Analysis: ‘Hemp Derived Delta-9-THC’ Products Seldom Come as Advertised

Tustin, CA: Many commercially available products marketed as ‘hemp-derived delta-9-THC’ are mislabeled and most are not lab tested for heavy metals or other potential impurities, according to an analysis provided by the consumer research firm CBD Oracle. 

Investigators purchased 53 commercially available products and had them independently lab tested.

They reported that nearly two-thirds of the products contained synthetically derived THC, despite many claiming to be ‘all natural.’ This result is not surprising because hemp typically contains only trace quantities of either delta-9-THC or delta-8-THC. In most cases, unregulated products that are promoted as containing either ‘hemp-derived’ delta-8-THC or delta-9-THC actually contain THC that has been chemically converted from hemp-derived CBD. Manufacturers engaged in synthesizing THC are not subject to regulatory oversight and often use potentially dangerous household products to facilitate this process.

The study’s authors also reported that over half of the products contained THC levels that differed significantly from what was advertised on the product’s packaging – a finding that is consistent with other analyses of unregulated, hemp-derived products. Most of the mislabeled products contained far lower percentages of THC than advertised, with some products containing zero percent THC. Authors further noted that most of the products’ manufacturers failed to test them for impurities, like pesticides and heavy metals. 

In response to the analysis, Erika Stark of the National Hemp Association said: “The FDA needs to create a reasonable framework that accounts for all cannabinoids. New cannabinoids products are going to continue to be developed. … At this pace, we’re all going to die of old age before there’s proper regulation in place to address all of these issues.”

NORML and other groups have repeatedly urged the US Food and Drug Administration to provide regulatory guidelines overseeing the production, testing, labeling, and marketing of hemp-derived products containing either CBD or THC. Nevertheless, more than three years following the passage of federal legislation legalizing hemp production, the FDA has yet to promulgate rules regulating the marketing and sale of these commercially available products. 

Full text of the CBD Oracle report is available online. NORML’s own report, “NORML’s Guide to Delta-8 THC and Other Novel Cannabinoids,” is available online.