A new form of cannabis is being sold in Texas and across the United States.
No, it is not flower imported from hydroponic farms in Canada. It’s a close cousin, though.
While the black market cannabis we all know has made slow trickles into mainstream legal markets, a slightly different chemical compound of its active ingredient has taken smoke shops and convenience stores by storm.
Even in states previously thought to be nowhere near the brink of legalization, this form of cannabis has been no more difficult to purchase than a drive to the gas station.
It’s nothing like the sketchy spice or K2, though — it’s a compound called delta 8 THC.
While law directly bans delta 9 THC, recent legislation has allowed similar compounds, such as delta 8 THC, to exist on the market legally in the state of Texas.
IS DELTA 8 THC LEGAL IN TEXAS?
Laws in Texas on cannabis closely coincide with federal law. Medical cannabis is legal to a minimal extent, but recreational cannabis is not. Texas law does not outlaw delta 8 THC and other hemp derivatives, falling in line with federal law since the Farm Bill’s passage in 2018.
Before the 2018 Farm Bill came along, nearly all forms and derivatives of hemp, including its psychoactive ingredient, delta 9 THC, were outlawed. Federally controlled substance regulations simply made no differentiation between hemp products, mind-altering or not.
The Farm Bill attempted to update how we classify hemp, cannabis, and its byproducts on a federal level. It achieved this by decriminalizing most hemp derivatives, such as CBD and delta 8 THC. Federal restrictions remain over highly psychoactive cannabis components, such as delta 9 THC.
The result of the Farm Bill is that so long as any product has less than 0.3% of delta 9 THC, it is legal. For delta 8, though, there is a gray area.
Federal laws seek to ban “synthetic” versions of delta 9 THC. Whether or not delta 8 THC falls under such bans, though, is unclear. Those tasked with enforcing the Farm Bill, such as the DEA, have not sought legal action against delta 8 THC producers, vendors, or consumers, and there’s more evidence to suggest the feds deem this compound naturally derived than not (being that it occurs naturally in cannabis).
Delta 8 THC seems to be de facto legal for the time being.
Texas has not taken up any bills or legislation that would alter the Farm Bill, meaning delta 8 THC remains legal.
WHAT ABOUT DELTA 10 THC?
The consensus is that delta 10 THC is legal under the same pretense as delta 8 THC.
Like delta 8 THC, it has enough of a difference in its chemical makeup to render it different enough from delta 9 THC, so it’s legal as per the 2018 Farm Bill.
DO I NEED A MEDICAL CARD IN TEXAS TO ORDER DELTA 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC derived from hemp can be purchased in the state of Texas without a medical license.
Delta 8 THC derived from marijuana, however, will need licensure in order to be legal.
Under the Texas Compassionate Use Act, qualified physicians can prescribe low THC cannabis to those with medical afflictions.
To obtain medically prescribed cannabis in Texas, one must first have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition. Potential patients should have discussions with a physician about medical marijuana, then see a specialist. You can seek out a specialist without a referral from a general practitioner.
If the specialist determines that your condition and symptoms are subject to the Texas Compassionate Use Act, they may prescribe you low THC cannabis.
While this law allows for the prescription of medical marijuana in Texas, federal regulations on marijuana remain. Texans who use federally scheduled substances, such as the delta 9 THC found in most cannabis, are technically violating federal law. In 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives stated that gun owners might be breaking federal law by using any form of marijuana, including medically prescribed.
The ATF has not backed up that statement with charges brought against Texans, though. It is still unclear to what extent state marijuana laws interfere with federal firearms and drug control regulations.
DELTA 8 VAPES & THE PACT ACT
Up to now, delta 8 THC has existed in an essentially regulatory-free marketplace. It can be sold virtually anywhere: dispensaries need not apply. Practically anyone can buy it unless they’re under 21.
To ensure age minimums, online vape vendors must follow standards from the PACT act. This law passed initially in 2010, seeks to curb the trafficking of tobacco and nicotine products through the mail. It requires an online vendor to register with the ATF, maintain strict sales records, and verify age. Because of legislation passed in December of 2019, the minimum age is 21 across the United States.
The original PACT act supported age verification by mandating delivery through a service other than USPS. This private delivery service must check ID upon delivery.
In 2020, congress amended the original PACT act. This amendment created provisions to include vape devices in the law’s restrictions. The definition of vape devices for this law’s purpose is quite wide, though. Anything associated with vaping, including delta 8 THC, is effectively included in the new PACT act regulations.
Beware of vendors willing to sell delta 8 THC without verifying age. Not only can this lead to massive fines for the seller, but it can be a sign of other unlawful or unethical behavior. The brief epidemic of vaping-related deaths is still fresh in many’s minds.
Overall, the first signifier of good quality control is whether the vendor is ethical about selling their product. Quality control is paramount with anything you plan on ingesting. Vendors willing to sell vaping products to minors could easily cut corners elsewhere, just as those involved in black market vaping deaths did.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DELTA 8 THC & DELTA 9 THC?
