Guide to Hemp-Derived Delta-9 THC
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is extremely popular. Until recently, Delta-9 THC was a controlled substance, and only legally accessible in marijuana-friendly states. Thanks to the Farm Bill, hemp-derived cannabinoids including Delta-9 THC are now federally-compliant and more accessible to more people. You can even order Delta-9 gummies online! This article will discuss the details of the most famous cannabinoid from cannabis, Delta-9.
What is Delta-9?
Delta-9 THC is one of many cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are simply “chemical compounds of cannabis that have an effect on the human body when the plant is consumed .” The cannabis plant has around 540 chemical substances, and over 100 are cannabinoids . THC is often the most prevalent compound in cannabis, along with CBD . Although both chemicals are often equally represented, they have quite different effects.
Hemp and marijuana both come from the same plant, Cannabis, which naturally contains Delta-9 THC, the single cannabinoid that is under federal-control, and the main psychoactive substance in cannabis. The amount of Delta-9 THC existent in the plant material per dry weight determines the federal-compliance of the final product. The 2014 Farm Bill defined the legal limit at .3% so cannabis with less than that is considered legal hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill expanded on this, making it clear to legal experts that all other plant material and substances derived from legally-defined hemp are also federally-compliant . We’ll look at the Farm Bill more closely below.
Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive substance in cannabis.
Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive substance in cannabis and may come from hemp or marijuana – remember they are the same plant and the greater or less than.3% threshold is what makes the difference. A cannabinoid extracted or converted from marijuana is not federally-compliant, while the same cannabinoid made from hemp is, provided that it is not synthetically-derived . However, the definition of synthetic has not been satisfactorily defined by authorities .
What does “hemp-derived” mean?
Hemp-derived means made from hemp, sometimes called industrial hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill (see next section) established new federal legal definitions and rules for hemp, including that hemp and “and any part of that plant” may be used for production, sales, transport, and use. Hemp and hemp derivatives include cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), and types of THC. When they come from hemp, these and other cannabinoids are federally-compliant for use in inhalable, edible, and topical products.
What is the Farm Bill and does the Farm Bill make Delta-9 THC legal?
THC comes from the cannabis plant. For many years in the United States, cannabis was illegal whether or not it contained THC. In 2018, the United States Congress enacted the groundbreaking piece of legislation, known as the 2018 Farm Bill. It defines cannabis with less than .3% of Delta-9 THC per dry weight as hemp and allows it in all 50 states. Cannabis with more than .3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight is still a federally controlled substance on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule 1 list. This is despite the fact that many states allow medical use or adult recreational use of cannabis with more than .3% Delta-9 THC.
The Farm Bill defines hemp as
Hemp.–The term `hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa 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.
The new legislation opened up a whole new era. Scientists and entrepreneurs could now safely pursue research and development opportunities, without risk of breaking archaic and harsh marijuana laws.
The Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Schedule of Controlled Substances. Hemp used to be treated like marijuana and listed as a controlled substance. The DEA says “substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse ”
This is an unfortunate misperception. In the United States, a decades-long racially-motivated prohibition on cannabis, and its abusive war on drugs, meant that research with the cannabis plant was basically forbidden. Because of this, people were not able to get an accurate picture of hemp’s benefits. Now that better access to information is available, there is a rush of useful hemp-derived Delta-9 products coming to market.
Where is hemp-derived Delta-9 legal?
All hemp-derived cannabinoids are federally-compliant based on the 2018 Farm Bill, so long as they contain less than .3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight. This means that Delta-9 THC is not a federally-controlled substance if it is from hemp, and it contains less than .3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight.
Most states are embracing hemp-derived goods within their borders, and a few others have not caught up. Some areas may have contradictory regulations or a lack of information that is confusing.
It’s clear that the federal government allows interstate commerce of hemp and hemp-derived products coast-to-coast and will not limit their transportation across state lines. But states still have the ability to limit Delta-9 or other cannabinoids within their borders. Additionally, there can be different levels of regulation for retail hemp operations and for wholesale hemp growers, transporters, and processors.
Operators on the wholesale side of things may be allowed to make and sell products and concentrations that are not allowed to be sold at retail. Retail stores, especially state-sanctioned medical or recreational marijuana dispensaries, may not be allowed to sell certain cannabinoids or products but this is not the same as banning citizens’ possession of those products.
Delta-9 produced from marijuana is chemically the same as that from hemp.
In states with medical or recreational adult use policies, the laws that govern marijuana are usually separate from hemp programs and overseen by different agencies. Just because a state’s marijuana program agency limits hemp-derived Delta-9 products from being sold in marijuana dispensaries, does not mean that they are illegal in that state.
Delta-9 produced from marijuana is chemically the same as that from hemp, but Delta-9 from marijuana is considered a controlled substance, although over 30 states do allow medical or adult-use of all cannabis. So it’s important to know what source your Delta-9 is produced from.
