Currently, adult-use marijuana is only legal in 18 states. While medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, consumers need to apply for a medical marijuana card, which differs from state-to-state and can be a lengthy process. This makes it difficult for more than half of the U.S. population to get their hands on cannabis.
For those who want more than just CBD or hemp, Jim Higdon, Co-founder of Cornbread Hemp, explains how THC can be legal even in states with cannabis prohibition laws — this is because it is legal to ship hemp products with hemp-derived THC through the U.S. Postal Service to all 50 states. As long as the THC levels are less than 0.3 percent, it is legal.
Percentage vs. Milligrams
“This sounds like next to nothing, but consumers do not understand what that percentage means in terms of what is included, so last year we decided to really flip the script on what that 0.3 percent means, and we started talking about milligrams of THC that we are allowed to include in our products while still maintaining the THC below that percentage threshold, which is two milligrams,” Higdon said.
The threshold is technically slightly north of two milligrams, but because of Cornbread Hemp’s organic processes, Higdon says they do not mess with heavy solvents or other chemicals that would allow for them to increase that threshold. Therefore, the two milligrams is a natural process of creating THC that the company uses from their farm. Just by making this change and talking about the THC content in their products as milligrams instead of percentages, it has raised a number of eyebrows and has both consumers and retailers questioning if what they are doing is legal — when it is, in fact, very legal.
Normalizing Discussions Around THC
“It is important for us to normalize THC because it is a simple, naturally occurring compound that has a variety of benefits, and the fact that it has been prohibited will be seen in retrospect as a terrible thing that happened. So every opportunity we have to talk about our products, we talk about our THC levels and how that helps us differentiate ourselves and advocate to increase those levels in the products,” Higdon said. “The longer that hemp remains legal and nothing catastrophic happens, the easier it is to talk to people about the THC content and why it is beneficial.”
It is important to educate consumers on not just how much THC is in a product, but also about the ratio between THC and CBD. As long as CBD remains dominant in that combination, THC can play an important role in helping CBD do its job. Cornbread Hemp specifies that their merchandise is not intoxicating at all, because THC is just there to support the work of CBD, so their customers feel the effects of the products in their bodies and not their heads.
Put Down the Synthetic Cannabinoids
Unlike naturally-occurring THC, synthetic cannabinoids like Delta 8 THC are harming users who would otherwise participate in a state-run medical program. According to Higdon, there is a real risk factor in these cannabinoids because the process to make them is not in any way overseen or regulated. Delta 8 is not naturally occurring in the levels that are in the products, and cannot be made inside of a certified organic supply chain because of the chemicals necessary to convert CBD isolate into the synthetic cannabinoid.
“To clarify, Delta 8 is a type of THC, and the more common THC that we have the most understanding of is Delta 9, which is more naturally occurring,” Higdon said. “Federal law dictates that 0.3 percent THC is related to Delta 9, so Delta 8 is a loophole in the law because Congress explicitly limited Delta 9 levels, not Delta 8 or Delta 10, or other isomers that companies are producing in various ways.”
Since the FDA still has yet to regulate CBD products, there is much left unknown about cannabis and related merchandise. Luckily, leaders in the industry such as Higdon continue to advocate for THC and give out more information about the plant to help consumers learn more and make better decisions about what to put inside their bodies.