Hemp-Derived Delta-9 THC: Legal in Some Instances
When you think of “THC,” you’re probably thinking of Delta-9 THC, the most prominent cannabinoid in marijuana.
However, Delta-9 THC is also present in hemp.
Yes. It’s a thing. It’s not some loophole.
Federal law states that hemp is cannabis that contains a 0.3% or less Delta-9 THC concentration on a dry weight basis.
In fact, whenever cannabinoids are extracted from hemp, Delta-9 gets extracted too.
Hemp-Derived CBD + Delta-9 Products
So in this blog post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about hemp-derived Delta-9 THC. This includes:
- How much Delta-9 is in hemp?
- How is Delta-9 managed in hemp extraction?
- Common sources of Delta-9
- Buying Delta-9 online legally
How Much Delta-9 Is In Hemp?
To say it again, hemp can contain up to 0.3% Delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis.
Yet, that’s not a really concrete amount. It’s a proportion.
So to explain how much Delta-9 THC is in hemp, picture a dry hemp flower.
You place that flower on a scale and it weighs exactly 1 gram.
0.3% of 1 gram is 0.003 grams or 3 milligrams.
For 1 gram of dried hemp, you can have 3mg of Delta-9 THC.
Again, 0.3% is the absolute highest amount of Delta-9 that can be present in hemp.
Many hemp plants and hemp products don’t reach this threshold.
Now let’s put that in perspective compared to marijuana.
According to Leafly, the average high-THC strain of marijuana is roughly 18-20% Delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis.
So for the sake of convenience, let’s go with a 19% concentration.
This 1 gram of marijuana would have 0.19 grams or 190mg of Delta-9 THC.
It would take roughly 2 ounces of dry hemp, with the highest possible amount of Delta-9 THC, to approximately match the Delta-9 content of one gram of marijuana with a 19% concentration.
Now, let's get onto an entire hemp plant.
For this visual we’re going to use information from a 2018 study done by the University of Vermont. The study was on how plant spacing and other factors affected hemp grown for CBD production.
Plant spacing is simply the area between one plant and another.
The reason we’re using this study for the example, is that they provided the height, weight, and the dry weight of marketable yields from their samples.
In their study, hemp plants grown in 5ft x 5ft spacing were on average, 2’7” tall and weighed 9.11lbs.
A roughly 9lb plant sounds heavy, but keep in mind that most of any plant’s weight is water.
Moving on with the example, from the hemp grown in 5ft x 5ft spacing, there was an average marketable dry flower yield of 1.301lbs.
“Dry flower yield” just means it’s the hemp flower without the water weight (since water makes up a lot of any plant’s weight). “Marketable” means it’s good enough for hemp products.
Now let’s imagine if the dry flower yield from those samples had the maximum legal proportion of Delta-9 THC.
That’s roughly 1770mg of federally legal Delta-9 THC. Although that could seem like a lot, it’s still within the 0.3% dry weight concentration.
And remember, this is just a rough estimate for the potential maximum amount of Delta-9 THC for samples a little over 2 ½ feet tall.
Hemp can grow up to around 15 feet tall.
You can put the pieces together for that.
How is Delta-9 Managed in Hemp Extraction?
Delta-9 is present in hemp so working with hemp and hemp extraction is like walking on a tightrope...right?
Well, not really.
There are a bunch of regulations and procedures in regard to hemp products and cannabinoids extracted from hemp.
We can go on all day about the standards for each and every state.
However, since Hometown Hero is located in Austin, TX, let’s just focus on how hemp products and extracts are handled in the Lone Star State.
Sec. 443.151 of the Texas Health and Safety Code outlines the testing requirements for hemp and hemp-derived products throughout the manufacturing process.
Let’s start with subsection (b):
Before a hemp plant is processed or otherwise used in the manufacture of a consumable hemp product, a sample representing the plant must be tested as required by the executive commissioner to determine:
- the concentration of various cannabinoids; and
- the presence or quantity of heavy metals, pesticides, and any other substance prescribed by the department.
