What is THCa hemp flower? “THCa hemp flower” refers to cannabis buds with delta-9 THC levels not exceeding 0.3% by dry weight but containing high levels of THCa.

What is THCa? “THCa” stands for “tetrahydrocannabinolic acid,” a cannabinoid abundantly produced by the cannabis plant. THCa doesn’t cause intoxication; however, it can convert to delta-9 THC, which does have an intoxicating effect, under certain conditions like heat, light exposure, and time. This conversion from THCa to delta-9 THC is known as “decarboxylation” and happens when smoking or vaping THCa hemp flower.

Will smoking or vaping THCa hemp flower cause a “high”? Although individual reactions vary, it’s possible that users might feel intoxicated or “high” after smoking THCa hemp flower. We recommend informing customers about the potential for feeling “high” and not selling THCa hemp flower to minors.

Will using THCa hemp flower lead to a failed drug test? Yes. THCa hemp flower contains cannabinoids, including THC, which could lead to a failed drug test. Therefore, individuals subject to drug testing should avoid using THCa hemp flower.

Is THCa hemp flower legal under federal law? Yes. According to federal law, harvested THCa hemp flower is legal. The 2018 Farm Bill differentiates lawful hemp from unlawful marijuana based on delta-9 THC levels, not THCa. Harvested cannabis, including flowers and buds, with no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight is legal hemp, regardless of THCa or other cannabinoids like CBD. Additionally, the federal Controlled Substances Act excludes hemp from the definition of marijuana, making hemp legal under federal law.

What is the DEA’s stance on THCa hemp flower? THCa hemp flower aligns with the DEA’s definition of lawful hemp. The DEA states that material derived from the cannabis plant, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis, meets the legal definition of “hemp” and is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act.

Have federal courts ruled on THCa hemp flower? No. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has supported the legal status of another hemp product, emphasizing the importance of delta-9 THC concentration in distinguishing legal hemp from controlled marijuana.

Is THCa hemp flower legal in all states? No. State laws vary on the sale, possession, and licensing requirements for harvested hemp and hemp flower. Some states use a “total THC” calculation, which includes both delta-9 THC and THCa, to determine legality. You should not possess or sell THCa hemp flower if it’s illegal in your state and consult a lawyer for guidance.

Can THCa hemp flower be shipped across state lines? Yes, federal law authorizes interstate hemp transfer, including THCa hemp flower. State laws cannot prohibit the transport of hemp and hemp products through their borders.

Is it legal to smoke THCa hemp flower in public or have it in an open car package? Due to varying state laws and the unclear legal status, we do not recommend smoking it in public or having open packages in vehicles. Always sell it in pre-packaged, sealed bags with clear labels.

How to ensure the legality of purchased THCa hemp flower? Review a Certificate of Analysis (COA) with legal counsel. A COA shows cannabinoid levels, including delta-9 THC, in hemp products. Distro California Hemp provides current COAs, ensuring compliance when products leave the facility.

How to store THCa hemp flower? Although Distro California Hemp products comply with legal limits, THCa can convert to delta-9 THC over time through decarboxylation, making it illegal. Store THCa hemp flower in a cool, dark, dry place to minimize unintentional conversion.

Does Distro California Hemp offer a legal opinion on THCa hemp flower? Yes, Distro California Hemp has a legal opinion on THCa hemp flower’s legal status.

Please note that this document and the opinion are specific to Distro California Hemp and should not be considered legal advice for others.

1. See 7 U.S.C. § 1639o(1) (2018 Farm Bill): “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant 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 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
2. See 21 U.S.C. § 802(16)(B) (Controlled Substances Act): “The term “marihuana” does not include— (i) hemp, as defined in section 1639o of title 7.”
3. You can read the DEA’s letter here: shane-pennington-cannabis-seeds- tissue-genetic-material-11-18-21-signed-1.pdf
4. AK Futures LLC v. Boyd St. Distro, LLC, 35 F.4th 682 (9th Cir. 2022)
5. 7 USC § 1621 subsection 10114(b) can be read here:
6. A total THC calculation adds the delta-9 THC amount to 87.7% of the THCa amount to see if the total THC does not exceed 0.3%. Fortunately, most COAs show the total THC amount in addition to delta-9 THC so that you do not need to do the calculation yourself.