CBD Oil Thc Limit

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The new limit reflects the need for a more nuanced approach. CBD products must contain 0.3% or less THC in accordance with federal law. Pure Craft CBD offers CBD Oil 1000mg & 2000mg flavored CBD tinctures, CBD Gummy Bears, CBD Oil for Dogs and more! Discover Pure Craft CBD PURE CRAFT BLOG

The ‘THC In Milligrams’ Limit: A New Approach To Regulating Hemp Products

The new limit reflects the need for a more nuanced approach.

Ensuring that a finished hemp product contains no more than 0.3 percent total THC is no longer the only “THC limit” mandated by states that regulate these products. In the past year, the hemp industry has seen a growing number of state regulators propose and adopt “THC in milligrams” limits.

Oregon is the latest state to have jumped on the bandwagon. Earlier this summer, Gov. Kate Brown signed into law HB 3000, an omnibus bill covering a wide range of hemp-related issues. One of the most significant provisions under this new law is a restriction on the sale of specific consumable hemp items, namely “adult use cannabinoids” and “adult use cannabis items,” to anyone under 21.

The HB 3000 definition of “adult use cannabinoids” includes but is not limited to:

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tetrahydrocannabinols, tetrahydrocannabinolic acids that are artificially or naturally derived, delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the optical isomers of delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and any artificially derived cannabinoid that is reasonably determined to have an intoxicating effect.

“Adult use cannabis item,” on the other hand, means:

A marijuana item;

An industrial hemp commodity or product that meets the criteria in OAR 845-026-0300; or

An industrial hemp commodity or product that exceeds the greater of:

A concentration of more than 0.3 percent total delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; or

The concentration of total delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol allowed under federal law.

In addition, the new Oregon law tasked the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, in collaboration with the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, to establish the concentration of adult use cannabinoids at which a hemp commodity or product qualifies as an adult use cannabis item. To respond to the urgency that the Oregon legislature placed on this issue, the commission implemented this rule through the temporary rule-making process just three days following the enactment of HB 3000.

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Pursuant to OAR 845-026-0300, an industrial hemp commodity or product is an adult use cannabis item if it:

  1. Tetrahydrocannabinols or tetrahydrocannabinolic acids, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol; or
  2. Any other cannabinoids advertised by the manufacturer or seller as having an intoxicating effect;

Contains any quantity of artificially derived cannabinoids (i.e., “a chemical substance that is created by a chemical reaction that changes the molecular structure of any chemical substance derived from the plant Cannabis family Cannabaceae”); or

Has not been demonstrated to contain less than 0.5 milligrams total delta-9-THC when tested in accordance with Oregon law.

The new regulation further provides that if the hemp commodity or product qualifies as an adult use cannabis item it cannot be sold or delivered to a person under 21, unless it is sold by an OLCC-licensed marijuana retailer that is registered to sell or deliver marijuana items to a registry identification cardholder who is 18 or older or to anyone registered under the state’s medical marijuana program.

This 0.5 mg limit is a major change because determining the amount of THC in milligrams (weight) in a hemp product or commodity is different from using the overall percentage of THC contained in the product.

To help hemp companies determine whether their hemp commodity or product is below the 0.5 THC in milligrams threshold, the three Oregon agencies released joint guidelines that, in part, explain how to perform the calculation. Here is how it works: A company must multiply the THC in mass (mg/g) found on their product certificate of analysis (COA) by the weight of the item listed on the package. More simply put, if their hemp item weighs 1 g and the THC listed on the COA is 3.3 mg/g, then the total THC would be 3.3 mg (3.3 x 1), which means the hemp item could not be sold to a minor because it contains more than 0.5 mg of THC.

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While these temporary regulations prevent hemp companies whose products exceed the 0.5 mg threshold from selling their products to minors, they do not affect other sales and business activities. This may change when the OLCC goes through the formal rule-making process in the months to come.

Other states, however, prohibit the overall sale of finished hemp-derived products if they exceed their THC in milligrams limit. For instance, any processed industrial hemp product intended for human or animal consumption sold in Alaska must contain no more than 50 mg of delta-9 THC per individual product.

