The abbreviation THC-O stands for THC-O-acetate, which is a synthetic derivative of THC with a potency around three times that of delta 9 THC and five times that of delta 8. Is it, though? THC-O is a more powerful derivative of delta 9 THC. It takes longer to act, but its effects are roughly three times as powerful as those produced by typical THC. Despite its long history, this cannabinoid has only recently gained popularity in the wider cannabis market — likely fueled by the rapidly expanding delta 8 THC market. The notion of having more than one variety of THC is already well-known. Users are looking forward to a new group of THC analogs on the market. Here’s all you need to know about THC-O, including the dosage, safety concerns, user feedback, and more.
What is THC-O?
THC-O (often abbreviated as THCo or ATHC) is a strong synthetic analog of THC that stands for THC-O-Acetate.
THC-O is a form of THC that has been chemically altered to increase potency and duration. THC-O changes the high you get from cannabis significantly by altering the chemical structure of THC.
When compared to low THC concentrations, medium dosages are comparable to delta 9 THC, while higher doses achieve a near-psychedelic experience with increased visual awareness and altered headspace.
Cannabis-derived THC-O can be quite powerful.
The converter THC-O is a prodrug of delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 THC is 3 times more powerful than Delta 9 THC.
The strength of THC-O is 5 times more potent than delta 8 THC.
THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid (it does not occur in nature), hence it has no health benefits.
The plant chemical THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, producing euphoric sensations. It also has psychedelic effects: it alters our perception of time and information via cannabinoids
There’s no evidence to show that THC-O is more harmful than other forms of cannabis, and there’s also no proof that it’s any safer.
THC-O is resistant to tolerance induction.
THCo vs. Mescaline
The headspace of THC-O is significantly different from that of other cannabinoids. It’s most comparable to low doses of mescaline, but with less visual distortion and a more physically relaxing effect.
THC-O and Bioavailability
While there’s still a lot we don’t know about it, it’s apparent that the impacts are much more powerful than those caused by THC.
THC-O is a prodrug, which means it doesn’t become potent until after it’s broken down by the liver.
The reason why THCV is considered a potent painkiller is because it contains all of the same cannabinoids as delta 9 THC (Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol). What’s left once it’s broken down is simply delta 9 THC. So, why would this chemical be any more powerful?
There’s a lot of debate about it, but it’s believed to be due to bioavailability.
The bioavailability of the acetylated form of THC is far greater than that of the non-acetylated variety. After THC-O is absorbed, the -O functional group is eliminated, allowing THC to function as normal at a much higher dose.
THC-O is one of a group of cannabinoids that includes THC, known as the cannabinoid family. It is sometimes referred to as cousin THC because it is chemically similar to delta 9 THC and has many of the same effects when consumed. THCP, on the other hand, is far more powerful than THC-O — with over 30 times greater potency than delta 9 THC.
How Long Does it Take For THC-O to Take Effect?
THC-O is a prodrug because of its structure; there is a significant delay in the onset of effects for this compound. While delta 9 THC usually takes 15 to 30 minutes to kick in (via oral), THC-O can take up to an hour before the effects are felt.
Delta 9 or delta 8 THC generally starts working in just a few minutes after smoking or vaping, but THC-O takes up to 20 minutes.
The come-on is extremely fast once the effects begin to manifest. The high point of the experience is generally achieved within 20 minutes after experiencing the initial wave of effects.
The most frequent (and potentially hazardous) faux pas made with THC-O is taking a second dose too soon, which happens when people become impatient. If you didn’t notice any effects after an hour with THC-O, wait at least another hour before taking a second dose. You don’t want both doses to activate simultaneously for no reason.
Where Can I Buy THC-O?
You can buy THC-O online at various ecommerce shops. However, at Hemp Lively, we stick to just the naturally-occurring cannabinoids like CBD and Delta 9 THC.
Is THC-O a Naturally-Occurring Cannabinoid?
