Is THC Legal in New York?

New York Delta THC Overview >

What Is THC?

THC refers mainly to a group of naturally occurring chemicals found in cannabis plants. While THC is most commonly found in marijuana, it can also be found in trace amounts in hemp plants. THC is well-known for its psychoactive qualities.

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most popular isomer of THC and is responsible for most of the plant's psychoactive effects. Delta-8 THC, another isomer, has gained prominence because of its possible medicinal uses and milder euphoric effects. Delta-10 THC is a lesser-known isomer found in trace concentrations in cannabis plants and is thought to be even less potent than Delta-8 THC.

Is THC Legal in New York?

Yes, THC is legal in New York. Residents can purchase THC forms from licensed dispensaries for recreational and medical purposes. THC use in the state is regulated under certain laws and the amounts of the substance that may be purchased is also capped.

How Much THC is in Weed?

Weed may sometimes be used to refer to marijuana or hemp. However, per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been categorized as a cannabis plant or a cannabis plant part with no more than 0.3% THC. Hence, by definition, it is the marijuana strain of the plant that may contain more than 0.3% THC.

Marijuana's THC concentration levels have been shown by research to have risen over time. Marijuana possessed an average of 1-2% THC in the 1960s and 1970s, but in 2021, has been shown to have as high as 15% THC. Currently, some strains in the cannabis market claim to contain up to 30% THC. THC percentages in popular strains like OG Kush, Blue Dream, and Sour Diesel range from 20-25%. Note that THC concentration levels also differ depending on the weed product type. For instance, THC levels in concentrates are usually high since they are made by extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis flower and removing excess plant material. The resultant concentrate may have up to 90% THC or more.

When purchasing a cannabis product, you will find figures for THCA, THC, and total THC under the potency analysis stated on the product labels. Typically, there is less THC than THCA in cannabis. For example, cannabis flower may have less than 2% THC but over 20% THCA. THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid present in raw cannabis. Decarboxylation, which happens with heat exposure converts THCA to THC. Determining the approximate active THC level in a product requires adding the THC concentration percentage to about 55-65% of the stated THCA concentration percentage.

You can find the following THC compounds in weed, shown in the order of their abundance in the plant:

  • Delta-9 THC

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

  • Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC)

  • Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)

  • Delta-7 Tetrahydrocannabinol

  • Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol

  • Delta-10 Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC concentration levels in cannabis can vary based on a variety of factors such as strain, growing conditions, and harvesting and processing processes. High-potency strains with higher THC content can produce stronger psychoactive effects but may be more prone to causing side effects, such as anxiety and paranoia.

New York THC Laws 2022

The following are THC laws in 2022:

  • Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act: THC use for recreational purposes is permitted for New York adults aged 21 or older under the New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). Under the MRTA, adults can possess 3 ounces of THC and 24 grams of THC concentrates, such as THC oils and edibles. THC can be used in private residences or most locations where tobacco use is permitted. New York residents can also share THC products with other adults aged 21 or older under the permitted possession limit, but no sale or commodity, or service may be associated with the sharing. Note that it is illegal to use THC products in a motor vehicle or ship it across state lines. New York residents can purchase THC concentrates, flower, edibles, oils, gummies, and other approved product forms at licensed dispensaries

  • Compassionate Care Act: Approved in 2014, S7923, also called the Compassionate Care Act, legalized higher amounts of THC for New York residents with qualifying medical conditions. You may talk to your healthcare practitioner to find out if you have a qualifying condition and whether THC may help you in treating the symptoms of your condition. Registered medical marijuana patients in the state can purchase up to 60-day supplies of THC products from approved state dispensaries. It is illegal to use THC under S7923 in public or move it across state borders

Note that a recent rule issued by the Cannabis Control Board in New York makes all synthetically derived cannabinoids, such as Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC, illegal in the state.

What is the Legal Limit for THC While Driving in New York?

Unlike DUI, which has a per se limit in New York, the state has no such per se standard for persons driving while under the influence of drugs (DWAI-Drugs). A person accused of DWAI-Drugs must be evaluated by a properly trained and competent drug recognition expert (DRE) in order to be declared guilty. While law enforcement’s observations at the scene of an arrest may be sufficient to charge a person initially, the DRE will be required to move the case forward or ultimately convict the individual at a trial.

Will THC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Yes, blood, urine, saliva, and hair tests can detect THC use over varying periods. Also, different factors can impact how long THC remains in the body. For example, chronic THC use can cause THC and its metabolites to accumulate in the body, resulting in a prolonged detection window. Conversely, using THC infrequently or only once may result in a shortened detection window.

THC detection can also be impacted by an individual's metabolism, body mass, and hydration levels. An individual whose body has a fast metabolism rate will break down THC and its metabolites faster, resulting in a narrower detection window. Similarly, a person with a smaller body mass may metabolize THC faster, resulting in a narrower detection window.

How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?

When a person consumes THC, it enters the bloodstream and remains in the body for a short period. Since THC is fat-soluble, the body absorbs the compound through fatty tissues and may retain the metabolites in its fat deposits for several weeks.

According to a report by the American Addiction Centers, THC users can expect the compound to remain in their bodies for the following times:

  • Hair: 90 days

  • Urine: 3 - 30 days or more, depending on use frequency

  • Saliva: 48 hours

  • Blood: 36 hours

What Is THC Oil?

THC oil is a concentrated oil extracted from the cannabis plant. THC oil comes in various forms, including tinctures, edibles, and vape cartridges. THC oil has a variety of effects when taken, including pleasure, relaxation, and increased appetite. These effects can differ based on the person, the mode of intake, and the THC concentration level of the oil.

THC oil is commonly used recreationally to get high, but it also has therapeutic qualities. THC oil is used by some people to treat medical ailments such as chronic pain, nausea, and muscle spasms. THC oil is safe to use but may cause unwanted side effects due to the high THC concentration contained in it.

What Is THC Distillate?

THC distillate is a highly concentrated form of THC that has been processed by distillation to eliminate contaminants and other undesired components. The end result is a clear, thick liquid that is extremely strong and generally contains 90% to 99% THC. The primary distinction between THC oil and THC distillate is the degree of refinement. THC oil is commonly produced by extracting THC from cannabis with a solvent, whereas THC distillate is refined further by a distillation process to eliminate other components and boost potency.

THC distillate differs from CBD distillate especially as both products are produced from various strains of the cannabis plant and contain distinct chemicals. THC distillate is typically obtained from marijuana, while CBD distillate is derived from hemp. Also, THC distillate has psychoactive properties, causing a "high," but CBD distillate is not psychoactive and is mostly used for therapeutic benefits.

THC is generally safe to use but may cause serious adverse effects depending on your tolerance level and at high dosages.

Where to Buy THC in New York?

Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC are banned in the state and may not be sold as they are typically synthetically derived cannabinoids. The Cannabis Control Board's prohibition of synthetically-derived cannabinoids is based on concerns for the safety of New York residents. However, Delta-9 THC products may be purchased from licensed dispensaries in the state. Delta-9 THC products are available in the form of oils, tinctures, edibles, gummies, flower, and concentrates. Some of the licensed dispensaries in the state offer online sales, allowing residents to purchase THC online.

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