Delta-8 THC: What is it, and is it Legal in Mississippi?
With the arrival of medical marijuana in Mississippi so far off, you may have started exploring other options to treat your qualifying conditions. And perhaps one of the options you’ve heard about is delta-8 THC.
While we don’t like to throw water on the hopes of people desperate for relief, the delta-8 market is something of an unregulated wild west, where scores of manufacturers and retailers are peddling products of questionable legality and safety.
Although you can find delta-8 online easily and may even find brick-and-mortar retailers who carry it, delta-8 is not legal in Mississippi and is only quasi-legal at the Federal level.
Furthermore, when you think you’re buying delta-8, you’re often buying something else altogether.
Lack of Regulation Made Delta-8 Possible, and Also Makes it Unreliable
Delta-8 is only sort-of legal at the Federal level because of what one expert describes as a legal “gray area.” Delta-8 THC differs from delta-9 THC, the primary active ingredient in plain old marijuana, mostly in the way the two substances are produced, and that’s what landed it in the “gray area.”
This all started with the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. With this law, Congress removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, taking it out of the jurisdiction of the DEA and placing its regulation under the less powerful Food and Drug Administration. This essentially legalized hemp products with less than .3% THC content, essentially legalizing CBD derived from hemp as well.
And it turns out it’s a pretty simple process to produce delta-8 from CBD. And because it’s technically not marijuana, it’s technically not the DEA’s jurisdiction; and because it is a product of CBD, which is an FDA-regulated good, and the FDA has more limited regulatory powers than the DEA, delta-8 has for now landed in a gray area between agencies, with no one actively regulating it.
Buyer Beware: Delta-8 is an Unregulated Wild West.
Those who say they find relief with delta-8 (and there are those anecdotes out there) may see this gray area as a good thing, because it helped them access delta-8.
But because it sort of slipped under the Federal radar, the market for delta-8 is largely a free-for-all, with shady, fly-by-night operations flooding the market with questionable products.
For example, one news report from Minnesota, where delta-8 is legal, found that delta-8 products were often misleadingly labeled, and that local experts urged consumers to stick to the proven benefits and strict regulation of medical marijuana.
And according to Bloomberg News, The U.S. Cannabis Council tested 16 delta-8 products acquired from retailers from all around the country. They found that only one of those products had a THC level within legal limits, and that on average they had more than 10 times the THC allowed by law.
That may seem like a plus to some people, but the point here isn’t how much THC customers are getting, it’s that customers aren’t getting what labels tell them they’re getting. For example, several of the samples that the U.S. Cannabis Council tested also exceeded legal limits on metals such as copper, chromium, and nickel. Not exactly the kind of all-natural relief retailers are promising.
Dubious Retailers Making Dubious Claims
I decided to see if this kind of misleading marketing extended to online retailers, starting with the question of would such retailers sell delta-8 to Mississippians, even though delta-8 is illegal here.
You see, whatever its status at the Federal level, delta-8 doesn’t fall into a gray area in Mississippi. In 2020’s Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act, delta-8 was explicitly added to the state’s list of Section 1 controlled substances, drugs the state regards as being without medical value and as having a high potential for abuse. That status was reaffirmed with House Bill 1034 in March of 2021.
But would that matter to online retailers?
The methodology of my totally unscientific experiment: I Googled “is delta-8 legal in Mississippi,” and decided to search until I found a retailer who claimed it was. Or I’d stop searching when I got tired of staring at the screen, whichever came first.
It only took me two clicks.
The second retailer I came across insisted that delta-8 was legal in Mississippi, and as proof quoted the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act. Or more accurately, they quoted a portion of the law that says that hemp-derived products are legal in Mississippi. What they didn’t quote were the parts of the law that said that 1) hemp-derived products were legal unless they were banned elsewhere in the law and that 2) delta-8 was banned.
I’m not saying that this retailer was lying; the legalese of law texts can be a landmine for us laypeople. But at the very least, they don’t understand their market well. In contrast, most states' medical marijuana laws set training standards for retailers, to make sure they are familiar with the law and the products they’re selling so as to help their customers make the best choices.
But Isn’t Delta-8 Almost Exactly the Same as Medical Marijuana?
Yes, except medical marijuana is highly regulated.
Unlike the strict regulation Mississippi would have seen under Initiative 65, and the kind of strict regulation it is almost certain to see under whatever medical marijuana law is passed out of the State Legislature, the delta-8 market is largely unregulated. You have no way of knowing for sure what’s in the products you buy, and retailers don’t have to meet any licensing requirements to ensure that they know how to guide you through your purchases.
As one doctor told that news team from Minnesota, "It is buyer beware. We don’t know what we’re getting, and we don’t know what may be included."
Or as Popular Science concluded, “If you’re in a state that has legalized marijuana, you should buy delta-8 through a licensed store. (Or you could just buy marijuana. Your call.)”
Yes, You Could Just Buy Marijuana (Eventually)
Fortunately for you, you live in Mississippi, where soon you will be able to buy THC in its natural form, delta-9. Not only that, but you’ll have the sense of security that comes from knowing that you’re using a safe, tested medicine while under a doctor’s care.
Or at least you’ll be able to if you have a Mississippi Marijuana Card.
Our medical marijuana market may not be here yet, but there’s no reason you can’t get started now. Reserve an evaluation with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate doctors today, and we’ll make an appointment for you just as soon as Mississippi’s medical marijuana market is ready. Not only that, but you’ll save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!