What Is THC-O Acetate?
First there was delta 9 THC, then delta 8 THC products hit the market, and if that wasn’t enough, we now have delta 10 THC. With so many THC compounds floating around, it can be hard to believe that there is already another one that’s getting a lot of attention, seemingly out of nowhere: THC-O. Short for THC-O-acetate, it’s a cannabinoid that is so different from the other three mentioned above that it’s easy to forget that it’s a hemp derivative while in the middle of experiencing its unique effects.
This new THC-O compound is a precursor to Delta-8, which means it can be isolated and put into different THC-O products. These products include THC-O vape cartridges, THC-O disposables, THC-O gummies. The interesting thing is that THCo is actually reported to be 3 times strong than regular Delta 9 THC. Yes, 300% stronger than regular THC.
The Basics Of THC-O Acetate
THC-O-acetate is a synthesized cannabinoid, meaning that you cannot extract the compound from the hemp plant like you can in order to obtain concentrated levels of pure delta 8 or delta 9. While HHC, Delta-8, and Delta-10 are known for being milder than delta 9, THC-O is anything but. This cannabinoid is striking in terms of its potency, which is about 3 times as intense as delta-9.
Due to the unique process of producing THC-O, it comes in the form of a thick oil with a light tint, and it’s ethanol-soluble. Being flavorless and odorless, like all isolated cannabinoids, and like cannabinoid extracts that we are familiar with, it can be used as a base active ingredient to formulate everything from vape oils to edibles.
One important thing to be aware of is that because THC-O-acetate is not a commercially available or naturally occurring substance, we do not have the research that points to specific properties of it like we do for CBD and delta 9 THC. In other words, you will not find any research articles showing that THC-O has specific uses such as headache relief or digestive regulation. Also, we don’t really have any information demonstrating the specific cannabinoid receptors that THC-O works with.
THC-O: The Extreme Cannabinoid
As THC-O is about 3x as potent as delta 9 THC, you can expect this cannabinoid to possibly relax you with intense cerebral euphoria. But, its effects go beyond those associated with typical THC, such as feeling giggly, sleepy, and introspective.
How Is THC-O Made?
The process of making THC-O-acetate is quite involved, and literally impossible to do at home, so don’t bother taking notes, as you don’t have the equipment needed to create it in your kitchen.
THC-O is derived from Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), the predecessor to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) before it’s decarboxylated. Chemists can produce THC-O by applying THCA to a blend of sulfuric acid and acetic anhydride, which is why the cannabinoid is classified as synthetic. When heat is applied to this combination of chemicals, a chemical reaction occurs that changes the molecular structure of THCA to make it phenomenally potent.
We know what you’re wondering: is THC-O legal? Well, that’s actually hard to say. It’s completely outlawed in England, but in the United States, it’s not on the list of classified substances. Now, this may be surprising, as it makes delta 9 THC look mild by comparison.
But, one has to remember that THC-O-acetate just isn’t in circulation and is not an underground substance being sold illegally throughout the country. In fact, the incident in 1978 is the only recorded instance of a person having possession of THC-O, in our country’s history. Therefore, the government has not needed to intervene as it’s not even available to those who would want to take it if they could.
However, in 1986, the United States did outlaw all synthesized forms of THC, and it is likely that THC-O would be classified under this category, despite the fact that no legislation calls it out specifically. Even still, there is a gray area, because delta 10 THC, which is technically produced using synthetic means, can be purchased on the open market without any government intervention taking place.
And, if THC-O is produced from hemp, this makes things even more complicated, since federal law states that all hemp derivatives except delta 9 THC are legal, with none of the literature making a distinction between naturally occurring and synthesized compounds taken from the plant.
Still, at the present moment, this information is not really helpful. It’s not like the cannabinoid can be found in a local dispensary, even where medical grade hemp is recreationally legal. It used to be difficult to get, but with new THCO products and vape cartridges releasing daily, you could find out what it potentially offers. All due to the 2018 Farm Bill.
THC-O’s Future and Possible Products
Although it’s unlikely you will find this product on the shelves at your local dispensary, there are a few benefits to the acetate versions of cannabinoids:
- Water Solubility: Cannabinoids in their natural form are lipids, meaning they are fat-soluble or dissolve in oil, decreasing bioavailability.
- Chemical Alternatives: Acetate versions of cannabinoids may help in cases where the natural cannabinoid does not have the desired effect.
Although synthetic cannabinoids may raise a few eyebrows within the hemp community, some consumers may prefer the effects of THC-O, as compared to naturally derived THC. As research continues to uncover the mysteries of the compounds found within the leaves of hemp, we can only anticipate further advances in technology to provide improved delivery and bioavailability. [Source]
As legalization continues to move forward and bigger pharmaceutical companies come on board, acetate versions of cannabinoids could be the prescription version of traditional THC. So, overall, then, the future of THC-O is something that we will all be paying attention to, as with general legalization evolving more rapidly than ever before, and more and more enthusiasts seeking out specialty cannabinoid products, its demand could increase in the coming years.