North Dakota THC Overview

North Dakota THC-O Overview >

What is THC?

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is one of the numerous cannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants. THC is the dominant compound in cannabis, and it is known to be psychoactive. It is referred to as a phytocannabinoid because its effects are similar to those of the body's endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, spinal cord, liver, and immune system. THC triggers the release of the brain chemical dopamine, which induces the euphoric effects commonly associated with THC intake. One reason for THC's ability to interact strongly with the brain and its CB1 receptors is that THC's chemical properties are similar to those of anandamide, an endocannabinoid compound produced by the brain. The endocannabinoid system is central to the human capacity to form memories, conceive of time and space, experience pleasure and pain, control the limbs, think, and concentrate. THC can have a profound effect on the way these senses function, either by enhancing or inhibiting them.

THC is present in both hemp and marijuana, but it is found in greater quantities in marijuana. In the United State, hemp may only have a THC potency that is 0.3% or lower. In marijuana, THC potency can reach as high as 90%, especially in concentrates like hash oil and hashish.

There are other variants of THC known as isomers. Isomers have essentially the same chemical and molecular structure as one another but interact differently with the endocannabinoid system. The following are some of the most common isomers of THC:

  • Delta-7 THC: This isomer of THC is regarded as non-psychoactive. Scientific research into the effects of this isomer on humans is ongoing
  • Delta-8 THC: Because it occurs only in minute amounts in the cannabis plant, Delta-8 THC is created synthetically by applying a solvent to hemp-derived CBD. Delta-8 THC is not as psychoactive as Delta-9 THC
  • Delta-10 THC: This isomer of THC is processed by chemically modifying cannabidiol derived from hemp
  • THC-O: This isomer of THC is made in laboratories by synthesizing CBD. It is regarded as more powerful in its psychoactive effects than Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC
  • HHC (Hydroxyhexahydrocannabinol): This synthetic THC isomer is known to have psychoactive effects that are longer in duration than those of Delta-9 THC. It occurs in negligible amounts in cannabis. It is processed using hemp-derived CBD. HHC is illegal under North Dakota law

Is THC Legal in North Dakota?

THC and other cannabis-derived products are illegal for recreational purposes in North Dakota. Only qualifying patients under the state's Medical Marijuana Program are permitted to purchase three ounces of cannabis in a 30-day period. Qualifying patients can also legally possess no more than 2,000 mg of cannabis-derived THC oils, tinctures, distillates, and edible products.

How Much THC is in Weed?

Weed is particularly high in THC. THC levels in cannabis samples analyzed over a long period indicate a steady change in THC potency levels in weed. In the 1960s and 1970s, THC potency in weed was at an average of 1-5%. With time, cannabis processors learned to process products that had higher concentrations of high-THC parts.

A report by the Department of Justice showed that in 2007, THC potency in marijuana samples tested by the Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi was 9.64%. It was the highest ever recorded at the time. Since then, THC potency has been on an upward trend. Several factors are responsible for this increase, including the increasing sophistication of cultivation techniques, and the demand for strains of cannabis with higher THC levels.

An October 2022 report by the National Institute for Drug Abuse showed that in 2021, THC potency in cannabis samples seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency stood at 15.35%. In 2019, according to the same report, THC potency stood at 13.50%, and in 2020, it was 13.27%.

Manufacturers are mandated to provide information about Total THC or Total THC Potency or THCA on cannabis-derived products. Before THC is activated as a psychoactive compound, it exists as a precursor compound known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THC is created when THCA is heated, fired up, or degraded by aging. On a cannabis product label, total THC refers to the level of THC that is activated when the consumer subjects the product to heat or flame.

