Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding hemp.
What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties or cultivars. Hemp varieties contain 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) whereas marijuana varieties contain 10-30% THC. There are different varieties of Cannabis, just as Chihuahuas and St. Bernards are different breeds of Canis lupus.
Are hemp foods legal to import, buy, and consume in the United States?
Yes. Processed hemp seed and oil has always been legal. The case HIA v DEA established that hemp foods are exempt from control in the Controlled Substances Act and that they remain fully legal. An excellent overview of the case can be found on the DEA Hemp Food Rules page. Learn more by reading the 9th Circuit opinion invalidating DEA’s hemp food rules. (PDF file 72k)
Are hemp derived extracts that contain cannabidiol (CBD) legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed it from the Controlled Substances Act. The definition of hemp covers all parts of the plant including cannabinoids. So hemp grown under the 2018 Farm Bill or the 2014 Farm Bill including hemp extracts are no longer classified as Controlled Substances. However, hemp products sold as dietary supplements or foods are still subject to regulation by the FDA under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and must meet existing federal regulations.
Some states have also passed laws regulating CBD so it is important to check your state to determine if hemp derived CBD is legal under state law.
What is delta-8 THC and is it safe?
Recently a number of products marketed as “d8,” “delta 8” and “delta 8 THC” have appeared at convenience stores, gas stations and smoke shops. Some of the compounds found in these products are not naturally occurring including delta-8 THC and other THC isomers which are being chemically synthesized. Many of the manufacturers of delta 8 products are not testing for contaminants including residual metal contaminants such as zinc, palladium or other adulterants. The hemp industry including manufacturers and marketers of delta-8 THC products have a responsibility to consumers to conduct thorough testing and protect their health and safety. Research is needed and standards must be developed before these products are made available. We recommend caution before consuming any products marketed as containing delta-8.