What is THC-O? Full Facts on THC-O

What is THC-O?

The popularity of THC continues to rise in the country. It should come as no shock that other compounds derived from THC have begun to emerge and grow in popularity. A great example of this is the synthetic compound known as THC-O acetate also known as THC-O. 

This has been used especially among individuals who do not have access to legal cannabis. At the moment, it seems like the compound’s appeal rests in its potency and its legal status. According to research, it is potentially about three times stronger than the conventional THC. It has been nicknamed the “psychedelic cannabinoid” due to its borderline hallucinatory effects. THC-O is made from hemp which is considered to be legal on a federal level. This has made its products increasingly popular in states where the community does not have access to legal, licensed delta-9 THC products. 


Also factoring in the recent ban on Delta-8 THC, it seems obvious that THC-O’s popularity could increase even more. But what is THC-O and what are its effects on the body?

What is THC-O?

To begin, it is important to note that although THC-O might just be coming to light now, the military had been conducting research on its effects on members of the community as long ago as 1949. Their findings? It seemed to erode the muscle coordination in dogs are much as the average THC. But the compound did not make its way onto the DEA’s radar till 1979. Agents discovered a lab in Florida containing cannabis extract coupled with acetic anhydride. And over the following 10 years, the compound was successfully off the market. 

Fast forward by a few years and the compound is back and more present than ever before. This raises some concerns within the companies operating within the licensed cannabis industry. In order to make the compound, acetic anhydride (a highly flammable compound) goes into THC molecules. This process involves numerous extractions that start with hemp, the now legal low-THC cannabis plant. First CBD is removed from raw hemp, then Delta-8 THC is removed from the CBD. Finally, add acetic anhydride to the extraction of Delta-8 THC molecules to make THC-O acetate. 

Do Not Make At Home

According to scientists, the process of making THC-O is very dangerous. Although it might seem straightforward and easy to do, it requires complex tools, a lab, and most importantly no exposure to humans. This is why one of the cardinal rules of THC-O is to always buy and never attempt to do it yourself. 

When done right, the supplement takes on the form of a thick brown liquid. Some say it looks similar to motor oil. Now, it is available to buy in vape cartridges, edibles, and tinctures. 

How Safe is THC-O?

Because this compound is relatively new, there hasn’t been a lot of research into the full extent of its effect on the body. Above its potency, researchers have concluded that the compound is a prodrug. That means you have to metabolize it before effects kick in. This could take up to 30 minutes to kick in. 

It is also important that the quality of the THC-O also goes a long way into how safe or not safe the compound is on the body. Products of less quality are less likely to have a huge effect on the body and this could harm users. 

Breaking down THC-O

Again, because of the lack of research into the supplement, there have been instances where manufacturers put unknowns into the compound which could make it harmful to the user. These additives have caused serious health problems in the past. If left unregulated companies could resume adding them again without telling their users. 

Truth is that a pure THC-O product should contain nothing beyond THC-O and the base it’s in. Users should keep an eye out for the exact ingredients contained within their products. 

Let’s Talk Usage

THC-O is one of the more potent cannabis compounds on the market today. Hence it is very important to keep a close eye on the way it is used. For context, it might be 3 times as powerful as your regular THC. For many researchers, educating users on the proper way to consume the supplement is the largest hurdle to address and conquer. 

While overconsumption of regular THC has never directly caused death in humans, it is easy to see how a compound with a potency level three times that of regular cannabis could open a new line of worries for regulators. There is a risk of users consuming too much THC-O and experiencing some unpleasant effects. 

However, it is important to note that other high potency THC concentrates like shatter, wax, and dabbing oil have been available for years before THC-O came on the scene. 

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Exploring THC-O’s legal status

Short answer is this depends on who you ask. For producers of the compounds, they believe they exist within the farm bill passed by congress in 2018 because the compound was derived from a chain of custody that started with federally legal hemp plants. But the truth is most of them seem unsure. 

Other industry experts believe the compound is not legal at all and they cite the Federal Analogue Act of 1986 as their reason. The act, states that any substance analogous to a Schedule 1 drug; conventional THC in this case – would itself qualify as a Schedule 1 drug. 

Alternatively, that argument could counter the legality of Delta-8 THC or CBD for that matter. It depends on where the line is drawn between “non-analogous” and “analogous “items.

Identifying State laws and regulations

As with most products pertaining to Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC products, THC-O acetate exists within the marginally legal space between hemp which is legal nationwide and cannabis which is not legal. At the point of writing, state regulators and legislators are attempting to figure out the right approach to deal with the increasing number of hemp-based compounds. Currently, the approach is kind of like whack-a-mole, knocking some compounds down just to see another take its place. 


As with any new cannabis compound or extract, it is important to approach THC-O with caution. It is important to remember to take small doses and be mindful of the effects of the compound on the body. We hope this blog teaches you all about THC-O, and that you feel more comfortable with this compound!


Read about another cannabinoid, HHC, here!

Here’s a blog all about Delta-8 THC!

Shop Premium THC-O Products Here!


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