Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, is a chemical compound among the over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. Its psychoactive effects are what makes it popular among cannabis users. Both hemp and marijuana, contain THC, although marijuana typically contains more THC than hemp. As per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products must contain no more than 0.3% THC.
THC's chemical structure is similar to the anandamide chemical in the brain, allowing the body to recognize it and the compound to alter normal brain communication. THC affects areas of the brain, influencing memory, thinking, pleasure, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordination. THC may be used for medical and recreational uses. It has a lot of isomers, including Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, Delta-10 THC, Delta-7 THC, and D6A (7) THC. The most common and widely researched THC isomer is Delta-9 THC.
THC is legal for medical cannabis patients in Virginia in the form of THC-A oil. Also, THC has been legalized for recreational purposes for adults aged 21 or older but cannot yet be purchased in the state as the legal framework for creating an adult-use retail market is being established.
THC level refers to the amount or concentration of THC in weed, which is typically expressed as a percentage of THC by weight of dried cannabis. THC potency in dried weed has increased over time from as low as 2% in the 1960s to around 15% in 2021, with some strains having even higher concentrations. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency analyzes THC concentration levels in seized weed samples and has shown a steady rise in THC levels over the years. Cannabis THC levels may be impacted by many factors, including light, soil, growing environment, temperature, and humidity. Also, different growth conditions can produce varied THC levels in the same cannabis strain. The following are examples of THC levels in common cannabis strains:
Godfather OG: 34%
Grease Monkey: 31%
Banana Kush: 27%
Cannabis product labels usually list THCA, THC, and total THC levels, to help buyers know how much THC is in the products. Although THCA percentage levels may be higher than THC, THCA is converted into THC by decarboxylation and added to the initial THC concentration level to obtain the total THC amount.
Weed contains several cannabinoids and chemicals which occur in varying quantities in the plant. Some of the most abundant chemicals in cannabis are:
The following are THC laws in Virginia:
Also, THC-A oil means a processed cannabis plant extract containing at least 15% THC acid but not more than 5% THC or a dilution of the resin of the cannabis plant containing a minimum of 50 milligrams of THC acid per milliliter but no more than 5% THC
HB 1251 also makes CBD oil and THC-A oil available to minors and incapacitated adults with registered caregivers. A caregiver must be the patient's parent or legal guardian, a Virginia resident, and be registered with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy
SB 1406 and HB 2312: Although the state has yet to permit the sale of THC for recreational purposes, the Virginia legislature passed Senate Bill 1406 and House Bill 2312 in 2021, allowing adults aged 21 or older to possess 1 ounce of THC and grow 4 four cannabis plants to produce THC for personal use. The state laws also permit the sharing of 1 ounce or less of THC between adults aged 21 or older, provided the sharing does not include situations where:
THC is given away with another reciprocal transaction between the persons involved
A gift of THC is advertised or offered in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services
A gift of THC is contingent on a separate reciprocal transaction
Note that state laws do not permit THC use in public places or the transfer of THC across state lines.
While the state's legislature approved an initial bill to put a 2-milligram cap on THC products in the state, Governor Youngkin's amendment to the bill removed the 2-milligram cap, allowing THC products to be sold to residents as long as the CBD-to-THC ratio is 25:1. Note that the bill makes Delta-8 THC products illegal in the state from July 1, 2023.
While Virginia has a per se drugged driving law for controlled substances, none of the statutes addresses cannabis or THC. Still, under Section 18-2-266 of the Virginia Annotated Code, it is unlawful for any person to drive or operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana to a degree that impairs the ability of the driver to operate the motor vehicle safely.
Whether THC will show up on a drug test is contingent on a number of factors, including the time between last THC use and the drug test, whether THC was inhaled or ingested, how frequently the individual uses THC, and how much THC is consumed. These variables can affect how long THC remains in the body and, by extension, how long it is detectable by drug tests.
Upon taking THC, the compound and its metabolites are removed through urine and feces after being broken down into inactive compounds. THC may be detected in the blood for up to 12 hours after use, saliva for up to 24 hours, urine for up to 30 days (or longer for heavy users), and hair for up to 90 days.
The exact detection period is determined by various factors, including frequency and amount of use, metabolism, and individual characteristics such as body weight and hydration levels. The length of time THC remains in the body and can be detected in drug tests is also influenced by factors such as body mass, metabolism, and hydration levels.
THC oil is a resinous substance extracted from the cannabis sativa or cannabis indica plant. It is typically obtained by separating the resins from cannabis flowers using isopropyl alcohol. THC oil is commonly used for therapeutic benefits and can be taken orally, inhaled, applied topically, or formulated into suppositories. THC oil is highly concentrated and can cause intoxicating effects. However, it is safe to consume.
THC oil should not be confused with CBD oil as the latter is usually made from hemp plants with low concentrations of THC. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from hemp plants and combining it with carrier oil. CBD oil does not have the same high effects as THC oil, but it is known to provide various health benefits, including lowering inflammation, relieving pain, and enhancing sleep.
THC distillate is a highly concentrated version of cannabis used medicinally and recreationally. It is produced by the distillation process, which entails refining the THC ingredient to its purest form. As a result, the substance is extremely potent and provides various benefits to consumers.
To make THC distillate, cannabis plant matter is extracted using a solvent like ethanol or CO2. This produces raw oil containing various components, including THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. After that, the oil is heated and distilled to isolate the THC from the other chemicals. This process is repeated until the THC is pure, producing a transparent liquid.
THC distillate is usually regarded as safe to use when ingested appropriately. However, it, like any other form of cannabis, can cause side effects, including dry mouth, red eyes, and dizziness. THC distillate can create a high, as opposed to CBD distillate, which is non-psychoactive. THC's effects may vary based on the user's tolerance, dose, and other circumstances. THC distillate is frequently used recreationally rather than medicinally due to its intoxicating properties.
Virginians will no longer be able to buy Delta-8 THC products from July 1, 2023. However, CBD oil or THC-A oil can be purchased from medical cannabis dispensary locations in the state. You can visit the approved locations of licensed processors if you have a written certification for medical cannabis use from a registered healthcare practitioner for medical cannabis and a government-issued ID.
Alternatively, you may use a medical cannabis card issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia instead of a written certification for medical cannabis use. Until recreational cannabis sales of cannabis begin in the state, residents cannot purchase THC products for recreational use. When recreational cannabis sales begin, purchases may only be done at licensed recreational cannabis outlets in the state.