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Industrial Hemp Enrollment and Oversight Email

fdbih@cdph.ca.gov​​



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Industrial Hemp Enrollment and Oversight (IHEO)​

Consumer Freque​​ntly Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is Industrial Hemp (IH)? ​​​

"Industrial hemp" or "hemp" means an agricultural product, whether growing or not, that is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, c​​annabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. "Industrial hemp" does not include cannabinoids produced through chemical synthesis.

What is a "raw hemp product," "industrial hemp product," or "hemp product"?​

A raw hemp product is a product that is derived from industrial hemp that is intended to be included in a food, beverage, pet food, dietary supplement, or cosmetic. An industrial hemp product or hemp product is a finished product such as cosmetic, food, food additive, pet food, dietary supplement, beverage, or herb product that contains industrial hemp that is for human or animal use. The product cannot include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) isolate as an added ingredient and cannot include cannabinoids produced through chemical synthesis.

What's the difference between marijuana (termed "cannabis" in California law) and industrial hem​p?​

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both from the Cannabis plant. However, they are differentiated by their variety of Cannabis plants and their varying levels of cannabinoid composition.

Industrial hemp is limited to types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds of the plant and all derivatives, extracts, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis

What is Delta-8 THC vs Delta-9 THC vs Delta-10 THC vs THCA?​

Delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and delta-10 THC are all variations of tetrahydrocannabinol (chemical formula C21H30O2) and are psychoactive components of cannabis.  THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants; it is the precursor to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). 

  • Delta-9 THC is the most well-known and abundant form of THC found in cannabis and is responsible for most of the plant's psychoactive effects.  
  • Delta-8 THC is a less abundant form of THC that is chemically similar to delta-9 THC but has some distinct differences in its effects. It is believed to be less potent and has a milder psychoactive effect than delta-9 THC.  Delta-8 THC produces physiological and toxicological effects similar to delta-9 THC. 
  • Delta-10 THC is a newer and less studied form of THC, similar to delta-9 THC in its chemical structure but has a slightly different arrangement of its atoms. It is believed to have similar psychoactive effects to delta-9 THC, but more research is needed to understand its effects fully.
  • THCA is present in cannabis plants in significant quantities.  With the addition of heat, THCA is converted to THC through decarboxylation.      

The sum of THCA and THC, including but not limited to delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, and delta-10 THC, cannot lawfully exceed a concentration of 0.3% in hemp extract and final form industrial hemp products.  

What is “chemical synthesis" and what are synthetic cannabinoids?​

Chemical synthesis, in the context of industrial hemp products, is the creation of synthetic cannabinoids using various chemical reactions and techniques.  Specifically, the chemical synthesis of cannabinoids involves the creation of compounds by introducing modifications to the chemical structure of parental cannabinoids compounds that mimic the structure and effects of natural cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. 

These synthetic cannabinoids, also known as synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), are chemically similar to cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant and are designed to bind to the same receptors in the brain and body as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  SCRAs are artificial and can have different chemical structures and binding affinities. These cannabinoids will have cannabimimetic effects such as catalepsy, antinociception, hypothermia, and immobility, and are typically more potent. As a result, SCRAs can produce unpredictable and dangerous consequences.    

Can industrial hemp products sold in California include synthetic cannabinoids?​

Industrial hemp products in California cannot include cannabinoids produced through chemical synthesis.  The chemical composition of synthetic cannabinoids can vary widely and may contain harmful impurities. These chemicals have been associated with a range of negative health effects, including psychosis, seizures, kidney damage, and even death.

How are manufacturers, both in-state and out-of-state, required to ensure the safety of IH products sold or distributed in California?​​​

Assembly Bill (AB) 45 (Aguiar-Curry, 2021) requires that all IH products that are sold or distributed in California shall conform with all applicable state laws and regulations. Manufacturers must include a certificate of analysis to confirm approved THC concentration and product content, and they must provide proof that the IH product in its final form or extract was from an approved IH growing program.

CDPH may initiate an investigation to determine compliance with AB 45 or other laws such as misbranding, adulteration, food manufacturing safety, unapproved drug products, etc. Enforcement may include:

  • Regulatory warnings
  • Public health advisories or warnings
  • Civil penalties
  • Recall of IH final form products or extracts
  • Seizure and embargo of IH products

Are IH products tested?​​​

Yes. Currently, AB 45 requires:

  • THC concentration (i.e., the final form product concentration to not exceed 0.3 percent)
  • Any hemp derivatives identified on the label or associated advertising
  • Contamination, as established in the California Business and Professions Code Section 26100 and associated regulations

Note that CDPH is authorized by law to additionally regulate any compound to be determined necessary through regulation.​​

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