The Ultimate Guide to THC-O 2022
THC-O has gained popularity in the last couple years amongst cannabis enthusiasts for its unique potency, smooth intake, legality, and reputation as a trippy, psychedelic cannabinoid. It was first described in publicly available literature in 1974, when cannabis author D. Gold described it, saying “The effect of the acetate is more spiritual and psychedelic than that of the ordinary product (delta-9 THC).”
Disclaimer: Given that it only recently entered the market, there hasn’t been enough time to fully assess what THC-O’s effects are with research. Most of what we know is based on first-hand accounts and testimonials gathered over the years.
What is THC-O?
THC-O, or THC-O acetate, is a semi-synthetically derived cannabinoid that is considered a prodrug of delta-8, or delta-9 THC, depending on how it’s made. It is distinct from all other forms of THC in that there is no harshness when inhaling, it doesn’t kick in until 10-30 minutes after inhalation, and it has the potential to produce mild psychedelic effects.
Is THC-O stronger than delta-9 THC?
THC-O’s potency is still largely unknown. It is thought to be 3x stronger than delta-8 THC, and 1.5x stronger than delta-9 THC. Some consumers report it’s less potent, others significantly more potent.
Some evidence that supports THC-O being more potent is the way it is absorbed and processed by the body. THC-O is converted to delta-8, or delta-9 THC, once it is ingested by the same metabolic pathway that breaks down other cannabinoids. So instead of being broken down like other cannabinoids would be, it is, in theory, being made stronger.
Is THC-O really psychedelic?
Yes, THC-O has the potential to produce psychedelic effects including introspectiveness, a sense of a loss of self, visual distortions, euphoria, and auditory hallucinations. When most people think of psychedelics, the first things that come to mind are drugs like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and DMT. While THC-O can share some qualities with these classic psychedelics, it is generally considered to be significantly more mild. Most people only report strong psychedelic effects from THC-O after consuming substantially large doses. For those taking a more typical dose, the psychedelic effects are described as more of a subtle, trippy introspection rather than a hallucinatory experience.
THC-O dosing guide
In general, the psychoactive and psychedelic effects of THC-O increase with dosing. Little to no psychedelic effects are experienced at low doses, and mild to strong psychedelic effects are experienced at high doses, though this largely depends on tolerance and other unique genetic factors.
Starter Dose: 3-5 mg, or about one 2-3 second hit of a pure THC-O vape
- Mild psychoactive, euphoric, and sedative effects
Medium Dose: 7-25 mg, or about two to three 2-3 second hits of a pure THC-O vape
- Stronger psychoactive, euphoric, and sedative effects and mild psychedelic effects
High Dose: 25 mg+, or 3, or more 2-3 second hits of a pure THC-O vape
- Strong psychoactive effects and mild to strong psychedelic effects
How long does it take for THC-O to kick in?
THC-O generally takes around 40 minutes to kick in after it’s vaped and an hour plus to kick in if taken in edible form. We’ve found that the effects tend to be more potent if, after taking a hit, the vapor is held in for 5, or more seconds. It’s important also to remember that THC-O is nearly tasteless, so you may be consuming more than you think.
Is THC-O legal?
Yes. THC-O is federally legal under the farm bill of 2018, which legalized hemp and all of its byproducts so long as they contain under 0.3% delta-9 THC. Since THC-O is created from hemp derived CBD and delta-8 THC, it is considered a hemp byproduct, making it federally legal. Some legal experts have a different opinion on the matter, but as of now there are no laws that explicitly prohibit the sale, or use of THC-O and there are no reported instances of someone being criminally punished for possessing it.
What about on the state level?
While both delta-8 and THC-O are considered legal federally, some states have gone as far as creating legislation banning delta-8 THC. No states thus far have specifically mentioned THC-O, however it can be presumed that states where delta-8 is banned are more likely to look down on THC-O, and possibly create laws in the future that ban it, or restrict it.
For this reason, we think it’s best for those living in any of the following states to look into their state’s current laws before purchasing THC-O to make sure there hasn’t been any new legislation passed.
