Is THC Legal in Hawaii?

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What Is THC?

THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, a naturally occurring cannabinoid compound in Cannabis sativa plants. When consumed, THC can bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and produce psychoactive effects. Hemp and marijuana plants are two Cannabis sativa variants known to contain THC. However, marijuana plants usually have much higher levels of THC than hemp plants. Some of the notable isomers of THC are:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-7-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-3-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Exo-tetrahydrocannabinol


Is THC Legal in Hawaii?

THC derived from hemp plants is legal in Hawaii. According to the provisions of House Bill 1819, hemp products containing a maximum of 0.3% THC are allowed in the state. Therefore, residents may legally purchase hemp-sourced THC in various forms such as capsules, tablets, powders, topicals, or liquids. Furthermore, as provided in Act 288, THC derived from marijuana plants is legal for registered medical marijuana patients in the state. Per Section 329D.10 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, medical marijuana patients may purchase and use cannabis products (including THC products) in different forms. Nevertheless, marijuana plants and their derivatives are classified as Schedule I controlled substances under the Hawaii Controlled Substance Act. Therefore, it is illegal to use marijuana-derived THC products for recreational purposes in Hawaii.

How Much THC is in Weed?

The THC concentrations of some Cannabis sativa strains are significantly higher than others. Some highly potent strains of weed have up to 90% THC levels. Still, there are hemp plants and products with 0% THC. Over the years, the THC content of weed has risen, while the concentration of CBD (cannabinol), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, has decreased. A National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) publication on cannabis THC potency revealed that from 1960 to 1980, weed plants were only 2% potent. However, the potency of marijuana plants began to increase in the 1990s, reaching about 4% that period. Another NCBI publication about marijuana potency between 1995 and 2019 indicated that the average THC level of weed impounded by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) increased from less than 4% in 1995 to approximately 15% in 2019. Various marijuana strains sold in dispensaries have significantly higher THC levels. Some popular cannabis strains and their average THC concentrations are as follows:

  • The godfather: 35% THC
  • Silver haze: 23% THC
  • Thai: 22% THC
  • Pineapple Express: 16 to 24% THC
  • Light of Jah: 24 to 26% THC
  • Dale OG: 20 to 26% THC
  • Primus OG: 21 to 28% THC
  • Bubba Fett: 27% THC

THC in weed is usually converted to tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) during drying. This conversion occurs due to a chemical process called decarboxylation, which typically takes time. The THCA levels of cannabis products are usually indicated on the labels, separately from THC. Most cannabis plants have higher levels of THCA than THC. Some THC compounds that occur naturally in weed at high levels are:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC)
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
  • Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC)
  • Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)
  • Delta-7-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 7 THC)
  • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 8 THC)
  • Delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 10 THC)

Hawaii THC Laws 2022

The 2018 Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018), which legalized hemp and its derivatives that do not contain over 0.3% THC, required states to establish their own plans for regulating cannabis production in their territories. As a result, House Bill 1819 was established in Hawaii, allowing the sale of THC products in the state. Marijuana dispensaries, online, and local stores may legally sell hemp-derived THC products to Hawaii residents. However, because the Hawaii Controlled Substance Act classifies marijuana and its derivatives as Schedule I controlled substances, THC products obtained from cannabis plants are illegal for recreational use in the state. Only registered medical marijuana patients can purchase cannabis-derived THC products from medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii.

What is the Legal Limit for THC While Driving in Hawaii?

Per the provisions of Chapter 291E of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, driving under the influence of drugs listed as Schedule I controlled substances in the Hawaii Controlled Substance Act is illegal. Since marijuana and its derivatives (such as THC) fall within this category, residents cannot drive when intoxicated with THC. However, the Hawaii Revised Statutes does not specify the allowable blood-THC limit for drivers in the state. Also, although House Bill 1383 decriminalized the possession of marijuana weighing less than 3 grams, it did not classify any marijuana product (or THC limit) as a low-THC product.

Will THC Show Up on a Drug Test?

Yes. THC will show up on a drug test if a person uses a THC product. Nevertheless, the likelihood of blood, urine, hair, or saliva drug tests detecting THC in a person’s system depends on the time interval between when they used a THC product and when the test is conducted. Also, the quantity of THC a person uses (smokes or ingests) and their frequency of usage can determine whether or not a drug test will detect THC in their system.

How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?

When ingested, THC travels to the stomach before getting absorbed into the circulatory system from the small intestine. The blood carries THC molecules into the liver, which metabolizes some of it and distributes the metabolites to the brain and other parts of the body, where they bind with endocannabinoid receptors to elicit psychoactive effects. Nevertheless, most THC molecules that reach the liver get eliminated from the body through urine and feces. Because the body tissues store THC, the molecules can remain detectable by drug tests months after a person consumes THC products. Typically, THC can show up for up to:

  • 1 month in urine
  • 90 days in the hair
  • 36 hours in the blood
  • 48 hours in saliva

What Is THC Oil?

THC oil is a concentrated extract of cannabis plants. It can be made at home by heating cannabis plants in olive or coconut oil at a high temperature (up to 230°F) for about one hour and separating the plant material from the oil using a strainer. THC oil is safe to ingest, and when consumed, it causes a ‘’high’’ effect. It is usually sold in different formulations, such as cartridges and vapes. THC oil is different from CBD oil because CBD oil is obtained from hemp plants. Also, CBD oil does not produce psychotropic effects.

What Is THC Distillate?

THC distillate is a pure product of cannabis plants that only constitutes THC molecules. It is different from THC oil because THC oils contain other chemical compounds apart from THC, such as lipids and terpenes. THC distillate is also different from CBD distillate because CBD distillate is a pure form of cannabidiol which is derived from hemp plants. Furthermore, THC distillates have psychoactive properties, while CBD distillates do not have psychoactive properties. THC distillate is produced by vaporizing THC oil and separating its component molecules. It is safe for oral consumption and can be vaped or applied topically.

Where to Buy THC in Hawaii

In Hawaii, delta-9 and delta-8 THC products derived from hemp plants are usually available in various forms, such as vapes, gummies, cartridges, and edibles. State residents may legally purchase them online or at local stores.

THC Edibles Dosing Guide

THC Amount Expected Effects Who Should Use It?
Up to 2.5 mg Improves mental focus and mildly relieves pain and stress First-time users and microdosers
2.5 - 5 mg Provides stronger pain relief and euphoria. May impair judgment, perception, and coordination Medical marijuana patients, recreational marijuana users, and those looking to calm sleeps
5 - 10 mg Produces stronger euphoria. May also alter perception and impair coordination Users with high tolerance to THC
10 - 20 mg Very strong euphoria likely leading to higher likelihood of impaired judgment, slower reaction times, anxiety, and altered perception Users with particularly high tolerance to THC and medical marijuana patients with malabsorption syndrome (reduced gastrointestinal absorption)
50 - 100 mg Guaranteed mood and perception alteration along with impaired coordination. Likely to cause significant side effects such as pain, increased heart rate, and nausea Medical marijuana patients living with severe chronic pain, cancer, or other intractable conditions such as inflammatory disorders
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