THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is a naturally occurring cannabinoid compound in the cannabis plant, and it is present in both marijuana and hemp but found in abundance in marijuana. Hemp is legally defined as a cannabis plant with no more than 0.3% THC when measured on a dry weight basis. Marijuana usually contains higher concentrations of THC.
Research shows that there are different isomers of THC; the most popular is the delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is the main cause of the 'high' experienced by marijuana users. It has its double bond on the 9th carbon atom, which readily binds with the CB1 receptor in the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). Common THC isomers include:
No, THC is illegal in Georgia as marijuana is listed as a Scheduled drug in the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. However, low-THC oil is allowed to treat specific medical conditions by qualified patients. Georgia’s Hope Act defines low-THC/CBD oil as oil with less than 5% THC and at least 5% cannabidiol (CBD).
Furthermore, hemp-derived THC is allowed, provided the THC content is not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill) legalized hemp in the U.S., including hemp-derived THC products. Moreover, the Georgia Hemp Farming Act (HB 213) was passed in Georgia to conform Georgia law with the 2018 Farm Bill. Consequently, pure THC products like THC distillates and full THC oil are illegal and cannot be sold in Georgia. Qualifying patients are prohibited from ingesting low-THC oil via food products and inhaling it by smoking or electronic vaping.
The THC concentration in weed varies by strain. It could be as low as 0% in hemp or as high as 90% in some marijuana strains. THC potency gradually increased from the 1960s (the earliest time when THC potency was measured) to date. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published a study that revealed that marijuana strains measured in the 1960s had THC contents below 2%. The THC content increased to about 4% in the 1990s. A National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report on cannabis potency from 1995 to 2021 indicated that THC potency had increased to 15.34% by 2021. The test was carried out on marijuana samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Although marijuana is still illegal in Georgia,it is common nowadays to find cannabis strains with over 20% THC concentrations.
Some popular marijuana strains and their THC concentrations are as follows:
The godfather: 35% THC
Light of Jah: 23 to 26% THC
Pineapple Express: 17 to 24% THC
Thai: 22% THC
Dale OG: 20 to 27% THC
Silver haze: 23% THC
Primus OG: 20 to 28% THC
Girl Scout Cookie: 17 to 28% THC
Bubba Fett: 27% THC
THC levels are indicated on the labels of cannabis products. Also, the labels usually include concentration levels of cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiol acid (CBDA), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THC is converted to THCA during a chemical process called decarboxylation. THC compounds found in marijuana in increasing amounts of abundance are as follows:
Delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-10 THC) - Delta-10 THC is often developed in laboratories as it occurs in trace quantities in nature. Anecdotal evidence suggests that delta-10 THC can be used to treat depression, anxiety, and stress
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC) - Delta-8 THC can be found in minute quantities in the cannabis plant. Delta-9 THC and CBD are often chemically converted to produce delta-8 THC
Delta-7 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-7 THC) - Delta-7 THC is often synthetically manufactured from marijuana. It occurs in nature in very minute quantities. Research into the effect of delta-7 THC is still very limited
Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) - THCP induces a more intense high than delta-9 THC. It bonds readily with the CB1 receptors in the brain
Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC) - THCC occurs naturally in male marijuana plants. It does not induce a high in users but can be used to relieve certain medical conditions
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) - THCV is formed from the breakdown of THCA. Its psychoactive potency is not as pronounced when taken in low doses. It can be used to suppress the appetite
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC) - It is the most abundant THC compound in marijuana. It is a psychoactive compound with analgesic properties. Delta-9 THC is also used for body relaxation
Georgia’s Hope Act, enacted in 2019, allows low-THC oil to be used by qualified patients. The Act was an amendment to the 2015 Haleigh’s Hope Act. Persons with certain medical conditions, including AIDS, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and epileptic seizures, can use low-THC oil with less than 5% THC content.
In 2019, following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Georgia enacted the Georgia Hemp Farming Act (HB 213) to redefine hemp as an agricultural product and remove it from the list of controlled substances in the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. Hence, residents of the state can use and possess hemp-derived THC products. There are no restrictions on THC product sales. Delta-8 THC being a natural isomer derived from hemp, can also be purchased online and in physical stores in Georgia.
