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Is Delta-8 legal in Washington?

We know Delta-8 and other hemp-derived products are approved at the federal level by the Farm Bills. What does the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board have to say? The rules in the Evergreen State appear to allow Delta-8 along with other hemp derived CBD products. This article will look more closely at the facts.

CBD and Delta-9 THC

Cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are probably the two best known cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is just a substance that comes from the cannabis plant, and there are hundreds!

When cannabinoids from cannabis (whether from hemp plants or marijuana plants) are consumed, they interact with and have an effect on the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). More on that below.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is one of the many other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and perhaps the next best known and loved! It is very similar to Delta-9 THC, including the potential to produce psychoactive effects—but without being as overwhelming as Delta-9 can be to some consumers. In most places, including Washington, Delta-8 flies off the store shelves as retailers sell, sell, sell.

While Delta-8 THC can produce effects on par with the Delta-9 THC cannabinoid, the well-known psychoactive chemical found in cannabis, Delta-8 is generally not quite as strong. This is an advantage to those who may become overwhelmed when using marijuana. Even in a state like Washington that sanctions adult recreational use of marijuana (see below) it’s helpful to have other options available that only a friendly cannabis policy permits.

The endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) uses the cannabinoids as neuromodulators that work with the cannabinoid receptors throughout the human body. ​​Scientists are still actively studying the ECS, but researchers already think it may help to regulate physiological and cognitive processes, pain-sensation and much more [1]. 

Even though Washington has been able to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, Delta-8 THC products can be a great alternative for those looking to benefit from cannabis without higher levels of Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is a very popular THC product used for therapeutic and personal enjoyment. It is similar to Delta-9 THC which we’ll look at next. 

What’s the Difference Between Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 THC?

Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-10 THC all occur naturally in the cannabis plant, and all three are isomers of the same molecule, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the main substance to cause psychoactive effects in cannabis. Delta-8 and Delta-10 molecules are very similar in structure and can produce similar effects as Delta-9, though typically at a lower intensity. 

Learn more about hemp-derived Delta-9 THC here: Is Hemp-Derived Delta-9 Legal in America? 

Order Earthy Select Delta-8 THC Vape Pens

What does “hemp-derived” mean?

Something that is hemp-derived is made from hemp. Because of its relation to marijuana, and coming from the same plant, it has faced uneven legality in the U.S. and other countries. 

The 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills (see next section) established new legal definitions and rules for hemp, including that hemp and “and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis” may be legally used for production, sales, transport, and use. 

Hemp and hemp derivatives include many substances like cannabidiol (CBD), Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-10 THC. Any cannabis compound among these, and others, are federally-compliant for use in inhalable, edible, and topical products.

Does the Farm Bill make Delta-8 THC legal everywhere? 

For many years in the U.S. cannabis was illegal according to federal law whether or not it contained THC, the main psychoactive chemical that occurs naturally in the plant. In the 2010s, the United States Congress enacted two groundbreaking pieces of legislation, called “Agricultural Acts” and commonly known as the Farm Bills. 

Thank a hemp farmer

The 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) list of Schedule 1 substances, and this was the seed of hemp’s recent legally produced resurgence. The Bill made hemp federally legal and allowed long-forbidden research into hemp-derived cannabinoids to begin in earnest.

The 2018 Farm Bill expanded on this same category, allowing people to produce, sell, and consume hemp-derived products, making it clear to legal experts that all other plant materials and substances derived from legally-defined hemp are also federally-compliant [2].

The legislation defines a cannabis plant with less than .3% of Delta-9 THC per dry weight as a hemp plant, or hemp, and allows it in all 50 states. A cannabis plant with more than .3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight is defined as marijuana and federal law still treats marijuana products as controlled substances on the DEA’s Schedule 1 list.

This is despite the fact that many states allow medical use or adult recreational use of cannabis containing much more than .3% Delta-9 THC. Marijuana flower is the most common form of such products made from traditional higher-THC cannabis, the type that are considered controlled substances, federally or by state laws.

Hemp is not a controlled substance

The Farm Bill, from the federal government, defines hemp as: 

Hemp.–The term `hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

Most states passed similar laws in the year or years following the Farm Bill’s enactment. Most of these adopted the same definition of hemp, and legalized hemp derived products. So they are no longer DEA controlled substances. It is reassuring to knowingly purchase products that are not forbidden by archaic and racist laws.

To learn about Delta-8 Washington’s neighbors, check out Is Delta-8 Legal in Idaho and Is Delta-8 Legal in Oregon?

For all 50 states, read Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Your State?

Does Washington have recreational marijuana?

