How Does THC-O Differ From Delta-9, Delta-8, & HHC?

18 October, 2022
How Does THC-O Differ From Delta-9, Delta-8, & HHC?

For some people, a good THC-heavy strain is the way to go. Unfortunately, access to that type of cannabis isn't readily available for everyone in this country. As a result, there have been several attempts to find legal loopholes that allow people to enjoy that uplifting head buzz. With alternatives on the market like Delta-8 THC and HHC, it's important for consumers to remain cautious and diligent. But what's the story with THC-O? Is it yet another experimental cannabinoid with an unproven track record and an uncertain future? Let's find out!

Packing a Punch

As we know, delta-8 THC is milder than delta-9. So is THC-O also less potent? You may be surprised to know that there are cannabinoids stronger than traditional delta-9 THC, and THC-O is one of them. Some who have tried it have claimed that it offers something akin to a spiritual experience — a sort of consciousness expansion. THC-O may be up to triple the intensity of delta-9, so you should only try it if you're very familiar with your tolerance levels and confident you can handle it. 

The US first began experimenting with this cannabinoid back in the late '40s as a military effort to find a non-lethal substance with incapacitating properties. THC-O is made by extracting CBD from hemp and turning it into a form of THC, like delta-8. From there, acetic anhydride — which is extremely combustible — is mixed in to create THC-O acetate. The result is a thick brown oil that is free of flavonoids and terpenes, making it tasteless and odorless. The process to create THC-O is quite dangerous and should only be done in a controlled laboratory setting. With all cannabis products, it's always wise to purchase from a trusted brand, but because of how it's made, you should use even more discretion when shopping for THC-O.


Consuming THC-O

THC-O products can be enjoyed in the form of tinctures, vape cartridges, or edibles, and they generally take around 30 minutes or so to go to work. When this cannabinoid does kick in, it's easily circulated and absorbed throughout your body. It must be metabolized or else you won't feel anything, which is why smoking is not believed to be an effective mode of consumption. Not only that, but smoking could also trigger other chemicals that may be in your THC-O product.

While there isn't a whole lot of information available to assume THC-O is safe, it does show some promise as an effective course of action for cannabis patients. Because of how strong it is compared to delta-9, it could help ease pain in those who have developed a high tolerance to traditional THC. Still, it may be smart to play it safe until more research is conducted to better understand how this cannabinoid will affect you. 

Like delta-8 and HHC, the THC-O market doesn't have a system of regulation in place, and quality varies greatly from brand to brand. In fact, many companies will ship products packed with up to 15% unidentifiable materials. Make sure that if you do buy anything with this cannabinoid in it, the laboratory information is listed clearly and that the provider is trustworthy, experienced, and reputable. It's not just the potency you have to watch out for; you could easily purchase a THC-O product that contains harmful chemicals, which may be hazardous to your health. 


That Legal Gray Area

THC-O exists in the same category as Delta-8 and HHC. Since it's made from cannabinoids pulled from hemp, it technically falls outside of the federal ban on cannabis products, though its similarity to traditional THC could classify it as a Schedule I controlled substance. But it's a little more complicated than that because even CBD could technically be considered illegal according to the Federal Analogue Act. Ultimately, its legal status is very much unknown for now.

Some experts are concerned that THC-O could damage the reputation of cannabis as a whole, thereby impacting the progress of legalization. Because of its heavy effects, it's easier to take too much, and if a growing number of consumers were to overdose, such a phenomenon would raise a red flag and put pressure on the entire industry.  

Since THC-O has a lot of potential to help suffering patients who no longer feel effects from delta-9 THC, we are optimistic that it will be a safe, legal, and regulated form of cannabis in the future. Until that time comes, it may be best to stick to more familiar cannabinoids.