THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the over a hundred cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. THC can be found in both hemp and marijuana. A cannabis plant with no more than 0.3% THC is referred to as hemp, while one with more than 0.3% THC is considered marijuana.
THC is a psychoactive substance responsible for the high experienced by marijuana users. In several states in the U.S., including New Hampshire, it is medically used to treat or relieve certain medical conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cancer, glaucoma, and chronic pain. THC has a variety of isomers with identical molecular formulae and identical numbers of carbon components but different molecular structures. Some isomers of THC include:
Yes, some form of THC is legal in New Hampshire, even though the recreational use of marijuana, including marijuana-derived THC, is still prohibited in the state. New Hampshire passed House Bill 537 in 2013 to allow the use of marijuana, including THC, to treat certain medical conditions. HB 537 allowed qualifying patients exhibiting symptoms of certain medical conditions to possess and use THC and other derivatives of marijuana. However, New Hampshire decriminalized possessing a small amount of marijuana in the state. Persons found with less than 0.75 ounces of marijuana, including marijuana-derived THC, may only be punished with fines without the possibility of imprisonment.
Furthermore, as enacted by the state’s Senate and House of Representatives in the New Hampshire General Court in 2019, House Bill 459 permits the cultivation, possession, and use of hemp and its derivatives. Hence, hemp-derived THC products are legal in New Hampshire, provided they do not contain more than 0.3% THC concentration.
The THC content in cannabis varies depending on the cannabis strain. Hemp may have no THC constituent, while marijuana may have as much as 90% THC level. From the 1960s, when THC potency in cannabis began to be measured, there has been a gradual increase in THC concentration in marijuana. This is largely due to improved cultivation practices and deliberate breeding by cultivators. A publication by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) showed that cannabis strains had THC contents below 2% in the 1960s. These estimates may have been affected by the testing techniques and tools used in the period, as they often degraded marijuana samples. THC potency increased to an average of 4% in the 1990s. Another study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on cannabis potency from 1995 to 2021 revealed that THC potency in some cannabis samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had increased to an average of 15.34% by 2021. Various marijuana strains sold in dispensaries in New Hampshire have significantly higher THC levels, often more than 20%. Some common marijuana strains and their THC concentrations are as follows:
Pineapple Express: 17 to 24% THC
The godfather: 35% THC
Dale OG: 20 to 27% THC
Light of Jah: 23 to 26% THC
Thai: 22% THC
Silver haze: 23% THC
Girl Scout Cookie: 17 to 28% THC
Primus OG: 20 to 28% THC
Bubba Fett: 27% THC
THC levels in cannabis products are usually printed on the products' labels. The labels will also include concentration levels for cannabidiol acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), and cannabidiol (CBD). THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and often has a higher concentration in marijuana than THC. THC compounds found in cannabis in decreasing amounts of abundance are as follows:
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC) - Delta-9 THC is the most abundant THC compound in cannabis. It is the major cause of the high experienced by marijuana users. Delta-9 THC is used for medical purposes, especially to relieve chronic pain. It is also used for relaxation
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) - THCV is formed when THCA is broken down during a chemical reaction. It has less psychoactive effects when taken in low doses. It can be used to reduce appetite
Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC) - THCC is found in male marijuana plants. It is not psychoactive and can be used to counteract nausea in the treatment of cancer during chemotherapy
Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) - THCP is considered the most potent cannabinoid and is said to be 10 times stronger than delta-9 THC. It bonds readily with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, causing a more intense high. It is found in trace amounts in cannabis
Delta-7 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-7 THC) - Delta-7 THC is found in very minute quantities in cannabis plants and is often synthetically manufactured from marijuana
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC) - Delta-8 THC can be found in trace quantities in the cannabis plant. It is synthesized in laboratories from Delta-9 THC and CBD
Delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-10 THC) - Delta-10 THC is also developed in laboratories as it is found in minute quantities in cannabis. Its psychoactive effects are less intense than those of delta-9 THC
New Hampshire enacted HB 537 in 2013 to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill allowed persons having severe symptoms from specific medical conditions to use marijuana after registering with the state. Patients must be diagnosed with combinations of qualifying symptoms and qualifying diagnoses or stand-alone qualifying medical conditions to be eligible for medical marijuana, including marijuana-based THC products.