The following are some of the most popular high-THC weed strains available for legal purchase in dispensaries across the United States:

  • A-Dub: 28% THC
  • Bruce Banner: 30% THC
  • Godfather OG: 34% THC
  • Kush Mints: 26% THC
  • Mother's Milk: 29% THC
  • Primus OG: 27% THC
  • Mandarin Cookies: 26% THC
  • Tropicana: 24% THC

Several THC compounds are present in weed in differing levels of prominence. They include:

  • Delta-9 THC: This is the main THC compound in cannabis. It is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects that cannabis consumers experience. Its therapeutic benefits are numerous. It provides relief from eye pressure for glaucoma patients and helps with nausea, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and insomnia
  • THCV: Tetrahydrocannabivarin is a THC compound known to be particularly dominant in Cannabis sativa varieties from the African continent. Red Congolese and Durban Poison are two high-THCV cannabis strains. THCV is regarded as an effective anti-inflammatory therapeutic remedy. It is also consumed for its benefits in enhancing bone formation and regeneration and in treating osteoporosis. THCV also suppresses appetite
  • THCP: Tetrahydrobiphorol was discovered by Italian researchers. It is naturally present in cannabis and preliminary reports suggest that it may be a more potent cannabinoid than Delta-9 THC
  • Delta-7 THC: This THC compound is made synthetically from hemp-derived CBD
  • Delta-8 THC: This synthetic THC compound is increasingly becoming popular in the U.S. Delta-8 THC is illegal in North Dakota
  • Delta-10 THC: This THC compound is found in minuscule amounts in the cannabis plant. It induces milder euphoric effects in consumers than Delta-9 THC. It is also illegal in North Dakota

North Dakota THC Laws in 2024

In November 2022, North Dakota voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have legalized recreational cannabis and THC products in the state. North Dakota Initiated Statutory Measure No 2 would have allowed residents of the state who are 21 years of age and older to possess 1 ounce of marijuana or marijuana-derived THC products. The proposed legal amendment would also have permitted North Dakotans to cultivate three marijuana plants in their homes.

The North Dakota House of Representatives passed HB 1045 in 2021. This bill amended Section 4.1-18.1 of the North Dakota Century Code to prohibit the use, sale, purchase, possession, and distribution of Delta-9 THC and all its isomers. Even hemp-derived THC isomers such as Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC are illegal under HB 1045. The bill also makes it illegal for hemp processors in North Dakota to engage in the isomerization of cannabidiol (CBD) into THC. Under the North Dakota Century Code, hemp could only contain 0.3% THC content. HB 1045 gives the North Dakota Commissioner for Agriculture the discretion to set the legal limit of THC acceptable in hemp plants.

Marijuana and marijuana-derived THC products have been illegal under federal law since the Controlled Substances Act was enacted in 1970. The 2014 Farm Bill and 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of prohibited substances and legalized its cultivation across the United States. This cleared the way for hemp-derived products like Delta-8 THC products to be legally processed and sold across the U.S., provided their THC concentrations do not exceed 0.3%. North Dakota prohibits its dispensaries and online stores from distributing Delta-8 THC products. Delta-9 THC products are legal for sale and purchase provided they are derived from hemp and not marijuana and do not contain more than 0.3% THC.

What is the Legal Limit for THC While Driving in North Dakota?

North Dakota considers any cannabis which contains a THC level above 6% to be high THC.

Driving under the influence of marijuana or other THC products is prohibited under Chapter 39.08 of the North Dakota Century Code. Motorists suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana must submit to a mandatory blood or urine test. Violation of this law is treated as a Class B misdemeanor and is penalized with a loss of driving rights. Also, the state also can order the destruction of all vehicle license plates registered to the individual involved, offender’s enrollment in a substance abuse rehabilitation program, and a fine of $500.

Will THC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Drug tests can detect traces of THC in the bodily fluids or tissues of an individual. The probability of a drug test revealing THC is determined by such factors as:

  • The frequency of cannabis consumption by an individual
  • The quantity consumed
  • The level of THC present in the cannabis
  • The metabolic rate of the individual
  • The individual's body mass index (BMI)
  • The type of drug test employed

In North Dakota, drug tests are carried out on motorists suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or other THC products.