These THC in milligrams limits reflect the need for a more nuanced approach to regulating hemp-derived products, particularly hemp-derived THC products, which offer intoxicating effects and have gone largely unregulated. In addition, these rules reveal that, once again, state regulators are taking the lead in resolving federal statutory ambiguities surrounding hemp, which, though needed to avert a public health crisis, will most certainly exacerbate the confusing regulatory framework of hemp-infused products.

Nathalie Bougenies chairs Harris Bricken‘s hemp CBD practice group and focuses her practice on health and wellness, in addition to corporate transactions and regulatory compliance. For the past three years, Nathalie has helped clients navigate the complex regulatory landscape of hemp products intended for human consumption and advises domestic and international clients on the sale, distribution, marketing, labeling, and importation of these products. Nathalie frequently speaks on these issues and has made national media appearances, including on NPR’s “Marketplace.” She also authors a weekly column for “Above the Law” that features content on cannabis policy and regulation and is a regular contributor to her firm’s “Canna Law Blog.” For three consecutive years, Nathalie has been named Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

What Does it Mean When a CBD Product Says it Has 0.3% THC?

According to federal law, cannabidiol (CBD) products like CBD oil may only be classified as such if they contain 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. In addition, CBD products must be hemp-derived rather than originating from the marijuana plant.

Learn more about how the magic number 0.3% came to be, how THC content is measured and understand how much THC different types of CBD products contain.

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The Significance of 0.3 Percent THC

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 states that a product is not considered a controlled substance under federal law if it contains less than 0.3% THC. This is significant because cannabis is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

Furthermore, the 2018 Farm Bill allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to retain regulatory authority over cannabis-derived products. Therefore, CBD products must be derived from the hemp plant and not the cannabis plant in order to be considered legal. A CBD product derived from the marijuana plant is illegal regardless of how much THC it contains.

Interestingly, the origin of the THC limit of 0.3% has nothing to do with whether or not a CBD product can make a user intoxicated. Canadian scientist Dr. Ernest Small compiled a study in 1976 that defined the 0.3% figure as a distinguishing measure between high-THC and low-THC cannabis. Dr. Small’s work somehow became lost in translation over the years, with the federal government using the 0.3% measure as a way to differentiate hemp from marijuana.

How THC Content Is Measured

THC content is measured through a variety of methods. One common method is the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) technique, which measures chemical compounds in a liquid solution. Currently, the HPLC is the most widely used method to measure THC content and the content of other cannabinoids, but the technique is not foolproof.

Accuracy Concerns

Due to a lack of standardization of measuring methods, there are accuracy concerns in calculating the amount of THC present in a product. Different laboratories use different procedures, and states have their own varying testing requirements.

But these accuracy issues may become a thing of the past, as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works to help labs achieve uniform accuracy. As part of the Cannabis Quality Assurance program, NIST will strive to make laboratory testing and measuring results more consistent.

As NIST research chemist Brent Wilson explains, “When you walk into a store or dispensary and see a label that says 10% CBD, you want to know that you can trust that number.”

More importantly, from a legal standpoint, accurate measuring of THC will ensure that a substance does not exceed the 0.3% federal limit and can legitimately be classified as a CBD product.

Do All CBD Products Have 0.3% THC?

CBD products contain 0.3% THC or less, so not all products have exactly 0.3% concentration of the cannabinoid. There are three types of CBD products:

  • Full-spectrum CBD products
  • Broad-spectrum CBD products
  • CBD isolate products

Full-spectrum CBD products contain the highest amount of THC (up to 0.3%), while broad-spectrum CBD may contain only trace amounts of THC that are so small they would be difficult to measure. Finally, CBD isolate products contain no THC at all, nor do they contain other cannabinoids or terpenes that may be therapeutic.

CBD isolate is the product of choice for people who only want to consume CBD, while broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products are useful for people who want to experience a complete range of therapeutic compounds from the cannabis plant. Integrating a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes (as well as flavonoids) activates the entourage effect, which maximizes the effectiveness of each compound as they work together.

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Download Free Guide to THC

The Bottom Line

CBD products must contain 0.3% THC or less in accordance with federal law. This low concentration of THC is unlikely to cause psychoactive effects in CBD users. However, there are accuracy concerns in measuring THC, and products stripped of t other cannabinoids and terpenes may lose valuable therapeutic potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 0.3% THC enough to get me high?