Delta 8 THC is a chemical compound commonly produced with grown hemp and CBD extracts. It can be an indirect byproduct of industrial hemp growing. This form of THC interacts with the brain in a similar fashion to its outlawed relative, delta 9 THC.
THC in all forms is one of the primary psychoactive ingredients in cannabis. THC molecules are very similar in structure to a neurochemical called anandamide. Neurons naturally release anandamide in your brain to communicate with other neurons.
The similarity in structure means receptors for anandamide also accept THC. THC produces its well-known effects when it binds to these receptors.
THC interferes with the ordinary functions of anandamide by hijacking transmissions on pleasure, time perception, and memory.
The chemical compound of delta 9 THC most effectively binds to anandamide receptors and will cause the most interference with neural communication.
This contrasts with the chemical compound of delta 8 THC. While similar, delta 8 THC is not the same as its delta 9 counterparts. Delta 8 THC also binds to anandamide receptors in the brain but with lower efficiency.
Users have typically reported fewer psychoactive effects from delta 8 THC. Many of the physical effects of delta 8 THC, though, are reportedly similar to those of delta 9 THC.
IS DELTA 8 THC NATURAL?
It’s important to consider what natural means at face value. After all, nature can encompass many things: streams, forests, lions, Lyme disease. There are boundless toxins, predators, and poisonous substances found in nature.
If nature can produce all of this, then it should be apparent the absence of humans is no catchall preventative for danger.
Regulations in the United States have taken this into account when looking at the word natural. Because the term can encompass so many things, it means virtually nothing. It simply goes unregulated. When brands and producers advertise using the word natural, they use a word that means nothing to the FDA.
The further implication from this is that anyone can slap a natural label on their product. Whether a company was to grow its product with seeds and dirt or a lab procedure, it can be sold with a natural sticker.
The process used to regulate delta 8 THC is somewhat reminiscent of how the FDA regulates the term natural. According to the Farm Bill, companies seeking to synthesize THC and emulate its effects are just as illegal as the THC substance itself.
Some may argue that’s exactly what delta 8 THC is, but cannabis legal experts dispute that. Its enforcement as an illegal synthesis/emulation is unlikely because the product is interpreted as a wholly separate substance from delta 9 THC. Producers argue delta 8 THC is a substance that, although similar, seeks different uses.
Further, the production of delta 8 THC occurs as a direct byproduct of hemp growing. Extracting CBD from a hemp plant is the first step. Next, the producers turn CBD oil into delta 8 THC oil using processes that occur in nature.
HOW TO USE DELTA 8 THC?
There are a few standard methods for consuming delta 8 THC products. They are much the same as consuming CBD and other forms of THC. It is just as easy to purchase delta 8 flowers as edibles and cartridges containing distilled oil.
To produce delta 8 THC, CBD oil is extracted from hemp flower. From that CBD, delta 8 THC is extracted and refined into another type of distillate. This resulting product frequently serves as the base for many products. This oil can then be sprayed onto hemp flower, dissolved into a carrier oil to make tinctures, or infused into edibles.
Cartridges containing pure oil are popularly sold for attachment to a vape battery. Many seem to rely on these cartridges because they include the greatest, most refined Delta 8 THC.
WHERE TO BUY DELTA 8 THC?
One can purchase delta 8 THC from many places. Ensuring your product is of high quality and unadulterated, though, is essential. Products from any old gas station should probably be avoided or at least thoroughly inspected.
Online tends to be the most reliable and inexpensive method of purchasing delta 8 THC. Shopping online enables consumers to buy products directly from producers, which has a ream of benefits.
Safety concerns addressed first when purchasing from a reputable producer online. Federal regulations require producers to have independent tests done on their hemp crops and products. These tests verify the product’s contents are accurate and guarantee that the product is legal.
Cutting the middleman out of the deal ensures a consumer gets exactly what they ordered from the grower. It also reduces the likelihood of fraud executed by middlemen. False test results or altered products are less likely when purchasing online.
Producing and selling legal hemp and cannabis products is frequently a significant investment. Growers willing to put in the time and work simply have a vested interest in quality and legality.
WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF DELTA 8 THC IN TEXAS?
Laws regarding delta 8 THC are relatively similar across the United States. Some individual states around the country have been taking action against delta 8 THC, but laws in Texas remain neutral toward the substance.
With the nationwide trend of cannabis legalization occurring faster, what threatens delta 8 THC may just be its illegal counterpart, delta 9 THC. If the United States were to decriminalize or legalize the delta 9 THC isomer, similar compounds might simply become redundant.
As growers and consumers of delta 8 THC argue, though, it is not just a fake delta 9 THC. It exists and is consumed with wholly different intentions. The differences in mental and physical effects from both legal and illegal isomers of THC could create separate, unique marketplaces for both.
Overall, delta 8 THC probably won’t be going anywhere soon. Especially not in states that are more tolerable to its sudden appearance, including Texas.