Following the passage of the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill), New Hampshire passed HB 459 to redefine hemp as an agricultural product and removed it from the list of scheduled substances. HB 459 allows the possession and use of hemp-derived THC products in the state. The bill legalized all hemp products with no more than 0.3% THC concentrations, including hemp fibers, hemp flowers, hemp oil, hemp-derived CBD, and hemp milk, in New Hampshire. However, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission released an industrial circular in 2018 prohibiting the use of CBD as additives in beverages and food in the state.
In New Hampshire, there is no legal limit for driving while under the influence of THC. It is illegal to drive or operate a motor vehicle while consuming THC-based products, even by medical marijuana patients. New Hampshire considers a positive THC test as proof of impairment that can lead to a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI). Furthermore, all drivers in New Hampshire can be subjected to physical tests by law enforcement agents to determine their level of sobriety. A driver that refuses to submit to a physical test can have their driver’s license suspended for up to 2 years. In addition, a DUI conviction can be penalized by up to 180 days imprisonment, suspension of driver’s license for up to 7 years, and cash fines. The level of punishment depends on how many times the offender has been convicted.
Yes, THC can be detected in a drug test as its metabolites can remain in the body for up to 3 months after the last consumption. It can be detected in hair follicles, saliva, urine, and blood samples. Factors that affect the likelihood of detecting THC in a drug test in New Hampshire include:
The quantity of THC consumed
The consumer’s body fat level
The sensitivity of the type of drug test used - THC metabolites can be detected in hair follicles 90 days after the last use. Other tests are less sensitive but may still detect THC metabolites weeks after the last use
The means of consumption - THC consumed via inhalation leaves the body faster than other means of consumption
The consumer’s body metabolism rate
The frequency of consumption
The psychoactive effects of THC wear out after about 6 hours, but its metabolites remain in the body for several weeks after the last use. When THC is consumed, it is absorbed into the circulatory system from the small intestine and carried by the blood to the liver. The liver metabolizes it and distributes the metabolites to the brain, where it binds with endocannabinoid receptors to elicit psychoactive effects. Most THC metabolites in the liver are eliminated through feces and urine within a few days. However, some are stored in the body's fatty tissues and can be detected by drug tests weeks after the last use.
THC and its metabolites can be detected in urine samples for the following periods:
A single use: within 3 days
Moderate use (four times per week): within 7 days
Daily use: up to 14 days
Heavy use (multiple times a day): up to 30 days
Blood tests can detect THC metabolites within 48 hours after the last use. However, it can detect THC metabolites in blood samples of heavy THC users up to 30 days after the last use.
Saliva tests can detect THC in the oral fluid within 72 hours of consumption. THC is detectable in saliva longer than in blood samples. Moreover, THC can be detected in the saliva of a person who did not consume a THC product but was only exposed to marijuana smoke.
Hair follicle tests can detect THC metabolites up to 90 days after the last use. A 1.5 inches hair can provide up to a 3-month THC detection window.
THC oil is a concentrated extract from the cannabis plant. It is a viscous liquid remnant from the evaporation of the solvent extraction of marijuana and can be made from hashish or marijuana. THC oil is safe to ingest and can be sold in vape pens and carts. It is psychoactive and causes a ‘high’ in users. THC oil and CBD oil are different due to their sources. CBD oil is obtained from hemp with no more than 0.3% THC, while THC oil is derived from marijuana.
THC distillate is devoid of terpenes, lipids, and other compounds found in cannabis. It is a pure form of THC obtained from cannabis containing only THC molecules. It is produced when THC oil is vaporized to form a pure distillate of thick oil. THC distillate is derived from marijuana and is different from CBD distillate which is derived from hemp plants. Furthermore, THC distillate is more potent than other THC forms due to its purity. It should be consumed with care and by experienced marijuana users. It can be vaped, consumed orally, or applied topically.
In New Hampshire, marijuana-derived THC products can be purchased by registered patients in state-licensed dispensaries called Alternative Treatment Centers (ATC). They must present their medical marijuana registry cards before they can buy marijuana-derived THC products from the ATCs. Registered patients may only purchase 2 ounces of marijuana-based THC products within a 10-day period.
Conversely, hemp-derived THC products with 0.3% THC or less can be freely purchased by New Hampshire residents. They can buy them from retail stores, such as hemp stores, gas stations, and vape stores. They may also be purchased from online stores. All hemp-derived THC products, including flowers, tinctures, creams, capsules, and oils, are legal in New Hampshire.