smoke hemp to get high
smoke hemp to get high

Smoking Hemp and Getting High? - Here is Why...Over 90% of Smokable Hemp Products Are Actually Just Weed Says Testing Lab

You may not be getting high on hemp, you may be getting high on straight up THC.

Posted by:
Joseph Billions on Monday Apr 15, 2024

smoking hemp and getting high here is why

The burgeoning hemp-derived cannabinoid market often faces criticism due to the absence of standardised third-party testing and comprehensive regulation. While many consumers vouch for the efficacy of these products and numerous companies uphold stringent standards, the oversight in the hemp industry pales in comparison to that of the legal cannabis sector.


Consequently, consumers using certain hemp-derived products may unknowingly encounter potent psychoactive effects, believing they are solely consuming hemp or CBD.


The frequency of THC in goods advertised as hemp is revealed by a new study that was published in the journal Forensic Chemistry. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, items must contain less than 0.3% THC to be considered hemp and be legally permitted at the federal level.


In a recent examination, researchers from the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that a sizable majority of smokable hemp products had THC levels higher than those allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill.


This disclosure suggests that these items belong in the cannabis category instead of the hemp category, which means they are federally illegal.


Taking a Deeper Dive into Smokable Products


The study examined 53 smokable hemp products from five commercial manufacturers, with specific products and manufacturers left unnamed. Researchers analyzed to detect various cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, THC-A, and total delta-9 THC.


Each product, ranging from 10 to 20 grams, underwent grinding using a "small portable Magic Bullet grinder" with four to five pulses, mimicking procedures commonly employed by forensic laboratories to measure total Δ9-THC in seized cannabis plant samples. Subsequently, a methanol extraction method was employed, followed by LC-PDA analysis, which separates 11 cannabinoids in less than 10 minutes.


The findings revealed that over 90% of the samples analyzed by NIST had a total Δ9-THC mass fraction exceeding 0.3%, despite being marketed as hemp. The online documentation accompanying these samples often indicated total Δ9-THC mass fractions of ≥0.3%.


Of the hemp samples tested, approximately 93% exceeded the federal 0.3% limit, and nearly half of the provided online documents from manufacturers differed from the corresponding product labels. In a comparison between NIST results and online documentation for 22 samples, researchers observed discrepancies of approximately 55% for total Δ9-THC, 68% for THCA, and 18% for Δ9-THC.


Researchers speculated that these differences could stem from varying testing methods, inconsistent samples leading to unpredictable outcomes, batch-to-batch variability, or storage conditions. However, they also acknowledged the possibility of inaccurate product labels and online documentation contributing to the observed variations.


A Complex New Phase for Hemp-Derived Goods


"The findings underscore the necessity for precise analytical measurements, uniformity across batches, proper long-term storage conditions, and updated product information," the authors concluded. "Moreover, these results underscore the importance of reference materials in the cannabis industry to ensure measurement precision."


The study coincides with a growing trend among states nationwide to tighten regulations on hemp-derived cannabinoids, with some implementing stricter oversight measures and others considering outright bans on specific hemp-derived cannabinoids and related products.


Furthermore, the issue of inaccurate cannabinoid content in hemp products is not an isolated occurrence.


An analysis of hemp-derived items sold on Amazon recently concentrated on various candies, tinctures, topicals, and mints labeled as hemp products. Remarkably, more than a third of the examined items (24 out of 56, or 43%) had no hemp content, and the bulk of them (35 out of 56, or 62.5%) included no cannabinoids at all.


Unbelievably, a significant portion of the products—nearly 95% of them—lacked Certificates of Analysis (COAs), a vital document usually offered by respectable retailers of hemp goods. Furthermore, the investigation verified that a staggering 96% of the examined items lacked proper dose information.


The forthcoming revision of the Farm Bill, expected later this year, is highly anticipated to include provisions aimed at further restricting THC levels in hemp-derived products.


Addressing Regulatory Challenges and Consumer Safety Concerns


The revelations from the study underscore a pressing need for regulatory intervention and consumer safeguards in the hemp-derived cannabinoid industry. With a significant majority of smokable hemp products surpassing federal THC limits, there are glaring gaps in oversight and accountability. These findings raise concerns about consumer safety, as individuals may inadvertently be exposed to psychoactive effects when expecting non-intoxicating hemp products. It highlights the urgency for regulatory bodies to implement stricter standards, ensuring that products accurately reflect their cannabinoid content and adhere to legal thresholds.


Furthermore, disparities in manufacturer paperwork and lab studies indicate structural problems with product labeling and testing procedures. Customers who depend on reliable information to make decisions are put at risk by the inconsistent and opaque reporting of cannabis levels. This emphasizes the necessity for strict quality control procedures and uniform testing procedures throughout the hemp sector. Regulators can reduce the frequency of mislabeled items and improve customer confidence in the marketplace by providing clear criteria and enforcing compliance.


As states grapple with the burgeoning hemp-derived cannabinoid market, there is a growing trend towards tightening regulations and enforcement measures. Some states are introducing stricter oversight procedures, while others are contemplating outright bans on certain hemp-derived cannabinoids and associated products. This evolving regulatory landscape reflects efforts to address the complexities and challenges posed by the rapid expansion of the hemp industry. However, harmonizing regulations at the federal level remains crucial to ensure consistency and coherence in the marketplace.


In the future, the Farm Bill's modification offers a chance to address the problem of THC levels in goods produced from hemp and implement significant improvements. Future measures may limit the amount of THC in products even further, bringing federal rules into line with changing consumer expectations and industry norms. Policymakers may encourage a transparent and responsible hemp industry that supports public health and trust in goods derived from hemp by proactively resolving regulatory gaps and placing a high priority on consumer safety.


Bottom Line


The study's findings underscore the urgent need for regulatory intervention and consumer protection measures in the hemp-derived cannabinoid industry, where over 90% of smokable hemp products exceed federal THC limits. Discrepancies between lab analyses and manufacturer documentation highlight systemic issues in product labeling and testing protocols, emphasizing the necessity for consistent quality control measures. As states grapple with tightening regulations, harmonizing federal guidelines is crucial to ensure coherence across the marketplace. The forthcoming revision of the Farm Bill presents an opportunity to enact meaningful reforms and address THC levels in hemp-derived products, promoting transparency and consumer safety in the evolving hemp industry.





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