THC-0, ever heard of it?
What is it?
THC-0 acetate, pronounced ” THC-oh” is a synthetic compound derived from hemp and quickly gaining popularity. THC-O is the acetate ester form of THC, sometimes called THC acetate ester, or O-acetyl-Δ9-THC.
However, usually known as THC-O acetate (or ATHC or THC-Oa) among experts, but has been shortened by almost everyone to THC-O.
The attraction to THC-0 is due to the potency. Research has found that THC-0 is roughly two- three times stronger than conventional THC. It is being called “the psychedelic cannabinoid” because of its hallucinatory effects.
Currently, the production process of THC-0 acetate is causing concern within the state-licensed cannabis industry.
To produce the molecule, a highly-flammable compound called acetic anhydride is added to THC molecules. This process involves a series of extractions that begin with hemp. First, CBD is extracted from raw hemp. Second, delta-8 THC is extracted from the CBD. Finally, acetic anhydride is added to the delta-8 THC molecules to create THC-O acetate.
Researchers have concluded that THC-O acetate is a “prodrug,” meaning that the compound is not activated until it has been metabolized. It takes about 20 to 60 minutes to kick in.
Due to the high levels of potency, go slow. I repeat, go slow. Being that this compound is two-three times as potent as delta-9 THC, there lies a risk of users consuming too much THC-O and suffering with unpleasant effects.
Recent Study Concerns
THC-O is another cannabinoid that has some users weary after studies came out – for vaping and smoking. Because this compound is created by chemically converting CBD into either delta 9 THC or delta 8 THC, and then converting those cannabinoids into their acetate ester form, it has the same chemical structure as Vitamin E, and not safe to smoke.
This is not caused by the cannabinoid itself, but only when heat is applied from vaporizers or lighters. In edible form, THC-O will produce a high similar to Delta-9 THC.
“The studies listed below show that when enough heat is applied to THC-O, thermal degradation can cause the formation of a dangerous lung toxicant called ketene.
The same thermal degradation process causes vitamin E acetate to generate ketene—a probable cause of the 2019 vaping lung injuries mistakenly called “EVALI” by the CDC. (Black market cannabis processors used vitamin E acetate to dilute THC oil in order to save money.)
The danger is not caused by cannabis itself, or vaping itself, but by the interaction of heat with the acetate form of various chemicals, including THC. In fact, any acetate ester subjected to heat could produce ketene.
It’s not certain if the amount of ketene produced by a vape cart is enough to create an immediate danger to the user, but it’s possible. It is also possible that lung damage could be caused by repeated small exposures.
Based on this research, we urge cannabis users to avoid vaping or smoking THC-O or any acetate form of any cannabinoid.
THC-O gummies and tinctures are not a health risk” (Vaping 360). For more information, click here.
Ways to Use it
Is it legal?
As of February 2023, THC-O is not considered legal.
Unlike delta 8 THC and other hemp-derived cannabinoids, THC-O is not found naturally in hemp plants and therefore federal law enforcement officials consider it a federally illegal controlled substance.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) explained in a letter to cannabis attorney Rod Kight that the agency considers THC-O a federally controlled, Schedule 1 drug.
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