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When I heard about people locally buying pot without a medical marijuana prescription, I was confused. Did we have a rogue dispensary in town? Then I saw a billboard for a dispensary with text in the top right corner saying something to the effect of 'no prescription needed' along I-20 in Bossier and my curiosity got the best of me.

It turns out that what these retailers are selling is weed, just not technically. It's something called 'Delta-8 THC' which is basically one isomer off of what we generally consider to be weed, which is 'Delta-9 THC.' It's this slight deviation that makes it legal in Louisiana. The official description of Delta-8 according to Wikipedia is, 'Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant. It is an isomer of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound commonly known as THC. ∆⁸-THC has antiemetic, anxiolytic, orexigenic, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties.' If you're wondering if you can get high off of it, yes, you can. Its effects just aren't as pronounced or long-lasting. Many see it as being more therapeutic than CBD.

On the federal level, Delta-8 was made legal under the 2018 Farm Bill because it's a naturally occurring cannabinoid derived from hemp. However, the legal status of Delta-8 THC can be confusing, but the simplest way to explain it is as long as Delta-8 THC is extracted from natural hemp, which contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, it is legal according to VaporVanity.com. There are some gray areas, but in short, Delta 8 is legal because of a confusing loophole. Case in point, the DEA still lists it as a controlled substance even though it's technically legal. 

Is Delta-8 THC legal on the state level? While it's not legal in Arkansas, it IS legal in Louisana and Texas. After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Louisiana passed HB 491 in 2019. According to IPSNews.net, under HB 491, 'apart from Delta-8 THC, all derivatives, cannabinoids, and isomers of hemp were also legalized. Even the hemp plant’s acids, salts, and salts of isomers were included in the law. However, closely following the national law, the products should not contain more than 0.3% of Delta-8 THC.'

In short, you don't have to worry about the legality of Delta-8 THC in the bayou state. As to how safe it is, it depends on who you ask and where you get it. You also need to be aware that if you're drug tested, it will most definitely show up as THC.

As for me, I saw it advertised at a place called Kush Vibez on the corner of Texas and Airline in Bossier City. I was a little nervous going in. I didn't want anyone to recognize me at the 'weed' store. As it turns out, everything was clean and professional with glass canisters of different varieties of Delta-8 THC lining the shelves. They also carried a wide variety of CBD products. A quick Google search found that you can buy Delta-8 THC online and have it shipped directly to your home. You can also purchase it at Your CBD Store on Youree Drive.

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