It’s called ‘CBD flower’ because it has zero THC, right? Well, not exactly. Despite having ‘CBD’ as the focal point of its name, CBD flower doesn’t solely contain CBD. On the contrary, this dynamic herb contains an assortment of organic compounds — THC included.
But before you freak out and take a drug test, you should know just how much THC your hemp flower contains in the first place. The short answer? Not a lot.
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC has stirred quite some controversy across the cannabis landscape. That’s because this specific compound is mainly (and presently, solely) responsible for the mind-altering effects of cannabis.
In fact, THC is the reason why cannabis was outlawed in the first place. And since both cannabis and hemp come from the same plant, hemp was unknowingly tossed into the category of controlled substances.
That’s until researchers discovered that hemp contained far less THC than its psychoactive counterpart. This meant that hemp wouldn’t cause the same mind-altering effects that marijuana does.
But how did this happen? Well, specific cultivation and farming techniques allow hemp farmers to produce Cannabis sativa L. plants with very limited THC expression. The repeatable process has turned hemp into a variety of its own.
Although THC expression in hemp flowers remains low, the stuff still exists in the plant. That’s why the 2018 Farm Bill has imposed a threshold that determines whether a Cannabis sativa L. harvest is hemp or marijuana.
As stipulated in the law, any plant matter containing 0.3% THC or less falls into the hemp category. Should the plant sample contain even just a hair more than that, it becomes cannabis or marijuana and becomes subject to stricter regulations across the country.
So based on the 2018 Farm Bill, any hemp flower should contain no more than 0.3% THC. On average, CBD hemp flower products across the market contain 0.21-0.27% THC which is negligible compared to marijuana’s peak of 25% THC.
Thus, although CBD hemp flower does contain trace amounts of THC, the concentrations are so low that you won’t develop any effects that could impact the way you perceive the world around you.
The naturally occurring THC in the cannabis plant — and the specific one indicated in the 2018 Farm Bill — is called delta-9 THC. If you’ve scoured the market, however, you’ll find that products like delta-8 and delta-10 THC have come into existence.
Delta-8 THC is an isomer of THC. What makes it different from delta-9 THC is that its double bond exists on the 8th carbon molecule instead of the 9th. Ultimately, this means that although delta-9 might cause similar effects to delta-9, its toned-down interaction with CB1 receptors makes it weaker than delta-9.
On the other hand, delta-10 THC is considered a degradation product. That means it develops as the result of plant aging and decomposition, as opposed to delta-9 THC which exists in the plant’s natural chemistry.
Presently, the legal status of both delta-8 and delta-10 THC remains in a gray area. Given that these products are derived from hemp, it should follow that they’re legal. But then again, their close relationship to the controversial delta-9 THC cannabinoid leaves room for doubt.
A recent court ruling, however, tried to clear up the smoke. According to the verdict, as long as both compounds come from hemp and not cannabis plant matter, they should be legal.
However, that applies on a federal level. Numerous local governments across various jurisdictions, cities, and states have imposed their own laws regarding the use and sale of delta-8 and delta-10 THC.
For the record, any product that’s labeled ‘hemp’ should contain very low amounts of THC in the first place. So you shouldn’t be too worried about consuming enough of the psychoactive compound to cause problems.
But if you were just wanting to be doubly certain that you’re using a product that won’t cause any symptoms of a high, here’s what you can do:
Not all hemp flower vendors exercise due diligence when acquiring their hemp supply. Others perform more tedious checks and inspections to make sure that they’re working with farmers who uphold the same virtues and principles that they do.
Some vendors also take the time to assess their hemp supply to guarantee that they’re farmed in small batches. This makes it possible for cultivators to produce better-quality hemp flowers since they have fewer crops to watch over.
Buying from a reputable vendor with lots of positive reviews just increases your chances of getting hemp that more accurately falls within the required THC limits. Vendors who aren’t as meticulous with quality control might sell hemp flowers that are too close to or even beyond the THC threshold.
Trustworthy, reliable vendors make it a point to post results for lab testing on their website or to make them available in any way possible. These lab reports showcase the content of the hemp product and how much THC they contain.
By inspecting lab reports, you can get an idea of how the product will work for you before you even make the purchase. Having a ready copy of these results also gives you a little extra confidence when you have to take your hemp out with you.
Components like delta-10 THC develop as the result of degradation. Considered a by-product of natural plant decomposition that occurs after hemp is harvested, delta-10 THC increases in concentration the older the hemp product.
If you’re looking for hemp with low THC content, you’re better off with a fresher product. It also helps to choose hemp that vendors store in the back of the store, in a cool dry place.
Remember that THCA, the precursor for delta-9 THC, converts to THC when exposed to excessive heat. Proper hemp storage can help prevent that conversion and keep active THC levels at a lower concentration.
As a hemp user, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re abiding by the law and supporting vendors that do the same. Fortunately, any authentic hemp product shouldn’t get you into any trouble considering its low THC concentrations.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to perform your own due diligence. Make sure to follow these tips the next time you go hemp shopping to make sure you’re getting your hands on truly fresh and safe CBD flowers.