THC-O is not a naturally occurring chemical. It’s one of the many manmade cannabinoids on the market.
The compound THC-O is described as a classic cannabinoid, owing to its identical chemical structure to those found in nature. The distinction is that no functional acetate group exist in natural things.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-O) is a cannabinoid that has an ABC-tricyclic structure and includes a benzopyran moiety. This component is shared by all classical cannabinoids, including those with higher THC concentrations (delta 8 THC, delta 9 THC).
Non-classical cannabinoids are chemical compounds that differ from those found in nature in terms of structure. They’re still considered cannabinoids since they connect to the endocannabinoid receptors and elicit cannabinoid-like effects. These chemicals, when compared to traditional cannabinoids, have a far greater danger of negative consequences.
Benzoylindoles, naphthoylindoles, cyclohexylphenols, and phenylacetylindoles are a few examples.
Is THC-O Legal?
In most countries, THC-O is not classified as a banned substance, with the exception of New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
THC-O is most likely a Schedule I drug in the United States by proxy under the Federal Analogue Act, which was passed in 1986 and served to prohibit any analogs of existing Schedule I drugs by default. To be removed from this list, substances must receive a manual exemption.
THC-O is a derivative of delta 9 THC (which is a Schedule I narcotic), making it extremely doubtful that it would be legal in the United States and most of Europe.
THC-O isn’t specifically prohibited in Canada, and there are no laws regulating chemical analogs. However, it’s difficult to come by in Canada because THC-O isn’t expressly listed as a prohibited substance.
What’s The Dose of THC-O?
There has never been any formal research on THC-O dosing, only a slew of anecdotal information about individuals testing the effects of THC-O at various dosages.
The average opinion is that THC-O is roughly three times as powerful as delta 9 THC, so the dose should be around a third of what you would get with typical THC products.
The threshold dose for THC-O (the minimum amount required to produce measurable psychoactive effects) is around 2 mg orally or 0.5 mg inhaled.
This means that anything beyond this will have psychoactive impact.
If you’re unsure about the terminology, the most common dose range for cannabis is 3 to 10 mg when smoked and 3 to 10 mg when taken orally as a tincture or gummy.
The minimum recommended dosage for psychedelic experiences is 15 mg, although you should only try dosages this strong after learning about the effects of THC-O at lower ones.
When you first use a new substance, it’s usually a good idea to start with the threshold dose. Wait and see how you feel after taking a higher dose another time.
THC-O Dosage Summary
- Oral or smoked/vaped doses of 3 mg and 0.5 mg, respectively
- The average psychoactive dose is 3–10 mg per day, either orally or via smoking/vaping.
- 10 mg or more oral or 5 mg smoked is the psychedelic dose.
THC-O vs. THC: What’s The Difference?
The majority of people’s concerns revolve around the difference between THC-CBD and THC. THC-O is an analog and prodrug of THC that has a similar base structure and produces comparable effects when smoked, vaped, or eaten.
There are many various forms of THC. The most prevalent is delta 9 THC, which can be found in marijuana plants and hemp in very tiny amounts.
Delta 8 THC, which is also present in cannabis, is another common analog. It’s manufactured artificially through a technique known as isomerization, using CBD as the starting material.
Delta-8 THC, delta-7 THC, THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol), and dozens of other manmade THC analogues are also present.
Cannabinoids such as THC-O bear a similar core structure to THC, but with a different functional group linked (an acetate group). This additional portion of the molecule makes it considerably more powerful than most other types of THC.
THC-O is a derivative of THC that has an acetyl group (acetate) attached to it, making it considerably more easy for the molecule to cross the lipid-sensitive layers in the digestive system and brain.
The benefits of THC-O to other forms of THC are comparable. All types of THC create a comparable high, which is characterized by tiny changes in how we perceive sensory data like sight, taste, sound, and touch. Each version, on the other hand, has minor variations in the experience’s emphasis.
