Move over, delta-8 — there’s a new cannabinoid on the scene.
And this one’s more powerful than ever. If you have questions like “what is THC-O?” or “is THC-O legal?” then we have good news: you’re in the right place! Keep reading to get all your questions answered in our THC-O guide.
- What is THC-O?
- What is THC-O-Acetate?
- How THC-O is made
- What is THC-O distillate?
- Is THC-O legal?
- THC-O: is it healthy…or not?
- How to experience THC-O
What is THC-O?
THC-O is a cannabinoid, just like CBD or THC. THC-O can also be derived from legal hemp flower.
But that’s about where the similarities end. THC-O is a variation of THC, and it might just be the most psychoactive natural cannabinoid of all! Researchers call it “the psychedelic cannabinoid.” And studies show that it’s up to three times stronger than ‘regular’ THC. 
The synthetic manner in which THC-O is produced, however, means it’s currently illegal in some states. Most law enforcement agencies view it as a synthetic isomer of THC. Some THC-O is actually produced from CBD, making it CBD-O. But more on production methods next.
What is THC-O-Acetate?
THC-O acetate is simply the full name of THC-O. This cannabinoid is also sometimes called delta-O THC. Let’s take a quick look at this unique cannabinoid’s history before getting into what it does in your body.
You might be surprised to hear that THC-O was actually discovered a long time ago. The United States military started studying the compound back in 1949. They discovered it reduced muscular twice as quickly as ‘regular’ THC.
From there THC-O laid low for roughly 30 years. Then, in 1978, the DEA discovered an illicit THC-O lab in Florida. This lab had been supplying THC-O to buyers and sellers throughout the United States.
How THC-O is made
How is THC-O produced? By combining acetic anhydride and either delta-8 THC, delta-8 THC, or CBD. This sets off a chemical reaction that produces pure delta-O THC acetate.
THC-O production requires trained chemists and a sterile lab. Why? Because acetic anhydride is a highly flammable, volatile compound. The process of adding it to other cannabinoids requires a series of complex steps:
- Hemp flower is extracted to produce a hemp extract
- Delta-8 THC is fractionally ‘pulled’ out of this extract
- Delta-8 is combined with acetic anhydride in a timed-released reaction
- This reaction produces THC-O acetate
While THC-O is produced from hemp, many experts nonetheless view it as semi-synthetic. “THC-O acetate is what’s called a semi-synthetic derivative, or analog. Through a chemical process using a very toxic chemical called acetic anhydride, you can turn some of the delta-9 THC into THC-O acetate, ” cannabis expert and neurologist Ethan Russo explains. “The process of making THC-O acetate is inherently dangerous […] this is something that’s got to be done in a technical lab with a vacuum hood [with] no exposure to humans.”
And THC-O becomes even more dangerous if you try to produce it yourself. Take it from us: don’t ever try to DIY THC-O production!
A growing number of THC-O manufacturers are agreeing with Dr. Russo’s warnings. “[…] Don’t try to make THC-O on your own,” says Honest Marijuana Company. “The process requires special equipment and advanced training to get right. And volatile, flammable, and explosive chemicals are necessary. It’s not worth your life […] to do something that a lab can do better and safer.”
If THC-O is produced the right way, however, the final product is a viscous amber liquid that looks almost like motor oil. But is delta-O good for you? Probably not — keep reading to learn why.
What is THC-O distillate?
THC-O distillate is simply a concentrated, distilled version of THC-O/THC-O acetate. Its consistency and feel is much like delta-8 or CBD distillate.
In other words, THC-O distillate can be a little sticky and difficult to work with. It’s best to store it in the fridge or freezer prior to using — that way it’ll be a little less viscous. When kept in this form THC-O can be easily added to vape cartridges.
Is THC-O legal?
That depends on who you ask. While THC-O product manufacturers say that their products are protected by the 2018 Federal Farm Bill (this bill deemed every hemp-derived cannabinoid besides ‘regular’ THC permissible under federal law), other experts say not so fast. Most of them feel that THC-O will follow the legal path of delta-8, however, which has been outlawed in some states due to its psychotropic properties. 
Other experts claim that THC-O is illegal already. They cite 1986’s Federal Analogue Act as proof; this Act claimed that any analogs or homologs of THC are also schedule 1 substances.  Yet this very same argument could be used against CBN or delta-8 THC. Only time will tell how THC-O’s legal status changes in the long run.
