Are you 21 or older?
Vape Cannabis Health Law Consume Dictionary History News

North Carolina Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

John Carter

Written by: John Carter

Updated on June 12, 2024

North Carolina Weed Legality

Is Delta 9 Legal in North Carolina?

The legality of Delta-9 THC in North Carolina varies based on its source and THC concentration. Hemp-derived Delta-9 THC is legal provided it contains no more than 0.3% THC. On the other hand, marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC faces stricter regulations and is permitted only under specific medical conditions. Below are the detailed legal stipulations for these two scenarios:

Marijuana-Derived Delta-9 THC

For recreational use, marijuana-derived Delta-9 THC is illegal in North Carolina. However, under HB 766, registered patients are allowed to use marijuana-derived products containing no more than 0.9% Delta-9 THC for treating epilepsy. This is the sole medical exception that permits the use of cannabis derivatives with a THC content higher than 0.3% under strict conditions.

Hemp-Derived Delta-9 THC

According to the 2018 Federal Farm Bill and North Carolina’s SB 352, Delta-9 THC derived from hemp is legal within the state if its THC content does not exceed 0.3%. This includes all derivatives and products extracted from industrial hemp, such as food, cosmetics, and other commercial goods.

The following excerpts from SB 352 detail the regulations governing Delta-9 THC in North Carolina:


90-87. Definitions.

(13a) “Hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa (L.) and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, within a delta-9 THC concentration of three-tenths percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.

(13b) “Hemp extract” means an extract from hemp, or a mixture or preparation containing hemp plant material or compounds, within a delta-9 THC concentration of three-tenths percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.

(13c) “Hemp product” means any product within a delta-9 THC concentration of three-tenths percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis derived from, or made by, processing hemp plants or plant parts, that are prepared in a form available for commercial sale, including, but not limited to, cosmetics, personal care products, food intended for animal or human consumption as approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the United States Department of Agriculture, cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard, plastics, and any product containing one or more hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol. “Hemp product” does not include smokable hemp.

(16) “Marijuana” means all parts of the plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin, but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil, or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination. The term “marijuana” also includes smokable hemp.

The term does not include hemp, when in the possession, custody, or control of a person who holds a license permitting that person to cultivate or handle hemp; hemp products; or hemp extracts. A licensed cultivator or licensed handler may possess raw hemp plant material for the purpose of (i) selling the raw hemp plant material to a licensed handler or a person who may legally receive the raw hemp plant material in that person’s jurisdiction or (ii) processing the raw hemp plant material into a hemp product or hemp extract. – Full Bill

Is Delta 8 Legal in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, Delta-8 THC is legal, much like Delta-9 THC derived from hemp. The state follows both federal and state laws which classify all hemp-derived cannabinoids, terpenes, isomers, flavonoids, and salts as legal. This includes Delta-8 THC, provided that it is extracted from hemp that contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis.

Individuals in North Carolina can use, purchase, and possess Delta-8 THC products without the risk of prosecution, as long as these products adhere to the THC concentration limits set for hemp-derived substances.

Is THCA Legal in North Carolina?

THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) exists in a somewhat ambiguous legal status in North Carolina. The state does not specifically address THCA in its legislation, leaving it in a legal gray area. Here’s how the legal situation breaks down:

  • THCA Derived from Hemp: If THCA is derived from hemp cultivated by a licensed grower and the hemp contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis post-decarboxylation, it is legal. This follows the general regulatory framework for hemp-derived cannabinoids in North Carolina, which are legal if they meet the THC threshold.
  • THCA Derived from Marijuana: Growing marijuana, which may contain higher levels of THCA and THC, is illegal in the state. Since THCA is a precursor to THC (it converts to THC when heated), its association with marijuana can complicate its legal status.
  • Regulation and Enforcement Ambiguity: Unlike THC, which is clearly regulated and listed as a controlled substance when derived from marijuana, THCA is not explicitly listed as such. This absence in the legislation leads to confusion about the legality of possessing or selling THCA products, even if they are derived from legal hemp sources.
  • Comparison with Other Cannabinoids: North Carolina’s approach to cannabinoids like CBD, which is clearly outlined and permitted in hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC, contrasts with the ambiguous regulation surrounding THCA. Other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN are also treated similarly to CBD, suggesting a more defined legal framework for these substances compared to THCA.

