How You Can Legally Get High on THC Anywhere in the U.S. – Lifehacker
This morning, New York finally passed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis, making it the 16th state to do so, and the second largest by population after California. Legally partaking for fun is now an option for around 91 million Americans over the age of 21—but even if you aren’t one of them, you don’t have to let stoner FOMO rule your life. Because there’s actually a 100 percent federally legal way to consume THC—and get high—no matter where you live.
Like the largely non-psychoactive CBD, delta-8 THC is federally legal (or, perhaps more accurately, technically not illegal) because of a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill that allows for the broad cultivation of hemp and hemp-derived products. According to the non-profit public policy group the The Brookings Institution, the bill “puts no restrictions on the sale, transport, or possession of hemp-derived products, so long as those items are produced in a manner consistent with the law.”
The Farm Bill wasn’t looking to legalize weed, so it features a specific restriction on the levels of THC that can be included in these various hemp-sourced products (from oils to tinctures): .3%, a trace amount too small to get you blitzed or have much of a psychoactive effect at all (though your mileage may vary depending on whether your CBD oil is “full-spectrum,” your personal tolerance levels, or your susceptibility to the placebo effect).
The Farm Bill dictates that in order to be legal, hemp-derived products must be just that; technically you could extract delta-8 THC from cannabis plants that also contain copious amounts of “regular” THC, but that would be illegal.
The process starts with the whole hemp flower, which must be chemically distilled to isolate the delta-8 THC cannabinoid. The resulting distillate can then be further concentrated and made into various products that match the ones consumers might expect if they’ve ever purchased cannabis legally, from edibles to oils.
Does it work?
Great, delta-8 THC is legal and, unlike cannabis products even in states with legal weed, it can be shipped through the mail by companies like the one I heard advertised on that podcast. This much I learned easily enough in my internet sleuthing, but if the fervor over CBD oil is any indication, lots of companies are more than happy to advertise products with bold claims of their effects when they don’t really have to offer proof to back them up. This particular delta-8 THC purveyor was promising all the benefits of consuming regular ol’ reefer—calling it “a more functional substitute for Delta-9 THC”—without any of the potential (slightly dubious) negative effects, namely: “addiction, sleep issues, paranoia, anxiety, laziness, etc.” (It’s worth noting that none of these claims are supported by verified research—like CBD, the delta-8 THC market is not yet federally regulated, so you have to take the manufacturer’s word for it when it comes to what’s in the products, how they are made, and what effects they might have.)
My initial reaction was that I’d only believe that when I experienced it, but I wanted a second opinion, so I turned to Reddit as the go-to place to learn everything I could want to know about getting high. (There are subreddits for nearly every state with legal weed, discussing locally available strains and retailers, and offering tips for beginners.) And Reddit had a lotto sayabout delta-8 THC, most of it exactly what you’d want to hear if you’re bothering to research the stuff. In short: Yeah, it’ll get you high.
That all sounded good to me, so I decided it was worth risking an order—an easier decision, given that delta-8 THC products are a heck of a lot cheaper than the legal cannabis on sale in other states. I chose a 16-pack of gummies for about $30, but you can also order vapes and tinctures, as well as concentrates (if you prefer to make your own edibles). They arrived in short order, and I admit it felt slightly weird opening up a decidedly illicit-seeming product I’d received by regular mail, though I’ve felt the same about weed imagery-bedecked orders of CBD oil in the past. But what I really cared about was whether they gummies would actually work as advertised.
I ate two, because I am not inexperienced with partaking of legal cannabis and the consensus on Reddit seemed to be that delta-8 THC is about half as potent/effective. Within 45 minutes, I knew I’d gotten my money’s worth. As promised, I felt some familiar weed-adjacent effects—lightness in the body, heightened focus, increased appetite, increased hilarity of Spongebob Squarepants—if with less intensity and none of the confusion or brain fog that can result from getting hit with a heavy lid, so to speak.
Is delta-8 THC going to replace the other stuff as your substance of choice? If you have access to both in your state and your primary goal is gettingstoned, buddy, probably not. If you are looking for an intoxicant with subtler effects, though, you might actually prefer it—and, like I said, it’s cheaper, too. And if you live in a state where cannabis is either still illegal or not yet commercially available? It could be just what you’ve been searching for.
This article was edited after publication to include an additional note and link about delta-8 THC’s potential to trigger a positive drug test.