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Key Takeaways:

  • Legal Status and Compliance: In North Carolina, hemp-derived THC is legal if it contains under 0.3% THC, in line with federal law. Cannabis-derived THC remains largely illegal, with the state regulating hemp through specific programs to ensure safety and compliance.
  • Evolution of Laws and Misconceptions: Laws around hemp-derived THC in North Carolina have transitioned from strict prohibition to regulated acceptance. Despite legal advancements, misconceptions about its legality and effects persist.
  • Variety and Safety of Hemp-Derived THC Products: The state offers various hemp-derived THC products, emphasizing the importance of purchasing from reputable sources, understanding product specifics, and staying updated on legal guidelines for safe usage.


North Carolina, known for its rich history and diverse landscapes, has its own unique relationship with cannabis and hemp-derived THC. While a common question is, “Is cannabis legal in North Carolina?”, many residents and visitors are curious about the legal status of hemp-derived THC in the Tar Heel State. This guide aims to provide clarity on the current regulations surrounding hemp-derived THC in North Carolina and how they compare to broader federal guidelines.

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Legality: Hemp-derived delta-9 THC and other forms of THC are legal in North Carolina, following the current federal guidelines. 

Uses: Hemp-derived THC can be used recreationally or applied to address discomfort, increase appetite, and support health and wellness in other ways. 

Types of Hemp-Derived THC: Beyond delta-9, some of the other forms of hemp-derived THC you may encounter include delta-10, THCA, THCV, and delta-8, just to name a few. 

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Understanding The Difference: Hemp-Derived THC Vs Cannabis-Derived THC In North Carolina

It's crucial to differentiate between hemp-derived THC and cannabis-derived THC, as their legal statuses differ significantly.


Chemical Composition

Both hemp and cannabis are members of the same plant family. However, hemp typically contains less than 0.3% THC. In contrast, traditional cannabis can have much higher THC levels, leading to the well-known "high."


North Carolina's Stance

Hemp-derived THC aligns with federal law and is legal in North Carolina. However, cannabis-derived THC remains illegal for both recreational and medical use, with some minor exceptions for specific medical conditions.


Applications In The Tar Heel State

Hemp-derived THC in North Carolina is often used for its potential therapeutic benefits without the intoxicating effects. In contrast, cannabis-derived THC, given its legal status, is not widely available or used in the state.


Cannabinoids in cannabis CBD THC elements


The Current Legal Landscape Of Hemp-Derived THC In North Carolina

North Carolina's legal stance on hemp-derived THC reflects ongoing changes in national and state laws regarding cannabis. Here's what the legal landscape looks like. 

  • Compliance With Federal Law: North Carolina aligns with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp and hemp-derived products containing no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.
  • State Regulation of Hemp: The state regulates the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp through its Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, under the oversight of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • Legal Status of Different THC Compounds: While hemp-derived products like CBD oil are widely accepted, there's ongoing debate and scrutiny regarding the legal status of compounds such as delta-8.
  • Retail Sale and Labeling: Hemp-derived THC products are available for retail sale. These products must be accurately labeled, including THC content, to ensure they meet legal requirements.
  • Research and Advocacy: Ongoing research and advocacy efforts in the state focus on expanding the understanding and safe use of hemp-derived THC, potentially influencing future legislative changes.


How North Carolina's Hemp-Derived THC Laws Have Evolved

North Carolina's approach to hemp-derived THC has undergone significant changes, reflecting broader shifts in societal attitudes and legal frameworks concerning cannabis. Understanding this evolution is crucial for residents and stakeholders in the hemp industry.

  • Pre-2014: Like most states, North Carolina had strict laws against cannabis, including hemp. Both hemp and cannabis were classified similarly under controlled substances, with no distinction in their THC content.
  • 2014: The 2014 Federal Farm Bill initiated a shift, allowing states to start research programs on hemp. North Carolina began exploring hemp for agricultural and research purposes, setting the stage for future legal changes.
  • 2015-2016: The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program was established, enabling the cultivation of hemp and opening up discussions about hemp-derived products, including those with THC.
  • 2018: The 2018 Farm Bill was a turning point. It removed hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) from the Controlled Substances Act, distinguishing it from all other cannabis flower. This prompted North Carolina to align its laws with federal standards.
  • Post-2018: Following the 2018 Farm Bill, North Carolina clarified regulations around hemp cultivation and hemp-derived THC products. The focus shifted towards ensuring products didn't exceed the 0.3% THC threshold and promoting safe, legal commerce.
  • Recent Developments: The state has implemented licensing requirements for hemp growers and processors. Additionally, there's an emphasis on quality control and lab testing to ensure product compliance and consumer safety.
  • Ongoing Debates and Future Directions: Discussions continue on the regulation of specific hemp-derived THC products like delta-8 THC. The legal landscape remains dynamic, with the potential for further legislative and regulatory changes.


North Carolina


Common Misconceptions About Hemp-Derived THC In North Carolina

With evolving laws and public opinion, misconceptions about THC in North Carolina are common. Here are some myths debunked:


Myth #1. "All Forms Of THC Are Illegal In North Carolina"

Reality: While cannabis is illegal, hemp-derived THC is legal as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis. This aligns with federal law under the 2018 Farm Bill.


Myth #2. "Hemp And Cannabis Are The Same"

Reality: Hemp and Cannabis both hail from the same types of plants, but they are legally distinct due to their THC content. Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC, while cannabis has a higher concentration.


