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What Is THC-O?

by in Medical Marijuana March 8, 2023

You may be familiar with CBD and THC. But did you know that there are hundreds of other cannabinoids in marijuana? It’s true! Different marijuana strains have varying degrees of these cannabinoids and offer certain benefits. Cannabinoids can be natural or synthetic, like THC-O.

THC-O acetate is a highly potent cannabinoid that is three times stronger than THC. It’s turning heads in the cannabis community, but many users still don’t know much about it.

What exactly is this cannabinoid? Where does it come from? What are its benefits? These are some of the questions we’ll answer in this article. So stay with us to learn more about this novel cannabinoid.

What Is THC-O?

THC-O, or O-acetyl-Δ9-THC, is a synthetic cannabinoid. That means scientists created it in the laboratory, and it is not naturally found in cannabis. Many call it the spiritual cannabinoid or the psychedelic cannabinoid due to its higher potency.

As we mentioned, THC-O acetate is three times more potent than delta-9 THC. The reason is its higher bioavailability. In other words, your body can absorb it better than other cannabinoids.

A Brief History of THC-O

THC-O may be new to many users, but the US military has known about it for decades. Military scientists began experimenting with this cannabinoid in the 1940s.

In the Edgewood Arsenal Experiments, scientists tested this compound on dogs. They found that it destroyed the subjects’ muscle coordination twice as much as THC. They also noted its higher potency and differentiated it from conventional THC. After these experiments, THC-O acetate gained the attention of the DEA in 1978.

DEA agents found a secret lab in Jacksonville, Florida, that was synthesizing this cannabinoid. However, it didn’t enter the market for a long time after that, and the agency forwent further investigation. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, this cannabinoid rose to fame again.

Synthesis of THC-O

The process of synthesizing THC-O starts with extracting CBD from raw hemp. After CBD extraction, the delta-8 THC in it is separated. Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid similar to delta-9 THC, but with a slightly different chemical makeup.

After separating delta-8 THC, scientists add acetic anhydride to it. With the addition of this reagent, a chemical reaction occurs that produces THC-O acetate. The procedure is straightforward in theory. However, it is extremely dangerous as it deals with volatile chemicals and should only be performed in a controlled laboratory.

Benefits of THC-O

A woman vaping THC-O

Those seeking the benefits of medical marijuana for mental health will enjoy this new cannabinoid. Since the body absorbs THC-O at higher levels, you will experience more potent effects.

It will transfer you to a euphoric state with increased sensory perception. You may even experience mild psychedelic effects that drugs like LSDs induce. Similar to other cannabinoids, THC-O acetate can have several effects on the body, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Pain relief
  • Stress relief
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased appetite
  • Heightened senses
  • Enhanced creativity

How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects of THC-O?

While THC-O has higher bioavailability, it takes longer than conventional THC to affect your body. For instance, you will feel the effects of regular THC edibles within 30 minutes of consumption. Meanwhile, it can take THC-O up to an hour or more to become effective.

This delayed onset is because THC-O acetate has to undergo a chemical reaction before your body can absorb it. The chemical reaction is called deacetylation, which happens in your liver. The liver enzymes remove an acetate group from the cannabinoid before sending it to your bloodstream. So you should be patient if it’s your first time using this cannabinoid.

Is THC-O Safe?

Since this cannabinoid is relatively new in the cannabis world, its safety is still somewhat of a mystery. Scientists don’t know enough about its long-term effects on the body. Plus, it’s not a well-regulated cannabinoid. So there might be some risks, especially if you purchase a low-quality extract from an unreliable supplier.

With that said, THC-O acetate is still a hemp derivative with potential benefits. You can minimize the risks by purchasing a high-quality product from a reputable brand and taking it in moderation. You can consult a medical marijuana physician before trying it if you’re still unsure about its safety and benefits for your health condition.

It’s Not Safe If You Make It At Home!

