South Carolina THC Overrview

South Carolina THC-O Overview >

What Is THC?

THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the many chemical compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. THC is the principal psychoactive compound in marijuana and is responsible for its euphoric effects. When consumed, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and produces psychoactive effects such as altered sensory perception, increased heart rate, and changes in mood and behavior. Other side effects associated with THC consumption include red eyes, dry mouth, dizziness, and memory impairment. Apart from its psychoactive effects, THC is used medically to help with a range of symptoms, including pain, nausea, and muscle spasms.

Marijuana and hemp are two common varieties of Cannabis sativa plants that contain different concentrations of THC. Generally, the concentration of THC in marijuana is higher than in hemp. Marijuana THC concentration typically ranges from 10-30%, while the THC concentration in hemp plants is often less than 0.3%. The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as a type of cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. There are different THC isomers, which have the same chemical formula but a different atomic arrangement. These isomeric forms may have different effects on the body and may be more or less psychoactive than one another. Some major THC isomers include:

  • Delta-9-THC: This is the most common and well-known form of THC. It is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana and is responsible for the majority of the plant's psychoactive property.

  • Delta-8-THC: This isomer of THC is found in lower concentrations in the cannabis plant. It is less psychoactive than delta-9-THC and may have different effects on the body. Like the common delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC exhibits some therapeutic benefits, including reducing nausea and vomiting, stimulating appetite, and reducing anxiety and stress

  • Delta-10 THC: Delta-10 THC is also a form of THC that exists naturally in trace amounts in cannabis. It can produce psychoactive effects, but it is less potent than delta-9 THC. Delta-10-THC can also be produced artificially through chemical synthesis and biotransformation

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Is THC Legal in South Carolina?

The legal status of THC in South Carolina varies depending on where it is derived, the intended use of the product, and percentage composition. All hemp-derived products with THC composition under 0.3% are legal in South Carolina per the South Carolina Hemp Farming Act. The 2014 Julian Law in South Carolina also legalizes CBD oil containing not more than 0.9% THC for patients with severe seizures and epilepsy. However, the South Carolina Attorney General declared that delta-8 and delta-10 THC are illegal in the state. Furthermore, hemp retailers and processors are prohibited from including hemp-derived THC in foods and beverages. Marijuana is illegal in the Palmetto state. Hence, marijuana-derived THC products are illegal in the state.

How Much THC is in Weed?

Generally, hemp plants have lower THC, usually below 0%, than marijuana plants with more than 30% THC. Some pure forms of extracted THC contain more than 98% THC content. The concentration of THC in marijuana has increased significantly over the past several decades. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the average THC content of seized marijuana samples in the United States was around 3.7% in the 1990s. By 2011, the average THC content had increased to around 10%. Many weed strains in 2021 contain more than 15% THC, according to the NIDA report.

Many factors may have led to the increase in THC concentration in marijuana over time. One factor is the development of new cultivation techniques and technologies that allow growers to produce marijuana strains with higher THC levels. Another factor is the selection and breeding of marijuana strains specifically for their high THC content. Additionally, the growing demand for high-THC marijuana products contributes to the increase in THC concentration over time. Currently, popular marijuana-based products sold in states near South Carolina where cannabis is legal contain over 20% THC. These include:

  • White Tahoe Cookies with 30%THC

  • Lemon Kush with 23% THC

  • Gorilla Glue with 23% THC

  • Bruce Banner with 25% THC

  • Kosher Kush with 21% THC

In some cases, marijuana product labels may show only THCA levels instead of THC levels. Note that THC and THCA are different compounds even though they are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. THCA is a non-psychoactive form of THC, which is converted to THC through a process known as decarboxylation. This process often occurs through smoking, vaporizing, or simply subjecting the marijuana plant to a high temperature. As such, consuming raw cannabis flower may not produce intoxicating effects unlike the dry decarboxylated marijuana flower. Other THC compounds found in weed include:

  • Delta-8 THC

  • Delta-10 THC

  • THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin).

South Carolina THC Laws 2022

Marijuana, which is a major source of THC, is still illegal in South Carolina. South Carolina senators passed the SC Compassionate Care Act in 2022. The bill sought to legalize marijuana containing high THC for patients with qualifying conditions. In addition, the bill intended to create a way for patients to access marijuana through licensed dispensaries. However, the majority of the state representatives rejected the bill in May 2022.

Before the 2018 Farm Bill, South Carolina passed Senate Bill 1035 in 2014. The bill, which became effective in the same year, allowed qualified persons with severe forms of epilepsy to use CBD oil containing not more than 0.9% THC. While SC-licensed physicians are permitted to recommend CBD oil to patients, the law does not make provision for a medical marijuana registry. Also, there are no licensed manufacturers of CBD oil and dispensaries where patients can purchase CBD oil.