In 2022, Senate Bill 195 was passed to permit the production of hemp products and low-THC oil by Class 1 and Class 2 licensees. The law also allows the sale and use of low-THC oil in different forms, including tinctures, lotions, capsules, and skin patches. However, the prohibition of edibles and THC-infused food remains.
Hemp-derived THC products, including delta-9 THC products with less than 0.3% THC, are legal in Georgia. Qualified patients may possess cannabis-based THC products with up to 5% delta-9 THC content. However, there is no legal limit for driving while consuming THC products. All drivers in Georgia must submit to drug testing if law enforcement officers request. As THC metabolites can be detected in a drug test weeks after consumption, a driver may be convicted of DUI of marijuana days after consumption, even if they do not appear intoxicated.
Punishment for THC DUI is a fine of up to 12 months imprisonment with a mandatory minimum sentence of 24 hours of jail time and up to a $1,000 fine for first-time offenders. Multiple offenders can be punished by up to 5 years imprisonment with a minimum mandatory sentence of 90 days and a fine of up to $5,000.
Yes, THC metabolites remain in the body and can be detected in a drug test if consumed. THC can be detected in blood, hair, urine, and saliva samples. The following factors affect the likelihood of THC showing up in a blood test in Georgia:
The type of drug test used. Hair follicle tests can detect THC metabolites up to 90 days after last use, while blood tests can only detect THC metabolites within 4 days of use in most cases
The consumer’s body’s metabolism rate
The quantity of THC consumed
The frequency of consumption
The consumer’s body fat level
The means of consumption
In Georgia, THC can be detected in drug tests several days after consumption, even when its psychoactive effects only last a few hours. THC metabolites are stored by the body's fatty tissues, and it usually takes time for the body to be completely clear of them. Persons with higher body fats will retain THC metabolites for a longer period.
A 2017 study by the Mayo clinic revealed that THC metabolites could be detected in urine for the following periods:
A single use: up to 3 days
Moderate use (four times per week): up to 7 days
Daily use: up to 2 weeks
Heavy use (multiple times a day): up to a month
Blood tests are best used to detect recent THC use. It can detect THC metabolites within 48 hours after the last use. However, blood tests can detect THC metabolites in blood samples of chronic THC users up to 30 days after the last use.
Saliva tests can detect THC in the consumer’s oral fluid within 72 hours of consumption. THC may be detectable in saliva longer than in blood samples. Furthermore, exposure to marijuana smoke without actually smoking it may reveal THC in a person’s system through the saliva test. Hair follicle tests can detect THC metabolites up to 90 days after the last use. Hair grows by 0.5 inches per month. Thus a 1.5 inches hair will provide a 3-month THC detection window.
THC oil is a concentrated cannabis oil extracted from the cannabis plant. It is made by maceration, infusion, or percolation of hashish or marijuana. It is the viscous liquid remnants after evaporating the solvent extraction of marijuana. It is safe to ingest THC oil, and it can be sold in vape carts and pens. When consumed, it produces psychotropic ‘high’ effects. THC oil is different from CBD oil. While CBD oil is derived from hemp with no more than 0.3% THC, THC oil is derived from marijuana. Low-THC oil with less than 5% THC is available for qualifying patients in Georgia. Otherwise, only hemp-derived THC oil with no more than 0.3% THC is legal.
THC distillate is a pure form of THC derived from cannabis containing only THC molecules. Unlike THC oil which contains other terpenes and lipids, THC distillate is devoid of other compounds. It is produced by vaporizing THC oil to form a pure distillate of thick oil. THC distillate is different from CBD distillate because CBD distillate is derived from hemp plants.
THC distillates intoxicate consumers faster than other forms of THC. It is safe to consume but requires experience due to its high THC potency. Users need to consume only a small amount to be intoxicated. It can be consumed orally, applied topically, or vaped. THC distillate is illegal in Georgia.
Hemp-derived THC can be purchased in retail stores, such as vape stores, gas stations, and hemp stores in Georgia. They can also be purchased from online stores. Hemp-derived THC products that can be purchased in Georgia, include tinctures, capsules, creams, and oils. Edibles are prohibited. Qualified patients can purchase low-THC oil from registered dispensaries with their low-THC registry cards.