States that have banned delta-8:
States that regulate delta-8:
States where delta-8 laws are unclear:
What could happen if you were caught with THC-O?
THC-O requires special lab tests to be detected. The lab resources typically at law enforcement’s disposal are designed to test for delta-9 THC, which means if law enforcement tested a THC-O vape, they would most likely find nothing unless said vape contains illegal amounts of delta-9 THC. The best way to ensure your vape doesn’t contain illegal amounts of delta-9 is to purchase from a credible vendor that offers third-party lab tests from state registered labs.
Does THC-O show up on drug tests?
While THC-O may not show up on every drug test, it is possible to test positive for THC from using THC-O and thus not recommended for those who have upcoming screenings. This is because THC-O has a very similar molecular structure to delta-9 THC, so in some cases it can “trick” the test into registering a metabolized version of delta-9 THC.
How long does a THC-O high last?
While it depends on the user, their tolerance, and many other unique factors, THC-O highs tend to last anywhere between 45 minutes and 4 hours, with residual effects such as grogginess sometimes lasting up to six hours. It’s strongly recommended to only use THC-O when you have a clear schedule and nothing important to do for the rest of the day, especially things that require motor skills such as driving, or operating heavy machinery. Because THC-O is capable of potent psychedelic effects, it’s also best to ensure you’re in a safe place with people you trust and feel comfortable around.
Is THC-O safe / How is THC-O made?
Before answering whether, or not, THC-O is safe, it’s important to get an idea of how it’s manufactured. THC-O acetate can be made from delta-8, or delta-9 THC, but because delta-9 THC is federally illegal, legal THC-O is produced from delta-8. So the first step in the manufacturing process is to create delta-8.
How THC-O is made:
- Convert CBD to Delta-8 THC
- Acetylate the Delta-8 to create THC-O
- Purify the THC-O distillate to ensure no harmful byproducts
1. Delta-8 THC, a THC isomer, is generally made by “refluxing hemp-derived CBD in an organic solvent, such as toluene or heptane, with p-toluene sulfonic acid or another acid that serves as a catalyst.” This process converts CBD to delta-8.
2. Once you have delta-8, you need to “acetylate,” it, which is the process that makes THC-O manufacturing dangerous for those who aren’t trained experts. Acetylation is common in the pharmaceutical industry and is used to make products ranging from aspirin to morphine. It is done by adding acetic anhydride, a flammable chemical that can be extremely harmful if it comes into direct contact with human skin, or lungs, to the delta-8 distillate.
3. Pure THC-O does not contain any residual acetic anhydride, or harmful byproducts. The purification process involves isolating the THC-Oa and ridding the solution of all other impurities, in particular, acetic anhydride. This is done using a variety of vacuums, technical equipment, and temperature regulations.
Is THC-O safe?
Vaping purified THC-O is generally considered safe as there has been no reported hospitalizations related to its use. However, given that its safety hasn’t been extensively researched, it’s unknown what the long term effects could be. Anytime you’re inhaling something you’re putting your lungs at risk and unregulated products like THC-O carry the heightened risk of containing impurities if not manufactured and tested properly. This is why it’s extremely important to, if you plan to partake, purchase from a vendor that has credible lab test results. This means being registered with the state, testing for acetic anhydride, THC-O potency, heavy metals, and residual solvents.
Where is the best place to buy THC-O?
You can find all kinds of THC-O products in CBD and tobacco shops, head shops, health stores, and even gas stations, however the best place to buy THC-O is online. This gives you an opportunity to research brands and find ones that you trust. You get access to reviews, competitive pricing, and seasonal discounts as well as third-party lab tests.
Benefits of buying THC-O online:
- Access to reviews
- Third-party lab tests
- Seasonal deals and discounts
Paz Packs offers a live resin THC-O vape cart that is thoroughly third-party lab tested for purity. We also offer vape cartridges that have a blend of Delta-8, CBD, CBG, and THC-O for a more balanced and subtle experience.