SALEM, Ore. — A southern Oregon-based creator of medicinal hemp products is celebrating an upcoming change to Oregon regulations that will allow certain hemp products to contain a higher level of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in recreational marijuana.
While hemp products are often valued for the chemical cannabidiol (CBD), the hemp plant — a cannabis plant closely related to the variety used for THC-bearing "marijuana" — also contains a naturally-occurring quantity of THC.
Under previous rulings by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, hemp extracts could only contain 10 milligrams or less of THC.
“The previous OLCC decisions forced us to reduce our hemp potency due to naturally occurring THC found in full-spectrum hemp in order to stay within regulation,” said Brie Malarkey, CEO of the Central Point-based Sun God Medicinals. “As a certified organic product line we can not use chemicals to strip the hemp down to a single molecule like CBD to remove the THC, which is what some companies have done.”
Sun God says that Malarkey spent a year lobbying the OLCC for changes to the regulations. The standing rule, though made with the best intentions, didn't take into consideration the "whole picture," Malarkey said.
To stay within those OLCC rules, Sun God had to decrease the CBD content of its products in order to keep the THC down as well.
“This was a huge blow to our small business,” said Malarkey. “We had to discontinue product lines including 50 pack hemp capsules or reformulate to meet the new milligram limit.”
Now, based on changes that were approved earlier this month, the OLCC will begin allowing up to 50 milligrams of THC in hemp tinctures, concentrates and extracts. The change officially goes into effect on February 1.
“We at Sun God Medicinal are the only organic, OLCC licensed, whole-plant herbal company in the state of Oregon,” said Malarkey. “This new regulation change allows us to go back to the original recipe for our tinctures and incorporate the whole hemp plant without using any isolates, staying true to traditional herbalism.”
The updated OLCC rules stipulate that harvested industrial hemp may not exceed a concentration of one percent THC. This applies to any hemp products that do not constitute a "concentrate or extract." Hemp items other than concentrates will still be limited to 10 milligrams of THC per container, but concentrates now have the 50 milligrams of headroom.