What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 THC has grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years. Perhaps you have seen Delta-8 on the shelves at a local CBD shop and have wondered what it is exactly. Delta-8 is a cannabis compound very similar in chemical structure to its “cousin” Delta-9 THC, which is usually what people think of when they think of THC. Delta-9 THC is the main component in marijuana that gets you “high.” Delta-8, however, is usually extracted from hemp rather than the cannabis plant that marijuana is derived from.
Some may think of Delta-8 as being similar to CBD since it is sold in many CBD shops in states that have not legalized marijuana. Unlike CBD, however, Delta-8 has intoxicating effects such as euphoria and relaxation, similar to what one experiences after consuming marijuana. While Delta-8 is intoxicating, it is only about half as potent as Delta-9 THC and it does not usually carry side effects of paranoia or drowsiness that are common after consuming marijuana.
Is Delta-8 THC legal in Minnesota?
You may be wondering how CBD shops in Minnesota can sell Delta-8 THC if marijuana is illegal in Minnesota, unless legally prescribed. The legality of Delta-8 THC in Minnesota is unclear and it is likely to become federally illegal in October of 2021.
The rise in Delta-8 THC began in 2018 after a federal farm bill made it legal to grow hemp and use it for extractions throughout the United States. This bill defined hemp as any substance with a Delta-9 THC concentration of 0.3 percent or less. Since the bill did not specifically mention Delta-8, and Delta-8 contains less than 0.3 percent of Delta-9, producers saw this bill as a greenlight to manufacture Delta-8 THC legally throughout the US.
Some states have enacted statutes to specifically make Delta-8 THC illegal. Minnesota, however, does not have such a statute. Instead, Minnesota’s statute that defines hemp uses the same language as the 2018 federal farm bill. Producers, therefore, use this definition of hemp as a loophole to allow them to market and sell Delta-8 THC in Minnesota.
There is another Minnesota statute, however, that specifically states that “nonintoxicating cannabinoids” derived from hemp may be sold if certain requirements are met. Since Delta-8 THC is intoxicating, it may be excluded from the statute that allows for the sale of cannabinoids derived from hemp. This issue is yet to be addressed by the Minnesota Courts.
In August 2020, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) released an Interim Final Rule (IFR) which classifies all synthetically derived THC as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Since Delta-8 THC is usually synthetically derived, this would make Delta-8 federally illegal. The IFR is open for review until October 2021, at which time the IFR will likely become an official rule. Until that time, however, the legality of Delta-8 THC in Minnesota remains hazy.