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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on hemp-derived tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) legality in California. We understand that you may have questions about the legal aspects of hemp-derived THC, especially if you're interested in living a healthier lifestyle through wellness supplements. In this article, we'll address the most commonly asked questions and provide valuable information in a conversational and easy-to-understand manner.

At Soul, we believe in the power of education – being informed about the legal status of THC empowers you to make responsible choices. We also offer a range of cannabidiol (CBD) products designed to support your well-being without the high that accompanies THC products (or our newest Vacay THC Gummies for those who are interested in trying THC for themselves), so feel free to explore our offerings if you’re curious!

What Is Hemp-Derived THC?

One type of the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp, is a plant that has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. It contains various compounds, including cannabinoids, the most well-known of which are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD. 

THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis, while CBD offers potential therapeutic benefits without the "high." People consume hemp in various forms, such as smoking, vaping, edibles, and tinctures, to experience its effects, which can range from relaxation to pain relief.

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How Does Hemp-Derived THC Work?

Hemp-derived THC interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that help regulate various physiological processes. When consumed, THC, one of the primary cannabinoids in cannabis, binds to ECS receptors, primarily found in the brain and central nervous system. 1

This interaction leads to the well-known psychoactive effects of feeling "high." CBD, on the other hand, interacts differently with the ECS, primarily by influencing other receptors related to pain perception, inflammation, and mood. Understanding how hemp-derived THC works within the ECS helps individuals better grasp its potential effects on the body and mind.


Is Hemp-Derived THC Federally Legal?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and hemp-derived compounds, which includes hemp-derived THC. However, this legality only applies to hemp plants and derivatives that contain less than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis.

Synthetically derived THC, even if it’s identical to THC from hemp, may not fall under the same legal protections as naturally occurring cannabinoids from hemp. The DEA has clarified that synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol remains a Schedule I controlled substance.


The Current Legal Status Of Hemp-Derived THC In California: What You Need To Know

Hemp-derived THC products are legal not only federally but in the state of California as well. Keep in mind, however, that California has its own rules and regulations that may impact which types of hemp-derived THC products you’re able to buy in-person or online. It’s crucial to look into local laws and regulations to make sure you’re in compliance when you try any hemp-derived THC product for yourself. 

How The 2018 Farm Bill Changed The Game For Hemp-Derived THC

The 2018 Farm Bill was a landmark piece of legislation that significantly impacted the cannabis industry. It effectively removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, defining it as an agricultural commodity, and provided a federal framework for hemp farmers to grow and produce hemp legally.

This legalization led to a surge in the market for hemp-derived products, particularly CBD. It also opened the door for products containing hemp-derived THC to be produced and sold, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. The bill also paved the way for new research into hemp and its compounds, expanding opportunities for innovation in the industry.


Your Guide To Safely Consuming Hemp-Derived THC In California

To safely consume hemp-derived THC in California, it’s important to follow a few guidelines:

  • Purchase From Reputable Sources: Buy products from reputable retailers or dispensaries that provide third-party testing results to ensure the product is compliant with state laws and regulations.
  • Understand Product Labels: Familiarize yourself with the labels on hemp-derived THC products. Look for information about the THC content to ensure it's within the legal limit.
  • Start With Lower Doses: If you are new to THC, start with a lower dose to see how your body reacts before consuming larger amounts.
  • Know the Effects: Be aware that even hemp-derived THC can have psychoactive effects, particularly if consumed in large quantities.
  • Stay Informed: Laws and regulations can change, so it’s important to stay informed about the current legal status of hemp-derived THC in California.

By following these guidelines, consumers in California can navigate the complexities of hemp-derived THC and enjoy its benefits while adhering to the legal framework.

What Are The Different Types Of Hemp-Derived THC?

Understanding the various forms of hemp-derived THC is essential for anyone interested in consuming cannabis products. Here, we'll explore the different types of THC available in California's wellness market. 

Delta-9 THC

This is the most well-known and commonly found form of THC, known for its psychoactive effects. Delta-9 THC is the compound responsible for the "high" associated with cannabis.

Delta-8 THC

Similar to delta-9 THC but with reported milder psychoactive effects, delta-8 THC has gained popularity for its potential wellness benefits. It is available in various forms, including edibles, tinctures, and vape cartridges.


THCa is the non-psychoactive precursor to THC and is often found in raw cannabis plants. It can be converted to delta-9 THC through processes like decarboxylation, which occurs when cannabis is heated.

FAQs: Hemp-Derived THC Legality In California 


Can I grow hemp for THC production in California?

Yes, you can grow hemp in California for THC production, but you must be licensed and adhere to state agricultural guidelines, and the THC content must be below 0.3%.

Are there limits on purchasing hemp-derived THC products in California?

There are no specific limits on purchasing hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC, but for products with higher THC content, you must comply with California’s cannabis regulations.

Can I use hemp-derived THC in public in California?

No, similar to marijuana, the consumption of hemp-derived THC is restricted to private spaces away from public view.

Do I need a prescription to purchase hemp-derived THC products in California?

No, you do not need a prescription to purchase hemp-derived THC products that comply with the legal THC limit.

How can I verify the THC content in hemp-derived products?

Look for third-party lab testing results, often provided by reputable manufacturers and retailers, to verify the THC content.

Can I carry hemp-derived THC products on a plane in California?

While hemp-derived CBD is generally allowed, it's best to check with the TSA and the destination state’s laws regarding THC products before traveling.

Are hemp-derived THC edibles legal in California?

Yes, hemp-derived THC edibles are legal as long as they adhere to the state’s cannabis edibles regulations.

Is it legal to drive after consuming hemp-derived THC?

Driving under the influence of any THC product, including hemp-derived THC, is illegal in California.

What should I do if I experience adverse effects from hemp-derived THC?

If you experience adverse effects, stop using the product immediately and consult with a healthcare provider.

Are there age restrictions for purchasing hemp-derived THC in California?

Yes, you must be 21 years of age or older to legally purchase products with THC content, regardless of whether it's derived from hemp or marijuana.

Can hemp-derived THC be shipped to California from another state?

Yes, it can be shipped if it complies with federal guidelines and contains less than 0.3% THC.

Do employers in California differentiate between hemp-derived THC and marijuana THC in drug testing?

Most drug tests do not differentiate between the sources of THC, so consuming hemp-derived THC could potentially result in a positive drug test.


  1. Almogi-Hazan, O., & Or, R. (2020, June 23). cannabis, the endocannabinoid system and immunity-the journey from the bedside to the bench and back. International journal of molecular sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352399/