THCa is a prodrug. It’s rapidly converted to THC and has less of a high than most other cannabinoids, since it enters the body in significantly smaller amounts. For example, THCa is considered a “heavier” and more psychedelic variant of THC compared to most. It generates a powerful stone that can knock you out for up to an hour or more. The headspace may cause you to zone out, while the visual impact is considerably stronger than any other type of THC.
Overall, the experience may be quite pleasurable and instructive — but it can also be rather unpleasant if you feel like you’re melting into the couch. THC-O is not for everyone, although people who enjoy similar effects will undoubtedly love the THC-O experience.
Delta 8 THC is said to have a similar “heavy” effect as the so-called “anti-pot ad.” Delta 8 THC has a stronger but more relaxing high, with an emphasis on the less stimulating elements of the THC high — only much milder. If not more, THC-O is roughly 5 times more powerful than delta 8.
Delta 9 THC and delta 10 THC are about 33 percent as powerful as THC-O when consumed at the same dosage.
THC is readily accessible today, with many stores carrying it. It’s legal in a number of countries, including the United States and half of Europe. The price of delta 9 THC is significantly lower than that of marijuana. Government control and taxation are responsible for rising the cost rather than the actual manufacturing process.
Delta 8 THC is roughly the same price as delta 9 THC. Because it’s made from hemp and hasn’t been legalized by the Federal Government, a lot of hemp biomass is being used to create it in an industrial setting (which reduces cost).
In the United States, however, THC-O is far more difficult to produce and is illicit.
THC-O can only be produced by highly trained chemists with access to some highly sophisticated lab equipment. Because of its low cost (if you can even locate it), THC-O is not a cheap product.
The consequences of the war on drugs have been devastating. Some experts believe that while marijuana is indeed less harmful than alcohol, it is still not risk free. The difficulties with implementing THC laws are some of the most complex, confusing, and contradictory in the world.
In addition, certain cannabinoids are banned outright on a federal level. It’s classed with heroin and cocaine in the same category. However, if you have a doctor’s prescription for it, several states will allow it. Other jurisdictions will allow anyone over the legal age limit to purchase it freely. These regulations are in opposition to one another.
The distinction between Delta 8 and Delta 9 remains cloudy.
Delta 8 THC is legal on a national level, but it is illegal in certain jurisdictions. Delta 9 THC may be legal at times, whereas delta 8 THC is not.
Because there has never been a case of THC-O being mentioned in any state or federal legislation to date, the rules surrounding it are considerably less established. It is considered unlawful under the Federal Analogue Act — but not everyone thinks so.
What Are The Benefits of THC-O?
There has never been any formal research on THC-O to help determine its possible advantages. However, informal claims suggest that it provides all of the same basic benefits as other forms of THC (pain alleviation, sleep support, anxiety relief, hunger stimulation) — but in a greater quantity.
This cannabinoid has a particularly strong impact on the body, suggesting that it may be a viable isomer for treating chronic pain, anxiety, or sleeplessness.
Is THC-O Safe?
The safety of THC-O is uncertain.
There have never been any reported cases of overdose on this cannabinoid, and it’s evident that it doesn’t possess the same toxicity as the non-synthetic “non-classical” cannabinoids found in products like K2 or Spice.
Non-classical cannabinoids are a chemical structure that is completely unrelated to THC or other cannabinoids. They bind to the same receptors, but they have nothing in common chemically with cannabis.
In the early 2000s, synthetic forms of THC were being sold all over the world as a “legitimate high.” However, many of these substances proved to be hazardous and even resulted in a few fatalities. Some of these chemicals produced irreversible lung damage, sadness, madness, heart attacks, kidney disease, convulsions, and more.
It should be noted that CBD, like THC-O, has not been shown to cause any of the negative side effects associated with cannabis. CBD appears to have a comparable safety profile to delta 8 and delta 9 THC.
