Why is Delta-9 Legal?

Why is Delta-9 Legal?

Why is Delta-9 legal? Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) is considered an “alternative cannabinoid.” This makes the product very similar to CBD. And applies very similarly in terms of the regulations around it and why they’re legal to sell in the United States. In short, the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is in the products themselves is less than 0.3%. Making them legal to sell according to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Key takeaways

  • Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) has a molecular structure where double bonds exist on their 9th carbon atom.
  • The percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is in Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) themselves is less than 0.3%.
  • Because the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that’s in them is less than 0.3%, they are legal to sell according to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Why is Delta-9 legal?

In short, Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) is considered legal because it has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inside the product. The reason that the product has this little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) inside of it is because the product originates from a hemp oil.

The Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) product has very similar effects to that of CBD, although much stronger. In the sense that it blocks some brain receptors to create its “psychoactive” feeling. A recent study described how Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) works, saying “Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol binds to neuronal CB1 receptors,which are found on GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons throughout the brain and are thought to be receptors for endogenous anandamide.”

How Delta-9 is made

To know why Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) is legal, we have to look at how it’s made. In short, a solvent-based extraction occurs which involves soaking the hemp material (sometimes fresh or frozen plant material) in a liquid like butane, propane, or ethanol, which then strips the plant of its chemical compounds to be concentrated into a hemp-derived Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) distillate.

From there, it can be further engineered to be turned into HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol) or applied directly onto other products like flower, edibles, and more.

States where Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) is legal

As of March 2024, here are the states where Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) products are legal:

  • Alabama*
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida*
  • Georgia (?)
  • Illinois
  • Indiana (?)
  • Kentucky*
  • Maine
  • Maryland* (?)
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania (?)
  • South Carolina (?)
  • Texas (?)
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming*

As of 2024, note that the * beside the state’s name means they’ve instituted age restrictions, preventing anybody aged 21 or under from buying Delta-9 (Δ9-THC). States marked with (?) are currently involved in legal action about the status of Delta-9 (Δ9-THC).

As of November 2023, a number of states are beginning to ban the sales of Delta-8 products outright.

States where Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) is illegal

Some states have made a fairly clear stance on the substance. Delta-9 would be considered illegal in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Utah
  • Washington

Could Delta-9’s legality change in the future?

Most likely, it will change. As with any cannabis product in the United States, regulation has been an ongoing discussion on both a federal and a state-level. More states are beginning to put regulation in place when it comes to Delta-9 (Δ9-THC) and its other products (like Delta-8 and Delta-10).

In short, most states are putting age restrictions in place to ensure that minors are unable to purchase the smoking products (age restrictions can be anywhere from 18 to 21-years of age).

For more information, visit our guide on understanding where Delta-9 is illegal.

Back to blog