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Delta-8 THC may be federally legal thanks to the 2018 federal farm bill. 

But traveling with delta-8 THC is easier in theory than in practice. 

Can you travel with delta-8 THC? That depends on where you want to go! Some states have outright banned this special cannabinoid. 

Here’s what you should know before you travel with delta-8 THC. 

  • What is Delta-8 THC?
  • The cause for confusion
  • Traveling with Delta8 THC
  • What the DEA says about delta-8
  • How to travel with delta-8 legally
  • Why Delta-8 is being regulated now
  • Where Delta-8 is banned

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is basically the twin sibling of delta-9 THC. 

They may not be identical twins, but they sure do have a lot in common. In fact, their molecular composition is exactly the same! 

It’s true: the only difference between delta-8 and delta-9 is a single chemical bond in the C position. It’s just that our body’s endocannabinoid system is so sensitive that this bond makes all the difference. 

Compared to delta-9, delta-8 THC provides a refined high that’s free from paranoia, munchies, or couch lock. 

But don’t think that delta-8 is without benefits. It’s reported to have “anxiolytic, antiemetic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.” [1

Studies attribute these diverse effects to delta-8’s ability to bind to a diverse set of physiological receptors. While CBD binds to CB2 receptors, and THC binds to CB1, delta-8 THC is able to bind to them both. Talk about balance! [2

The cause for confusion

Unfortunately, traveling with delta-8 THC isn’t as clear-cut as its health benefits. 

Delta-8 that’s been sourced from hemp is federally legal — that’s the good news. The bad news is that many states have developed their own regulations for this type of THC. 

Traveling with delta-8 THC

If you’re flying from one area where delta-8 THC is legal to another area where it’s also legal, then you should be just fine. 

Based on current TSA guidelines, travelers can freely travel with CBD or delta-8 THC products as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. [3

If you’re driving from one area to the next, however, you could face legal repercussions if you’re stopped and law enforcement finds delta-8 in your car. We’d encourage you to avoid this type of situation by playing it safe and leaving your delta-8 THC at home. You can always buy some more of it when you get to your [legal] destination.

What the DEA says about delta-8

After a long period of silence, the DEA finally set the record straight on delta-8 THC on August 21st of last year. They proclaimed that synthetic delta-8 THC was illegal — in the process suggesting that hemp-derived, natural delta-8 is okay!

According to leading cannabis law firm Coats and Rose, hemp-derived delta-8 isn’t even a controlled substance:

“Hemp-derived delta-8 THC isomerized from CBD might fall into the category of a ‘semisynthetic’ but the DEA rule does not touch on those, and because the 2018 Farm Bill included hemp derivatives within the definition of hemp, it appears, perhaps unintentionally, to be deemed hemp and not a controlled substance.” [4

The implications of this DEA ruling are big. If hemp-derived delta-8 is federally legal, then it can be purchased and traveled with in many areas. [5

How to travel with delta-8 (legally)

So...how to travel with delta-8 the right way? If you’re flying somewhere, all you have to do is ensure that delta-8 THC is legal both where you’re flying from and where you’re flying to. It’s that simple! 

If you driving, taking the train, taking a bus, or otherwise traversing your environment, though, things get a little more complex. You’ll need to ensure that delta-8 THC is legal along the entire path of your trip. (Check out the lists below for some help with this.)

Why Delta-8 is being regulated now

While delta-8 THC is federally legal, a growing number of states have either restricted its access or banned it entirely. To many cannabis and hemp advocates, this change feels like a sort of regression. What’s behind it?

For the most part, local law enforcement. The law enforcement teams in many counties and states have found distinguishing between delta-8 and delta-9 virtually impossible. If delta-8 is legal in an area, in other words, then delta-9 related legal infractions become much more challenging — if not impossible — to enforce. 

Interestingly enough, delta-8 is being banned in both conservative states and pro-cannabis states. (The pro-cannabis states now feature delta-8 through a different route: dispensaries.) 

Where Delta-8 is banned

Here’s the list:

  • Washington
  • Vermont
  • Utah
  • Rhode Island
  • North Dakota
  • New York
  • Montana
  • Mississippi 
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Delaware
  • Colorado
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Alaska

In addition to the 16 states above, five more states appear poised to ban delta-8 soon:

  • Oregon
  • Oklahoma
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Alabama 

Just keep in mind that delta-8 THC rules and regulations are always changing. Delta-8 THC may become legal in all states several years from now — or the statewide bans may continue to spread. Only time will tell! [6

Where you can buy delta-8 THC (legally!)

Okay, now for some good news. As of now (September 2021) delta-8 THC is still permitted in 28 states and one district:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Hawaii
  • Washington DC

Check in on our blog to stay up-to-date on any future legal changes as they happen. And in the meantime, safe travels!

Citations

  1. NCI Drug Dictionary. (2020). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-drug/def/delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol?redirect=true 
  2. An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology. (1995). Drug Library. http://www.druglibrary.net/olsen/HEMP/IHA/iha02210.html 
  3. Chuck, E. (2019, May 28). TSA changes policy to allow some CBD oil and medications on planes. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tsa-changes-policy-allow-some-cbd-oil-medications-planes-n1010561 
  4. Coats Rose. (2020). Coats and Rose. https://www.coatsrose.com/ 
  5. Hudak, J. (2018, December 13). The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ 
  6. Dunn, B. (2021, August 12). Updated: Delta-8 legality map. Greenway Magazine. https://mogreenway.com/2021/07/14/delta-8-legality-map/ 



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