Is Delta THC Legal in Illinois?


Illinois Delta-8 THC Overview >
Illinois Delta-9 THC Overview >

What is Delta THC?

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the chemical compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. THC is the psychoactive constituent in cannabis that gives a euphoric feeling. Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-10 THC are all isomers of Delta THC. Their compounds have the same chemical formula with different atomic arrangements and properties. These isomers are synthesized and sold as THC products with effects similar to Delta THC. Other derivatives of Delta THC include Delta-6, Delta-7, THC-O, THC-P, THCh, THC-B, THC-X, and THCjd. These isomers have varying degrees of potency compared to Delta THC and produce psychoactive effects when consumed.

Marijuana plants contain more THC than hemp plants. Hemp plants contain no more than 0.3% THC. Hemp-based products do not contain enough Delta THC to create a mind-altering feeling associated with marijuana.


THC and CBD are cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and are similar in molecular structures. They are found in hemp and marijuana. They are both believed to assist in treating or managing certain health conditions. However, THC and CBD differ in some ways.

THC interacts with the receptors in the brain and produces a strong euphoric feeling. It is dominant in marijuana and often used to alleviate pain, nausea, inflammation, and anxiety. THC can help treat conditions such as arthritis, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, insomnia, and cancer.

CBD, unlike THC, is not as psychoactive. Its chemical structure does not bind with cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system and the brain. Consequently, CBD does not produce the intoxicating high associated with cannabis. Instead, CBD induces a calm feeling. Found in large quantities in hemp, CBD can be used to treat seizures, pain, migraine, psychosis, and depression. CBD is purported to help with sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and social anxiety. Pure CBD-based products do not lead to a positive drug test result. However, if CBD contains trace amounts of THC, it could lead to a positive result. THC-based products, when consumed, are absorbed in the user's blood, saliva, hair, urine, and sweat, and may remain in the body weeks after consumption. Consequently, a drug screen for THC returns positive results days or weeks after the last use, depending on several factors.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid derived from industrial hemp and is found in trace amounts in marijuana plants. Delta-8 THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC with similar properties. Although Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive substance, it is less potent than Delta-9 THC. Essentially, Delta-8 THC gives a milder high with some side effects. Some known side effects after consuming Delta-8 THC include red eyes, dry mouth, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, rapid heart rate, and memory loss. However, Delta-8 THC users ascribe benefits such as nausea curbing, appetite stimulation, and pain relieving capacity to its use.

Delta-8 THC in an individual's system can return a positive drug test. Delta-8 THC drug tests usually test for THC metabolites created when the body breaks down the substance. The test identifies traces of Delta-8 THC in the body long after it is consumed. Consequently, Delta-8 THC is detectable in a user days after the last use depending on the frequency of use.

  • A urine test can detect Delta-8 THC for up to three days for single use and more than 30 days for a chronic user

  • Blood tests for Delta-8 THC can detect Delta-8 THC in the user’s system up to 12 hours after a single use and up to 30 days for chronic users

  • A hair test can detect Delta-8 THC up to 30 days after mild use and 90 days for continuous user

  • Saliva test detects Delta-8 THC within 24 hours of single use and up to 72 hours for recurrent users

Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Illinois?

Delta-8 THC is legal in Illinois. Hemp-derived Delta-8 THC is federally legal through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The Act removes hemp from the schedule of controlled substances, legalizing hemp and its derivatives, including isomers, cannabinoids, and other extracts. Illinois passed the Industrial Hemp Act, aligning it with the 2018 Farm Bill to legalize hemp and its derivatives. Although the Act does not explicitly list Delta-8 THC, it is one of the hemp derivatives. Consequently, Illinois does not consider Delta-8 THC products with less than 0.3% THC derived from hemp as a controlled substance.

The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act and Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act legalized cannabis for medical and recreational uses. Consequently, patients and recreational consumers can legally possess and purchase cannabis-infused products with Delta-8 THC, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC. Illinois residents can readily purchase Delta-8 THC products, such as edibles, oils, tinctures, topicals, and sodas. Although Delta-8 THC products are legal for use in Illinois, the state regulates Delta-8 THC like marijuana and prohibits the online sales of Delta-8 THC products. Residents may only purchase Delta-8 THC products from registered recreational dispensaries. In addition, Illinois residents can buy hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products from other states and have the same delivered to their residences in Illinois.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Delta-9 THC is a chemical compound derived from hemp and cannabis plants. It has psychoactive properties, giving its user intoxicating effects. Even though Delta-9 THC's psychoactive effects last a few hours, it can be detected in the human body days or weeks after the last use. Depending on the frequency of use, Delta-9 THC can be detected within these time frames

  • Blood testing: It is detectable in the bloodstream up to 36 hours after the last use

  • Urine testing: Delta-9 THC can be found in urine up to 30 days from the last use

  • Hair testing: Hair testing identifies Delta-9 THC in the hair up to 3 months after the last use

  • Saliva testing: Delta-9 THC is typically detectable in saliva for up to 72 hours

The potential benefits of consuming Delta-9 THC include revealing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, nausea, vomiting, nerve pain, and chemotherapy. However, its prolonged use can increase the risk of kidney and liver damage, increased blood pressure, and risk of stroke. In addition, its psychoactive effect makes it highly addictive.

Is Delta-9 THC Legal in Illinois?

Following the federal legalization of industrial hemp, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 1438 into law, legalizing the sale of certain hemp products, including Delta-9 THC, to meet the Farm Bill’s requirements. Delta-9 THC derived from hemp or marijuana plants with no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight is legal for medical and recreational use in Illinois.

Illinois has legalized cannabis. Therefore, residents can readily get Delta-9 THC products from state-licensed dispensaries. Where consumers cannot obtain the product, it is federally legal for residents to order hemp-derived Delta-9 THC products online and ship them into Illinois. Delta-9 THC can be infused into edibles, topicals, capsules, beverages, and tinctures. However, there are potential adverse effects from its continuous use, including panic attacks and delusions.

What is Delta-10 THC?

Delta-10 THC is a cannabinoid derived from cannabis plants but is less potent than Delta-9 THC. However, it still has a psychoactive property and produces intoxicating feelings associated with cannabis. Delta-10 THC is known for its stress relief and relaxation effects. Its side effects are similar to Delta-9 THC but less powerful. Delta-10 THC can be detected in the body after consumption as follows:

  • Saliva testing: Up to three days after the last use

  • Urine testing: Up to one month from previous use

  • Hair testing: Up to three months after the last use

  • Blood testing: Up to three days from last use

Is Delta-10 THC Legal in Illinois?

Delta-10 THC is mostly processed from hemp-derived CBD. Consequently, it is legal in Illinois. Illinois’ hemp law aligns with the federal law on industrial hemp, making hemp-derived Delta-10 THC with less than 0.3% THC legal for recreational and medical use in the state. Its legality also implies that residents may purchase Delta-10 THC products from online vendors or licensed dispensaries in the state. Residents can also ship hemp Delta-10 THC products from other states into Illinois. Hemp-derived Delta-10 THC comes in tinctures, gummies, and vape cartridges.

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