What that means is...
Before you use a hemp plant for any product meant for consumption, it must be tested for the concentration of cannabinoids present and any harmful contaminants.
The plant itself gets tested for its Delta-9 THC concentration to assure that it’s hemp. After it passes these tests, it can then go onto being processed.
Now let’s move onto subsection (c):
Before material extracted from hemp by processing is sold as, offered for sale as, or incorporated into a consumable hemp product, the material must be tested, as required by the executive commissioner, to determine:
- the presence of harmful microorganisms; and
the presence of quantity of:
- any residual solvents used in processing, if applicable; and
- any other substance prescribed by the department.
Extracts for consumable hemp products get tested for contaminants.
And it’s onto subsection (d):
Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (e), before a consumable hemp product is sold at retail or otherwise introduced into commerce in this state, a sample representing the hemp product must be tested:
- by a laboratory that is accredited by an an accreditation body in accordance with International Organization for Standardization ISO/IEC 17025 or comparable or successor standard to determine the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of the product; and
- by an appropriate laboratory to determine that the product does not contain a substance described by Subsection (b) or (c) in a quantity prohibited for purposes of those sections.
In layman’s terms…
Hemp products need to be tested for their Delta-9 THC concentration and contaminants mentioned in the previous section.
What should also be noted is that the testing needs to be done by an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accredited laboratory.
At Hometown Hero, ACS Laboratory tests our hemp products for cannabinoids and contaminants.
They are not only ISO accredited, but they’re also registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Throughout the manufacturing process of hemp products, there is rigorous testing for Delta-9 THC concentration and contaminants throughout every phase.
The extraction processes for hemp cannabinoids are handled by highly skilled chemists who know how to keep the Delta-9 levels in compliance.
And let’s say, hypothetically, there was some sort of hiccup that occurred in this process.
There’s a whole set of regulations and procedures for getting rid of noncompliant cannabis.
Now let’s jump into where Delta-9 is sourced.
Common Sources of Delta-9
In short, tetrahydrocannabinol, whether it’s Delta-9 or even Delta-8, can only be found in cannabis.
Cannabis is a species of plant which encompasses hemp and marijuana.
Yes, hemp and marijuana are the same species. The only difference is a legal one.
Cannabis with a 0.3% dry weight concentration of Delta-9 or lower is hemp. Anything above that is marijuana.
As of now, the most prominent source of Delta-9 THC is marijuana, but it’s not the only source.
However, it’s interesting to note that hemp and hemp cultivation is legal in more states than marijuana. Plus, hemp is legal on a federal level.
According to an article in Hemp Industry Daily, 2019 saw more than a quadruple of licensed hemp acreage.
The same article stated that in 2020 there were 465,787 licensed acres in the United States used for hemp production.
To put that into perspective, that’s about 727 square miles. You could fit the entirety of Houston in it...with room to spare. And this industry is still on the rise.
With its federal legality and exponential growth as an industry, there might be a day where most of the Delta-9 in the U.S. is in hemp, not marijuana. In this case, the number of hemp plants in America would have to vastly outnumber marijuana plants.
Buying Delta-9 Online Legally
Can you buy Delta-9 online legally?
Yes, you can, and you probably already have.
If you’ve ever purchased a full spectrum CBD product or CBD flower from a website, you’ve already purchased Delta-9 online!
Full-spectrum CBD, CBD flower, and Select Spectrum gummies all have cannibiol, Delta-9, and along with other cannabinoids.
Remember, Delta-9 isn’t illegal in every circumstance. So long as the Delta-9 was extracted from hemp, and it does not exceed 0.3% of the product’s dry weight, it’s federally legal and legal in most states.
That’s all there is to it.
“Can I only find Select Spectrum products at Hometown Hero?”
“Is there a federal limit on other hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as Delta-8?”
We would be more than glad to help.
Send us your questions in the comments below or reach out to us through:
We’re looking forward to your questions!