February 22, 2023 5 min read

With hemp and all of its derivatives legal by federal law, a multitude of hemp THC products have hit the shelves in recent years. Most recently, though, manufacturers have cracked the code on producing hemp-derived delta-9–the same potent THC molecule responsible for the heavy-hitting psychoactive effects you get from marijuana.

This comes as a shock, of course, since marijuana and Delta-9-THC have been federally prohibited since the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970. Many skeptical consumers want to know–what’s the difference in hemp-derived delta-9 vs weed? Do the two compounds produce the same effects? And if so, how is one legal while the other is labeled as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and LSD?

The only real difference? The source.

Hemp-derived Delta-9 is made from hemp, a federally legal type of cannabis, and produced following hemp industry guidelines. Is it a loophole? Maybe so, but it’s a rock-solid way for hemp producers to make Delta-9-THC accessible to consumers across the country.

Still confused? It’s understandable. Here, we’ll break down all the differences in Delta-9 from hemp and Delta-9 from marijuana, including how they are made, the effects, and exactly how and where they are legal. Let’s take it from the top:

Where to Buy Federally Legal Hemp-Derived Delta-9-THC Gummies? Click Here to Find Out.

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-9 from hemp and Delta-9 from weed are the same compound with the same effects.
  • There are potency restrictions for Delta-9 hemp products that don’t apply to traditional cannabis products.
  • The way that hemp delta-9 is sourced is a defining factor in whether it’s legal.

What is Delta-9 from Hemp?

A jar filled with hemp, the legal source of hemp-derived delta-9-THC products.

Delta-9 from hemp is exactly what it sounds like–Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol that’s derived from federally legal hemp material. Of course, hemp, by definition, can only contain up to 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight.

So, how do hemp manufacturers take advantage of these tiny quantities? Many people would speculate that the delta-9 from hemp is synthesized using isomerization. (This is, after all, the way that delta-8, THC-O, and many other hemp-derived THC products are made). That’s not the case, though–the Delta-9 is actually naturally derived as a byproduct of the process used to make CBD products.

In other words, hemp’s delta-9 content used to be thrown out as a waste product after CBD was extracted from the plant. This “waste material” is called “mother liquor” and it contains all of the leftover cannabinoids from hemp, like CBG, CBN, CBC, and yes, Delta-9.

From there, manufacturers simply need to abide by the dry weight rule–that hemp products contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight–which must apply both to the hemp plants and to any product made from hemp. So, a hemp delta-9 gummy, for instance, is legal assuming it contains less than this legal threshold.

While 0.3% may not sound like much, it adds up. A 1 gram gummy can contain up to 3 milligrams of THC. To put that into perspective, an average size gummy bear weighs about 3 grams and could contain just under 10 milligrams of THC.

So, Delta-9 from hemp is not only easy to make and legal to sell, it’s a natural byproduct of the process used to make CBD, so it’s a natural next step for many CBD producers.

Is Hemp Delta-9 the Same as Weed Delta-9?

So, to the obvious question–is delta-9 from hemp the same as delta-9 from traditional marijuana?

The answer is yes–delta-9 from hemp is the same molecule as delta-9 from marijuana. All cannabis strains are related and contain the same primary cannabinoids, like THC, CBD, CBG, and others. The only difference in the hemp and marijuana classifications is the amountof Delta-9, but the actual molecule is exactly the same.

However, some people claim that hemp-derived delta-9 has a different effect than traditional delta-9. If the molecules are exactly the same, how can that be? Let’s discuss the potential differences.

Hemp Derived Delta-9 vs Weed Effects

If we’re talking concentrates, hemp-derived delta-9 and weed derived delta-9 have the exact same effects. They are, after all, the exact same compound. However, hemp delta-9 isn’t available as a concentrate because of the dry weight rule. And not every delta-9 formula is the same, especially when it comes to hemp products.

We mentioned that the only difference in weed and hemp is the THC content, but that’s not exactly the full story. Hemp also typically contains a larger amount of non-psychoactive compounds, namely CBD.

