THC Delta 9 or Total THC?

Hemp Marketplace Home Forums Product Testing THC Delta 9 or Total THC?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  New Day Hemp Farm 1 week, 6 days ago.

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    Zev Paiss

    It would be helpful to hear from as many of you as possible from different states what are the current laws pertaining to THC. While many states appear to still be using the .3% Delta 9 standard, it looks like others are moving towards a .3% TOTAL THC standard.

    As the new crop is moving towards harvest this issue will become more and more critical for both State testing and interstate transport.


    Great Topic.
    All States can make their own state laws of course, but Federal law makes provisions via the 2018 farm bill based on “Delta 9 THC” not “Total THC” being .3% THC on a dry weight basis. It is possible that person(s) or companies could be prosecuted based on the Federal Controlled Substances Analogue Act, though we don’t know of any precedent setting cases that we can learn from.

    We wish more people would chime in on this post!


    Zev Paiss

    FresBros thank you for adding your voice to this important topic. Part of the motivation for this post was a request from a Montana biomass buyer stating that any material they were buying needed to be under .3% Total THC to align with their understanding of both State and Federal laws.


    A. Quinn

    In KY it’s total THC, in Michigan we have been asked to regulate delta 9. I’ve also seen Colorado biomass adhere to the total THC and some farms in Oregon. What I always do as a licensed hemp handler is check the hemp association website for the state and call the lab which the testing was preformed. These two quick steps assist with many compliant and happy buyers and sellers!


    Pat Jack

    ACT No. 164 of the Louisiana Legislature signed by Governor Edwards, (not that Edwards), on June 6, 2019

    §1462. Definitions

    (10) “Industrial hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.


    Zev Paiss

    While that is the definition used in the Farm Bill, the confusion within that very definition is part of the legal quandry. When it states ”acids” it refers to THCa and then goes on to list Delta 9 THC. Legal experts have a hard time interpreting that. Colorado uses ”post” decarboxylation results which ends up being the same as Total THC. Go figure.



    Hello All,

    We are waiting to hear back from our legislators regarding this very topic in CT. One definition seems to support the THCa inclusion as Zev you mentioned. On the other hand some Department of Consumer Protection documents state “”THC” means delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol”. I will post once the decision is made.

    Any advice on nudging legislators to just use delta 9 would be appreciated.


    Zev Paiss

    It appears that at least one delay in the release of USDA guidelines for states is due to their grappling with the Farm Bill‘s requirement for a national THC testing protocol “using post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods.”

    This leads me to believe that measuring for TOTAL THC will be the national standard once the dust settles.



    CT has decided and for now it looks like Total THC.


    New York has apparently signed the law into effect, but this year they released notice far too late for the current harvest, so it will take effect next year.

    I’ve also heard from the Dept. of Agriculture that the law only constitutes for the crop grown WITHIN the state where the law takes effect.

    EXAMPLE: Crops grown in NY next year must be under 0.3% total THC, however, I would still be able to purchase a crop from Colorado, over the 0.3% total THC constraint, to resell in NY.


    Mike Garner

    Thca is not psychoactive

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Mike Garner.

    Amy Hanson

    How did they come up with the .3% anyway? I’ve never seen any data to support this number.


    Zev Paiss

    Amy and Others,

    The.3% limit was created many years ago before high CBD (hence higher THC) hemp did not yet exist. It was a number that was determined to definitely be below the threshold where a consumer of the hemp flower from the industrial hemp varieties would not be affected in any way.

    It is the standard in many countries (the EU is .2%) and in Canada and I feel it is time to relook at it.

    I posted an extensive paper publilshed in 2003 that hits on this at this link.


    New Day Hemp Farm

    I just went to a seminar at an environmental law firm in Washington DC this past week. The federal definition of hemp is “under .3% delta-9 on a dry weight basis”. This is was passed by congress, signed by the president, it is law. The USDA coming in and muddying the waters by suggesting Total THC is in conflict with federal law. The team of lawyers suggested going forth, make sure your delta-9 is well under the 0.3%.

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