What is Delta-8 THC, and Why is it Currently the Hottest Marijuana Derivative on the Market Today?

Gloved hand holding cannabis plant

Note:  This is a topic that is and will be changing fast.  Please be sure to consult a lawyer if you have specific questions.

As you likely know, THC is the active compound in marijuana that gives you the euphoric “high” associated with marijuana.  Well, there is one particular type of THC that is the most flourishing cannabinoid on the U.S. market today, and that is Delta-8 THC.  It is commonly described as “marijuana-lite” or “diet weed.”  In this article, we are going to delve into Delta-8 THC.  We will talk about what it is, how old you have to be to purchase it, and whether there are regulatory issues to keep in mind with the substance.

If, after reading this article, you have more questions about the legal issues surrounding Delta-8 THC, then we welcome you to reach out 1818 Legal.  Learn more about what our representation can do for you.  Contact us today.  We have the resources and experience to assist you with the legal requirements for Delta-8 THC.

Delta-8 THC – The Basics

Delta-8 is short for delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, or Delta-8 THC.  It can give people the feeling of being “high” and cause feelings of sedation, symptom relief, euphoria, and happiness, to name a few.  Almost all of the Delta-8 THC on the open market today is extracted from hemp-derived CBD, which in theory, means it can be included in a federally legal chain of origin.

  • What is the Difference Between Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC?

In addition to Delta-8, there is also a Delta-9 TCH variant.  They are both types of TCH and are found in most cannabis strains. Their similarities are found in their chemical structures and names.

Delta-8 and Delta-9 will bind to a person’s endocannabinoid system giving them the feeling of being high.  Chemically, Delta-8 and Delta-9 both have a double bond in how they are structured.  The difference, however, is that Delta-8’s double bond is on the eighth carbon and Delta-9’s double bond is on the ninth.  Because of that, Delta-8 is less potent than Delta-9.

  • What Are the Side Effects of Delta-8 THC?

While Delta-8 THC brings a user a sense of euphoria, some have reported side effects that include:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Dry Mouth
  3. The “Munchies”
  4. Paranoia
  5. Red Eyes
  6. Short-Term Memory Loss

It’s important to note that extensive studies have not been conducted on Delta-8, and much more research is needed in order to determine the effects it can have on the human body and mind.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Purchase Delta-8 THC in Illinois?

You need to be 21 to legally purchase cannabis products, including Delta-8 THC, in Illinois.  While the legality of Delta-8 THC is in a bit of a grey area, a growing number of businesses in the Chicago area are exploiting a loophole in the federal law that seems to allow the unfettered sale of Delta-8 THC. 

As you may expect, Delta-8 products come in many varieties, and retailers throughout Chicago are selling the product with great success.  In fact, bars are even mixing Delta-8 THC into some drinks on site. 

What Licenses Are There to Make Delta-8 THC?

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is currently in charge of the licensing of cannabis and cannabis products, including Delta-8 THC.  Delta-8 THC appears not to be as heavily regulated as other cannabis products, much to the chagrin of state lawmakers looking to impose stricter regulations on Delta-8 THC.

With regard to obtaining a license to manufacture or sell cannabis products, a typical applicant would need to pay a non-refundable application fee of $5,000.  If the application is approved, the cost for an Adult Use Dispensing Organization License is $60,000 for a period of two years.  If you can meet the Social Equity criteria (as a person from a disadvantaged region), your application fee would be only $2,500, and the cost of a two-year license would be $30,000.

It is important to note that Illinois dispensaries are prohibited from selling certain products.  They are as follows

  • Any product that contains alcohol tinctures, which are limited to containers no bigger than 100 milliliters
  • Clones or live plant material
  • Cannabis, cannabis concentrate, or cannabis-infused products in combination or bundled with one another for a single price

What About Bars Mixing Delta-8 THC With Alcoholic Drinks On-Site?

With the recent popularity of some Chicago bars and restaurants serving cannabis drinks or infusing food with Delta-8, there are a few things business owners should consider:

  1. Marijuana and THC products will get your patrons high. Alcohol can get them drunk. Both are sedatives and can cause different reactions in their bodies. This is where there is a concern about mixing the two products.
  2. Alcohol can hit some people quickly while it takes longer to feel the effects of cannabis that is drinkable.

These facts have raised concerns and started conversations in the bartending community, especially if the bar serves cannabis cocktails. When it comes to serving cannabis beverages, you may want to avoid them altogether until further research is conducted to ascertain the effects cannabis and Delta-8 have on the human body.

For a discussion about your business and the use of Delta-8 THC, we welcome you to reach out 1818 Legal.  Learn more about what our representation can do for you.  Contact us.  We have the resources and experience to assist you with the legal requirements for Delta-8 THC.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.