Most people will not feel high from consuming a CBD product with 0.3% THC. However, since CBD can have mildly psychoactive effects, you may feel your mood shift. For example, a CBD tincture could make you feel uplifted or relaxed depending on your reaction to the cannabinoid.

What percentage of THC is considered low?

Cannabis products containing less than 10% THC concentration are generally considered low. However, low THC is different for each individual. An inexperienced cannabis user might find 8% THC potent, while an experienced cannabis user might feel that 8% has minimal effect.

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0.3%, the Magic Number: What This THC Threshold Is All About

If you know anything about cannabis law, you’re probably aware that the federally-legal limit for THC in your CBD products is 0.3%. This may have your noggin noodlin’ over why — what’s the reason for that specific amount of THC?

Have confidence. There is significance to the 0.3% THC cap (though possibly not what you think it is). We swear it wasn’t just some rando person selecting a figure out of the blue. So, let’s see what’s behind this THC threshold….

Cannabis vs Hemp vs Marijuana & Cannabinoids vs CBD vs THC

To really grasp the THC threshold thing, it’s key to understand what the components of the discussion are. And frankly, different sources may use terminology in slightly divergent ways.

So, back to basics just to make sure we’re all swimming in the same pool of knowledge.

Here’s what you need to know about this fine flora for the moment:

  • Cannabis is a species of plant.
  • Marijuana is a subspecies of cannabis, reputed for the psychoactive response it can produce in consumers due to its THC content.
  • Hemp (aka industrial hemp) is another subspecies of cannabis. It has much lower THC and much higher CBD proportions than marijuana.
  • Cannabinoids are natural compounds found in cannabis. They can trigger or enable all kinds of bodily responses and potential health benefits.
  • THC (aka tetrahydrocannabinol) is the leading cannabinoid in marijuana and is what can make users feel high. THC is also present in hemp, but in much lower amounts.
  • CBD (aka cannabidiol) is the most prevalent cannabinoid in hemp, but is in other varieties of cannabis as well. While there are three types of CBD — each offering a unique experience and menu of possible health benefits — CBD’s most known for its calming effects.

CBD & The THC Threshold To Behold

Now that we’re all trekkin’ along the same trail, we can get to the heart of our topic.

What Is The THC Threshold?

The THC threshold is a marker that’s been chosen to classify and regulate cannabis. This edge point — set at 0.3% max THC by weight — is used in many legal definitions of “what is hemp” versus “what is marijuana.”

The federal government uses this THC threshold to demarcate between legal hemp/CBD and illegal hemp/CBD. Several states explicitly articulate that any cannabis with 0.3% THC or less is considered “hemp” while any cannabis exceeding this THC limit is deemed “marijuana.” (This can be a bit confusing because this method of categorizing sort of ignores that hemp and marijuana are actually different subspecies.)

Why’s There a THC Limit?

Having a THC threshold can be useful for several reasons. As you’ve probably gathered, people have lots of different views on the merits of THC and CBD as well as whether or not it should be legal and how. Heck, they can’t even seem to agree on how to refer to the plants!

All this leads to the idea that a well-defined THC threshold is a concrete starting point. Legislative bodies were able to rally around this number and start creating laws, regulations, and other guidelines for industrial hemp programs, medical cannabis programs, recreational marijuana, etc. Producers and marketers can take this info and create products to sell.

Why Is THC Capped At 0.3%, Specifically?

Believe it or not — this is kinda a scenario in which a single, accurate phrase got stretched into a giant fish tale. It took on a life of its own — classic snowball effect, amirite?

Here’s what happened.

Dr. Ernest Small, a Canadian scientist, initially defined the 0.3% threshold in his 1976 study, A Practical and Natural Taxonomy for Cannabis, as a means of distinguishing higher-THC-containing cannabis from those with lower THC quantities. This figure was based on many years of real-world cannabis plant use patterns. It was not derived from THC’s potential for abuse or intoxication.

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The 0.3% THC threshold was meant for this study alone. It was never intended to be used elsewise or elsewhere — like for differentiating marijuana from hemp in modern-day legislation.

