Is Delta-9 Legal in Illinois?

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the dominant cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa and Indica plants. It is responsible for the mood-altering and therapeutic effects that consumers of cannabis products experience. Delta-9 THC interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which comprises CB 1 and CB 2 receptors located in the brain, nervous system, spinal cord, and immune system. The human endocannabinoid system is responsible for such important functions as memory, stress, pain, sleep, immune response, and hunger.

Consumers of Delta-9 THC may experience the following effects:

  • Euphoria

  • Temporary memory loss

  • Appetite boosts

  • Paranoia

  • Sleepiness

  • Relaxation

Delta-9 THC is mostly derived from hemp and marijuana plants because it naturally occurs in abundance in both plants. Delta-9 THC products are believed to be effective in treating or managing conditions such as autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, cancer, Crohn's disease, depression, HIV, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Delta-9 THC products come in the form of gummies, smokable flowers, vapes, oils, sublingual tinctures, and edibles.

Is Delta-9 Legal in Illinois?

Yes, Delta-9 THC is legal in Illinois. Both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC are legal in the state. Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC must contain not more than 0.3% THC to be considered legal. With the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, federal restrictions on the cultivation, processing, and use of hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products were removed. The Farm Bill legalized all hemp-derived cannabinoids with a THC content of 0.3% or less, including Delta-9 THC. Marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC is still illegal under federal law.

The passage of House Bill 1438 in 2019 legalized the recreational use of cannabis in Illinois. Under this law, also known as the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, Illinois residents aged 21 and over can legally access hemp-derived Delta-9 THC. HB 1438 allows adults in Illinois to access up to 30 grams (1 oz) of smokable cannabis flower, 500 mg of THC in edibles or beverages, and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. HB 1438 took effect from January 1, 2020. Under Senate Bill 2023 of 2019, medical cannabis patients in Illinois are permitted to access 2.5 oz of THC products every 14 days. Out-of-state visitors to dispensaries in Illinois can buy only 15 grams of smokable flower, 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 250 milligrams of THC-infused beverages, edibles, and tinctures.

Licensed dispensaries in Illinois can sell both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC products. Delta-9 THC products generally carry QR codes providing information about THC content and potency.

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

Delta-8 THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, which means that they have a similar molecular structure. However, while Delta-8 THC has a double bond on its eighth carbon ring, the double bond occurs on the ninth carbon ring in Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is naturally produced in larger amounts than Delta-8 THC. Because of its limited quantity in cannabis plants, Delta-8 THC is often synthesized from hemp-derived CBD. Delta-8 THC is known to cause only a fraction of the psychoactive effects that Delta-9 THC is capable of producing. This is because Delta-8 THC does not attach itself easily to the CB 1 and CB 2 receptors. Delta-8 THC is sometimes described as "diet weed" because of its lighter psychoactive effects. Some people prefer Delta-8 THC because its effects wear off more quickly than those of Delta-9 THC.

Delta-9 vs Delta-10

While Delta-9 THC occurs in substantial amounts in cannabis plants, Delta-10 THC occurs as a trace compound in the same plants. Because of its abundance in Cannabis plants, Delta-9 THC is more easily extracted than Delta-10 THC. Delta-9 THC content in marijuana variants of cannabis can reach as high as 25-30%.Delta-10 THC is commonly processed by adding solvents to hemp-derived CBD.

Delta-10 THC provides a less psychoactive experience than Delta-9 THC. The medicinal benefits that Delta-10 THC is believed to offer include relief from pain, anxiety, stress, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Consumers of Delta-10 have reported feeling greater mental clarity, in addition to mild euphoria and energy boosts. Delta-10 THC products are legal in Illinois and under federal law.

How Long Does Delta-9 THC Stay in Your System?

Drug tests can determine whether or not a person has been consuming Delta-9 THC. Chemical analysis of hair, saliva, urine, and blood samples can isolate THC metabolites in general. Once Delta-9 THC is consumed, it enters the bloodstream, lungs, brain, and liver. Because cannabinoids such as Delta-9 THC are lipid-soluble, metabolites can be deposited in fatty tissues. About 70-80% of Delta-9 THC ingested by a person passes out of the body as fecal matter. The remainder is eliminated from the body in urine. Several factors play a part in how Delta-9 THC is metabolized and retained by the body. They include the underlisted:

  • Frequency of Use: The frequency of a person's Delta-9 THC consumption can be a factor in the detection of THC metabolites. A daily consumer of Delta-9 THC products will have a larger buildup of metabolites than a person who is only a weekly or occasional consumer

  • Genetics: A person's genetic inheritance can either predispose them to retaining THC metabolites or reduce their susceptibility to THC retention

  • Type of Drug Test: The detection window of Delta-9 THC metabolites can be affected by the type of drug test carried out

  • Rate of Metabolism: A person's rate of metabolism can also determine how long Delta-9 THC metabolites can last in the body before being eliminated as feces or urine

  • Body Fat: Because Delta-9 THC is lipid-soluble (or fat-soluble), it can end up in the fat tissues. In fat-heavy persons, this means THC metabolites will last longer. The reverse is the case for persons with lower fat deposits

  • Mode of Consumption: When Delta-9 THC is consumed by smoking or vaping, its psychoactive effects are felt more quickly than is the case for Delta-9 THC ingested in edible form. Metabolites from ingested Delta-9 THC last longer in the body than metabolites from smoked or inhaled Delta-9 THC

The presence of Delta-9 THC metabolites can be revealed in drug tests as listed below:

  • Hair: Tests on hair follicle samples can detect the presence of carboxy-THC up to 90 days after the last use of Delta-9 THC. In persons whose consumption of the cannabinoid is not heavy, metabolites may only be retained for a shorter period of between 30-60 days

  • Saliva: Delta-9 THC metabolites can be detected in the saliva of frequent users for up to three days after last use. Saliva samples from heavier users can retain metabolites for up to 29 days

  • Urine: Urinalysis is the preferred testing method for Delta-9 THC consumption. THC metabolites can be detected in urine for between 30-48 days, depending on the frequency of usage

  • Blood: In blood samples, Delta-9 THC metabolites can be detected up to 12 hours after usage of the substance. Frequent consumers can test positive up to 30 days after the last consumption of Delta-9 THC. In Illinois, a person with 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood will test positive for THC use

Where Can I Find Delta-9 Gummies in Illinois?

Delta-9 gummies are available for purchase in licensed dispensaries in Illinois. Delta-9 gummies sold in Illinois must be processed using industrial hemp and must contain no more than 0.3% THC. It is possible to ship Delta-9 gummies from out of state because there are no prohibitions on the movement of hemp-derived Delta-9 products. Visitors from other states are restricted to half of the possession limits given to Illinois residents. This means they can only purchase 250mg of Delta-9 gummies. Delta-9 gummies sold in Illinois dispensaries must be packaged in units containing a maximum of 500 mg of THC.

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