Are 5 gram gummies with 10mg Delta-9 legal?
Yes they are federally compliant according to the Farm Bills, and allowed by most state regulations on hemp-derived goods.
Earthy Select’s 5 gram Delta-9 Indica Gummies are made using hemp-derived Delta-9 THC. The Delta-9 is compliant because it is from federally-compliant hemp containing less than .3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight.
Each gummy has 10mg of potent hemp-derived Delta-9, and the entire gummy weight totals 5 grams, or 5000 mg, of delicious ingredients and flavors. Do the math and you’ll see that 10mg ÷ 5000mg = .002mg, or .2%. That means there is .2% Delta-9 THC in Earthy Select’s 5 gram Delta-9 Gummies – well below the federal limit of .3%, and still enough to produce therapeutic or psychoactive effects.
What’s the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are both naturally-occurring cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. THC is the main psychoactive component of the plant, and the part that can make people feel “high” or intoxicated. CBD is not psychoactive and is used for therapeutic effects of its own.
Both cannabinoids have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on your body. Have you ever wondered why cannabis affects us? When a person uses cannabinoids, they interact chemically with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The effects of THC and all cannabinoids are possible because of the human endocannabinoid system that evolved to create and use cannabinoids for our body’s processes. The endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-signaling system which is integral for maintaining health. Its receptors are found in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells of the human body .
Scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system in the 1990s and it’s still being researched. It appears to be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive processes, immune system activities, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis .
Cannabinoids seem to act as neurotransmitters that affect the endocannabinoid receptors’ action throughout the human body, meaning how the receptors take in, use, and react to the cannabinoid chemistry. Endocannabinoids are chemicals that are naturally produced by the human body. The prefix “endo” means “within,” ie, within the human body . Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids from plants. “Phyto” means plant. We have evolved to effectively use cannabinoids from both sources when they interact with the ECS’s receptors.
The human body is full of endocannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids bind with the receptors, initiating action by the ECS. There are two main types of endocannabinoid receptors, which are CB1 and CB2 (7).
- CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, in major brain regions that “mediate a wide variety of high-order behavioral functions, including learning and memory, executive function decision making, sensory and motor responsiveness, and emotional reactions, as well as feeding and other homeostatic processes .”
- CB2 receptors are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system and are associated with the immune system .
Cannabinoids have different abilities to cause or inhibit reactions at the two types of receptor, and how they do so will determine the effects. Effects are also determined by the area of the body where the binding of the receptor takes place, and other factors . THC appears to bind strongly with CB1 receptors which mediates its psychoactive effects .
The phytocannabinoid, THC, is comparable to the endocannabinoid, anandamide. Anandamide is present throughout our bodies, in a wide range of animals, and also in some plants. It’s known as the bliss molecule and works as a neurotransmitter that “affects brain areas that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, and sensory and time perception .”
What are the effects of Delta-9 from Hemp?
Does less than .3% Delta-9 THC do anything? The answer is yes but it’s more interesting than just that.
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: the dosage level, the person’s body weight, what food or other substances are in their system, personal body chemistry, and their experience level or tolerance of THC.
Generally speaking, it is recommended that a person start with a low dose and gradually increase it until reaching results they are satisfied with. You should consult your healthcare provider with specific questions about using any therapeutic products.
Will hemp-derived Delta-9 make me fail a drug test?
Drug tests for marijuana generally identify THC or its metabolites. Consuming products that contain low quantities of THC can make a person fail a drug test. If you anticipate taking a drug test, we suggest checking with your employer or test administrator for clarity prior to consuming full spectrum CBD products.
How do you buy high quality hemp-derived Delta-9?
Buying high quality Delta-9 from a trusted producer is the best way to have success. Knowledge is power. You should only purchase Delta-9 from producers who provide a certificate of analysis (CoA) for each product. A CoA is a document attesting to a product’s laboratory analysis for cannabinoids and in some cases adulterants, heavy metals and pesticides.
The processing standards of Delta-9 are crucial for its quality, safety and legality. Poor manufacturing processes may lead to degradation of the compound, inaccurate potency, or even harmful by-products.
For best reliability, producers should use third-party lab testing and be transparent about the results. Labs that are registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and International Standards Organization (ISO) and other regulating entities are familiar with federal regulations and can be trusted to ensure federal-compliance with Delta-9 and other hemp-derived products.
Closing thoughts on Delta-9 from hemp
Hemp-based THC is here to stay and innovations using Delta-9 and other cannabinoids will continue to delight us. It is important to remember that laws will also continue to change as America learns to accept and love cannabis everywhere. Even though the benefits of Delta-9 are clear, you should be aware of the laws where you live, or where you’re visiting, before purchasing or using hemp-based products containing Delta-9.
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 of cannabinoids and the science of cannabis is evolving. The author is neither a lawyer or a legal expert, nor a doctor or medical expert. You should check with your local authorities and medical providers before buying or using any products.