Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effect associated with cannabis plants. It is the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis plants. When consumed, THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the brain, causing different psychological or physical effects. However, the severity of these effects may vary depending on the consumer or the amount of THC consumed.
Both hemp and marijuana plants contain THC, but hemp plants typically have a lower THC than marijuana plants. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp plants may only contain up to 0.3% THC concentration. In contrast, some strains of marijuana plants may contain 30% THC concentration or more. Notable isomers of THC include:
THC derived from hemp and marijuana THC is legal in Delaware. The passage of Senate Bill 266 legalized hemp-derived THC containing up to 0.3% THC in 2018 after the 2018 Farm Bill was enacted at the federal level. Marijuana-derived THC has been legal for patients enrolled in the state’s Medical Marijuana Program since 2011. In April 2023, Delaware enacted House Bill 1 to legalize the adult use and possession of marijuana-derived THC for recreational purposes.
Hemp products contain little to no THC and are less potent than marijuana products. THC concentration in marijuana plants usually ranges between 1% to 90%, depending on how the plants are processed. There has been an increase in the potency level of THC in marijuana over the years. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that potency tests conducted on sample marijuana seizures in 2021 put the average THC level in cannabis at 15%. In comparison, the average level of THC in cannabis in the 1960s was between 4% and 5%.
Marijuana flower strains and buds sold at dispensaries usually have different THC levels. Some popular cannabis strains sold at dispensaries and their THC potency level are:
In addition to THC, marijuana contains other chemical compounds, including THCA and CBD. Consumers can check the potency levels of such compounds on the label of the weed containers. Other variants of THC in cannabis plants, in order of abundance, include:
In 2011, Delaware legalized marijuana-derived THC for patients with debilitating medical conditions. Such patients must register under the state’s Medical Marijuana Program to use and purchase medical marijuana. Qualified patients can legally buy up to 3 ounces of usable marijuana every 14 days from licensed Medical Marijuana Compassion Centers but must not exceed 6 ounces of THC monthly.
In April 2023, Delaware legalized the use and possession of cannabis-derived THC products for recreational purposes for adults who are at least 21 years old. Eligible adults can legally possess the following amounts of adult-use cannabis:
Delaware also enacted House Bill 2 to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana. However, recreational marijuana sales will not commence until 2024 after the state has established the rules and framework for a legal recreational marijuana industry. The illegal sale of marijuana-derived THC is currently a felony offense punishable by incarceration and payment of fines.
Hemp-derived THC became legal nationwide after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. In response, Delaware also passed Senate Bill 266 to legalize industrial hemp cultivation containing no more than 0.3% THC. Hemp products can be sold and purchased online or at physical stores in Delaware. Delaware laws place no limit on the amount of hemp-derived THC products that residents can buy.
Delaware criminalizes impaired driving caused by intoxicating substances like THC. The state prohibits motorists from operating vehicles if they are under the influence of any amount of THC. Law enforcement officers can detect THC in motorists by subjecting them to blood tests or identifying symptoms that suggest they were driving under the influence of THC. Drivers will receive a DUI charge if THC is found in their system after a blood test. The severity of a DUI offense may depend on the prior convictions of the motorist.
Some drug tests can detect THC in the body. However, this may depend on several factors, such as the frequency of THC product consumption and the THC potency of the product. Other factors include:
How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?
When an individual consumes THC, the body processes it by breaking it down into metabolites. Although the body gets rid of these metabolites, the process is not instant, and they may remain in the body for several days or weeks, depending on several factors. THC is also absorbed in the bloodstream and may stay there for some time.
Depending on the drug test, THC can be detected in the body for some duration after the last consumption of THC products. The frequency of consumption also determines the detection window period. A blood test for THC in frequent users will detect THC for up to a month. It can also show recent THC use within 2-12 hours.
The detection window for urine drug tests also varies, depending on the frequency of THC consumption. On average, THC can be detected in the urine as listed below:
The detection window for saliva tests is shorter than the other types of drug tests. THC will show up in a saliva test if it is consumed within 24 hours of the test. It may also show up on saliva tests conducted on chronic consumers for about 72 hours after the last use. Testing hair follicles for THC may detect THC in the body for up to 90 days after the last consumption.
THC oil is the oil extracted from cannabis plants. The potency level of THC oil usually exceeds 0.3%. On the other hand, CBD oil has more concentration of CBD, and its THC content is typically under 0.3%. Unlike CBD oil, THC oil produces psychoactive effects on users.
THC oil is usually made by infusing the THC extraction from cannabis plants with a carrier oil. It is safe to ingest THC oil in different forms, such as vape cartridges or edible products like gummies or capsules. However, consuming large amounts of THC oil can cause severe psychoactive effects.
THC distillate is a highly concentrated cannabis extract containing refined THC. It is produced through a distillation process that separates other compounds in a cannabis plant from THC. THC distillate is a more potent form of THC than THC oil, and it has little to no other compounds, unlike THC oil. THC distillates also differ from CBD distillates. CBD distillate has high CBD content of up to 95% with little to no traces of THC, and it also has a non-psychoactive effect on consumers.
THC distillate contains THC in abundance and is responsible for the intense “high” experienced by consumers. Consumers can safely ingest THC distillates, which are available in vape cartridges, edibles, or tinctures, but with caution, especially for new users.
In Delaware, most physical stores sell hemp-derived THC products. Delaware places no restrictions on the amount of hemp products that residents can purchase. Many hemp stores also allow customers to order online and deliver to their local addresses. Medical marijuana patients can purchase high-THC products from any medical marijuana compassion centers in the state with their medical marijuana cards. Such centers also process online orders and deliver THC products to patients and caregivers. Although recreational marijuana is now legal in Delaware, the state has not commenced retail sales of marijuana-based THC products for recreational purposes.