What Is THC-O Acetate? – The Next Trendy Cannabinoid
The hemp cannabinoid industry has evolved beyond CBD since the passing of the 2018 ‘Farm Bill.’ As demand increases for other compounds, we are discovering new ways to enjoy hemp extracts. The latest cannabinoid to gain mainstream attention is called THC-O acetate, a close analog of Delta-9 THC but derived from hemp.
This article will cover the fundamentals of THC-O, its effects, how it is produced, and where to purchase the exciting new hemp extract.
What is THC-O Acetate?
THC-O is an analog of the well-known and federally illegal cannabinoid Delta-9 THC. While THC-O acetate is considered a cannabinoid, it doesn’t occur naturally in the plant’s lifecycle. Instead, the compound must be produced in an extraction facility.
While THC-O has yet to become mainstream like CBD, chemists have been producing the compound for years. In the past, cannabis connoisseurs have taken extraction and cannabinoid manufacturing into their own hands because of limited access to legal products. Throughout the community, THC-O gained the reputation of being a more potent version of its analog and referred to as ‘THC on steroids.’ Users report more intense effects and even psychedelic experiences. Now that the US has more reasonable cannabis manufacturing laws, THC-O acetate advocates have access to the compound made in a safe and reputable extraction facility governed by strict regulations.
Like all cannabis compounds, we are far from understanding the true potential of THC-O. Unfortunately, prohibition has put us in a position where we don’t have sufficient data on any cannabinoid. However, we have access to some scientific research and numerous anecdotal accounts to give us an idea of how THC-O can be utilized in a regulated market.
How is THC-O Acetate Produced?
There are multiple ways to manufacture THC-O acetate. Before the CBD boom, amateur extractors would convert the cannabinoid from THCA, the acidic and non-active form of Delta-9 THC. To remain compliant with the ‘Farm Bill’ THC-O must be produced from a hemp plant containing 0.3% THC or less.
Cannabinoid hemp manufacturers go through a complex process to successfully convert the compounds available in the hemp plant to THC-O:
CBD is extracted from the raw hemp material. In its purest form, CBD is a white crystalized substance.
The CBD isolate is converted into Delta-8 THC, another analog of Delta-9 with mild effects.
Using a combination of heat, alcohol, sulfuric acid, acetic anhydride, water, and other various components, the Delta-9 distillate can be converted into THC-0 acetate.
For an average person without a background in chemistry, the process is complicated. But in a controlled environment with trained professionals, converting cannabinoids is safe and relatively simple. However, manipulating cannabis molecules requires a chemical reaction that can be dangerous during manufacturing and for the end consumer. Before making a purchase, you need to ensure that the THC-O retailer is reputable, demonstrates an understanding of cannabinoid extraction, and provides transparency in its process.
Is THC-O Legal?
THC-O is 100% legal in the current legal framework if the supply chain begins with a hemp plant containing 0.3% Delta-9 THC or less. Because THC-O is derived from hemp, it is protected federally by the ‘Farm Bill.’
The reason why cannabinoid hemp companies go through the complicated process of extracting CBD, converting to D8, then producing THC-O is to remain compliant with the FDA. THC-O is not available in recreational or medical dispensaries; today’s only legal form is from companies that offer hemp-derived products.
How Does THC-O Affect Our Bodies?
THC-O is much more potent than Delta-9 THC because it activates the receptors responsible for the ‘high’ at a higher rate. Our CB receptors in the brain, central nervous system, and other parts of the body respond with a chemical release when certain cannabinoids are consumed. THC-O can pass the blood-brain more effectively than other analogs, resulting in more potent effects, some describe as psychedelic.
According to Michael Stark, the author of Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics, Processing, Potency, “THC-O is 300% stronger than regular old THC produced by cannabis plants.” In addition to being more potent, users report a 30-minute delay in the effects. We see this phenomenon with edible D8 products and suggest extreme caution when using cannabinoids with a delay. THC-O is more potent and should be treated with respect. We recommend waiting at least an hour before increasing your dose if you haven’t experienced the effects.
THC-O Vs. Delta-8 THC
While THC-O is converted from D8, the experience is much more intense. Delta-8 has been described as a ‘THC lite’ or ‘diet THC’ because the compound is less effective at activating CB receptors. The chemical reaction that takes place after consuming THC-O is the complete opposite.
All cannabinoids have a very similar chemical composition and molecular weight. The molecular formula for CBD and THC is identical, but the slight difference in structure allows one to induce intoxicating effects. The same situation is relevant for THC-O and D8; while they are composed of the same atoms, their structures differ, allowing THC-O to fit into the CB receptors more effectively and produce a more intense ‘high.’
THC-O Acetate Products
THC-O acetate is available in various products such as gummies, tinctures, and smokable flower. However, the most common is THC-O vape cartridges and THC-O Disposable Vape Pens. THC-O is easily consumed with a vaporizer, and it is extremely smooth!