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Cannabis Column | May 11, 2022

What Is THC-O Acetate?

THC-O-acetate is a hemp derived cannabis compound that is more potent than THC. Many people are curious about this new cannabinoid. In this article, we will answer, “what is THC-O?” We’ll also answer, "does THC-O get you high?", and "will THC-O fail a drug test?"

What is THC-O? Is THC-O synthetic?

THC-O is a manmade cannabinoid and does not naturally occur in nature. This lab synthesized cannabinoid is derived from THC-A (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid). It is created by adding acetic anhydride to THC-A.

THC-O is also called THC-O-acetate, THC acetate, O-acetyl-Δ9-THC, ATHC, and delta-O.

Does THC-O Get You High?

THC-O is intoxicating and psychoactive. THC-O will get you high—higher than “regular” THC.

THC-O is three times more potent than delta-9-THC. As a result, this synthetic cannabinoid is said to have psychedelic effects at moderate to high doses.

Its potency is due to it being a prodrug, which is a substance that must be metabolized to become active. THC-O is metabolized into a highly bioavailable form of delta-9-THC; the increased bioavailability may increase the potency. THC-O is so potent that some users compare it to mescaline, an illegal hallucinogen derived from the peyote cactus.

When you consume THC-O the “high” is said to be:

  • Longer onset than delta-9-THC
  • Like delta-9-THC in low doses
  • Hallucinatory visuals at moderate to high doses
  • Overpowering and incapacitating at high doses

Is THC-O Legal?

Now that we’ve answered the question "what is THC-O?", you may be wondering "is THC-O legal?" and "is THC-O safe?"

THC-O is legal-ish. THC-O is derived from THC-A found in hemp plants. Hemp plants are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill so long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC.

However, because THC-O is a synthesized cannabinoid that breaks down to THC after it is metabolized, which is what causes you to get high, it may break the 1986 Federal Analogue Act (FAA) which bans compounds with a molecular structure similar to Schedule 1 drugs.

THC-O is not currently listed as an illegal drug in any country except for New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Manufacturers of THC-O say it is legal because it is derived from hemp while others say it is illegal due to its molecular composition and falls under the FFA.  

Currently, THC-O is legal-ish in the United States, however future laws may ban it.

Is THC-O Safe?

As of now, there are no studies on the long-term effects of THC-O use.

However, because it gets you high and is more potent than delta-9-THC, the risks are likely similar. Due to THC-O’s novelty and potency, this synthetic cannabinoid should be used with extreme caution.

Potential risks and side effects of THC-O include:

  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Memory impairment
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Uncontrollable hallucinations
  • Vomiting

There is a lack of research on what constitutes a safe dose of THC-O. If you want to try this cannabinoid, start with a low dose, and determine the effects for you as an individual.

Anecdotal reports suggest using:

  • 3 mg oral, or 0.5 mg smoked or vaped, to initiate psychoactive effects
  • 3–10 mg oral, or 1–3 mg smoked or vaped, to produce consistent psychoactive effects
  • 10 mg or more oral, or 5 mg or more smoked or vaped, to produce psychedelic effects

THC-O has longer onset times than THC, as it must be converted to THC in the body after ingestion. The effects of a THC-O edible are typically felt approximately two hours after consumption and the effects of smoking or vaping THC-O will be felt approximately 20 minutes after consumption.

These onset times are longer than the onset times for consuming a delta-9-THC edible, 30 - 60 minutes, or smoking/vaping delta-9-THC which is usually felt nearly instantaneously.

Will THC-O Daily Use Cause You to Fail a Drug Test?

While no formal research has been conducted to determine if THC-O will cause a THC drug test to fail, it is basically certain that if you consume THC-O you will fail a THC drug test.

This is because THC-O is metabolized into THC. The presence of THC in the body triggers the production of THC-COOH, the metabolite that drug tests look for to confirm if a person has consumed THC.

If you are subject to drug testing, avoid THC-O as it will most likely cause you to fail your drug test.

Is Delta-0 Stronger than Delta-8?

To make THC-O, CBD is extracted from hemp, the CBD is converted to Delta-8, then acetic anhydride is introduced to create THC-O (i.e. Delta-0).

If you're wondering "What is delta-0" and how does it relate to THC-O? The answer is simple: Delta-0 is just another name for THC-O.

Delta-8 is approximately 40% less potent than delta-9-THC. Delta-0 is three times more potent than delta-9-THC. Delta-0 is stronger than both delta-9-THC and delta-8.

THC-O is a synthetic psychoactive cannabinoid that is metabolized into THC. Unlike whole-plant cannabis, THC-O causes hallucinations.

Get Started on Your Cannabis Wellness Journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.

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