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The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for a new wave of hemp-derived cannabis products to hit the market. By now, you no doubt know about CBD and THC. But what about THC-O?

Also known as tetrahydrocannabinol-O-acetate or THC-O acetate, THC-O is an analog of THC that makes quite an impression in the cannabis wellness industry. 

THC-O is a synthetic, highly intoxicating cannabinoid that is triple the potency of THC! While there is currently a lack of scientific evidence on its safety and efficacy, it appears to have similar effects to THC. 

The intense level of intoxication it causes, coupled with its current legal status, means this cannabinoid has become extremely popular in recent times.

Let’s take a closer look at this mysterious new cannabinoid.

What is THC-O?

THC-O shares the same base structure as THC but is attached to a unique functional group (an acetate group).

This added portion of the molecule makes it substantially more potent than most other forms of THC. THC-O-acetate’s effects can be up to 300% stronger than THC!

Unlike CBD, CBG, or CBC, THC-O is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid present in cannabis. Instead, THC-O is a purely synthetic substance created from a delta-9 conversion process under laboratory conditions using specialized chemicals.

Even though it has only become popular recently, the American military began studying THC-O decades ago.

It investigated the compound as a potential non-lethal incapacitating agent during the Edgewood Arsenal experiments, which took place between 1949 and 1975.

While not explicitly listed as a controlled substance, THC-O’s legality remains questionable, as does its safety.

However, THC-O products are still available to purchase from many US-based brands. Always do your research to ensure you are getting THC-O that is safe and effective.

How does THC-O work? 

More definitive research and data are needed, but scientists have concluded that THC-O is a “prodrug,” or a compound that the liver must metabolize to activate.

Once THC-O is metabolized, what is left behind is a highly bioavailable variation of delta-9 THC.

This increased bioavailability is believed to be responsible for the significant boost in potency.

Like all other cannabinoids, THC-O works in our body by interacting with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system responsible for maintaining homeostasis.

When a person takes THC-O, the cannabinoid quickly attaches to receptors throughout the brain and body, resulting in various effects.

Although scientists are still working to understand the ECS fully, so far, we know it plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including:

  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Memory

What are the effects of THC-O?

There is little to no formal research data available on this cannabinoid. However, anecdotal claims from THC-O consumers suggest it could help manage pain, boost appetite, and reduce anxiety. 

THC-O produces a very similar high to other forms of weed but with a much more psychedelic twist to it. 

While a low dose reportedly feels similar to THC, moderate amounts are supposedly nearly psychedelic due to the more intense visuals and altered headspace it creates.

Meanwhile, high doses of THC-O have been compared to low doses of mescaline but with milder visuals and a much heavier, more physically sedating effect.

As it is a prodrug, the effects can take up to 30 minutes to kick in. During that time, it is essential not to take a second dose. If you use an edible, you might not feel anything for a couple of hours.

Please note that once the effects appear, the onset is rapid. Many users feel the peak effects just 15-20 minutes after the first wave.

What Is the Recommended Dose of THC-O?

It is important to remember that THC-O can triple the potency of THC. Its powerful potency should not be underestimated. It is probably best to stick to one-third of what you might typically consume in a THC product.

Furthermore, because cannabinoids can affect people differently, it is always good advice to start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you feel the desired effects (go low and slow).

That being said, if you smoke or vape THC-O, stick to a dosage of up to 0.5mg. If you take THC-O via oil or edibles, about 3mg is usually the recommended amount.

Taking more than the recommended amount will probably result in intoxication, and if you smoke 5+mg or orally consume 10+mg, you could even experience psychedelic effects.

Since these experiences may be unpleasant or even frightening, it is also best for novices to steer clear of THC-O entirely.

Always refer back to the packaging to make sure you are sticking to the dosage provided by the manufacturer.

Also, do not hesitate to consult your doctor before using THC-O, especially if you are already taking any medications.


THC-O is a synthetic, highly intoxicating cannabinoid three times as strong as THC.

There is currently no consensus regarding its safety and efficacy, although it seems to have similar effects to THC. However, the lack of regulation means you must be careful when sourcing it.

Look into the reputation of any brand that interests you, and read THC-O acetate reviews from customers.

Reputable dealers sell derivatives that derive from federally legal hemp only.

Make sure to check state laws before buying and using them.

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