Making THC-O is so simple that some marijuana enthusiasts have turned it into a DIY project. This may sound tempting and fun, but don’t ever try it!

The steps are direct and easy, but the chemicals involved are dangerous and explosive. The only safe way to produce this cannabinoid is in a well-equipped lab by professional scientists who know what they’re doing. So don’t risk your safety for a fun DIY project!

Side Effects of THC-O

THC-O acetate’s potency can be distressing when taken in high amounts. You might experience the following side effects if you take too much of this cannabinoid:

  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Racing thoughts
  • Inability to focus
  • Increased heartbeat

Is THC-O Legal?

The legality of this cannabinoid is somewhat of a gray area between hemp and cannabis. Manufacturers of this cannabinoid claim their products are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill since they’re derived from federally legal hemp plants.

However, the legal status of THC-O acetate differs from state to state. Currently, 38 states have legalized it, while others have prohibited its use and made it difficult to purchase.

The states where THC-O products are illegal include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Utah

It’s important to note that cannabis laws are ever-changing. Synthetic cannabinoids like THC-O might become legal soon in any of these states. However, you should always check your state’s laws before trying a new product since the DEA might be going after synthetic cannabinoids.

Will THC-O Acetate Show Up On a Drug Test?

This cannabinoid may not be ideal if you’re subject to regular drug tests at work. These tests usually look for THC. They can detect THC-O easier than regular THC due to its higher potency. So stick to products that won’t get you in trouble.

Where to Buy THC-O?

While this synthetic cannabinoid has been around since the 1940s, there aren’t many products on the market. Due to its legal ambiguity, many manufacturers prefer to focus on more accepted cannabis products and forego THC-O acetate.

However, some brands are embracing this new cannabinoid and selling it in different formulations. You probably won’t find them in dispensaries, but you can find them online. Some brands that carry THC-O products include Delta Extrax, 3Chi, CBD Genesis, CBD Mall, TREHouse, and ATLRx.

How to Use THC-O

A person taking THC-O acetate gummies

You can use this cannabinoid the same way you would other cannabis products. Although there aren’t many studies on the interaction of THC-O with the body, it’s safe to assume that it affects the endocannabinoid system like other cannabinoids.

However, the effects will be much stronger due to its higher bioavailability. So you should always start with a low amount and wait a while before using more.

Here are some popular THC-O acetate formulations you can try.


Learning how to use tinctures and oils is easy, making this method great for beginners. You can take them sublingually or add them to your recipes.

You will feel the effects sooner with the sublingual method but longer if you add them to your foods and drinks. It depends on what you want to achieve and how long you want to stay high.


THC-O edibles like gummies are another fantastic option for beginners. The advantage of this method is that the gummies come in predetermined doses. So you don’t have to measure the products carefully.

Once you take an edible, it will take an hour or two for the effects to kick in. This delay is because the cannabinoid has to be processed by your digestive system. Once it passes that stage, it will stay in your body for 12 hours or even longer.


More experienced users can opt for the inhalation method and vape THC-O acetate. With this method, you will feel the effects of the cannabinoid faster, but the high will not last that long. You will also need special equipment like a vape pen to enjoy the product this way.

Building a Tolerance to THC-O

As with all cannabinoids, you will build a tolerance to THC-O with regular use. This means you won’t feel its effects like before and will need to use more. You can remedy this by taking a break from this cannabinoid. Put it aside for a week or two and start reusing it in small amounts.

Experience THC-O Acetate With Ozark MMJ Cards

If this cannabinoid is illegal in your state, you can buy it legally with a medical marijuana card. Do you want to give this new cannabinoid a try? We can help!

Ozark MMJ Cards offers fast and affordable medical marijuana certification and renewal services to Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma residents. Our no-cost, risk-free process can help you get your medical marijuana card and enjoy THC-O in no time!

Contact us now to talk to an expert and begin your certification. If you enjoyed this article, visit our cannabis blog for more fun reads.

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