THC-O State laws
Some states have already taken steps towards banning delta-O THC products. States that are less friendly towards medical cannabis are more likely to ban delta-O in the future. And even if legislators in any given state do ban THC-O, they’re essentially playing a game of whack a mole — a new hemp-derived cannabinoid is likely to take its place!
Other states are opting for a more nuanced approach by going after unlicensed THC-O manufacturers and letting licensed producers do their thing. This approach is only logical, as unlicensed producers are the ones responsible for low-quality THC-O products.
THC-O international laws
Hemp-derived THC-O is currently semi-legal in the US and most other parts of the Western World. Britain and New Zealand are two exceptions: the cannabinoid is fully legal in these nations.
Meanwhile in Canada, THC-O may not be expressly described as a prohibited compound, but it’s still hard to find. The case is the same in many parts of Europe. All in all, THC-O is illegal on a global level.
THC-O: is it healthy…or not?
Despite having been studied since 1949, THC-O remains a little mysterious to this day. Not many high-quality studies have taken the time to actually understand this substance. What we know for sure is that THC-O is super strong — beyond that, the research has been conflicting.
This caveat aside, let’s look at some of THC-O’s most likely qualities.
- THC-O is a ‘prodrug,’ meaning its metabolites are more powerful than it is
- THC-O may exert more of a ‘body high,’ causing sedation and couch-lock
- THC-O may be 2-3+ times stronger than ‘regular’ delta-9 THC
According to cannabis chemist James Stephens, you need to be working with high-quality THC-O to experience anything good from THC-O. “If you’re using low-quality extract material and low-quality reagents you bought online from Alibaba […] you’re likely to get way less pure of a product than if you’re using clean reagents and do a lot of downstream purification steps,” Stephens explains to Leafly. 
Other things to know about THC-O include:
- It appears to be relatively safe, with no known overdoses or hospitalizations (the same can’t be said of alcohol, coffee, or even water!)
- Its effects appear to be transient, disappearing once things have been fully metabolized
- It may or may not be safer than fully-synthetic homologs like spice or K2
THC-O’s side effects — and how to avoid them!
THC-O’s strength and unnatural nature mean it can come with a variety of potential side effects. The compound’s most common side effects include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Serotonin dysregulation
High doses of delta-O THC can be so sedating that they verge on being incapacitating. Users report feeling very lethargic, the point of being unable to communicate or go through their daily activities. If you’re looking for a cannabinoid that will boost your cognitive function and increase your productivity, this one probably isn’t it.
If you want to try THC-O and stay safe, here are some tips and tricks that should help you get the milder effects you’re looking for:
- Order your delta-O THC from a trusted source
- View your product’s lab tests to determine how much delta-O is in each serving
- Don’t use THC-O if you have underlying conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
- Don’t mix THC-O with alcohol
- Don’t mix THC-O with pharmaceuticals
- Don’t mix THC-O with other psychotropic/psychedelic drugs
- Use THC-O in the presence of trusted friends or family, especially at first!
Do we carry THC-O products?
How to Use THC-O
If you’re a seasoned cannabis connoisseur who still wants to try THC-O, then keep reading — this next section is for you. In it we’ll take a look at some of the most common THC-O products.
THC-O tinctures are one of the most effective cannabinoid delivery methods. Our Flawless THC-O Tincture Oil 1500mg provides the strongest buzz available to consumers — more powerful than Delta-9, more potent than Delta-8, and more buzzworthy than just about any other cannabinoid on the market today!
It’s 1500mg of pure euphoria. In fact, with THC-O this good, some might say the buzz is… Flawless.
THC-O gummies are fun, playful, and seriously strong. Our three flavor (pineapple, strawberry, and watermelon) gummies will rock your taste buds, while the extra-strength cannabinoid will kick your systems into high gear, leaving you refreshed reinvigorated, and ready to ride the rainbow into the stratosphere.
This delivery method might be perfect for users who want to experience delta-O in a streamlined, convenient form. Gummies also make dialing in your ideal dose easy.
Summing things up
THC-O isn’t a new cannabinoid — it’s been around for over half a century — but its modern resurgence is what convinced us to give it some newfound attention. Along with other THC analogs, delta-O’s popularity is on the rise. Try it for yourself if you seek the buzziest buzz possible!