What Is THC O?

If you live in a cannabis-illegal state, you've probably heard of THC-O by now. But, what is THC O?

This new hemp-derived compound has gained quick popularity for its federally legal status and high potency. Many users fondly refer to this compound as the "spiritual cannabinoid" for its uplifting effects. However, professionals urge caution that this compound is not a good DIY project — even in a highly-regulated environment, the substance is still quite dangerous to produce.

Keep reading to learn more about 'what is THC O?'

What is THC O? Inforgraphic

What Is THC-O?

THC-O, or tetrahydrocannabinol-o-acetate, or THC-O-acetate, is one of the many synthetic cannabinoids currently gaining huge popularity in cannabis-illegal states. Though it is a synthetic cannabinoid, meaning that it is not found in nature, it is considered a classical cannabinoid. A classical cannabinoid is one that shares the same base structure as cannabinoids that are found in nature. This is in opposition to synthetic cannabinoids that do not share that same structure but still interact with the endocannabinoid system in some way.

THC-O is a very powerful psychoactive synthetic analog of THC. It produces a similar 'high' to other THC products, only more powerful; THC-O effects are said to be 3 times as potent as traditional THC, with claims that the experience can be truly psychedelic — intense visuals, altered headspace, and all.

How To Take THC-O

Now that you have the answer to what is THC O?, you still need to learn a few more things before you try this new cannabinoid.

Though the effects of THC-O might have a similar feeling to regular ol' THC, the way that this cannabinoid functions in the body is very different. THC-O is what's known as a prodrug; this means that it doesn't take effect until after it has been metabolized by the liver.

This means that, unlike a traditional THC smoke, you won't feel the effects of THC-O right after you take it. You'll need to wait at least 20-30 minutes, see how you feel, and evaluate from there.

As with any new cannabis product, we urge our customers to start small and work from there. Take 1 dose, as per the recommendations on your product packaging — whether that be a single gummy edible, a drag of a disposable vape pen, or a couple of puffs on a bowl of flower — wait 20 minutes to an hour, and then evaluate how you feel.

You can always take more tomorrow, but there's no going back if you have taken a large dose and start to experience unpleasant side effects.

Some of our customers even find it helpful to write down their dose and its timing to better understand the particular THC-O effects.


Generally, time to effects are:

  • up to an hour for oral dosing

  • up to twenty minutes for smoking or vaping

THC-O Effects

The THC-O effects are not well-studied at this time, but there is a consensus on its effects from users' anecdotal reports.

THC-O produces an elevated psychoactive 'high' that can be euphoric and sedative, depending on the dose. Because of its prodrug status, the body can absorb higher levels of THC-O than regular THC (the compound has higher bioavailability), and this can be a more potent experience.

Many users report common effects, such as:

  • Relaxation

  • Body high

  • Intense introspection

  • Spiritual sensations

  • Euphoria

  • Psychedelic effects

Many users report that this cannabinoid is helpful for increasing self-awareness, diving into introspection, bolstering creativity, and gaining heightened insights.

Different Doses of THC-O

The effects of THC-O vary at different doses, however. General dosing information is as follows:

  • Threshold dose: 2mg taken orally, or 0.5mg smoked/vaped

  • Psychoactive dose: 3-10mg taken orally, or 1-5mg smoked/vaped

  • Psychedelic dose*: 10-15mg taken orally, or 5+mg smoked/vaped.

*As mentioned above, we urge you to start small. You should only attempt higher doses after thoroughly exploring how lower doses affect your body and mind.

How THC-O Is Made

According to board-certified neurologist Dr. Ethan Russo, a top-tier researcher who has been studying cannabis for more than 25 years, the process to make THC-O is very dangerous. In an interview with Cannabis Business Times, Russo states:

"The process of making THC-O acetate is inherently dangerous. The acetic anhydride that's part of the process is extremely flammable and potentially explosive. This is something that's got to be done in a technical lab with a vacuum hood [and] no exposure to humans."

The process of creating the THC-O starts with hemp, which is federally legal per the 2018 Farm Bill as long as it is below 0.3% THC, from which CBD is extracted. From the CBD, delta-8 THC is created; and from the delta-8, the very dangerous process of adding acetic anhydride takes place to create THC-O.

This process should never be attempted at home (or anywhere else! Unless you are a certified expert working in a controlled laboratory setting.)

Is THC O Safe?

After answering what is THC O?, you may be wondering, is THC O safe?

The current reality of THC-O is that there is not a conclusive body of evidence to point to the substance being either safe or unsafe. Research in the coming years will surely begin to uncover the details of this cannabinoid.

Don't let that scare you though — remember when THC was the devil's lettuce and would make you a lazy sack of you-know-what? Now, science has caught up to realize its benefits.

In the case of THC-O, it is reassuring that there have not been any reported cases of sickness or overdose. Above, we talked about THC-O being a classical cannabinoid — that it shares the same structure as naturally occurring cannabinoids. It is clear that THC-O is much safer than some of the synthetic cannabinoids going around in years prior, such as K2 or spice — which were not classical cannabinoids, and proved to be not only dangerous but sometimes deadly.

THC-O is not associated with any of the negative side effects of these non-classical cannabinoids and appears to have a similar safety profile to good ol' delta-9 THC.

Is THC-O Legal?

Well, it depends on who you ask, really.

Many claim that THC-O is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill because the cannabinoid is derived from federally legal hemp.

Others cite the 1986 Federal Analogue Act which states that any substance analogous to a Schedule I drug is illegal just the same, and can be treated as such. There is a whole group of folks who believe this law prohibits all of the new cannabinoids that are hitting the market lately.

What Is THC O — A Final Word

If you're looking for a 'high' with psychoactive potency and possible spiritual effects, THC-O effects might be just the ticket. Remember though, THC-O is very dangerous to make and you should never attempt to make it at home. Further, because of its high potency, we urge you to start with small doses, note your experiences, and work from there.


If you've still got questions about "what is THC O?" we didn't answer, or anything else in the cannabis world, come on into any one of our 7 Mr. Nice Guys locations throughout Corpus Christi and talk to our knowledgeable staff. And as always, have a nice daze!

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