THC-O: A Psychedelic Cannabinoid?

THC- O What Is it
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]THC-O Acetate is one of the quickest growing cannabinoids within the legal hemp market, particularly within 2021. These acetate versions of cannabinoids that are hemp derived have been shown to be an even more potent THC product than Delta 8 or Delta 9 THC. Potent, however, does not always translate to better, and may not always give the user a desired effect. 


THC-O is not a product that one is going to be able to find at their local dispensaries, as this version of the drug falls under the blanket term of synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic Cannabinoids are considered by many to be some of the most dangerous drugs available on the market, and have been shown to have an alarming number of horrendous side effects.


NFL Star Chandler Jones was subject to a synthetic marijuana scare when he wound up in the hospital due to use of synthetic cannabinoids. 

Chandler Jones NFL Star

These synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 or spice are meant to mimic the effects of THC, but add an extravagant number of side effects.


 Some of these side effects can include: symptoms of psychosis, extreme anxiety, confusion, paranoia, and even hallucinations. Unlike Delta 8, 9 or even Delta 10, it is actually possible to overdose, and even die using a synthetic cannabinoid, so the question is, what is the appeal of THC-O?


How is THC- O Made? Is it Legal?


THC-O, when derived from hemp, has to be made from Delta 8. This Delta 8 is put through a chemical process with the toxic chemical acetic anhydride, in order to extract the THC-O. Within the United States, so long as a hemp product falls under the very strict 0.3% THC limit, it is in turn, legal. 


THC O vape cartridges have surged onto the market and have in some respects taken over certain areas of the Delta 8 market, due to the immense amount of hype a “legal trip” would have. 


THC-O has been described as having psychedelic effects, causing great amounts of introspection similar to that of psilocybin. In a controlled setting there could be great potential for this cannabinoid, as psychedelics within the presence of licensed therapists have been shown to have tremendous therapeutic benefits.


Under the United States Drug Schedule, THC-O is currently unlisted. This means that while it is not illegal per se, that is not to say that it is explicitly legal either. 


There was a very explicit piece of legislation known as the Federal Analogue Act. The federal analogue stated this regarding substances such as THC-O. It stated:


  1. A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the term controlled substance analogue means a substance –
  • (i) the chemical structure of which is substantially similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance in schedule I or II;
  • (ii) which has a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system that is substantially similar to or greater than the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system of a controlled substance in schedule I or II; or
  • (iii) with respect to a particular person, which such person represents or intends to have a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system that is substantially similar to or greater than the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system of a controlled substance in schedule I or II.


This is a damning piece of legislation for this cannabinoid, as under this, having both a psychedelic effect as well as a depressive one, this substance would most definitely fall under the Analogue Act, due to its repeated language stating such. 


THC-O: What are the Positives? What are the Effects?


THC-O is just now becoming popular within the mainstream, possibly due to the prevalence of already hemp derived Delta 8, 9, and 10 now readily available on the market. The idea of there being “multiple THC’s” is something that the cannabis and hemp communities have all agreed upon. THC-O is known for its longer onset, taking anywhere from 30 minutes, to up to 2 hours to fully set in. 


While again, the research, and know how on this cannabinoid is limited, there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest the following:


In small doses: The cannabinoid has been shown to have effects that are nearly identical to that of Delta 9 THC.


In medium doses: Psychedelic effects can begin, in terms of visuals, and the headspace it can create.


In larger doses: Incapacitation, possible strong sedative, and psychedelic effects.


The psychedelic aspect of this cannabinoid is the part that is most frightening about it to me. I am unsure of the safety, or efficacy of any of these products, and this is a completely man made cannabinoid. This is not naturally occurring within the plant, and was invented by scientists, rather than coming directly from the plant itself.


THC-O has also been shown to have many of the positive effects that cannabis and hemp do in terms of their anti anxiety, and appetite stimulation properties, however, the psychedelic aspect of this compound puts it in a completely different setting than Delta 8, 9, or 10. This is a synthetic cannabinoid, and it should be treated as such, with caution


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