In 2012, Washington legalized recreational cannabis and allowed recreational marijuana sales. Hemp and hemp derived substances are treated separately. Under state law, legally purchased cannabis is legal for medical purposes (see next section) and for any purpose by adults over 21. [3]

There is no criminal or civil penalty for adult personal possession or consumption of up to an ounce of marijuana, up to 16 oz. of solid infused, up to 72 oz. of marijuana-infused liquid, or up 7 gr. of marijuana concentrate [4].

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Does Washington have medical marijuana?

Initiative 692, or the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, was a ballot initiative that passed by public election in Washington in 1998. The initiative was to permit patients with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana [5]. Access to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program is administered by the Department of Health (DOH). 

According to DOH guidelines, “terminal or debilitating medical condition means a condition severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient’s activities of daily living and ability to function.”

In Washington, medical marijuana may be officially used for “the following:

  • Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders.
  • Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications.
  • Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications.
  • Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
  • Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
  • Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications.
  • Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Traumatic brain injury [6]”

Delta-8 THC and Washington state law – is it legal?

Washington lawmakers have been working with cannabis law for many years. Operating legally is an important premise in the cannabis industry. In Washington hemp-derived Delta-8 THC is arguably legal when you look at the state’s own laws and the federal Farm Bills. 

What evidence is there? Hemp and hemp-derivatives are excepted from Washington’s controlled substances schedule, plus Initiative 502 allows adults in Washington to possess marijuana. 

In September 2021, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board stated that licensed processors are not allowed to convert CBD or hemp into Delta-8 THC, and products with Delta-8 converted from CBD are prohibited from sale at licensed retailers [7]. Products from out of state or otherwise produced by non-licensed entities were not addressed; nor were possession and consumption of Delta-8. The rules seem mainly targeted at producers rather than consumers.

Washington Senate Bill 5983 was introduced in 2022. It would require certification and labeling for certain cannabinoids. Note that the Bill refers to “artificial cannabinoids created solely through chemical reactions.” The definition of synthetic, or artificial, cannabinoids has not been defined satisfactorily, according to legal experts [2], and it is clear that most of the cannabinoids and other THC isomers in question do exist naturally in cannabis plants. If Washington residents can’t find Delta-8 from retailers in their state, ordering online may be the best bet.

Final thoughts on Delta-8 THC in Washington

The Pacific Northwest has a great cannabis tradition and folks in Washington love their Delta-8 THC. We are fortunate to live in a time when more cannabinoids are available to more people, at online shops and local stores, and people generally have more choices in their cannabis products.

Consumers are encouraged to do their own due diligence and enjoy their rights for recreational purposes. Earthy Select crafts the highest quality, federally-compliant Delta-8, Delta-9 and Delta-10 and we ship nationwide.

Legal Disclaimer / Medical Disclaimer– Information is provided for educational purposes. It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice or medical advice. We attempt to be accurate and up to date but the legality and science surrounding cannabinoids is evolving. The author is neither a lawyer nor legal expert, doctor nor medical expert. You should check with your local authorities and medical providers before buying or using any products.


  1. Earthy Now: Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System
  2. HIA Position Statement on Delta-8 and Hemp Cannabinoids
  3. Wikipedia: Cannabis In Washington
  4. NORML: Washington Penalties
  5. Wikipedia: Washington Initiative 692
  6. Washington Patient Information and Qualifying Conditions
  7. Washington Prohibition On Delta-8 Production And Sales

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Frequently Asked Questions

People may feel high after using THC products. Products with THC, even at low dosages, have the potential to produce psychoactive and therapeutic effects. The strength of the effects on a particular person will be different depending on a few things: dosage level, body weight, food or other substances in the system, and experience/tolerance level of THC, and personal body chemistry.

A certificate of analysis (COA) is a document attesting to a product’s laboratory analysis for cannabinoids and in some cases adulterants. It is a useful tool for cannabis producers and customers to ensure quality and trust.

When using Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC products, users report feelings of relaxation, euphoria, creativity, focus and pleasure. Some people like to compare the effects to those of traditional adult-use cannabis products.

Products with THC, even at low dosages, have the potential to produce psychoactive and therapeutic effects. While products have a suggested dosage listed on each package, the strength of the effects on a particular person will be different depending on a few things: the dosage level, body weight, food or other substances in the system, personal body chemistry, and experience level or tolerance of THC.

Generally speaking,  it is recommended that you start with the lowest dose, ie. 5mg to 10mg, and gradually increase it until you reach satisfactory results. Consult your healthcare provider with specific questions about using any therapeutic products.

Yes! Delta-8 and other hemp-derived products with less than .3% Delta-9 THC are federally legal to transport across state lines. Certain states have limitations on what they allow within their borders, and these can change. It is important to stay aware of your local regulations.