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Delta-8 Laws, Regulation, Classifications


The legal landscape for cannabis is rapidly evolving. There are federal laws that regulate cannabis as well as individual state laws — and often, these different tiers of government contradict each other.

For example, any product made from hemp in the United States is considered legal on a federal level. Hemp is defined as any Cannabis sativa plant that produces less than 0.3% THC (dried weight). Marijuana plants, on the other hand, are illegal and listed in the highest tier in terms of severity (Schedule I).

On a state level, the laws could be very different. In some states, marijuana is completely legal to buy and use — even though it’s still classified as a federal crime. Additionally, there are some states that ban or limit the sale of hemp products despite the feds being A-OK with it.

It’s confusing, and it only gets worse when we start talking about delta 8 THC. 

As per the official Schedule I database in the United States, delta 9 THC (specifically) is the restricted compound in cannabis. There’s no mention anywhere about delta 8 in any context.

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed by President Trump, drew a clear distinction between hemp and marijuana. Under the new bill, any products made from hemp are considered legal and regulated as a food supplement rather than a drug.

The way these regulations come together suggests that delta 8 THC products are entirely legal as long as they’re made from hemp rather than marijuana. Many cannabis lawyers agree with this statement, and there’s been a lot of discussion around these laws in high-level legal forums and on major media outlets like the New York Times, The Rolling Stone, and the New York Post.

However, as with any vague and complex laws, there’s room for interpretation.

The DEA also bans any “synthetically-derived” THC. Delta 8 THC is not synthetically derived because it’s a naturally occurring compound. When delta 8 THC is extracted from hemp, it’s classified as “naturally-derived”, while THC isomers invented in a lab are considered “synthetically-derived.”


Delta 8 isn’t very abundant in cannabis plants. In marijuana, concentrations of delta 8 are around 1% or less. Delta 9 THC can be found in concentrations up to about 28% — so for every 1 gram of delta 8, we get 28 grams of delta 9.

The issue is that the only legal delta 8 products in most states are those made from hemp plants — and hemp makes even less of this cannabinoid. The concentration of delta 8 is so low in hemp samples it rarely registers on the test results at all.

Fortunately, scientists have created a few innovative methods that allow us to produce delta 8 THC products from hemp plants.

A word of caution: Some companies are still making their delta 8 with the older (and more dangerous) methods. They’re using heavy metal reagents, bleaches, or toxic solvents to create the distillate.

These methods are not only unsafe and inefficient (which means they often contain illegal levels of delta 9 THC), they’re no longer even necessary. The only way to be sure a company is selling clean delta 8 that’s free from contaminants and contains legal levels of delta 9 THC is through third-party testing. Click here for current lab reports for our products.

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