What are cannabinoids and cannabis?

Cannabis, much like other versatile plants like corn and potatoes, can be selectively bred and cultivated for diverse applications. Regardless of its intended purpose, the cannabis plant inherently contains a myriad of cannabinoids – naturally occurring compounds that have become the focal point of extensive deliberation, research, and scholarly inquiry. Irrespective of regulatory categorization as ‘hemp’ or ‘cannabis,’ the cannabis plant serves as the primary source of these cannabinoids. The genesis of cannabinoids commences with a singular molecular compound known as cannabigerol (CBG). As the cannabis plant matures in its natural environment, CBG undergoes natural conversions into cannabidiol (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and more than 150 other cannabinoids.

THC, scientifically denoted as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, constitutes one cannabinoid, and so does CBD. Given its psychoactive properties, cannabis with a THC content exceeding 0.3% is subject to varying degrees of regulation in the United States, encompassing adult recreational use, medicinal usage, or outright prohibition. In contrast, CBD, along with non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBG and CBN, is integrated into a wide array of unregulated products, readily accessible at grocery stores and day spas alike.

Our comprehension of the cannabis plant and its constituent cannabinoids is constantly expanding. As the nation progresses towards broader legalization and the regulation of recreational intoxicants, informed and empowered consumers will have access to a spectrum of legal, regulated THC-based products. In this context, regulatory bodies play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and quality of these products.

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers!

What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?

  • All cannabis is hemp. Some hemp is called Marijuana because of how much THC it contains at harvest. When hemp is harvested, and it contains less than .3% THC, we continue to call it hemp. If hemp is harvested and it contains more than .3% THC, we further define it as Marijuana.
  • Marijuana plants have been specifically bred to accelerate the CBG conversion into CBD and then to continue that conversion from CBD into THC at the fastest rates possible.

A color illustration of a hemp cannabis plant

An illustration of the chemical formulas of natural cannabinoids

What are cannabinoids?

  • Cannabinoids are a family of super antioxidants and a mind-altering compound naturally produced by one’s own body and in the female flowers of cannabis plants. The two most discussed cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • There have been over one hundred and fifty cannabinoids that have been identified. THC is the only known cannabinoid that has been shown to have any psychoactive effect on the endocannabinoid system.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

  • Cannabinoids provide antioxidant benefits but also wellness benefits by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is our body’s most intricate communication system and was discovered in the late 1980s while researchers were studying how cannabinoids interact on the cellular level.
  • Modern science has confirmed that our endocannabinoid system affects our immune response and hormone regulation. Cannabinoids’ ability to interact with our endocannabinoid system is unique to the cannabis family of plants, and this is one of the reasons for the recent surge in interest in cannabinoids.
  • Besides naturally occurring cannabinoids, essential oils rich in aromatic terpenes may also be used to optimize the endocannabinoid system.

An illustration of the endocannabinoid system in the human body

A drone view of a hemp field

What are hemp’s water requirements?

  • Hemp’s explosive growth and quick growing season make it one of the most water-efficient crops a farmer could plant. As long as hemp has adequate water during spring, it will be resilient enough to make it through drier summer months.
  • Hemp has a long taproot that pulls water and minerals from deep in the soil, and these roots sequester carbon back into the farm soil. This expansive root system naturally enhances the soil for the following crop. 
  • In a perfect world, hemp will get around 25 inches of rain per growth cycle, and in some areas of the country, a drip irrigation system may be needed. Hemp has a much smaller water footprint than alternative fiber and grain crops. Most importantly, hemp fiber could become a more sustainable and ethical solution than cotton.

What are the man-made energy inputs needed to produce THC through indoor marijuana production?

  • Marijuana plants are traditionally found near the equator, with a constant temperature and equitable amounts of light and darkness.
  • Growing scalable regulated and controlled marijuana plants indoors for THC requires mimicking the natural forest on an industrial scale utilizing millions of square feet of manufactured buildings.
  • Each football-sized building must be heated to 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and then reversely cooled in the summer.
  • Each grow has to water and drain massive amounts of water from public utilities and is susceptible to mold and pesticides.
  • Growing Marijuana plants inside is the most environmentally unsustainable horticulture practice known to man.

What isTHCa?

  • THCa, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It is the precursor to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use. THCa itself is not psychoactive, meaning it does not produce the euphoric effects commonly associated with THC.
  • When cannabis plant material is harvested and dried, THCa is the dominant cannabinoid present. To convert THCa into THC and activate its psychoactive properties, a process called decarboxylation is required. Decarboxylation typically occurs when the cannabis is exposed to heat, such as through smoking, vaporization, or cooking. This process involves the removal of a carboxyl group (COOH) from THCa, turning it into THC.
  • In summary, THCa is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw cannabis, and it becomes THC, the psychoactive compound, through a process of decarboxylation.

A graphic of the structure of THCa

Will I feel any effects from THCa?

  • When using THCa, consumers typically report experiencing the following effects: relaxation, relief, and a smooth or mellow mental and physical buzz.

An illustration of the chemical formula of THC

What is Delta-9 THC?

  • Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as Delta-9 THC, represents the principal psychoactive cannabinoid within the cannabis plant. It catalyzes the euphoric and cognitive-altering experiences commonly associated with marijuana consumption. Delta-9 THC exerts its influence through the intricate interaction with the endocannabinoid system in the human body, predominantly binding to cannabinoid receptors within the central nervous system and brain. This interaction subsequently triggers various physiological and psychological effects, encompassing shifts in perception, mood elevation, heightened appetite, and body relaxation. While Delta-9 THC garners attention for its recreational allure, it also harbors the considerable potential for medicinal purposes, including pain management and alleviating nausea, contributing to its incorporation into specific medical cannabis treatments.

Is there any difference between THCa and Delta 9-THC?

  • The primary distinction between THCa and Delta 9-THC pertains to their legal status at the federal and state levels. THCa enjoys total federal legality and is sanctioned in the cast majority of states. In contrast, Delta 9-THC is federally prohibited and prohibited across many states. Both THCa and Delta 9-THC induce similar effects in users and offer a diverse array of medical and recreational advantages.
  • Remember, THCa is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw cannabis, but it converts to THC, the psychoactive compound, through a process of decarboxylation (heating it through smoking, vaporization, or cooking).

Is THCa legal to manufacture and sell in the United States?

  • Due to the utilization of THCa exclusively derived from 100% hemp extract in their products, companies are afforded the legal authority to engage in the full spectrum of manufacturing, distribution, and sales activities within the United States. This legal framework has been made possible by enacting H.R.2 – The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, signed into law in December of 2018. Under the provisions of this legislation, cannabis with a Delta 9-THC content of less than 0.3% is officially classified as hemp, thus rendering it fully compliant with and lawful under federal regulations.

Public Law 115-336

What is CBD and how is it different from THCa?

CBD (cannabidiol) and THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) are two distinct and unique cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, each with its own effects:

CBD (Cannabidiol)

  • CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which means it doesn’t induce a euphoric “high” or alter one’s mental state.
  • It is typically derived from industrial hemp plants, which contain minimal levels of THC (usually less than 0.3% THC in the United States), making it legal in many countries.
  • In recent years, CBD has gained popularity and exposure for its reported wellness benefits. Research suggests it may have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anxiety-reducing, and neuroprotective qualities.
  • Common applications of CBD include managing anxiety, alleviating pain, reducing seizures in certain forms of epilepsy (such as Dravet syndrome), and potentially improving sleep quality.

THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)

  • THCa is the precursor to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the well-known psychoactive component in cannabis responsible for the characteristic “high.”
  • When cannabis is subjected to heat (via smoking, vaping, or cooking), THCa undergoes a process called decarboxylation. During this transformation, the “A” or acid group is removed from THCa, converting it into THC.
  • Unlike THC, THCa is non-psychoactive in its raw, unheated form. Therefore, consuming or handling raw cannabis plants does not produce the typical intoxicating effects associated with THC.
  • THCa is alos believed to have potential therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. However, more studies are needed to fully understand those reported benefits.

In summary, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid often sought after for its potential medicinal applications, while THCa is the non-psychoactive precursor to THC. It’s important to note that the conversion of THCa to THC through decarboxylation is a critical process in the preparation of cannabis products for recreational or medicinal use, as it activates the psychoactive properties of THC. The legal status and regulation of CBD and THCa can vary by jurisdiction.

I keep reading the term “hemp-derived THC,” what does it mean?

In the context of H.R. 2, also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the term “hemp-derived THC” refers to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is derived from industrial hemp plants. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements:

  • Hemp: Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant species that is specifically grown for industrial and agricultural purposes. Unlike marijuana, which is another form of cannabis, hemp contains lower levels of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use.
  • THC: Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana.
  • Derived from: “Derived from” means that the THC is obtained or extracted from hemp plants. In this context, it indicates that the THC is sourced from industrial hemp rather than marijuana plants.
  • The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, legalized the cultivation and commercialization of industrial hemp in the United States. However, it imposed strict regulations on the THC content in hemp plants. According to the bill, hemp must contain no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis to be considered legal. This low THC threshold is significantly lower than the levels typically found in marijuana.
  • As a result, “hemp-derived THC” in the context of the 2018 Farm Bill refers to THC that is extracted from hemp plants and meets the legal definition of hemp, containing no more than 0.3% THC. Hemp-derived THC is not psychoactive to the same extent as THC from marijuana, making it suitable for various industrial and commercial purposes, including the production of CBD (cannabidiol) products and other hemp-derived products.

Does clēēn:tech sell direct to consumers?

Not at this time. We are an ingredients manufacturer and currently only sell our private label products to other cannabis distributors and dispensaries. We also manufacture ingredients for other cannabis brands looking to enhance and fine-tune their flavor profiles. If you’re interested in conducting business with us, please feel free to reach out and contact us directly.

Where Is THCa Prohibited?

THCa is recognized as legal under federal law; however, it is important to note that certain states have enacted restrictions on its sale and use. The states where THCa is currently illegal include:

  • Arkansas
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island

It is important to be mindful that state laws are dynamic and can change at any time. Therefore, we advise keeping informed about your state’s current laws to determine if there have been any recent updates regarding the legality of THCa.