be a controlled substance and is illegal in Montana.

Nebraska: Delta-8 THC is legal in Nebraska.

Nevada: Delta-8 THC is legal but highly regulated under the state’s cannabis laws. All vendors and delta-8 products must be licensed by the state.

New Hampshire: Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal in New Hampshire. But, recreational marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 THC are illegal.

New Jersey: Both hemp and marijuana-derived delta-8 THC is legal in New Jersey.

New Mexico: Both hemp and marijuana-derived delta-8 are legal in New Mexico.

New York: Delta-8 is illegal in New York.

North Carolina: Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal in North Carolina. However, medical, recreational, and marijuana-derived delta-8 are illegal.

North Dakota: Delta-8 is a controlled substance and is illegal in North Dakota.

Ohio: Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal, but recreational marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 are illegal.

Oklahoma: Hemp-derived delta-8 THC is legal in Oklahoma. But, both recreational marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 THC are illegal.

Oregon: Both hemp and marijuana-derived delta-8 THC is legal but highly regulated in Oregon. But there are no restrictions on sales.

Pennsylvania: Delta-8 is wholly legal and unrestricted in the state of Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island: Delta-8 THC is a controlled substance and illegal under state law.

South Carolina: Delta-8 is currently legal, but that might change. Be sure to check for the current legal status of delta-8 in South Carolina.

South Dakota: Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal but regulated. But, marijuana and marijuana-derived are illegal.

Tennessee: Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal, but that might change. Marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 THC remain illegal in Tennessee.

Texas: For now, Delta-8 is legal, but that might change quickly. But, vigorous efforts are underway to ban delta-8 THC in Texas.

Utah: Only medical marijuana patients can purchase or use delta-8 products at a state-licensed dispensary. Furthermore, all delta-8 products must be approved and licensed by the state.

Vermont: Delta-8 is currently illegal. But efforts are underway to change that, so check with the state of Vermont.

Virginia: Both hemp and marijuana-derived delta-8 are legal in Virginia.

Washington: Delta-8 THC products are legal in Washington, but that might change. Check for the current status.

Washington DC: Delta-8 THC appears to be legal in Washington DC.

West Virginia: For now, delta-8 THC products remain legal under state law. However, efforts have recently been made to change that.

Wisconsin: Hemp-derived delta-8 is legal in Wisconsin, but marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 THC products are illegal

Wyoming: Hemp-derived delta-8 products are legal in Wyoming, but marijuana and marijuana-derived delta-8 are not legal.

In all these cases, if delta-8 is illegal in your state, it is technically only unlawful to possess it. So far, it is not illegal to sell it. Also, since hemp is legal at the federal level, there are no issues with selling over state lines. Do your own homework on legality in your state and don't get in trouble with the law. It is your responsibility to be within the law when it comes to delta-8 or any of the other hemp derived cannabinoids.