Why is the Concept of THC-Free So Darn Confusing?
Read on if you want to learn how to translate product labels, decipher claims, and unravel marketing lingo that hopelessly confuses matters. We can’t promise this will be the most titillating piece but it will make you an expert on “T-Free.”
And if you visit us at Precision Plant Molecules, you just may see a few unicorns…
A new industry brings with it all kinds of hucksters, fast buck artists, and crazies along with credentialed, well-meaning, and science-oriented companies.
But how can a simple term like “THC-Free” mean so many things? And confuse even industry insiders at one time or another.
The punch line is that THC-Free means whatever you say it means. From <0.3% THC in hemp-derived products all the way to 0.0% THC. “Houston, we have a problem.” Variation in terminology most definitely won’t land a man on the moon or in the future be acceptable to traditional CPG companies for the consumer products they intend to market.
The concept of T-Free products is important as consumers become more sophisticated and discerning, product differentiation becomes critical, and old school companies explore adding CBD and hemp-derived cannabinoids to their existing products.
The entourage effect is driving consumer demand towards true whole plant extracts for their efficacy as opposed to reconstituted products made from CBD isolate and various non-hemp plant constituents. But THC even in tiny amounts is still a forbidden molecule for Federal employees and the military. Let’s also not forget liability sensitive, traditional retailers and CPG companies.
Importantly, drug testing is getting better but still prone to far too many false positives. Did you know that second hand weed smoke might contaminate your hair rendering that method of drug testing inaccurate?
So T-Free products are here to stay and have a place in the consumer product continuum of non-Big Pharma plant medicines and health and wellness remedies.
“THC-Free, Legal Limit” or “THC-Free, Compliant” and other similar terms are often applied in the USA to wholesale bulk ingredients to denote THC levels of <0.3% (<3,000 parts per million).
Legally, the “2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as the plant species Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 THC of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
Things get really tricky when a phrase like “THC-Free, Compliant” is used by someone from another country. For example, in Switzerland the term means <1.0% THC. In other countries and jurisdictions, compliant means <0.2% or <0.1%. These are arbitrary, fixed regulatory potency levels but the concept is to distinguish industrial hemp and its derivatives from hemp’s euphoria-inducing, trippy plant cousin that sports higher THC concentrations.
In the USA, some companies use terms like “THC-Free, Non-detectable”, aka “THC-ND”. By definition, these terms are imprecise. It literally means non-detectable by analytical instrumentation. But wait. Whose instrumentation? Whose testing method? Yours? Mine? A certified lab or bros in a garage? A cheap portable detection device or the DEA?
T-Free, ND is dependent on equipment and technique, and therefore not all that helpful for a consumer or a bulk ingredients purchasing agent to decode the actual % THC in the product they are purchasing. At the moment, the industry seems to want to define T-Free, ND to be <0.1% (<1,000 ppm). Will this definition become widespread? Maybe Yes or maybe No. Time will tell.
So is 0.0% THC even possible? Again, Yes and No. Organic chemists will tell you 0.0% and for that matter 100% pure are just concepts, especially when complex plant oil matrices are involved. Analytical chemists will start pontificating about instrumentation detection limits and reproducibility and standards and methodologies and you will find yourself back in the perplexing realm of “non-detectable” and arguing over “How precise is your instrument?”
Some labs do in fact have very low detection limits in the 25-500 ppm range. But most don’t, hence the CBD and hemp industry trying to circle around <0.1% threshold as the definition for the term THC-Free, Non-Detectable. Many labs won’t even tell you their lowest levels of detection and their analytical reports will simply show “ND.” And don’t forget some formulation companies will dilute, dilute, dilute with carrier oils to knock down the concentration but residual THC will remain in their products.
So why does all of this matter? Because the CBD and hemp-derived product industry absolutely needs to elevate its game. Now.
Out with the obfuscation. Let’s all work to define the nomenclature the industry uses, require accurate labeling standards, and work toward achieving the clarity common in other consumer products segments.
PPM – We Can Make 0.0% THC (or <0.3% or <0.1%) Distillate and Crude Oil for True and Natural Whole Hemp Plant Consumer Products
PPM’s R&D team, taking a multi-disciplinary approach, has invented hybrid processing and separation methods based on chromatographic technologies to remove the THC to any customer specified level and not destroy the myriad of phytocompounds found in the hemp plant. PPM uses an X-ACTO knife approach compared to alternate technologies that excise far too many of the other bioactive compounds in a THC-Free whole hemp plant extract.
PPM offers THC remediation services for both crude and distillate on a tolling basis to other hemp processing and extraction companies. PPM also sells THC-Free crude and distillate, and bespoke, fully customizable cannabinoid profile products to its B2B customers.
The scientific backgrounds and research CVs of PPM’s R&D team, which includes three PhDs in plant medicine and chemistry, are evidence of PPM’s commitment to advancing the science and providing innovative CBD, THC-Free, fully customizable and consistent phytocompound profiles, and minor cannabinoid-based (CBN, CBG, CBC, etc.) ingredients to leading consumer product supply chains worldwide.
Every day, every team member at PPM is inspired by the possibilities of hemp plant-based medicine and remedies, and Mother Nature’s genius.
Download PPM Cannamimetics™ White Paper: www.precisionplantmolecules.com