Myth #3. "Hemp-Derived THC Has No Psychoactive Effects"

Reality: Hemp-derived THC, especially in greater concentrations, can produce psychoactive effects. However, the form of THC that you take may impact the intensity of your experience. 


Myth #4. "Hemp-Derived THC Is Completely Safe"

Reality: Like any substance, hemp-derived THC can have side effects, and its safety can depend on the individual, the product's quality, and dosage.


Myth #5. "You Can't Overdose On Hemp-Derived THC"

Reality: While fatal overdoses are extremely unlikely, consuming large amounts of hemp-derived THC can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like anxiety, paranoia, or dizziness.


Myth #6. "Hemp-Derived THC Products Are All The Same"

Reality: There's a wide variety of hemp-derived THC products on the market, each with different potencies, quality, and effects. It's important to research and choose products from reputable sources.


Myth #7. "Hemp-Derived THC Offers No Benefits"

Reality: Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest potential benefits for pain relief, anxiety reduction, and other therapeutic effects.1


Types Of Hemp-Derived THC

Asking, “Is cannabis legal in North Carolina?”, and discovering that the answer is no can be disheartening. But you have a wide range of THC relatives to choose from that are accessible to you. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of hemp-derived THC currently on the market. 

  • Delta-9 THC: Delta-9 THC is the most common form of THC, known for its psychoactive effects like euphoria and relaxation. It's used both recreationally and medically for pain relief and managing insomnia, with concentrations in hemp under 0.3%.
  • Delta-8 THC: Delta-8 THC, a minor cannabinoid in hemp, is said to offer a clear-headed high with reduced anxiety and psychoactive intensity. It's often used for stress relief, to experience mild euphoria, and may help with nausea and appetite.
  • THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid): THCA is a non-psychoactive precursor to THC found in raw hemp. It doesn't produce a high (although it does become psychoactive when decarboxylated, or heated) and is being researched for potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
  • THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin): THCV is believed to be less psychoactive than delta-9 THC and may suppress appetite. It's being studied for weight management, reducing panic attacks, and its neuroprotective properties.
  • THC-O Acetate: A synthetic, more potent variant of delta-9 THC, THC-O Acetate is known for its intense psychoactive effects. Its use is experimental and less understood.
  • THC-P (Tetrahydrocannabiphorol): THC-P is a newly discovered, potent cannabinoid, with reported stronger binding to brain receptors and more pronounced psychoactive effects than delta-9 THC. It is currently a subject of scientific study.


Your Guide To Safely Consuming Hemp-Derived THC In North Carolina

While North Carolina offers opportunities to explore the benefits of hemp-derived THC, it's essential to do so responsibly and within the confines of the law. Here are a few tips to ensure you are safely consuming hemp products in your state. 

  • Purchase From Reputable Sources: Always prioritize buying hemp-derived THC products from reputable sources in North Carolina and online. This ensures compliance with state regulations and product quality.
  • Understand the Different Products: From tinctures to edibles, the variety of hemp-derived THC products can be vast. Research and understand the different products, their effects, and appropriate dosages.
  • Be Aware of Consumption Limits: For hemp-derived THC products, always adhere to recommended dosages to avoid potential side effects. The more you take, the greater the risk of experiencing unwanted side effects. 
  • Avoid Public Consumption: While hemp-derived THC is legal, it's best to consume it in private spaces to avoid any potential legal or social complications. Also, make sure that you only consume hemp-derived THC when it’s safe to do so, avoiding getting behind the wheel or operating other machinery that could harm yourself or others. 
  • Stay Informed: Laws and regulations are always subject to change. Stay updated on North Carolina's stance on hemp-derived THC to ensure you're always compliant and making informed decisions.


FAQs About Hemp-Derived THC In North Carolina

What are the uses of hemp-derived THC?

Hemp-derived THC is used in various products, including edibles, oils, and topicals. It's known for potential therapeutic benefits like pain relief, anxiety reduction, and sleep improvement. If you’re interested in seeing how hemp-derived delta-9 might support you, try our Out of Office THC Gummies now!


Are there age restrictions for purchasing hemp-derived THC products in North Carolina?

Generally, hemp-derived products are available to individuals 21 years and older, but retailers may have their own age policies. North Carolina is currently further pursuing legislation that will make age restrictions as well as marketing more stringent.


What are the potential side effects of using hemp-derived THC?

Side effects may include dry mouth, dizziness, altered perception, and in rare cases, anxiety or paranoia, particularly at higher doses.


Can hemp-derived THC products be transported across state lines?

This depends on the laws of the states involved. While federally legal, some states have stricter regulations on THC products, including those derived from hemp.


Are there any restrictions on the sale of hemp-derived THC in North Carolina?

The sale is restricted to compliant products, and some local jurisdictions may have additional regulations.


What should I do if I experience adverse effects from hemp-derived THC?

Discontinue use and consult a healthcare provider, especially if symptoms are severe or persistent.


Are there any legal consequences for misusing hemp-derived THC in North Carolina?

Misuse, such as possessing products with THC levels above the legal limit or possessing products you’re trying to pass off as hemp-derived THC, can lead to legal consequences under state and federal law.



  1. Webb, C. W., & Webb, S. M. (2014, April). Therapeutic benefits of cannabis: A patient survey. Hawai’i journal of medicine & public health : a journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3998228/