How is Hemp-Derived Delta-9 Made? 

by Kat Austin March 09, 2023 5 min read

How is Hemp-Derived Delta-9 Made?  - Vida Optima™

Hemp manufacturers have pushed past the bounds of traditional hemp products–alternative cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-8–and are spearheading something that's not all that new: Delta-9-THC. Of course, being less new doesn't make this innovation any less remarkable.

Now that Delta-9-THC products are being made from hemp, they are federally legal and highly accessible across the country, despite the negative legal status of marijuana products.

But how is this possible? How are hemp Delta-9 products made?

You'll be intrigued to find out that Delta-9 was once considered a hemp waste product, but is now being concentrated and pumped into hard-hitting edibles by the best and brightest hemp brands. Let's break down the process:

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

Table of Contents
Delta-9 Naturally Occurs in Hemp
Delta-9 is a Hemp By-Product
Delta-9 Hemp Products Must Follow Legal Guidelines
Why Edibles?
Hemp Delta-9 Quality Concerns
How to Make Sure Hemp Dleta-9 is Legally Made
Where to Buy Hemp Delta-9 Products

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-9 can be found naturally in the hemp plant, but in concentrations below 0.3%, per federal regulations.
  • The Delta-9 is then concentrated and added to edibles and some other solid products, but final products must also contain less than 0.3%.
  • Luckily, edibles are more dense, allowing manufacturers to add more THC without crossing these legal potency thresholds.

Delta-9 Naturally Occurs in Hemp

Delta-9 is present in almost all cannabis strains, but hemp contains a much smaller amount than traditional marijuana strains. In fact, by legal definition, the term "hemp" refers to cannabis material that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight–concentrations so small that merely smoking hemp flower won't produce any psychoactive effects.

But alas, it is this trace amount of Delta-9-THC that is used to make hemp Delta-9 products that are much more potent and that will definitely make you feel the THC effects. How does it happen? Surely hemp manufacturers are exploiting some kind of loophole, right?

Well, not really. You can hardly call “closely following Federal hemp industry guidelines” a loophole. Manufacturers simply found a way to create Delta-9 products from legal material in a way that not only makes the end product legal to sell, but legal to sell even outside of state licensed cannabis dispensaries–something that can’t be done with traditional Delta-9 products.

In fact, you can usually only find hemp Delta-9 products online, making them much more accessible than weed-derived Delta-9 products.

How does it work? It all starts with CBD. Let’s break it down:

Raw hemp material just before harvesting for CBD and Delta-9 manufacturing.

Delta-9 is a Hemp By-Product

As it turns out, the trace amounts of Delta-9 found in hemp is simply a byproduct of the hemp manufacturing process for the more abundant hemp cannabinoids. More specifically, Delta-9 is a natural byproduct of the process used to make CBD isolate products, which is how the hemp Delta-9 revolution began.

When CBD isolate is made, whole plant material is extracted from the hemp plant. Then, this extract is refined to remove the CBD. What's left behind is a liquid conglomeration of all of hemp's other cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN, CBC, and yes, Delta-9-THC.

This waste material is called "mother liquor," and in some cases it is used to extract other minor cannabinoids for isolate products, like CBG isolate. Usually, though, the Delta-9-THC was originally being tossed out, partly due to its shaky legal status and confusion around how it could be used.

Now, the tables have turned, and Delta-9 hemp manufacturing is becoming more common.

Hemp Delta-9 Products Must Follow Legal Guidelines

In order to produce hemp-derived THC products, manufacturers have to make sure that their production process follows legal guidelines. Namely, hemp products must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by dry weight.

While these tiny concentrations were originally enough to throw consumers and producers off course–because who wants to buy a THC product so impotent you can’t feel its effects–manufacturer’s eventually did the math. As it turns out, any product with a dry weight and density high enough can still legally contain useful amounts of Delta-9.

In other words, the mother liquor can be refined to create a Delta-9 concentrate. Then, that THC concentrate can be added to edibles and other dry goods so long as it doesn’t cross the legal potency threshold. But that 0.3% may be more than you think. Here’s the math:

A 1 gram gummy can contain up to 0.3% THC by dry weight, which is 0.3 grams, or 3 milligrams.

A 5 gram gummy can contain up to 5 times that amount, or just at 15 milligrams.

To put it into perspective, a regular gummy bear is approximately 3 grams, and a recreational dose of Delta-9-THC, on average, ranges from 5-25 grams.

Why Edibles?

A variety of Delta-9 edibles and other consumables made from legal hemp flower.

As you surf the hemp Delta-9 market, you'll quickly realize that most, if not all, hemp Delta-9 products are edibles. There's a good reason for this–they have a dry weight and density large enough to accommodate the Delta-9 extract.

Some products, like beverages and tinctures, don't have a dry weight, while others, like flower, are simply not dense enough to hold useful amounts of Delta-9 without crossing the legal potency threshold. So, you're likely to find lots of edibles and very few other dosing styles as you shop for hemp Delta-9 online.

Hemp Delta-9 Quality Concerns

Although hemp is legal, the actual regulations regarding hemp product quality vary by state, and not every state has a strict program for evaluating whether hemp producers follow these guidelines. In other words, there are lots of hemp delta-9 options out there, but not all of them are good. To make sure that you are buying a high-quality, well made Delta-9 hemp product, check for the following:

When buying hemp products, here’s what to look for:

  • Look for a brand that uses US grown, organic hemp material. This will help to ensure that the hemp is grown in high quality soil without the use of dangerous pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
  • Check that the hemp Delta-9 products are produced in a cGMP compliant facility by experienced cannabinoid extraction technicians.
  • Also check additional ingredients to make sure that they are sourced well and align with your needs. For instance, some consumers may need gluten-free or vegan products, so you may need gummies made without gelatin or certified gluten-free baked goods.
  • Finally, check to see if the company offers access to their third-party lab test results. This level of transparency is crucial since these tests will help to prove label accuracy and rule out the presence of harmful chemicals, like pesticides and leftover solvents.

Making sure to buy only high-quality hemp products and use them according to the product label is the best way to avoid hemp-derived THC side effects and ensure a positive dosing experience.

How to Make Sure Hemp Delta-9-THC is Legally Made

Since Delta-9-THC can be made through various methods–and by various manufacturers acting under different state regulations– consumers must be careful to check how Delta-9-THC is made to ensure the products they buy are made through legal cannabinoid extraction techniques.

Check out the products before you buy. They need to be made from hemp that is Farm Bill Complaint. The original hemp material and the final product needs to contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC.

Then, check on your local hemp laws to see if hemp-derived THC products are legal in your state. While hemp Delta-9 is still pretty new to the market, you may be able to find what you need to know by researching delta-8 laws for your state.

Where to Buy Hemp-Derived Delta-9-THC?

If you're sold on this legal psychoactive cannabinoid or just want to try it out before you make up your mind, you can check out our hemp THC collection to order online today.

We offer a variety of hemp THC vaporizers and edibles. All of our products are third-party tested and 100% Farm Bill compliant, meaning they are legal in the U.S.

Vida Optima Elev8 Gummies


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