Just as we’re trying to figure out the unique properties of delta-8 THC, hemp companies are flooding the market with yet another THC-related compound: THC-O. Interestingly, scientists have known about THC-O for longer than delta-8 THC, and there are rumors that the US government had a hand in developing it.
According to initial reports, THC-O offers the most “extreme” legal hemp experience—but just how accurate are these reports? Is it safe to take THC-O, or should customers be cautious about this cannabinoid? If you’re contemplating giving THC-O a go, you need to read the findings below.
The Basics of THC-O: Where Does This Crazy Cannabinoid Come From?
There are many rumors surrounding THC-O-acetate, but most reports claim it was developed by a team of scientists in the mid-20th century. Apparently, the US military wanted to use this compound to incapacitate enemy soldiers, but there’s no official documentation of using THC-O as a weapon. As laws relaxed around hemp, more researchers and companies have become interested in THC-O yet again.
Traditionally, chemists made THC-O by fusing delta-9 with a compound called “acetic anhydride.” This combination gives THC-O even greater potency than standard delta-9 THC. Today, most THC-O extracts found in hemp shops start as legal cannabinoids like delta-8 or CBD. Experts have to manipulate these cannabinoids in controlled settings to create THC-O.
How Does THC-O Compare With Delta-8 THC?
As hinted above, THC-O was developed to be stronger than delta-9 THC. We don’t have a ton of research that proves how much stronger THC-O is, but most people who try THC-O claim it’s at least three times as intense as a delta-9 strain.
Considering delta-8 is less psychoactive than delta-9, it’s far less intense than THC-O. Even people who tolerate delta-8 vape carts may experience hallucinations or panic attacks if they take a similar amount of THC-O. Indeed, some people refer to THC-O as the “psychedelic cannabinoid” due to its incredibly potent properties.
Customers should be cautious if they’re thinking about using THC-O. If you have zero experience with delta-8 or delta-10 THC, please stay away from THC-O until you know how other psychoactive cannabinoids affect you. It’s also safest for customers to first experiment with low doses of THC-O edibles rather than jumping to vape carts or fortified hemp flowers.
Since THC-O Is So Strong, It’s Not Legal…Right?
Given THC-O’s reputation for insane potency, many people feel it shouldn’t be legal in the USA. After all, delta-9 is still banned at the federal level, and most customers say THC-O has triple the intensity of recreational weed.
However, since manufacturers make THC-O with legal hemp cannabinoids, it technically fits the 2018 US Farm Bill. Extractors don’t use delta-9 to make THC-O, therefore it’s not illegal at the federal level.
On the other hand, THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid (i.e., you can’t find it naturally in the hemp plant). Although delta-8 and delta-10 THC are rare in most hemp strains, cannabis researchers have shown they exist in nature. Since THC-O isn’t “natural,” it may give states more ammunition to place special bans on the cannabinoid.
Most states don’t have specific bans on THC-O because they don’t know about it. Instead, territories moving against THC-related cannabinoids are focusing their attention on delta-8 THC. If THC-O gains more widespread media attention, more territories will likely enact special restrictions—especially if they already have a negative opinion towards recreational marijuana.
Please don’t assume your state allows hemp-derived THC-O products. Always double-check the latest laws in your territory before ordering any hemp products online or in a vape shop.
So, What’s The Final Verdict On THC-O?
THC-O may be the most controversial cannabinoid in today’s legal hemp market. Due to THC-O’s incredible potency and salacious backstory, it will probably become the most restricted cannabinoid in the USA.
While THC-O may have fascinating therapeutic benefits in controlled doses, it’s difficult for scientists to safely study this molecule without facing legal issues. Customers need to exercise extreme caution until we have more data on THC-O. At this point, the safest thing to do is to stick with delta-8 THC. Not only is delta-8 less intense than THC-O, but there are also far more reputable vendors that offer third-party lab screenings.
If you’re new to the delta-8 market, we’d encourage you to read through the delta-8 reports on Real Tested CBD’s site. You can find all the latest details on the best delta-8 brands on our official ranking tab, or if you have general questions about delta-8, check out our delta-8 resource center.