THC is absorbed into the body's fat tissues. As a result,it is more easily detected in individuals who have a high BMI. An individual's level of hydration can also influence how much THC is retained in the body and how much is eliminated through urine. A cannabis consumer who drinks a lot of water and other fluids is certain to pass out more THC in urine than one who is dehydrated and urinates infrequently. The frequency of THC consumption can also mean that an individual will have more traces in their bodies that a drug test can detect.

How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?

THC can remain in the body long enough to be detected by a drug test. The compound is absorbed and metabolized by different organs and tissues of the body. In consumers who take in THC in the form of smokable cannabis, THC is carried in the bloodstream to the brain. The crucial body organ involved in THC metabolism is the liver. When an individual ingests edible THC products, the liver converts the compound into carboxy-THC and 11-hydroxy-THC. These metabolites are passed out of the body in urine, which takes out approximately 20% of metabolized THC. Approximately 65% of THC metabolites are passed out of the body in bowel movements.

  • Blood: THC stays in the blood for up to 12 hours
  • Urine: THCCOOH, the metabolite produced by the liver after it has transformed THC can be detected by drug tests up to 30 days after cannabis was consumed
  • Saliva: THC can only be detected in the saliva for a 24-hour period after consumption of cannabis or a THC product
  • Hair: THC can remain in hair follicles for 90 days after cannabis or a THC product was ingested.

What is THC Oil?

THC oil is made from cannabis flower extract. The oil is extracted from the plant material by the use of a strong solvent such as isopropyl alcohol or butane and then further processed using a supercritical CO2 extraction. THC oil is also made by immersing the flower and plant material in carrier oils like olive oil.

THC oil is made from marijuana plants, and can induce psychoactive effects, while

CBD oil is made from industrial hemp plants with 0.3% THC or less and does not have any psychoactive effects. THC oil can get a person 'high', while CBD oil will not. THC oil is processed into such formulations as cooking oil and butter. It is made into vape cartridge oil and tinctures. It is also used to make edibles such as candy, chocolates, and brownies.

What is THC Distillate?

THC distillate is a form of THC that is specially refined to remove most of the terpenes, waxes, lipids, and chlorophyll present in the raw cannabis plant. It undergoes a production method that entails extraction, winterization, decarboxylation, and distillation. Extraction removes the plant's resinous trichomes from the rest of the plant material. Resins from the trichomes are the basic raw material for THC distillate production. Winterization further separates the cannabinoids and terpenes by introducing ethanol into the mixture, exposing it to very cold temperatures. Decarboxylation eliminates carboxylic acid from the winterized extract and converts it into activated cannabinoids. The final stage is distillation, which heats the decarboxylated extract to produce a liquid that is highly potent in THC known as THC distillate.

THC oils and THC distillates undergo a similar production process, but THC oils often preserve terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds, while these are entirely eliminated in THC distillate. THC distillates are invariably oils, but THC oils are not necessarily distillates.

THC distillate and CBD distillate are processed in a similar manner, entailing extraction, winterization, decarboxylation, and distillation. CBD distillate, however, is made from industrial hemp rather than the marijuana plant used for THC distillate. The operative compound in CBD distillate is cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. The operative compound in THC distillate is Delta-9 THC, which is known for its psychoactive effects on consumers.

THC distillate is the main ingredient in such THC products as vape cartridges and dab rigs. THC distillate is also added to dried cannabis flowers to make smokable cheroots. THC distillate can be safely ingested and is used to make edibles such as brownies and tinctures that can be consumed sublingually.

Where to Buy THC in North Dakota

Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC products are not legal for sale in North Dakota dispensaries. Hemp-derived delta-9 THC products can be sold by dispensaries and online hemp product stores. Only qualifying patients under the North Dakota medical marijuana program can legally purchase Delta-9 THC products from licensed dispensaries.

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