What Is Delta-8-THC? And Is It Legal in North Carolina?

What Is Delta-8-THC? And Is It Legal in North Carolina?

Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products have dominated the legal cannabis product landscape in North Carolina. Now, however, they have some competition. You also may find stores selling Delta-8-THC in North Carolina — it’s an obscure analogue of Delta-9-THC, the active compound in marijuana.

According to proponents, Delta-8-THC gives users a “high” without the paranoia and anxiety typically associated with Delta-9-THC. But what is Delta-8-THC? And is it legal in North Carolina?

What is Delta-8-THC?

The Cannabis sativa plant produces dozens of different compounds called cannabinoids. Delta-9-THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids. However, Cannabis sativa also produces other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBN, THCV, and Delta-8-THC.

A Delta-8-THC molecule compared to a Delta-9-THC molecule.
A Delta-8-THC molecule.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, uncredited.

Cannabis plants produce CBD and Delta-9-THC in high levels. However, they produce very small levels of Delta-8-THC in nature. In order to harvest usable amounts of the compound, companies must do plenty of refinement and processing.

Companies have found, however, that the Delta-8 compound is more shelf-stable than Delta-9. That finding means it could potentially have a wider range of uses, including use in prescription medications.

What does it do?

Users report that Delta-8-THC does produce a “high” that’s similar to Delta-9. However, they claim that Delta-8 is less anxiety-inducing and less psychoactive than its counterpart. The National Center For Biotechnology Information (NCBI) (underneath the National Institute of Health) seems to support these reports. It says that Delta-8 “exhibits a lower psychotropic potency” than Delta-9.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Delta-8 could also offer medical benefits. Users have claimed that it is more effective than Delta-9 for pain management and for reducing nausea. The NCBI report says that Delta-8 has “antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.”

Is Delta-8-THC legal in North Carolina?

The simple answer is yes, Delta-8-THC is legal in North Carolina. Just as with federal law, North Carolina made all cannabinoids (other than Delta-9-THC) legal.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear, though. Just as with CBD, the lack of consistent regulations and quality control means not every producer will adhere to the law. And because Delta-8-THC only comes in processed form, it’s nearly impossible to tell if it has more than the legal limit of 0.3% Delta-9-THC. Regardless of whether or not you knew the product had Delta-9 in it, you are legally responsible for it, if it’s found in your possession.

Delta-8-THC often comes in vape cartridges.
Image courtesy of Jeff W on Unsplash.

In addition, Delta-8 will show up as a positive result for THC on a drug test. For people undergoing mandatory drug testing as part of sentencing, this fact could have severe legal consequences.

The rise of Delta-8-THC’s popularity matches that of CBD. Throughout North Carolina, shops are selling Delta-8-infused products like drinks, edible gummy candies, tinctures, and vape cartridges. If the compound’s legal status doesn’t change, that rise in popularity will likely continue.

Want to know more about North Carolina’s CBD laws? Looking to learn about what cannabis legalization might mean for the Tar Heel State? Stay tuned to North Carolina News Daily for more cannabis news and information.