This loophole makes hemp-derived delta-9 THC legit

The hemp-derived cannabidiol market exploded in late 2018, when Congress legalized hemp via the US Farm Bill. 

The bill defines hemp as any cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. Many consumers associate hemp with the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD, which can easily be extracted from the plant. 

But the Farm Bill gave manufacturers a surplus of hemp that they could convert that CBD, and then, in turn, into one of many psychoactive cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, HHC for sale online, or THC-O acetate.

Hemp-derived delta-9 THC similarly comes from CBD.

As the veteran cannabinoid scientist James Stephens tells Leafly, when you crystallize and extract CBD from hemp, you’re left with a liquid byproduct known as “mother liquor.”

That tasty brew contains a mixture of naturally-occuring minor cannabinoids from the extraction process, including delta-9—actual THC.

Stephens explained that mother liquor is the key to making delta-9 THC edibles. He believes that 95% of manufacturers simply toss the liquid into their delta-9 gummies and don’t bother to isolate the THC any further.

While mother liquor is the golden ticket that allows manufacturers to make hemp-derived delta-9 THC, we now need to examine the legal loophole that makes it possible to sell.

Wait… is hemp-derived delta-9 THC even legal?

For the time being, hemp-derived delta-9 THC remains legal in most states, as long as it complies with the 0.3% limit. Roughly a dozen states have limited or restricted the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids and/or THC isomers in general, like delta-8.

Will more states ban hemp-derived delta-9 THC? 

Stephens, for one, thinks states will eventually step in. Otherwise, he argues, those with legal cannabis will lose out on tax dollars. “I think we’ll see states protect tax revenue well before we see any federal action,” he said.

Is hemp-derived delta-9 THC as potent as conventional THC?

We don’t have much data yet on whether hemp-derived delta-9 induces the same effects as conventional THC. Some websites argue the two compounds are identical.

Yet Stephens, for one, considers the hemp-derived high to be significantly milder.

“For me it’s a lot more like having a beer or a little alcohol than a cannabis high. I find it a much more pleasurable experience, and I’m less likely to have negative effects,” he told Leafly.


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