When THC-O is used in the form of dabs or vape pens, there is one significant problem.
Side Effects of THC-O
THC-O is a potent cannabinoid, which explains why its side effects are so prevalent.
The most commonly reported side effects for THC-O include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sedation & lethargy
At high dosages, this chemical can be dangerous. Users report being unable to walk around freely, feeling sluggish, and having trouble maintaining a coherent headspace in order to communicate effectively.
Harm Reduction & THC-O
There’s always going to be some inherent risk when using ultra-pure, high-potency chemicals. THC-O is no exception.
Here are 7 ways to minimize the potential for harm when using THC-O:
- Always begin with a tiny dose and work your way up on another occasion (known as an “allergy test”).
- Order cannabis products from reputable vendors at all times.
- Request lab testing from the supplier to ensure that the substance you’re taking is genuine.
- If you have underlying heart disease or a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia, avoid THC-O.
- If you’re taking other prescription drugs, don’t use THC-O.
- It’s best to avoid mixing THC-O with other illicit drugs or alcohol.
- When you’re using this substance for the first time, have someone reliable and trustworthy with you at all times.
Can THC-O Cause Me To Fail My Drug Test?
There are a lot of claims that THC-O is safe because it’s a distinct chemical and will not cause you to fail a drug test.
Not so sure about that…
Delta 9 THC is a prodrug for THC-O, which means it is excreted in the same form as THC. This will almost certainly be detected via a drug test for THC.
How to Use THC-O
THC-O is available in the same forms as other THC products. The different types of products that are flooding the market these days are outlined below.
Tinctures are a superior method of ingesting cannabis products, and they’re extremely efficient. They’re quick-acting, effective, and don’t have any of the negative side effects of smoking or vaping. Tinctures (or gummies) are our top recommendation for consuming THC-O because we feel they are the best and safest way to do so.
To discover THC-O distillate (THC-O dabs), you’ll need a decent connection. It’s difficult to come by because of how it looks. This stuff isn’t quite the same as regular THC dab, as it’s thick, black, and slimy. Because of how liquid it is, this stuff isn’t particularly pleasant to smoke and may be challenging to work with.
THC-O Vape Carts
Until additional study is done on the potential hazards of THC-O vaping, we advise against using it. The acetate group of the THC-O molecule is expected to have the same effects as vitamin E acetate, which was discovered to cause severe lung damage in vapers several years ago.
THC-O gummies are created by mixing the cannabinoid with a delicious sweet candy shell. Gummies are an excellent way to consume any amount of THC, as they’re simple to dose, safe, and tasty.
How is THC-O Made?
The method for synthesizing THC-O is similar to that of producing heroin from morphine. The idea is nearly the same — take a known substance and add an acetate group to enhance bioavailability.
We strongly advise against producing THC-O at home. You are likely to get into legal trouble just for acquiring the raw materials, not to mention inhale noxious fumes or poison yourself on an impure end product.
Here are the risks associated with synthesizing this compound.
At least one stage of the THC-O process involves refluxing in a strong acid. The flasks are subjected to a strong vacuum while being heated, which runs the danger of an implosion – sending boiling acid, glass, toxic vapor, and highly combustible liquids into the air.
Peroxide gas is released as a result of the decomposition process, which is extremely flammable. It’s also possible for just one spark — from a flame, static shock, or anything else — to cause the whole thing to erupt.
What’s the Future of THC-O?
The chemical THC-O is not new; it has been around for decades. However, it has lately started to become fashionable, which suggests the popularity of another THC analog, delta 8 THC, may be responsible.
There was only one sort of THC in the world before 2019, and it came from marijuana. There are now several distinct types, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.
It’s likely this pattern will continue, and the usage of THC-O will continue to grow. However, because of the complexity of regulating it, as well as manufacturing problems and possible safety hazards, it’s doubtful that this chemical will ever go mainstream in the same way delta 8 or delta 10 have recently.