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Study Finds 75% of Hemp Delta-9 THC Products Potentially Ineligible for Legal Sale in Some States

Loopholes in 2018 Farm Bill allow intoxicating products to be marketed as hemp.

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In some regions, over 75% of hemp delta-9 products are technically illegal. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKI COMMONS

A recent study of 53 hemp delta-9 THC products indicate that a staggering three-quarters of these products are not legally eligible to be sold as hemp in certain states, such as Colorado and Massachusetts.

The issue stems from the 2018 Farm Bill, which provided a loose definition of hemp as a cannabis product containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight. This ambiguity inadvertently allowed the creation of products that are intoxicating but still legally classified as hemp.

The study, commissioned by cannabis consumer research company CBD Oracle, discovered that 49% of the tested products contained delta-9 THC derived from chemically modifying CBD, while an additional 26% sourced delta-9 THC from federally-illegal marijuana plants. This means that, in some regions, over 75% of hemp delta-9 products are technically illegal and should not be marketed as hemp.

Manufacturers capitalized on the vague definition in the Farm Bill to exploit the system. They converted CBD into delta-8 THC, an isomer of delta-9 THC, and sold it as “hemp” since it fell within the legal THC limit. However, this approach raised concerns about public safety and the legality of such products.

The study also revealed discrepancies in the stated dosages of the products. Approximately 66% of the products had delta-9 THC levels that differed by more than 10% from what was claimed on the label. Additionally, 75% of the products had not undergone impurity testing by their respective manufacturers.

Through a new analytical method proposed by the study, it was determined that the majority of hemp delta-9 products did not actually utilize THC naturally produced by the hemp plant. Instead, they relied on either cannabis-derived delta-9 or delta-9 converted from CBD isolate through chemical reactions. Both of these practices involve processes that are not naturally occurring from hemp, raising potential safety and legal concerns.

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