Delta-9 THC’s Legality in the US: What Every Consumer Should Know

delta 9 thc legality in us

Delta-9-THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most well-known cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants. You may know this molecule as “THC,” which is the psychoactive compound that is responsible for making you feel stoned after you consume cannabis.

Although cannabis and cannabis-extracted THC remain federally illegal in the US, hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids became legal nationwide following the 2018 farm bill, leading to an increase in the number of brands selling legal hemp-derived delta-9 THC products on the market. 

This raises the question of whether delta-9 THC from hemp is truly legal in all 50 states of the US or if there are any restrictions.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the federal and state laws surrounding delta-9 THC with regard to both hemp and cannabis, while also providing a comprehensive overview of the current legal landscape in the US.   

Law on hemp-derived delta-9 THC

Federal law:

In 2018, the United States government took a major step in the regulation of hemp with the passage of the Farm Bill. This landmark legislation states that hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids, including delta-9 THC and CBD, are federally legal in all 50 states, provided that they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight and the source of THC is industrial hemp.

Following its legalization, the hemp-based cannabinoid industry has experienced rapid growth, and it quickly transformed into a billion-dollar market. This has also made it easier for a consumer like you to access hemp-derived delta-9 THC products, whether through brick-and-mortar stores or online retailers that delivers directly to your doors. 

The availability of these products has provided consumers with many affordable choices and options to manage their wellness, both naturally and legally.

Speaking of the restriction, the bill did not permit hemp-derived products with concentrations of delta-9 THC higher than 0.3%.  

State law:

The state law on hemp-derived delta-9 is a little confusing. Although nearly every state has decided to legalize Farm Bill-compliant delta-9 THC products, Idaho and Oregon are few of the states that have decided to restrict any substance that contains even a trace of THC, whether it’s hemp-derived or cannabis. 

However, the exact THC law is somewhat ambiguous because you can’t shop for THC products in restricted states locally. Still, you can easily order hemp-derived delta-9 products online, as some reliable delta-9 brands are providing their services in all 50 states of the US. 

Additionally, the states of California, Colorado, North Dakota, and Washington have decided to implement some restrictions on hemp-derived cannabinoids that are chemically made by converting CBD into other cannabinoids like delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC. 

However, since hemp contains a significant amount of delta-9 THC and is naturally extracted for commercial use, it is allowed in all these states.

To sum it up, the Farm Bill has made it possible to purchase hemp-derived delta-9 THC products that are in compliance with federal law anywhere in the US. With the availability of these products, you can find a range of options for managing your wellness, and many delta 9 brands online offer a wide range of products for delivery across all 50 states.

However, be sure to buy from a reputable brand that offers a genuine COA (certificate of analysis), which specifies the product’s ingredients and the concentration of delta-9 THC. 

Law on cannabis-derived delta-9 THC

Federal law:

Cannabis and cannabis-derived delta-9 THC are primarily governed by the Controlled Substances Act, which is a federal law passed in 1970. This law classifies cannabis and cannabis-derived THC as Schedule I controlled substances, which means that the federal government considers cannabis a high-risk and abused substance with no medical use. 

Being federally illegal also makes it difficult to purchase cannabis or THC derived from cannabis with a credit card or debit card from one state to another, even if that state has authorized it. Additionally, buying cannabis online poses additional difficulties.

However, in October 2022, President Biden announced a significant change in federal cannabis policy and also issued a pardon for people who had been incarcerated for simple marijuana possession under federal law.

Additionally, he also asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review the law which classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance in the US. Because of this, the fate of cannabis and its derivatives may hold certain promises in the near future.

State law:

Despite the federal restriction on cannabis, many states have legalized cannabis and cannabis-derived delta-9 THC for medical and recreational use.

Talking about medicinal legalization, as of 2022, 37 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes under strict regulations. In these states, a person must have a qualifying medical condition and obtain a recommendation from a licensed physician to use cannabis, which can only be purchased from a licensed dispensary. (source)

For recreational use: As of 2022, 22 states have legalized cannabis and cannabis-derived THC, including Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Washington DC, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Guam, Illinois, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Missouri.

Learn more about the current cannabis state law and regulations in the US.

Final thoughts

The legality of delta-9 is a complex and ever-changing landscape. While hemp-derived delta-9 THC that complies with the Farm Bill is legal in the US, cannabis-derived delta-9 THC is federally illegal but legal in certain states for recreational use.

Although the effects of both forms of delta-9 THC are somewhat similar, the legal limit for delta-9 THC in hemp products is 0.3%, which is considered a low concentration and is not likely to produce as strong effects as marijuana. However, the effects can still vary greatly depending on factors such as the quality of THC products, dosage, method of consumption, and individual tolerance.

Nevertheless, shopping for and using hemp-derived delta-9 THC is much safer, more convenient, and more cost-effective than its counterpart, additionally, there are many reliable brands and a wide range of options available for hemp-derived delta-9 THC, and you can also shop for them online, so it’s clearly a better choice for almost everyone who is looking to get stoned legally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is delta-9 THC the same as THC?

Delta-9 THC is one of the most abundant and potent forms of THC. While there are other different THCs, delta-9 is the only cannabinoid that is referred to as “THC” when discussing the psychoactive effects of weed and hemp-derived products, although the delta-9 THC from weed can be more potent.

 To put it simply, there are many other types of THC available in cannabis and hemp plants, like delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, and delta-9 THC, however, when people commonly talk about THC, they generally mean delta-9 THC. 

Is delta-9 THC FDA approved?

General delta-9 THC products are currently not evaluated or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA has approved one drug that contains a synthetic version of delta-9 THC, called dronabinol, for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Because of this, it’s important to buy delta-9 THC only from reliable brands that conduct independent lab testing and provide a genuine COA (certificate of analysis) for every product. 

Can you travel with hemp-derived delta-9 THC?

Hemp-derived delta-9 THC is legal in the US; however, safely traveling with it may depend on several factors, including the legal status of delta-9 THC in your destination, the laws of the transportation provider, and the laws of the jurisdiction you are passing through.

Moreover, the legality surrounding hemp-derived delta-9 THC is still new, so there is a chance that a law enforcement officer may not be aware of this, which may cause certain complications. 

What is the legal age for shopping for hemp-derived delta-9 products?

The legal age for purchasing hemp-derived delta-9 THC products varies by state, but the minimum age is typically 18 or 21 years old, just like with any alcohol or tobacco products.

It is also important to keep in mind that even though hemp-derived delta-9 is legal under federal law, certain states like Idaho may have more restrictive laws regarding the sale and use of these products. As always, it is best that you stay informed and up to date on the latest laws and regulations to ensure you are in compliance with them.