What Is Delta-8? The Cannabis Extract Temporarily Legalized in Texas

A cannabis substance known as Delta-8 has become temporarily legal in Texas after retailers challenged a ban in court.

Delta-8, short for Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, is a compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant that is known to have psychoactive effects.

Cannabis producers can concentrate Delta-8 and sell it in various forms, including as Delta-8-infused gummy sweets.

There has been confusion regarding the legality of the substance in Texas, where the growing of hemp has been legal since the passing of House Bill 1325 in 2019.

According to the Texas Tribune, many cannabis product retailers in the state had thought Delta-8 was legal under this legislation.

However, on October 15 this year, after the Texas Department of State Health Services received inquiries about the status of Delta-8, it published a note on its website stating that the substance was listed as a Schedule I drug and was therefore illegal, the Tribune added.

On Monday this week, this decision was successfully challenged by a group of companies including Sky Marketing, Create a Cig and Hometown Hero.

According to a court document shared by Hometown Hero on its YouTube account, the District Court of Travis County found that the retailers would suffer reputational damage and loss of customers and market share as a result of the Delta-8 ban, which was described as an amendment to Texas' controlled substances list.

The district court also found that the Delta-8 ban did not comply with administrative requirements.

As a result, Judge Jan Soifer ordered that Delta-8 should be made legal again via a temporary injunction, until further notice or until the case's final trial.

A final trial on the merits of the case has been set for January 28, 2022.

As of around 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning, the Texas health department website still states that "Delta-8 in any concentration and Delta-9 exceeding 0.3% are considered Schedule I controlled substances."

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Delta-8 is different to Delta-9, the substance that is responsible for making people high when they smoke cannabis, but it still produces an intoxicating effect.

Delta-8 is found in very low concentrations in hemp, so producers will use additional chemicals to turn other cannabinoids in the plant into Delta-8.

The FDA points out that it has not approved Delta-8 products for safe use. It adds that adverse events including hallucinations, vomiting and loss of consciousness have been reported following the consumption of Delta-8 food products.

Cannabis plant
A cannabis plant photographed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in February 2007. Delta-8 is a psychoactive cannabis-derived substance. Christopher Furlong/Getty