But, despite not necessarily being an appropriate metric, this one isolated piece of info in a specific context was repeatedly interpreted and appropriated — to the point of losing its original narrow scope. Now it’s been given more weight (pun intended!) than is maybe due.

As such, it’s been adopted in the US, Canada, Europe, and parts of Australia as a sort of gold standard. That’s why the 0.3% THC limit pops up all over the place.

THC Cutoff Level — Ahem, There’re Issues….

Unsurprisingly, this approach to putting a lid on THC levels gets a little messy and controversial. Like a daytime soap opera…. (We know, you’re totally shocked that there’s Drama! surrounding this matter.)

So what’s got people in a tizzy? There are a few main areas of debate.

  1. Misguided measure. Many in the cannabiz reject the 0.3% THC threshold amount altogether due to its origins. These folks would prefer a THC threshold that reflects the level at which THC starts generating those euphoric reactions.
  2. Testing methodology. Only hemp that has 0.3% or less THC by weight can be harvested and made into goods, including CBD oil. The current testing process adds up the THC and THCA (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, a precursor to THC) content in the hemp. Critics don’t like this method of testing THCA only becomes THC if it’s heated. That THCA can essentially make the hemp crop register at higher THC levels than it would be if processed. Crops that test “hot” can’t be gathered — they have to be destroyed, which can be a huge hit to growers.
  3. Penalties. Hemp growers whose crops test above 0.5% (yes, another THC threshold) are at risk of incurring fines and legal troubles. The law views this like the producer was intentionally growing illegal plants. According to growers, this seems unfair because it can be incredibly difficult to consistently produce hemp crops that will test at 0.3% or less THC. There are so many variable at play that the grower has little or no control over.

How ‘Bout A Different THC Threshold?

Detractors of the 0.3% THC maximum would argue that, just because this threshold amount has broad global acceptance, still doesn’t make it an effective measure. Ya just can’t force some things — especially if they aren’t grounded in scientific fact or economic practicality.

Instead, the movers and shakers in the cannabis industry (and sympathetic enthusiasts!) advocate for increasing the THC threshold. They’d like to see the THC threshold that splits hemp from marijuana go from 0.3% to 1.0%.

Aha! Where’s that 1.0% figure come from? you ask. You are so catching on!

Take It To The (1.0% THC) Limit

There are a couple of sources or influences:

  1. A 2002 article, by Dr. Small and a colleague, states that 1.0% THC is considered to be the level around which THC has the potential to intoxicate. A THC content of 1.0% is still way below the average “street” marijuana (which often has 5%-25% THC) or medical cannabis (which frequently has 5%-30% THC). This is the data cited by Congress in its 2019 fact sheet on hemp.
  2. Other countries — like Mexico, Switzerland, and Thailand — adjusted their THC caps for hemp upward to 1.0%. This means there’s precedent for a greater THC threshold.

So, there’s a decent chance that a CBD product with 1.0% THC wouldn’t cause you to have a psychoactive response or create any additional harm. Meanwhile, it’d give hemp growers some extra breathing room — they’d be less likely to have to demolish hot crops. Backers of this expanded THC limit see this as an all-around win.

The 1.0% THC Threshold Movement

There have been attempts to revise the THC threshold. Though it died in committee, the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2020 was introduced last year in Congress. If enacted, it would have:

  • Increased the THC limit for hemp to 1.0%
  • Changed how plants used for hemp-derived products are tested
  • Widened the testing margin of error

This suggests that there’s industry, political, and popular support to up the THC limit. Ya might wanna keep your eyes on this movement!

CBD, The THC Threshold & You

All of this means that — until the laws say otherwise — only hemp-derived CBD with 0.3% THC or less are (federally) allowed. To ensure you’re getting CBD oil products that fall on the favorable side of the rules and regs:

  1. Only buy from a reputable and trustworthy retailer.
  2. Be sure to read the product labels and packaging to see what kind of CBD you’re getting,
  3. Consult the Certificate of Analysis (COA) to confirm the actual THC level in the CBD product.

Pure Craft only sells superior products made from the highest-quality CBD. We also provide easy access to COAs. When you shop with us, you can rest assured that you’re getting premium CBD oil goods that are a great value and below that 0.3% THC threshold.

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