Tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC) has always been a controversial cannabinoid, but lawmakers only focused on the delta-9 variety for most of recent history. In fact, many people didn’t know there were other THC-related cannabinoids before the 21st century. However, with the passage of the 2018 US Farm Bill, there has been a flurry of activity researching all of the non-delta-9 THC compounds in hemp flowers. Most notably, hemp-derived delta-8 THC has gained attention and popularity in various categories, including delta-8-infused gummies. Extractors argue products like delta-8 gummies meet the federal hemp guidelines, but there has been significant backlash due to delta-8’s affiliation with delta 9.
The Legality Of Delta-8 Gummies: D8's Current Status In The USA
Due to the mixed signals regarding delta-8 THC’s legal status, many consumers are fearful about adding delta-8 gummies to their shopping cart. Are delta-8 gummies truly a legit product in the US market, and how can people know whether purchasing these edibles is a safe move?
What Do Federal Lawmakers Say About Delta-8 Gummy Legality?
Many hemp companies use the 2018 US Farm Bill as their primary defense for manufacturing delta-8 THC products like gummies. Under this landmark law, the US government doesn’t have an issue with selling and manufacturing hemp-derived products as long as they contain ≤ 0.3% delta-9 THC content on a dry weight basis. Since delta-8 is a distinct cannabinoid versus delta-9, it doesn’t fit the letter of the law.
Significantly, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals clarified the federal stance on delta-8 legality in 2022 when it ruled delta-8 is legal under the 2018 US Farm Bill. Therefore, unless the federal government introduces new policies targeting delta-8 gummies, these products are OK as far as DC is concerned.
So, What’s The Deal With Delta-8 Gummy Bans?
Even though delta-8 is a federally legal substance, not every state agrees with the policies in the 2018 US Farm Bill. For example, counties in Kansas issued multiple bans on delta-8 products. Generally, if a state isn’t tolerant of recreational or medical marijuana, chances are it won’t make a distinction between delta-8 and delta-9 THC. It doesn’t matter what the federal law says about delta-8 gummies—if a state or county enacts laws against delta-8, it supersedes the country’s rules on these compounds.
Also, remember that federal policies surrounding delta-8 THC could change at a moment’s notice. For instance, in early 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) noted it considers many alternative cannabinoids like delta-8 THC to be controlled substances. Although it’s unclear whether DC lawmakers will move to issue a formal ban on delta-8 THC, it’s not totally out of the cards. Anyone interested in alt-THC cannabinoids like delta-8 THC needs to constantly monitor the latest local and national policies to ensure there are no significant changes.
Hemp Edibles Laws Are Also In Flux
Another tricky issue for delta-8 THC gummies is that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) still doesn’t consider hemp-infused edibles to be in the same category as supplements. Some state health agencies don’t permit vendors to sell hemp gummies, even if they have non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD. For example, New York City police raided shops selling CBD cookies in 2019 in accordance with the FDA’s policies. Even states open to CBD products may still have an issue with gummies due to the FDA’s current stance on edibles. Since delta-8 is already more controversial than CBD, it’s more likely to draw scrutiny in states with firm laws against edible products. Again, customers must check their local laws for specific information on delta-8 legality.
Why Are Delta-8 Laws More Severe Than For CBD Gummies or Oil?
Legally speaking, there’s no difference between delta-8 THC and CBD at the federal level. However, it’s more common for states and counties to introduce policies against delta-8 THC primarily due to its relationship with delta-9 THC. The DEA still classifies delta-9 THC as a “Schedule 1” substance alongside illicit drugs like heroin and LSD. Even though delta-8 has a different chemical structure than delta-9 THC, it’s within the THC family and has many similar effects. The mind-altering qualities individuals experience with a delta-8 vape cartridge, flower-packed joint or blunt, or pen plus its relationship with delta-9 THC tends to make them more suspicious in the eyes of lawmakers.
It also doesn’t help that most delta-8 products are synthetic rather than natural extracts. Although delta-8 is a natural cannabinoid in hemp plant, it’s only present in extremely low quantities. Most often, delta-8 manufacturers use a legal cannabinoid like CBD and manipulate its chemical structure through various extraction processes to produce large amounts of delta-8 THC at a low cost. If manufacturers were to extract natural delta-8 directly from flowers, it would be incredibly cost prohibitive for customers. Some lawmakers argue the synthetic nature of most delta-8 hemp products puts them in an “illegal” category. CBD, however, is abundant in every hemp bud, which makes it easy to extract a dosage of CBD isolate naturally from flowers.
Do Delta-8 Laws Apply Other Alternative THC Cannabinoids?
Delta-8 is the most popular alt THC compound, but it has inspired increasing research and innovation in the hemp cannabinoid sector. Indeed, following the success of delta-8 gummies and other products, manufacturers are introducing new hemp-derived psychoactive options like HHC, delta-10 THC, and THC-O to the marketplace. Although each of these cannabinoids has nuanced effects and potential benefits for users, they tend to get lumped into the same legal gray area as delta-8 items. Therefore, even though these THC alternatives may be “legal” per the 2018 US Farm Bill, people tend to treat them as illegal substances if a state or county has harsh laws against delta-8 THC.
Play By The Book When Buying Delta-8 Gummies
Unfortunately, delta-8 gummies remain in a legal gray area in the USA. Unless more lawmakers release clear policies in favor or against the use of this cannabinoid, consumers must consult their county’s latest hemp laws to better understand whether it’s OK to order delta-8 gummies. Although the federal government doesn’t have a ban on delta-8 products, more states and local municipalities are introducing restrictions throughout the nation.
If you’re unsure about delta-8 gummies’ status in your community, consider contacting a professional lawyer familiar with cannabis law. Also, even if delta-8 gummies are legal in your state, always ensure you order products from brands with high-quality third-party lab results to verify they have concentrations of ≤ 0.3% delta-9 THC. The more transparency and unbiased customer reviews a hemp company has, the better odds they’re offering a clean delta-8 tincture.