What is Delta 8 THC? Is It Legal? How Does It Differ From Regular THC?

What is Delta 8 THC? Is It Legal? How Does It Differ From Regular THC?
If you are reading this, you likely searched to find out more about delta-8 THC. Also, you're likely aware that it is a marijuana substitute that's legal in many states.

If you want to find out what delta-8 is, how it's made, and its possible effect on you, keep reading.

Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC

The THC found in marijuana is delta-9 THC. Delta-8 THC is also found in marijuana plants, but only in tiny amounts. Both delta-8 and delta-9 THC are also found in hemp plants, a close relative of marijuana. However, hemp plants only have a minuscule amount of delta-9, as well as tiny amounts of delta-8 THC.

While marijuana and delta-9 THC remain illegal on a federal level, since 2018, it has been legal nationwide to grow industrial hemp plants. These plants are not only processed into fiber and food but also CBD and other extracts, including delta-8, which are also legal on a federal level.

Like the delta-9 THC found in marijuana plants, the delta-8 THC from hemp plants also produces a high. However, compared to delta-9, the delta-8 high is generally pleasant and mild. Most people who have tried delta-8 say that it's around half as strong as delta-9. Also, they report that it's a happy, focused, energizing high.

How is Delta-8 THC Made?

There are several methods to extract and concentrate delta-8 THC from hemp plants, however, some methods are better than others. For example, the R134a extraction method maintains all of the beneficial essential oils and terpenes found in the hemp plant. The R134a method uses tetrafluoroethane, a colorless gas that's used as the propellant in asthma inhalers.

In order to extract delta-8 THC, the hemp is placed into a pressurized container. Tetrafluoroethane gas is then forced through the plant matter, drawing out the oils. Within this hemp oil are not only delta-8 THC but also terpenes and essential oils that add to the user experience.

What is the Entourage Effect?

If you are familiar with recreational weed, you know that there are hundreds of different strains, each with different qualities. The quality of the high produced by each strain is not simply dependent on the amount of THC. Rather, it's the combination of terpenes found within each strain.

Terpenes are the compounds responsible for aroma and flavor in all plants. But, that's not all. Terpenes also influence the quality of the high. For example, the terpene linalool, also found in lavender, has an uplifting effect. On the other hand, terpene myrcene is deeply relaxing.

There are thousands of known terpenes in the plant world, but only around a dozen are prominent in hemp and marijuana plants. How these terpenes interact with one another is called the “entourage effect”.

The entourage effect not only gives character to a cannabis high, but it can also have health benefits. For example, some terpenes, such as alpha-pinene found in pine trees, have antibacterial properties. Other terpenes, like beta-caryophyllene, have anti-inflammatory properties. A cannabis strain rich in beta-caryophyllene could help to relieve chronic pain.

It's important to choose delta-8 products that are produced with the R134a process, to enjoy the full, natural entourage effect. Also, look for delta-8 products that give you an indication of the type of high you'll get. For example, look for vape cartridges that either list the dominant terpenes, or are compared to various marijuana strains, such as Bubba Kush, Cherry OG, or Suver Haze.

Delta-8 Edibles, Vapes, and More

Since delta-8 THC is produced as an extract, it needs to be added to something, most often gummy candy or vape cartridges. However, you can sometimes find delta-8 tinctures online, too. If you see delta-8 buds for sale, these are simply hemp buds that have been sprayed with a delta-8 extract. They are not buds from cannabis plants with naturally high levels of delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 vapes and buds give the most immediate high. Within minutes, you'll begin to feel the effect. However, vaping and smoking can be hard on the throat and lungs, and it's not for everyone.

Delta-8 edibles, like gummies and tinctures, can take up to two hours to take effect. However, nano gummies are faster-acting. By breaking the delta-8 THC down into a more absorbable form, you'll feel the effect from nano gummies in around half the time.

Whatever delta-8 products you choose, be sure to follow the directions, and do not exceed the recommended dose. Moreover, if you've purchased nano delta-8 gummies, be sure to store them in a safe location. You absolutely do not want your children or pets to consume your delta-8 gummies.

Is Delta-8 THC Really Legal?

The legality of delta-8 THC depends on where you live; while delta-8 has slipped through a federal legal loophole, it's not legal in every state.

When the Farm Act of 2018 was passed legalizing not only farming industrial hemp but also producing extracts, legislators were only considering the production of CBD. They were not expecting CBD producers to further refine their extracts into delta-8 THC.

Ironically, while marijuana and delta-9 THC remain illegal federally, almost half of the states have legalized and regulated recreational weed. But, many of those states have also passed laws banning delta-8 products. Needless to say, the national stance on cannabis and cannabis products is confusing.

As of 2023, these states have banned the sale, possession, and use of delta-8 THC.

New York
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina

Before you buy delta-8 carts or edibles online, check the current legal status in your state. Cannabis regulations are in flux, and things are changing quickly. Keep in mind, a reputable delta-8 THC website will not ship products to you if it's illegal in your state.

Does Delta-8 THC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Unfortunately, commonly used drug tests will not differentiate between legal delta-8 and illegal delta-8 THC. Full-spectrum CBD, which can legally contain up to 3% delta-9, can also show up on a drug test.

How long delta-8 THC stays in your system depends on both your metabolism, as well as how often you use it. It could clear out of your system in as little as two days, or remain in your system for up to 90 days.

If you must submit to a drug test to keep your job, think long and hard before using any delta-8 product. You might be able to get away with it, but the fact is, you will likely test positive for marijuana.

Buying Delta-8 THC

If delta-8 THC is legal in your state, you might be able to find it at a smoke shop, or a licensed recreational marijuana dispensary. However, if you can't find it locally, you can always buy delta-8 online.

Whether you buy delta-8 online or locally, look for products manufactured with the R134a extraction method. This will ensure you get the full entourage effect and benefits found in hemp. Not only that, but look for products made from organically grown hemp. This will help to ensure the safest and healthiest experience.

If you'd like to try delta-8 edibles, but don't want to wait two hours to feel them, look for nano delta-8 gummies. Nano gummies take effect much faster, and you'll feel an effect in an hour or less.

Final Thoughts

If you'd like to experience a light, happy, marijuana-like high, delta-8 THC could be for you. This is especially true if you live in a state where recreational weed remains illegal. But, before you buy delta-8 online, make sure it can legally be shipped to you. Finally, do not use it if you need to drive, and keep in mind that delta-8 THC will likely show up as marijuana on a drug test.