What most people know as THC is actually a specific compound called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC for short. This is the most abundant form of THC found in cannabis plants and is responsible for making you high.
What you probably didn’t know is that it’s possible to buy gummies and other edibles containing delta-9 THC even in states where cannabis is illegal. It’s all thanks to a loophole in the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived products in 2018.
Here’s how the loophole works and how it created a new trend in hemp cannabinoid products.
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The Hemp-Derived Delta-9 THC Loophole
Small amounts of delta-9 THC are naturally present in hemp.
In fact, the 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as any cannabis with no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC to ensure that hemp products won’t cause the same euphoric effects as regular cannabis, which contain anywhere from several to 30 percent delta-9-THC.
But there is a trick to this rule. The language of the 2018 Farm Bill limits hemp products to 0.3% delta-9-THC “on a dry weight basis.” That means as long as the THC content is no more than 0.3% of the weight of the whole product, it’s legal.
This loophole allows manufacturers to make edible products like gummies, cookies, and brownies containing significant amounts of delta-9 THC.
For example, let’s say you have a gummy that weighs 5 grams (5,000 milligrams). That means the gummy can legally contain up to 15 mg of hemp-derived delta-9 THC since 5000 x 0.003 = 15. That’s certainly enough to cause psychoactive effects in most people.
Similarly, your typical 15-gram (15,000 mg) chocolate chip cookie can legally contain up to 45 mg of delta-9 THC, an even larger amount.
As a result of this loophole, we’ve seen dozens of CBD brands add delta-9 THC gummies and other edible products to their lineups in the past year.
How Hemp Delta-9 Products Are Made
You should be aware that there are two ways to make delta-9 THC products from hemp. One is to simply use the small amount of THC extracted from the plant.
But this process isn’t the most efficient, especially when you want to make products containing significant amounts of THC (like 10 mg THC gummies or 30 mg cookies).
That’s why many companies convert pure CBD into delta-9 THC through an isomerization process— the same method used to make delta-8 THC, a different, less potent form of THC.
Is Delta-9 THC From Hemp Legal?
Hemp-derived delta-9 THC is legal in most states as long it’s within the 0.3% limit. But there are a few exceptions, like Idaho, which doesn’t allow hemp-derived products to contain any amount of delta-9 THC.
Will The Loophole Ever Close?
It’s hard to say if the loophole will close in the future. The federal and state governments and DEA/law enforcement are mostly concerned with delta-8 THC right now.
That’s because delta-8 manufacturers are exploiting a different loophole, which allows them to include ANY amount of delta-8 THC in hemp-derived products. As a result, the authorities haven’t paid much attention to these new legal delta-9 THC products that are now growing popular.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but we expect that the loophole will remain open until most states (and perhaps the federal government) decide to legalize cannabis.
Antonio is a cannabis & hemp cultivator and licensed personal trainer. He’s been working in the cannabis industry since 2016 as a grower, educator, and writer. He even founded his own regenerative hemp farm with his wife in Missouri and advises hemp farmers, dispensaries, and other businesses. In his free time, he enjoys running, hiking, binge-watching TV shows, and spending time with his 5 rescue animals.