In 2017, SC lawmakers passed House Bill 4627, which created the state’s first Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. This law allowed hemp with less than 0.3% THC to be cultivated for only research purposes only. In 2019, the Governor signed House Bill 3449, which expanded the previous hemp program in South Carolina. The new law removed hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances. Residents can also cultivate hemp, process, and sell hemp products, provided that the THC limit is not more than 0.3%.

What is the Legal Limit for THC While Driving in South Carolina?

The legal limit of THC in South Carolina is 0.3% in hemp-derived products. Qualified patients can also use cannabis-derived CBD oil with up to 0.9% THC concentration. Using or possessing above these legal limits may result in misdemeanor offenses in South Carolina. Also, possession of marijuana-derived THC products is prohibited due to the illegal status of medical and recreational marijuana in the state. Motorists found operating a vehicle while intoxicated with THC often face DUI penalties in South Carolina. Offenders may pay up to $400 as fines or get imprisoned for at least 48 hours or even as long as 30 days. Subsequent offenses may result in increased fines, jail sentences, or even permanent revocation of driving privileges.

Will THC Show Up on a Drug Test?

THC can show up on a drug test in South Carolina. However, the probability of THC showing up on a drug test depends on several factors, including the type of drug test used, the frequency of use, and amount of THC used.

  • The amount of THC consumed: The more the THC consumed, the longer it will remain detectable in the body

  • The frequency of use: THC accumulates in the body over time, so regular or heavy consumers are more likely to have higher levels of THC in their system for a longer period of time

  • The method of ingestion: THC is metabolized differently depending on how it is consumed. Smoking or vaporizing THC results in faster absorption and shorter detection times, while consuming edibles or other forms of THC that are absorbed through the digestive system results in slower absorption and longer detection window.

  • The sensitivity of the drug test: Different drug tests have different levels of sensitivity, so a more sensitive test will detect THC metabolites several weeks after the last THC use.

  • The individual's metabolism: The rate at which THC is metabolized and eliminated from the body can vary from person to person. Some of the factors that affect how THC metabolizes include gender, age, weight, and overall health

How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?

THC can stay in the human body for hours or days, depending on how it metabolizes after consumption. When consumed, THC goes into the bloodstream and then into the liver, where the metabolism begins. The enzymes present in the liver convert THC into several different metabolites, including 11-OH-THC and THC-COOH. These metabolites are then eliminated from the body through various body fluids such as urine, sweat, and saliva.

THC can be detected in urine for several days to several weeks after use, depending on the frequency and amount of marijuana use. In infrequent users, THC can be detected in urine for about 3-4 days after use. In frequent users, THC can be detected in urine for up to 30 days or longer after use. Saliva tests can only detect THC for a shorter period of time, usually for about 24-72 hours after the last use. THC stays longer in the hair, which explains why hair tests can detect THC after 90 days of last use. Blood tests can detect THC for a shorter period of time than hair tests, usually for a few hours to a few days after use.

What Is THC Oil?

THC oil is a highly potent form of marijuana made by extracting THC from the cannabis plant. THC oil, extracted from marijuana, is known for its psychoactive effects. In contrast, CBD oil, extracted from hemp , is known for its therapeutic properties. South Carolina residents can use CBD oil legally with trace amounts of THC for medicinal purposes.

THC oil is made by using a solvent, such as butane or CO2, to extract the THC from the cannabis plant (hemp or marijuana). The resulting oil is a highly concentrated form of THC that is often used to make edibles, vape cartridges, and other THC-infused products. Note that hemp-derived THC oil contains less THC than marijuana-derived THC oil. In South Carolina, hemp-derived THC oil (<0.3%) is legal and considered safe for consumers.

What Is THC Distillate?

THC distillate is a type of THC oil containing very pure THC, making it more potent than the regular THC oil. It is made through a process called distillation, which involves separating the THC from other cannabinoids and plant materials in the cannabis plant. The resulting product is a clear, amber oil that is extremely potent, with THC levels reaching up to 99%. Due to its high potency, experienced cannabis users often consume THC distillate to get a strong, intoxicating feeling. THC distillate can be consumed through vaporizing, smoking, or oral use. Some marijuana retailers and processors use THC distillate to make edibles, topicals, and other cannabis products. Like all other high-THC products with mind-altering effects, THC distillate is illegal for consumption in South Carolina.

Where to Buy THC in South Carolina

South Carolina residents can buy hemp-derived delta-9 THC products in local and online stores, provided the THC level is below 0.3%. Individuals with severe epilepsy and other terminal illnesses can buy cannabis-derived low-THC/CBD oil with no more than 0.9% THC online. Meanwhile, the sale of hemp-based delta-8 THC remains illegal, but residents can still purchase it from neighboring states since it is legal federally. Purchasing, selling, and possessing any THC products derived from marijuana is not legal in South Carolina.

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