What are the Difference between Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA?

What is Delta 9 THC?

Delta-9 THC, formally known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It is renowned for producing the “high” sensation associated with marijuana consumption. Similar to delta-8 THC in chemical structure and nomenclature, delta-9 THC primarily differs in its potency and the intensity of its effects. It engages with the endocannabinoid system by binding to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, particularly in the brain, resulting in a range of psychoactive and therapeutic effects.

Unlike delta-8 THC, which is present in cannabis in only trace amounts and often synthesized from hemp-derived CBD, delta-9 THC is abundant in marijuana. Its strong affinity for the CB1 cannabinoid receptor leads to more pronounced psychoactive effects compared to delta-8. Research into delta-9 THC has established a comprehensive understanding of its effects and potential medical benefits, though delta-8 remains less studied and understood.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta-8 THC, or delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, is another cannabinoid found in cannabis, albeit in much smaller quantities compared to delta-9 THC. It shares a similar chemical structure with delta-9 THC but exhibits less psychoactive potency, which can make it appealing to those seeking milder effects. Delta-8 THC also interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system but has a lower affinity for the CB1 receptor, which translates to its reduced psychoactive impact.

This cannabinoid is subject to varying regulations, reflecting concerns about its psychoactive nature and the lack of extensive research into its long-term health effects. Despite this, delta-8 THC is noted for its potential to offer some of the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids without the strong high of delta-9 THC, making it a subject of growing interest in areas where it is legally permitted.

What is THCA?

THCA, or Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid precursor found in fresh and live cannabis plants. It transforms into THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, when exposed to heat—a process known as decarboxylation. This conversion occurs during activities such as smoking or vaporizing cannabis, where the heat effectively activates THCA’s psychoactive properties.

In its raw form, THCA has its own range of potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Because it does not produce a high until decarboxylated, THCA is also used in medical applications where patients may seek the benefits of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects associated with THC. The ongoing research into THCA continues to uncover how it can be utilized effectively for its medicinal properties.

Difference Between Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA

The key differences between Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA are summarized in the table below:

Compound Psychoactivity Natural Occurrence Interaction with Endocannabinoid System Primary Effects
Delta 9 THC High Abundant in cannabis Strong binding to CB1 receptors Strong psychoactive effects, potential therapeutic benefits
Delta 8 THC Moderate Trace amounts in cannabis Lower affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors Milder psychoactive effects, potential therapeutic benefits
THCA None (prior to decarboxylation) Abundant in raw cannabis No direct interaction when not decarboxylated Non-psychoactive, potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits

Legal Disclaimer

The content provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a definitive statement of the law. While we strive to maintain accurate and up-to-date information, the legal status of the topics discussed can vary by state and may change over time. Consequently, the information provided here may not reflect the most current legal developments. We do not encourage or discourage the purchase of any products based on the information presented. Before making any decisions related to legal matters, we strongly advise consulting with a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

John Carter
All-in-one Disposable
Further Reading
Map of Recreational Weed Legality by States


Map of Recreational Weed Legality by States – Updated May 2024

Read Now
TEXAS Weed Legality


Texas Weed Legality: Is Delta 8 THC, Delta 9 THC, THCA Legal?

Read Now
Florida Weed Legality


Florida Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

Read Now
Georgia Weed Legality


Georgia Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

Read Now
Tennessee Weed Legality


Tennessee Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

Read Now
Indiana Weed Legality


Indiana Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

Read Now
Wisconsin Weed Legality


Wisconsin Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

Read Now
Ohio Weed Legality


Ohio Weed Legality: Is Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, and THCA Legal?

Read Now