Why The 0.3% THC Legal Limit for Hemp is Flawed

Why The 0.3% THC Legal Limit for Hemp Is Flawed
Professor DeBacco
Research Article
Small, E., & Cronquist, A. (1976). A Practical and Natural Taxonomy for Cannabis. Taxon, 25(4), 405–435.

The 0.3% THC Legal Limit
The 0.3% THC level is the make or break point if a cannabis plant is to be classified as either hemp or marijuana.
This can be the determining factor to determine if the plant material can be sold or is a federal crime.
However, how did this number come to be the standard?
The Story Behind the Number…
Since this 0.3% THC limit is so well established looking into the supporting literature to how this came about reveals an interesting story.

The entire basis for this set point is based off only one article (the one cited earlier), so that makes reviewing the data easier.

However, once investigated the details are a bit shocking…

Quote 1, Part 1
We =
Who they are…

So this is article is comprised of only two scientists/authors.
*Note: They were not the ones that put this into law.
Now this is not saying that one or two people can not produce quality work but the research base is certainly smaller than many would assume.
Quote 1, Part 2
Arbitrarily = in a way that is based on chance rather than being planned or based on reason.
Adopt = to accept or start to use something new:
So, roughly translated… 0.3% THC level is based on chance more than reason and it will be used starting “now” (now is 1976 the year the article was published).
*But wait there is more…
Quote 1, Part 3
The flower concentration is not even considered only the young, vigorous leaves of “relatively” mature plants.

Quote 2
Upper young leaves were the source of plant material tested.
When it comes to testing final product it is the flower that is tested, and not the leaves.
Research Article
Richins RD, Rodriguez-Uribe L, Lowe K, Ferral R, O’Connell MA (2018) Accumulation of bioactive metabolites in cultivated medical Cannabis. PLOS ONE 13(7): e0201119.

Accumulation of Δ9-THC
Accumulation of Δ9-THC in organs of Sour Willie or Bohdi Tree following floral induction.

Δ9-THC levels in samples collected from Sour Willie (A, B) or Bohdi Tree (C, D) at days post-induction are represented.
Panels A and C report average (n = 3) Δ9-THC levels in floral samples (solid line) and leaf samples (dotted line).
Panels B and D report Δ9-THC levels in floral samples from the top of the plant (solid) or bottom of the plant (dotted line).
Leaf Compared to Inflorescence Cannabinoid Content
Leaf cannabinoid content of Cannabis plants cultivated in a greenhouse.
Inflorescence cannabinoid content of Cannabis plants cultivated in a greenhouse.
Direct quote
There is some variability as expected, but in general a 10-fold lower concentration of THC in the leaves compared to the flowers based on this data.
Why The 0.3% THC Legal Limit for Hemp Is Flawed
There is the current regulation of 0.3% THC as the federal limit, but this is based on data that is known not to be representative of practice.
The original article arbitrarily selected 0.3% THC level and the testing for this is based on leaves, which are shown to be at least 10-fold lower than flowers.
So, currently flowers are tested and the percentage of THC to determine the classification is based on data generated at random and from leaf tissue.
How does this make any sense?
Taking This a Step Forward…
With the data presented this would support a federal limit of Δ9-THC of 3.0% in the actual flower.
While this may be ten times the current level based on the data it would suggest this would be representative of what is being tested (the flower) compared to what the current rules article is based on testing (the leaves).
What Would a 3% Δ9-THC Limit Allow?
The major advantage this would offer is a more reasonable threshold to increase the amount of potential cannabis plant types that can be used as hemp based products.
This would reduce the current limits on the CBD production as to increase levels of CBD often THC will have some degree of increase as well.
Research could be conducted on low level THC for potential interaction benefits with CBD and terpenes.
*Caution should be taken by any user of any new product that will enter the body.

Link to Lecture Slides: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15xahzbMYiK7F33MAs9Oe5pCevMKRAIKt/view?usp=sharing

*Due to the description character limit the full work cited for “Why The 0.3% THC Legal Limit for Hemp is Flawed” can be viewed at… https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Rl2xR2q3yHSVrjXzsZo2i08q0Ec7RgNL/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=104237452697237972847&rtpof=true&sd=true

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