Have you been hearing the term THC-O floating around the cannasphere, and are curious about this trendy cannabinoid? Read on to get your top eight questions answered about THC-O acetate, from how it’s made to if it’s psychoactive. At the end of the THC-O FAQ, catch my review from smoking actual THC-O hemp cigarettes.
Your Top 8 THC-O Questions Answered
1. What is THC-O Acetate?
Tetrahydrocannabinol-o-acetate or THC-O (also known as THC-O acetate, THC acetate, THCO-A and ATHC) is a synthetic — or man-made — cannabinoid manufactured from hemp.
2. How is THC-O Made?
Very, very carefully. The Honest Marijuana Co. drives the point home: “ATHC [THC-O] can only be produced in a laboratory environment. You can’t pick up a few tools at your local hardware and whip a batch of ATHC in your kitchen. The results would be disastrous (that means flaming death, boys and girls).” Essentially, THC-O is made by first synthesizing delta-8 THC from CBD extracted from the hemp plant through a process called isomerization. Then acetic anhydride is added to the delta-8 THC to make THC-O.
3. Is THC-O Legal?
We turned to an expert for this question. Here’s what Andrea A. Golan, hemp and cannabinoid attorney at Vicente Sederberg LLP had to say on the matter:
Right now, the two primary federal regulatory authorities regulating hemp and hemp products are the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), respectively. The USDA (in combination with state departments of agriculture and tribal authorities) regulates hemp cultivation via the rules established under the 2018 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill defines “hemp” to include “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids...with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.” Accordingly, a plain reading of the 2018 Farm Bill supports the argument that all derivatives of hemp are legal hemp, provided the delta-9 THC content does not exceed 0.3% THC. This argument falls short for a couple of major reasons.
First, the 2018 Farm Bill and its implementing regulations stop at the farmhouse gate, so to speak. Once the hemp-derived material is put into a consumer product regulated by the FDA — e.g., food, dietary supplement, cosmetic, drug, tobacco product — the hemp product is subject to FDA regulation. The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) as enforced by the FDA requires the demonstration of the safety of particular uses of ingredients added to foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics under provisions specific to each category. The FFDCA further requires that all hemp products be labeled, marketed, and advertised in a manner that is compliant with the FFDCA. Because there are no uniform testing requirements for THCO-A products, we simply don’t know whether the manufacturing methods (or consumption methods) are safe. Per the FFDCA, an ingredient like THCO-A cannot be put into food unless the ingredient is either an approved food additive or a “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Similarly, THCO-A cannot be sold as or in a dietary supplement unless it had previously been in the food supply or the manufacturer submits to the FDA a “New Dietary Ingredient” notification demonstrating the ingredient and the product are reasonably expected to be safe.
Second, it’s uncertain whether THCO-A would be considered an analogue of delta-9 THC, and therefore a controlled substance. The Federal Analogue Act picks up where the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) leaves off by extending the CSA’s prohibitions to other not explicitly scheduled substances that are substantially similar to the listed one.
And third, we can be sure Congress did not intend to legalize products accessible to the general public that are intoxicating. Consequently, until Congress or the FDA act, states have taken it upon themselves to regulate these products by enacting legislation or rule-making prohibiting or regulating such products.
- THC-O Acetate: Everything You Need to Know About THCOa Safety, Purity, and Effects — ACS Lab Cannabis
- THC-O Acetate Q&A with Dr. Ethan Russo: 'Don't Go There' — Cannabis Business Times
- Concentrated CBD? THC-O? As states limit delta-8 THC, industry operators plan next steps — Hemp Industry Daily
4. How is THC-O Different from Delta-8 THC, CBD, and Delta-9 THC?
THC-O acetate, unlike delta-9 THC and CBD, is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid. THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid derived from hemp. Similar to delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC, THC-O reportedly produces psychoactive effects. However, the psychoactive effects produced by consuming THC-O acetate are far stronger than those of either delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC, and consumers have attested to an enhanced visual experience from consuming THC-O acetate in comparison to delta-9 THC. THC-O is estimated to be three times stronger than “traditional” THC (delta-9 THC).
5. What Do the Effects of THC-O Feel Like?
Currently, there are no existing studies that investigate the effects of THC-O. Anecdotal observations from consumers describe the effects experienced from consuming THC-O acetate products as similar to other cannabinoids — including pain relief, reduction in anxiety, appetite stimulation — and large doses may be incapacitating. Others compare the effects of THC-O acetate to a low dose of the psychedelic substance mescaline.
6. Is THC-O Psychedelic?
So, is THC-O acetate a psychedelic? As previously mentioned some consumers of THC-O acetate describe the experience as similar to taking mescaline which is a psychedelic drug found naturally in some cacti. THC-O can produce a euphoric high similar to that of delta-9 THC. This high may be coupled with hallucinogenic effects including auditory hallucinations, visual distortions, and heightened emotions. However, effects can vary depending on a variety of factors including tolerance, product, dosage, metabolism, etc.
7. How Do You Use THC-O?
There are several ways to use THC-O acetate including through vaping with THC-O cartridges, smoking, or consuming edible products like oils or gummies. Products like Vance Global’s THC-O cigs are a great option because they are dedicated to meticulous product testing — which is tremendously important given the intricate way THC-O is synthesized. Always seek out products with testing information displayed clearly or made readily available, such as with a QR Code.
8. How Do I Find THC-O Near Me?
I recommend using the good old internet to seek reputable companies with excellent testing practices and discreet shipping methodology. Take the time to research ingredients, reviews, and testing practices to ensure you’re receiving a top-notch product. Vance Global checked all the boxes for me, so I decided to give their THC-O cigarettes a try. Continue reading for the review.
Review of Vance Global's THC-O Cigarettes
My first impression was based on the mailer — Vance Global’s package arrived in discreet, unmarked packaging. Plus with a name like “Vance Global,” the package could contain anything and doesn’t suggest hemp or cannabis to the prying observer.
Opening the package, it included a testing printout — which I adore — of the lab information for the THC-O cigarettes. A QR code is also printed on the pack itself, for ease of access. The cigarette box came in a sealed, reusable bag and the carton itself is recyclable, showing the company is thinking about its impact on the environment.
The box of THC-O cigs is small enough to fit into my wee lady pockets and designed to intrigue the eye with flashes of bright green on an asphalt black. It’s been a long while since I’ve smoked anything with a filter attached, and the black filters on these brought on some late-90s/early 2000s clove cigarette nostalgia for me.
The effects were felt right in the front of my brain — onset was instantaneous and created a cerebral high. I wanted badly to do some problem-solving that involved being physically active, like rock climbing. While I didn’t have a rock wall available, I did get the step ladder out and reorganized my entire pantry and dishes cupboard, feeling completely energized by the experience. There were no latent effects or bad comedown, which began about 25-30 minutes after inhalation.
You can check out those VG THC-O cigarettes and their THC-O gummies, and buy by the pack or carton here.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.