The legal cannabis market has been quickly expanding since the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp-derived products have been flying off the shelves, with CBD leading the game. The cannabidiol global market was valued at $967.2 million in 2020, and the expectations are that it will grow to $5.3 billion by 2025. However, the past few months have seen a shift in consumer focus, and sales of Delta-8 THC skyrocketed. 

Differentiated from the notorious D-9 THC by a single chemical bond, Delta-8 is currently legal on a federal level, providing businesses with unique lucrative opportunities. But, before you build your business around it, you’ll need to learn more information about Delta-8 THC and get familiar with the laws. 

  1. Legal Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid just like any other. And while it doesn’t exist in such abundance as CBD or D-9 THC, it’s still present in every cannabis plant. So, naturally, it can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana. 

And although the 2018 Farm Bill has made it a point to differentiate hemp and marijuana plants, it’s critical to understand that they’re one and the same. Scientifically speaking, hemp and marijuana aren’t different cannabis species and wouldn’t even be regarded as different cannabis strains, per se. 

The only difference between them is of a legal nature. 

In the eyes of the law, hemp is any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% D-9 THC. Such cannabis plants are legal on a federal level. On the other hand, marijuana is any cannabis plant with more than 0.3% D-9 THC, making this plant illegal. 

2. Only Hemp-Derived Delta-8 Is Legal 

The federal government doesn’t monitor Delta-8 THC levels to determine a plant’s legality at the moment; only D-9 THC levels are essential.  However, you’ll still need to follow the laws regarding D-8’s extraction. Luckily, they’re the same as the ones regarding CBD extraction, so if you’ve been in the CBD industry for a while, you won’t have to make any significant changes. 

In a nutshell, the only legal variant of Delta-8 THC is the one extracted from hemp. Any compound or cannabinoid derived from marijuana is deemed illegal and could get you in trouble. 

Now, while hemp-derived Delta-8 is legal on a federal level, individual states still have a right to define their own rules and regulations regarding D-8 consumption and distribution. So, you must familiarize yourself with the local laws before you start offering D-8 to your customers. Many states that have strict rules about CBD are likely to have even stricter ones about Delta-8. 

3. CBD-Derived Delta-8 Is a Controlled Substance 

As mentioned, Delta-8 can be derived from any cannabis plant, including the legally different hemp and marijuana. However, it can also be derived from CBD, or better said – converted from it. While this can at times be convenient, it can also be against the law, adding to the overall confusion regarding the legal status of D-8. 

According to the Farm Bill from 2018, all hemp-derived cannabinoids are categorized as hemp and are therefore legal. This includes hemp-derived CBD, Delta-8 THC, and many others. 

This might lead you to believe that if hemp-derived CBD is legal, CBD-derived Delta-8 THC is also legal. But there’s a catch. In 2020, DEA’s Interim Final Rule stated that synthetically derived THC is still a schedule 1 controlled substance. Since converting CBD into Delta-8 THC is technically a synthetic process, D-8 is illegal when derived from CBD. 

4. It Isn’t Safe to Drive Under the Influence of Delta-8 

Even though hemp-derived Delta-8 THC is legal, consumers should still be cautious with how they use it. Unlike CBD, Delta-8 THC is psychoactive and gives you quite a buzz after using. So, it should be treated more similarly to D-9 THC than CBD. It will even give you the munchies and open up your appetite in a similar manner to D-9. 

Of course, Delta-8’s psychoactive properties produce a much milder effect than D-9. The cannabinoid will keep you more clear-headed and can even help to boost your focus in smaller doses. But still, since it does get you high regardless of how mellow its effects are, it’s critical to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after use. 

5. Delta-8 THC Still Shows up on Drug Tests 

Finally, both businesses and consumers must learn about Delta-8 THC and drug tests. Most drug tests are designed to search for THC metabolites – a substance your body produces when metabolizing THC of any kind. Since Delta-8 is still a variant of THC and your body will produce the same metabolites when processing it, it will most likely show up on a drug test. 

Unfortunately, drug tests aren’t sophisticated enough to be able to tell the difference between Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC. 

Final Thoughts 

Getting into the Delta-8 niche can be a bit trickier than getting into CBD, for example. There are many legal inconsistencies and confusion regarding this cannabinoid, so you’ll need to do quite a lot of research before you start offering it to your consumers. Still, Delta-8 is in high demand, and all your trouble could be worth it.