What is the Cannabinoid THC-O that will send you on a Spiritual High, Out of This Universe?
Ans: THC-O-Acetate is an artificially synthesised cannabinoids, where the THCA carboxylic acid is hydrolysed with H2SO4 and this is then converted to acetic acid by reaction with excess Anhydride. The remaining THC molecules now react with the acetic acid at the hydroxyl group, to form the new THC-O-Acetate cannabinoid.
For decades, master growers have dedicated their lives to optimizing the potential of cannabis to produce strains with diverse effects. Until recently, the main goal has been to increase potency to give recreational users an unforgettable high. While their achievements are undeniable, getting some strains to THC potency levels upwards of 35%, the next frontier of cannabis innovation is happening using chemistry.
The synthetic cannabinoid THC-O could unlock new recreational and medical potential unlike we’ve ever experienced from THC or any of its analogs.
What is THC-O-Acetate?
Cannabinoids like Delta-9 THC, CBD, CBG, and even the newest ‘hot’ cannabis compound Delta-8 THC are found naturally during the cannabis plant’s lifecycle. THC-O-Acetate is never produced organically by cannabis and has to be created in a lab. Chemists manufacture THC-O by using chemicals to acetylate THC. (1)
THC-O has been referred to as ‘THC on steroids’ or even compared to LSD (2). The cannabinoid is gaining attention because it can activate CB receptors in ways THC can’t, creating highly sedative and even hallucinogenic effects.
While we don’t have adequate research concerning the effects of THC-O-Acetate, the cannabinoid has been around for decades, and we understand how it differentiates from THC.
Is THC-O Stronger Than Delta 9?
Due to a slight difference in molecular structure, THC-O can pass the blood-brain barrier more effectively than Delta-9 THC (3). The result is more potent effects described as more spiritual and psychedelic (4). According to Michael Stark, author of Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics, Processing, Potency, THC-O is 300% stronger than regular old THC produced by cannabis plants (5).
Is THC-O Available for Purchase?
The recent increase in THC analogs such as Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC may have sparked some interest by hemp companies to start selling THC-O. There are already retailers selling products featuring the acetated version of THC. In addition, THC-O can be smoked in isolated form or added to edibles.
There could be an influx in THC-O products because of the popularity, and US companies are getting away with selling THC synthesized from CBD online, dodging the strict regulatory process required to sell products in a dispensary. In addition, hemp companies can sell products directly to consumers from their online stores, a luxury not available to American recreational or medical marijuana stores.
Honest Marijuana Company, a Colorado-based cannabis company, has shown interest in releasing THC-O products to recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries around the state but has yet to release its line. THC-O is available online today from companies selling D8, but curious cannabis enthusiasts should exercise caution when buying from companies selling exotic forms of THC online.
The Effects of THC-O
The various accounts of people using THC-O confirm the claims of exponentially increased effects compared to traditional THC. Most accounts report a 30-minute waiting period before ‘all of a sudden glued to the furniture uncomfortably wrecked. No coming on, just BAM like a brick in the face,’ according to a Reddit user.
Another account of the effects of THC-O are caught on video by a cannabis Youtuber. BatBong Official reports almost instantly feeling high after taking a dab of pure THC-O. He compared the high to taking two or three dabs of D9-THC without a harsh strain on his lungs. The Youtuber gave the experience a 10/10 and recommended taking it before going to bed.
Potential Medical Applications
THC-O-Acetate hasn’t been subjected to research for medical uses; however, its ability to activate CB receptors more efficiently could help patients who have developed a tolerance to D9 (6). As retail interest grows, we expect to see more research in the future.
Possible Side Effects
Jeff Raber Ph.D. warns users of the dangers of smoking THC-O (7). When acetate is combusted and inhaled, the chemical could have severe consequences, according to the CDC (8). We’ve seen a rise in unregulated vaping, and one of the main concerns is vitamin E acetate, a filler used in many E-liquids.
How is THC-O Produced?
THC-O-Acetate is converted from THC-A (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) the parent molecule of THC. Retailers selling THC-O online in the US however, are creating the substance by converting CBD to Delta-8 then synthesizing THC-O to stay within the legal definition of hemp.
According to CannabisTech, THC-O-Acetate acts as a ‘metabolic prodrug for THC itself, THC-O works in the same manner as heroin does as a metabolic prodrug for morphine.’ The process is described by SkunkPharm Research (crazy name but incredibly detailed and scientifically accurate instructions) as follows:
‘When THCA is converted to THC-O- Acetate, the polar C-OH becomes C-O-CH2C=O-CH3. The carboxylic acid group is hydrolyzed (forms water) by the heating with the H2SO4 which reacts with excess Anhydride to produce acetic acid which reacts with regular THC at the hydroxyl group to form more THC-O-Acetate.’ (9)
The process sounds complicated, but synthesis using sulfuric acid and Acetic Anhydride is common and stable in a controlled environment under the supervision of professionals. However, both substances are highly corrosive, and Acetic Anhydride is just as explosive as gasoline.
Is THC-O the Next Trendy Cannabinoid?
THC-O-Acetate could be the next Delta-8. The rise in interest of ‘legal’ cannabinoids converted from hemp, and available online could result in another wave of companies cashing in on a loophole. Regulators are already cracking down on D8 retailers, but many US states without recreational marijuana have welcomed Delta-8 to be openly distributed (9).
Time will tell if THC-O will be tolerated by the cannabinoid hemp industry or only allowed in recreational or medical marijuana dispensaries. For now, the cannabinoid serves as proof that we are far from understanding the potential of cannabis and its many chemical compounds.
Please note that this article was written by a 3rd-party author who is a specialist on the topic of CBD, hemp and cannabis. Any information or recommendations contained within this article, are independent to the opinion of RUDERALEX CBD and our employees. We make no claims for any of our products, please read our disclaimer for additional information.