So, if the hemp delta-9 product contains more CBD, the effects may be a bit milder than when Delta-9 is taken without CBD. Why? The two molecules fight for the same endocannabinoid receptors, so less Delta-9 may be absorbed. Still, CBD’s calming effect is the perfect balance for Delta-9, and many people prefer the effects of this dynamic duo.

Some hemp delta-9 products may also contain Delta-8. Since there are no restrictions of Delta-8 content, manufacturers may combine Delta-9 with Delta-8 (which also has psychoactive properties) to create a product that is more potent without crossing the federal Delta-9 threshold. Delta-8 is slightly milder and more relaxing, so this combination may produce effects that are more relaxed than the effects of Delta-9 alone.

Really, though, the same can be said for any combination of THC, cannabinoids, and terpenes–whether from hemp or from weed. Different terpenes and cannabinoid combinations all have different effects, so trying different cannabinoid-terpene combinations is a good way to find a THC product that meets your needs.

Delta-9 Hemp Product Quality

One other area where traditional Delta-9 and hemp Delta-9 products differ is regulation. Because traditional cannabis products are legal only at the state level, they are subject only to the state regulations in the state where they are grown and sold.

Hemp products, on the other hand, are subject both to federal and state regulations, which means that they may be more heavily regulated in some, but not all, states.

Because regulations vary so much from state to state, you need to understand how to choose a high quality hemp Delta-9 product. Choosing a high quality product is the best way to ensure that the products you buy will work and contain the actual Delta-9 content that’s listed on the package, which can help to avoid side effects caused by incorrect dosage.

When buying Delta-9 hemp products, here’s what to look out for:

  • Check the hemp source.Hemp products should be made from USDA certified hemp material that meets federal requirements. Ideally, look for products made from organic hemp so that you don’t have to worry about pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, which can become concentrated during the extraction process.
  • Buy US made products.Hemp products made outside of the U.S. are not subject to the same regulations and are often much lower quality due to lower farming standards.
  • Look for lab tests.High-quality hemp products will always come with third-party lab test results to prove label accuracy. These should also help you rule out any potential contaminants.
  • Check potency. Make sure that you read the label to determine the actual Delta-9 potency. The terms “cannabinoid potency” or “total cannabinoids” refer to the total concentration of all cannabinoids and not the actual delta-9 content.

Is Delta-9 from Hemp Legal?

We mentioned that hemp delta-9 is legal by federal standards, but that doesn't always mean that it's going to be legal by state law. Fortunately, hemp delta-9 often falls into the same classification for other hemp derived THC products, meaning it is legal in many states. Some states, however, do have bans against hemp-derived THC products. 

Although hemp Delta-9 is still new to the market, you can learn more about your state's position on hemp-derived THC products by reading "Where is Delta-8-THC Legal?"

Where to Buy Hemp Derived Delta-9

With it's newfound legal status, hemp derived Delta-9 is becoming more common. Still, you should stick to an experienced hemp manufacturer for your hemp-derived THC products. Shopping online gives you access to a broader range of products and higher quality brands than you're likely to find in local smoke shops. 

Looking for hemp derived THC products?

Check out our federally legal Hemp-Derived Delta-9-THC Gummies!

Buy Hemp Derived Delta-9 THC Gummies

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Cannabis Encyclopedia

THCO vs THCP: Detailed Comparison Guide - Vida Optima™
THCO vs THCP: Detailed Comparison Guide

March 28, 2024 5 min read

Slight differences between these two cannabinoids produce very unique effects.
Read More
HHC vs Delta 8: Key Differences Explained - Vida Optima™
HHC vs Delta 8: Key Differences Explained

March 20, 2024 6 min read

Everything you need to choose between the two:
Read More
High THCA Percentage Explained – Key Facts You Need - Vida Optima™
High THCA Percentage Explained – Key Facts You Need

March 20, 2024 5 min read

Here's what those numbers on your weed label actually mean:
Read More