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hemp-derived delta-9 thc: what you need to know

October 2, 2023

under federal law, hemp and its derivatives are legal, so it makes sense that there has been an influx of these products and a range of thc products available. however, manufacturers recently introduced a hemp-derived delta-9 thc product, which is the same potent thc molecule that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects. 


this shocked many people because, in 1970, the controlled substances act federally prohibited the use of or possessing marijuana and delta-9 thc thc. but what is the difference between traditional marijuana and hemp-derived delta-9 thc? do you get the same effects, and how is one legal and the other illegal? 

the short answer is the source. delta-9 thc comes from hemp, a legal cannabis type at the federal level that manufacturers make using hemp industry guidelines. if you’re confused, we’ll clear everything up for you below. 


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what is hemp-derived delta-9 thc?

a woman searching information about delta-9 thc on her phone


delta-9 thc comes from federally legal hemp materials, and by definition, this means that it can only have 0.3% delta-9 thc-thc when you weigh it dry. it may surprise you that delta-9 thc is a natural byproduct of making traditional cbd products. so, this content usually gets tossed out as waste after the companies extract the cbd, and it has all of the leftover cannabinoids, including cbn, cbg, cbc, and delta-9 thc. 

additionally, 0.3% might not sound like a lot, but it quickly adds up when you consider a gummy that weighs one gram and can have up to three milligrams of thc. to clarify, the average-sized gummy weighs roughly three grams and could have up to 10 milligrams of thc. 

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how is hemp-derived delta-9 thc made?

we mentioned that hemp delta-9 thc is a byproduct that would usually be tossed out, but more manufacturers are considering using it because it’s legal. to make this product, you need to:


  • cbd extraction – the first thing you do is extract the cbd from the hemp; there are several ways to do this. popular methods include ethanol extraction, co2 extraction, or hydrocarbon extraction to give you a cbd-rich extract. 
  • cbd isolation – next, you’ll isolate the extract using chromatography to make it pure. 
  • acid-catalyzed cyclization – take your isolated cbd and use acid-catalyzed cyclization to convert it into delta-9 thc. exposing cbd to an acidic environment will cause a chemical reaction that rearranges the cbd’s molecular structure to form delta-9 thc. 
  • purification – after the chemical reaction, you can further purify it using chromatography to remove byproducts. 
  • testing – finally, you’ll test the product for potency and purity, and you want to ensure no residual contaminants or solvents are left. 

is hemp delta-9 thc the same as delta-9 thc?

yes, the delta-9 thc you get from hemp is the same as traditional delta-9 thc from weed. every cannabis strain is related, and they have the same main cannabinoids in the makeup, like cbd, thc, and cbg. the only difference between the two products is the amount of delta-9 thc they are allowed to have, but the molecule itself is the same. 

however, despite this, some people claim that delta-9 thc from hemp gives you different effects than traditional delta-9 thc from marijuana. how can this be if the molecules are the same? 

related: creating thc-infused drinks

how does delta-9 thc hemp make you feel compared to traditional delta-9 thc?

if you’re trying concentrates, both have the same effects because they’re the same compound. however, you can’t get hemp delta-9 thc as a concentrate because it has to follow the dry weight rule. additionally, hemp usually comes with more non-psychoactive compounds like cbd. 


also, some hemp-derived delta-9 thc products have delta-8, and this content has no restrictions. delta-8 has psychoactive properties attached to it, giving you a much more potent product while staying inside the delta-9 thc threshold set by the federal government. delta-8 is slightly milder, so combining it with hemp delta-9 thc can get more relaxing effects. 


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is hemp-derived delta-9 thc legal?

by federal standards, we mentioned that it’s legal. however, this doesn’t necessarily mean your state laws see it as such. hemp delta-9 thc typically falls into the same category as hemp-derived thc products, like drink powder mixes, which means it’s legal in many states. you want to double-check and ensure your state doesn’t have a ban on hemp-derived thc products before buying it, though. 

how to find quality hemp-derived delta-9 thc products

with so many products flooding the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start looking for quality and safe hemp-derived delta-9 thc products. there are a few things to consider when you shop, including: 


  • lab testing – high-quality hemp products will undergo stringent third-party lab testing to ensure their correct labels. this can help rule out contaminants. 
  • potency – read the label on any products you buy to determine how potent it is. if you see “total cannabinoids” or “cannabinoid potency” on the label, this tells you how many cannabinoids are in the product, not delta-9 thc. 
  • source – all hemp products should be made using usda-certified hemp material that meets the federal guidelines. look for products that come from organic hemp so you don’t have to worry about synthetic fertilizers or pesticides in the hemp. 
  • us-made products – any hemp products made outside of the united states don’t have to meet the same strict standards as us-made products, so you want to buy us-made products to ensure quality and safety. 


1. is hemp-derived delta-9 thc safe to use?

generally speaking, delta-9 thc from help is safe to use and very similar to marijuana-derived thc. the safety will depend on your tolerance and dosage, and you should use them responsibly and buy them from trustworthy sources, like brelixi. 

2. how does delta-9 thc keep you high?

delta-9 thc thc interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, primarily binding to cb1 receptors in the brain. this binding produces the sensation of being “high.”


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