Hemp-derived cannabinoids, whether they get you high or not, have strict limitations on the total amount of THC they can contain. Anything more than 0.3% THC instantly classifies them as illegal as per the 2018 Farm Bill. In our last article, we discussed how this seemingly arbitrary number came into being and what it was originally intended to be used for. Many cannabis users argue that the extremely low amount of THC limits the overall efficacy of the hemp plant and are petitioning for a limit that is triple what the current one is. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the issues with the 0.3% THC limit as well as where the proposed 1% limit was derived from.
A Quick Recap of the 0.3% THC Limit
In 1976, Dr. Ernest Small introduced the limit of 0.3% THC as a way to measure certain aspects of a study he was conducting. The circulation of his published study led others to adopt the 0.3% THC limit as a way to differentiate between marijuana and hemp. Although Dr. Small strongly opposed this, this limit became official in 2018 once the Agricultural Act was passed. Since then, the market for hemp has become extremely popular for many hemp-derived cannabinoids. Some cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and CBN won’t get you high while others like Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, HHC, and THC-O will. Many experienced cannabis consumers argue that increasing this low threshold can offer more benefits as the market for cannabis grows throughout the country. Before we get to those benefits, it’s important to note some of the detriments that come with the 0.3% THC limit.
Issues with the 0.3% THC Limit
As more individuals discover the backstory of the 0.3% THC limit, many feel indignant about why government officials impose a literally meaningless number on cannabis-infused products. Here’s a few issues with this limit that are extremely difficult or impossible to control.
0.3% Is Not A Good Indicator Of The Psychoactive Effects Threshold
One of the biggest issues is that this 0.3% THC limit does not accurately reflect the point where the consumer will start to feel high. Can you get high on products that only contain 0.3% THC? Maybe. Depending on a variety of factors (metabolism, weight, gender, previous exposure to THC, etc.), you may feel high or not at all. Having a higher threshold would allow more users to feel the effects in spite of the aforementioned personal factors.
How The “Dry Weight Basis” Is Calculated
Another issue lies in how the total amount of THC is tested. You may have seen the phrase “dry weight basis” in terms of the total THC content in any given hemp-infused product. This is done by adding the total THC and THCA. THCA is short for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and is the raw form of THC; once the THCA is heated, it changes into THC. Many critics oppose this method as it can potentially make the THC level much higher if the THC were to be processed. If a batch of products test over the limit, it must be destroyed and results in waste from farmers who worked hard to deliver a viable product.
Unfair Penalties for Issues Out Of Growers’ Control
The last issue ties in with the most expensive issue with having a 0.3% THC limit: penalties. If a hemp grower has a batch of crops that are confirmed by testing to have passed a 0.5% THC limit, they can incur hefty fines and legal problems. Lawmakers unfairly assume that the hemp grower grew illegal crops intentionally. Growers rightfully protest this assumption because crops grow at an extremely unpredictable rate, meaning that it is extremely difficult to produce consistent levels of THC across the board. The grower has very little to no control on how much THC the crops grow at but are expected to rectify or destroy crops that do not align with the imposed thresholds.
The Push For A New Limit
Those who do not agree with the 0.3% THC limit staunchly argue that this threshold, while it may be globally accepted, is not accurate nor effective. The 0.3% limit was only created as a means for a single doctor (Dr. Ernest Small) and was never intended to be the deciding factor, yet it is. Experts argue that since the limit is not based on economic practicality or facts backed by science, it should not exist. Instead, they argue that the limit should be increased from a mere 0.3% to a full 1%. This number isn’t arbitrary either and you’ll be amused to discover the person behind the 1% push is the same scientist where the 0.3% originated from: Dr. Small!
Dr. Small published an article in 2002 stating that a 1% limit would accurately reflect the threshold at which THC can potentially cause the consumer to feel high. This level is still only a fraction of what “street” marijuana contains (between 5-25%) or even medicinal marijuana (5-30%). Both of these percentages have been confirmed by Congress in the 2019 Fact Sheet, a document I strongly encourage you to read at your leisure.
Additionally, there are many countries that have accepted that hemp should contain more THC and lean more towards the 1% threshold. Mexico, Switzerland, and Thailand have all gravitated towards this increase, while the United States and Australia stubbornly remain at the 0.3% cap.
Are There Risks Involved With Increasing the Limit?
There are currently no known risks associated with increasing the limit. CBD products with this limit still wouldn’t cause you to feel high and traditional psychoactive cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC and HHC wouldn’t make you feel substantially high-er. The real benefit of this increased limit would be to the growers. Less fines incurred, fewer crops destroyed, and a readily available supply of hemp that would be used to create products available to those who need it.
What’s Being Done To Further The 1% Threshold
In 2020, there was an attempt to change the 0.3% THC limit to the proposed 1%. The Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2020 attempted to increase the limit from 0.3% to 1%, change how plant testing was conducted in regards to hemp-derived products, and increased the margin of error for growers in order to retain more of their crops.
While the proposed plan did not get past the voting committee, it is encouraging that such changes are being attempted. Many lawmakers are not aware that these issues exist or even carry weight in the community. If you are one of many who feel strongly about this movement, it’s strongly encouraged to write letters, vote for change, and spread information on why the 0.3% THC threshold is not only inaccurate, but why a 1% threshold would better serve the cannabis community as a whole.
The 0.3% Limit Remains…For Now!
It can be frustrating to adhere to a law you do not agree with. Yet laws are not set in stone and can be changed. We look forward to that day but until then, it’s important to adhere to the current law regarding hemp and all hemp-derived cannabinoids. Here at TwoHawk Extracts, our products remain within the limit of 0.3% THC and are backed by the results from third-party independent lab testing. Our product packaging and the product descriptions on our site offer information regarding our hemp, and we’d be happy to send you more information upon request. We pride ourselves on offering some of the finest products in the industry in terms of purity, flavor, and potency.
We realize it can be tough to trust a product sight-unseen, which is why we offer sample sizes of our Delta-8 THC, Farm Bill Compliant Delta-9 THC, HHC, and THC-O products. Our subscription service ensures you’ll always have our products on hand while offering substantial savings. If you have any questions regarding anything in this article or specific questions about hemp and hemp-derived cannabinoids, feel free to reach out to us! We look forward to sharing our knowledge about the cannabis plant with you. In our next article, we’ll be discussing whether or not it’s a good idea to consume caffeine while getting high. Check back soon for this and other exciting articles that help give you a better understanding of cannabis and all it has to offer. Hope to see you again soon!