Which Cannabinoids are Legal?
In 2018, Congress passed the final version of the Farm Bill, which legalized the hemp industry, separated it from cannabis law, and regulated it vaguely. In tandem with the bill’s passage, a wave of companies began making hemp-derived products and synthesizing alternative cannabinoids like CBD, Delta-8, Delta-10, CBN, and a host of other alt-cannabinoids including HHC, HHC-O, THC-O, THC-P among other variants.
Under the Farm Bill, any hemp or hemp extracts with more than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC is deemed illegal– even classified as Schedule 1 substances by the DEA. This ruling opens the door for all hemp-derived cannabinoids to be grown and lab made. Below is a breakdown of popular alt-cannabinoids that have been introduced to the market.
The more famous of the alt-cannabinoids, this cannabinoid is a naturally* occurring in hemp and cannabis, though only found in low levels. Delta-8 mainly interacts with your CB1 receptors to produce an effect. Most Delta-8 products on the market are synthesized* compounds, combining CBD with an acid catalyst, a solvent, and heat, to make Delta-8. In the same way CBD naturally forms in hemp, Delta-8 rich hemp is starting to be bred and available for commercial use.
Less potent than it’s cousin Delta-8, Delta-10 is known to induce a relaxing high without causing the feelings of anxiety or paranoia that are typical of other THC varieties. Delta-10 doesn’t bind as strongly to the endocannabinoid system, giving it a less potent effect than Delta-8. This makes Delta-10 especially useful for those that are uninitiated to cannabis use, giving them a gentle intro to psychoactive cannabis.
Another naturally occurring cannabinoid, HHC is made from large quantities of CBD isolate. Putting that CBD isolate in a chemical reactor and adding compounds to it produces HHC. HHC can also be made by putting THC into a chemical reactor, but it would be treated as a schedule 1 substance in states that have not legalized cannabis.
Known as “Super HHC,” HHC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid made from adding the chemical compound acetic anhydride to HHC. Acetic anhydride helps the HHC bind more effectively with cannabinoid receptors. This produces a more potent effect than it’s counterpart, resulting in a high that’s 2-3 times stronger than HHC.
Similar to making HHC-O, THC-O is made by chemically altering raw CBD to make Delta-8, then using acetic anhydride to turn D8 into THC-O. This cannabinoid has been described as incredibly potent and psychedelic, with some describing it as more intense than Delta-9 THC. With a lack of research around the compound, experts say to be careful with THC-O due to it’s potency.
Dubbed “THC with added horsepower,” THC-P has gained notoriety in both pop culture and the academic community for being thirty times more effective than Delta-9 THC at binding with CB1 receptors. Not many studies have been done on this cannabinoid, outside of a group of Italian researchers who are credited with accidentally discovering THC-P. The physiological effects this team found included pain relief and feeling couch-locked.
Can these Cannabinoids Get You High?
All of the alt-cannabinoids listed above produce intoxicating effects of varying intensities, and all of them are legal under the current purview of the Farm Bill. In 2023, the Farm Bill will be revised for the next five years. Acts have already been introduced to congress attempting to increase the allowed THC percentage in hemp plants from 0.3% to 1%. This leniency will hopefully give more hemp farmers room to run when it comes to producing varieties of cannabinoid-rich hemp. As of right, now our only recommended cannabinoid you can use without experiencing a high or any psychoactive effect is CBD.
Where to Buy Legal Cannabinoids
When it comes to buying quality legal alt-cannabinoids, we recommend Dimo Hemp as the best place to find them. From Delta-8 to THC-O and beyond, Dimo makes a variety of hemp products including gummies, vape cartridges, disposables, and pre-rolls. All hemp-derived distillate is made using Certified Good Manufacturing Practices. Batches are tested on a quarterly basis to maintain and ensure quality. All terpene profiles are extracted from fresh-frozen hemp in order to give a flavorful experience.
* When reading through this guide you’ll find the terms “natural” and “synthetic” have been used. These terms are to differentiate their origins, not to indicate quality. In an interview with Higher Learning LV, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the father of cannabis research said, “Synthetic versus natural is not relevant as regards toxicity or activity. If a compound is toxic or active, it will be toxic or active…whether it is natural or synthetic.”