The move to legalize or decriminalize marijuana is sweeping the country. Most states have approved marijuana for recreational or medical use. In states where it’s not legal, a cannabinoid derivative — delta 8 THC — is proving to be more than just a good alternative to weed.
In fact, many people prefer the less intense “high” of delta 8 THC to marijuana.
So, what is delta 8, where is it legal, and where can you buy it? This article tells you all you need to know.
What’s the Legal Status of Marijuana?
The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance or that it “has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
In other words, it’s kind of illegal, kind of legal.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) says one in ten adults who use marijuana become addicted. The potential for abuse pales compared to the rest of the Schedule 1 drugs, including heroin, meth, quaaludes, ecstasy, and bath salts.
Although marijuana is still illegal as far as the feds are concerned, this does not stop individual states from passing legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational or medical purposes, and many have done just that. Many others have legislation pending to either legalize or decriminalize it, says Dustin Marin in a recent article published on We Be High. Here is a list of states where marijuana is legal for recreational use:
States Where Marijuana Is Legal for Recreational Use
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
In most states where recreational marijuana use is legal, the only restriction is you must be at least 21 to buy it. However, each state and city has laws governing the amount you can purchase, how much you can have at home or in your possession, and where you can smoke. Make sure you’re familiar with the guidelines for where you live.
Medical marijuana is another story. To participate in the medical marijuana program, you must have a medical marijuana card. The state issues this card upon the recommendation of a licensed physician. Here are the states where marijuana is approved for medical use only:
States Where Marijuana Is Legal for Medical Use Only
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Marijuana is also legal for medical use only in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and legal for recreational use in Guam.
In order to receive a recommendation for medical marijuana use from a doctor, you must have at least one of the qualifying conditions listed by your state. These conditions vary from state to state. However, some are common to every state’s list. They include:
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
The registration fee for a medical marijuana card can cost you as little as $25 or as much as $250, depending on where you live, and is submitted with the application. If you want to grow your weed, the license will cost you an additional $100 or so.
Can I Buy Weed Online?
The short answer is yes. If you live in a state where weed is legal for recreational or medical purposes, you can indeed buy it online. However, some conditions do apply. For example, you must purchase it from a vendor who is state-licensed. Weed is illegal to ship across state lines.
Also, in all probability, you’ll have to pick it up. Very few vendors send it to your home address because most shipping companies won’t deliver it.
There is an abundance of online weed vendors in every state where it’s legal. Not all of them are looking out for your best interest, so make sure your potential vendor is licensed. This guarantees the vendor has met strict quality-control standards.
Delta 8 is gaining popularity partly because of its accessibility. Not only is it legal in most states, but it can be ordered online and delivered to your home.
Delta 8 THC vs. Delta 9 THC: What’s the Difference?
Many consider delta 8 THC to be one of the best alternatives to marijuana. The difference between delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC — the THC found in weed — is a slight variance in their chemical makeup.
Chemically, both delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC have a double bond in their makeup. In their chain of carbon atoms, the double bond in delta 8 THC is on the eighth carbon. In delta 9 THC, the double bond is on the 9th carbon. This double bond is what produces the psychoactive effect of THC. Unless you are a student of chemistry, this probably means very little to you.
Simply put, the double bond placement makes delta 9 THC up to twice as potent as delta 8 THC. However, twice as potent does not translate into twice as good. Delta 8 THC is considerably less psychoactive, which means the side effects are substantially less. With delta 8, you’re less likely to experience impaired motor skills, increased feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and mental fog.
Another significant difference is legality. Delta 8 is from hemp — cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. Hemp and its derivatives are federally legal. Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC and is not legal. With selective breeding and increasingly better growing techniques, a marijuana plant can have up to 30% THC, although the average is 10 – 17%.
Where Is Delta 8 THC Legal?
Because delta 8 THC has substantially less THC than delta 9 THC, delta 8 THC is not a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. This means it’s legal in most states where marijuana is not. Here are the states that allow unrestricted use of delta 8 THC:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Since you can still get high from delta 8 THC, some states — particularly those where recreational marijuana use is still illegal — are looking into passing laws that will bring delta 8 THC into regulatory compliance.
Why You Should Shop For Delta 8 THC Online
There are three ways you can purchase delta 8 THC: from a retail outlet and online. If you’re buying delta 8 THC from a retail store, you are playing Russian Roulette. You have no idea what you’re actually getting. Unless products are routinely tested, there’s no guarantee of what you’re getting.
However, the best way to shop for delta 8 THC products is online. Here’s why:
1. Better Product Selection
Since delta 8 THC is not a Schedule 1 controlled substance, it can ship across state lines. This means that you have access to vendors located almost everywhere. Online vendors have a bigger selection than what you’ll find in a local store since they aren’t limited by shelf space.
2. Transparency & Third Party Test Results
Buying online allows you to research the products before you make a purchase. That friendly staff might know quite a bit about a product, but their knowledge probably isn’t as comprehensive as the product information available on a vendor’s website. And most importantly, an honest vendor gives you access to product test results from independent laboratories.
3. Added Convenience
By shopping online, you’re not limited by a store’s location or its hours. Besides, who doesn’t like getting orders delivered to their door? Because of the ease and convenience, online shopping has increased nearly 100% since 2014. It’s becoming the consumers’ preferred way to shop.
4. Better Prices
Since online vendors do not have the overhead costs of a brick and mortar store (rent, utilities, salaries, etc.), it’s almost always less expensive to shop online.
5. Fresher Products
You might assume that the delta 8 THC products you buy from your friendly neighborhood dispensary are fresh, but they could have been sitting on the shelf for weeks — or even months — before you buy them. Online vendors can increase or decrease production based on sales volume, which guarantees you a fresh product.
The shelf life of delta 8 THC products can be up to two years from the manufacturing date, depending on how well you take care of them. Keep in mind that the fresher the product, the stronger it is.
Benefits of Delta 8 THC
Delta 8 THC is more than just a viable alternative to smoking weed. It has all of the health benefits of marijuana, and in some cases, may do a better job. Delta 8 THC health benefits include:
1. Less Stress
Stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” One is often mistaken for the other. The good news is delta 8 THC does an excellent job of relieving both.
On average, a delta 8 THC high lasts between two and eight hours. Several factors determine the duration, but users say the high lasts longer than weed.
- Method of absorption
- Body type and metabolism
3. Alleviates Nausea
This is one of the instances where delta 8 THC may do a better job than weed. It’s possibly a powerful immune system activator, plus it helps to eliminate nausea in patients who are ill from cancer medications and chemotherapy treatments.
4. Pain Management
Chalk another one up for delta 8 THC. It’s considerably less intoxicating and much more functional than weed. You get pain relief without the paranoia and anxiety sometimes associated with marijuana. It’s especially good for pain caused by inflammation and pain that is resistant to conventional treatment.
Key Takeaways: Buying Weed Online and The Best Places to Shop For Delta 8 THC
In the states where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use, you can visit a licensed dispensary, or you can purchase it online; if it’s at all possible, online is the way to go.
If you live in a state where marijuana is still illegal, don’t be discouraged and don’t resort to breaking the law. You have an excellent alternative — delta 8 THC. True, it’s not as potent as marijuana, but that can be a good thing.
Delta 8 THC gives a mild, mellow high free of the paranoia and anxiety you can get from smoking weed.
Make sure you shop only with licensed vendors. Your experience with weed and delta 8 THC smokables, edibles, and vapes can be gratifying or extremely frustrating. Area 52 and Finest Labs are two great places to start — and to end, for that matter. Both have stellar reputations for quality control, customer service, and reasonable prices.