Delta-8-THC’s legal status hangs in the balance, on several different levels.
Loophole in the Federal Law
For one, its federal legality is threatened by the DEA’s amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill, the Interim Final Rule from 2020, which added the stipulation that all synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols are illegal.
However, this hasn’t stopped Delta-8-THC vendors, who are confident they’re compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill. After all, CBD itself falls in a similar legal gray area which seems more concerned with nitpicking of theoretical technicalities than with practical consumer safety. The difference between the legal and illegal status of two CBD extracts that can be virtually identical, both containing THC levels within the 0.3% legal limit, is their source – hemp or cannabis.
States’ Individual Laws
Then, there’s states’ individual right to impose veto to the federal law, and many states have enforced it regarding Delta-8-THC, deeming it illegal. We should know from experience by now that illegalizing a cannabis-related product in high demand, which the general public considers safe, won’t stop most people from buying it. What the illegalization will do, however, is send those people directly to the black market, where their health and safety is even more at risk.
Lack of Regulations and Quality Control
Another argument for banning Delta-8-THC is the danger of contaminated, low-quality, and downright bogus products – something that is not only analogous to the CBD and hemp field, but a direct result from it, being that Delta-8-THC niche is its branch. The solution to this is stricter and uniform regulations, transparency, and quality control, imposed on various levels of the supply chain, rather than illegalization, which will only bring forward the black market, where bogus and low-quality products are the norm.
Lack of Scientific Studies and Evidence
And then, there’s arguably the strongest case for Delta-8-THC illegalization – the scarcity of scientific studies and evidence of its medicinal properties and safety. But again, banning the compound will only impede or bring to a halt research on a seemingly promising and safe cannabinoid.
Every drug has at one point been an uncharted territory, holding some kinds of potential risks that time and circumstances are yet to expose. There’s always some level of unknown, a leap of faith to be made if you will. It’s on the scientists to weigh the potential risks against the potential rewards and decide if that leap of faith is worth taking.
Considering what we know about Delta-8-THC so far from anecdotal evidence about its benefits and downsides, and what speculations we can make about it based on our current knowledge of cannabis science and extraction practices, most people, scientists and consumers alike, would probably fancy their chances, or rather Delta-8-THC’s chances.