What is THC-O: Potential Benefits, Effects, Potency, Legal Status, and How To Use It

From the cannabis community to scientific circles, THC-O has become the subject of fervent discussions and studies. But what exactly is THC-O, and what sets it apart from its more well-known counterparts?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify THC-O, exploring its origins, potential effects, legal considerations, and the growing interest surrounding this intriguing cannabinoid.

What Is THC-O?

Unlike conventional THC often found in THC carts, THC-O, short for THC-O acetate, is purportedly a synthetic cannabinoid renowned for its heightened potency. 

But its distinction doesn’t stop there; the mechanisms and effects of THC-O on the human body are said to manifest in ways that redefine the cannabis experience.

What Is THC-O: How Is It Made

THC-O is derived from hemp through various extractions and chemical processes. 

The production of THC-O involves converting CBD to delta-8 THC sold by the best delta-8 brands and then combining it with acetic anhydride, a chemical compound. The resulting THC-O is safe to use when handled correctly.

THC-O Effects & Potency

THC-O is a psychoactive compound that causes euphoria and relaxation. It is known for its potency, being three times stronger than delta-9-THC, the active component in marijuana. 

Some users also report psychedelic effects similar to those of psilocybin (magic mushrooms), although scientific research on this aspect is limited.

The effects of THC-O are similar to those of other THC compounds but noticeably stronger. It can provide mental relaxation, mood-boosting, pain and inflammation relief, and potentially aid in sleep. [1]

Is THC-O Legal?

The legality of THC-O is currently a topic of debate and interpretation. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabinoids derived from hemp are federally legal in the United States as long as the THC content is below 0.3%

However, the Drug Enforcement Administration has expressed that THC-O is not a hemp derivative because it doesn’t occur naturally in hemp. As a result, THC-O is considered a controlled substance by the DEA.

Potential Benefits of THC-O

While research on THC-O is limited, anecdotal reports and preliminary studies suggest potential benefits associated with its use. Some of the potential benefits of THC-O include:

  • Sleep: THC-O may promote restful sleep and help users fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
  • Mental relaxation and mood-boosting: THC-O’s psychoactive effects can promote mental calm and relaxation, potentially improving mood.
  • Pain and inflammation relief: Anecdotal evidence suggests that THC-O may have healing potential for various types of pain and inflammation.
  • Psychedelic effects: THC-O may provide psychedelic experiences for some users, similar to those associated with magic mushrooms.

It is important to note that these potential benefits are based on limited research and individual experiences. Further scientific studies are needed to understand the therapeutic potential and risks of THC-O fully.

THC-O Risks & Side Effects

While THC-O may offer potential benefits, it is not without risks and side effects. Some of the risks and side effects associated with THC-O use include:

  • Dry mouth and eyes: Common side effects of THC-O include dry mouth and dry eyes.
  • Low blood pressure: THC-O may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, leading to lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Sleepiness: THC-O can induce drowsiness and may cause users to feel excessively tired.

How to Safely Use THC-O

To safely use THC-O, it is important to follow these guidelines:

  • Start with a low dosage: Due to the potency of THC-O, start with a low dosage and gradually increase if needed. It is recommended to consult product-specific guidelines or a healthcare professional for dosage recommendations.
  • Choose reputable brands: Purchase THC-O products from reputable brands that follow quality and safety standards.
  • Avoid inhalation methods: Inhalation methods, such as vaping or smoking THC-O, may carry additional risks due to the production of potentially harmful gases. It is safer to opt for other consumption methods, such as edibles or oils.
  • Educate yourself: Understand the laws and regulations regarding THC-O in your state and adhere to them. Stay informed about the latest research and guidelines related to THC-O use.


Below are the most commonly asked questions about THC-O: 

How Long Does It Take for THC-O to Kick In?

The onset time of THC-O can vary depending on the consumption method. If inhaled through a THC vape pen or dab rig, THC-O typically takes effect within 20 minutes. When consumed in oil form, it may take around 30 minutes to feel the effects. 

Edibles, on the other hand, can take 1-2 hours for the effects to be noticeable. These onset times are longer compared to other cannabinoids due to the nature of THC-O as a “prodrug” that needs to be processed by the body before becoming active.

How Long Does the High From THC-O Last?

The duration of the high from THC-O used in THC-O carts can vary depending on the dosage, individual metabolism, and other factors. On average, the effects of THC-O can last between 3-8 hours. However, it is important to note that individual experiences may vary.

How Long Does THC-O Stay in the System?

The length of time THC-O stays in the system can vary depending on various factors, including frequency of use, dosage, and individual metabolism. 

For occasional users, THC-O may be detectable in urine for up to 2 weeks. However, for regular users, it may take 30 days or longer for the body to completely clear THC-O.

Will THC-O Show Up on a Drug Test?

Yes, THC-O can potentially show up on a drug test. Most drug tests are designed to detect the presence of THC metabolites, and THC-O can produce similar metabolites as other THC compounds. 

What’s the Difference between THC-O and Delta-8 THC?

THC-O and delta-8 THC are both synthetic cannabinoids derived from hemp. However, they differ in terms of potency and effects. 

THC-O is approximately three times stronger than delta-8 THC, meaning it can produce more potent psychoactive effects. It is important to consider these differences when choosing between THC-O and delta-8 THC products sold by delta-8 brands.

What’s the Difference between THC-O and Delta-9 THC?

The main difference between THC-O and delta-9 THC is their legal status and potency. Delta-9 THC is the psychoactive component found in marijuana and is federally illegal in the United States. 

THC-O, on the other hand, is a synthetic cannabinoid derived from hemp, and its legal status is currently subject to interpretation. THC-O is also known for its increased potency compared to delta-9 THC.

What Is THC-O: Final Note

THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid derived from hemp that has gained popularity in recent years. It is known for its potency and potential psychoactive effects.

It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using THC-O, especially for individuals with underlying medical conditions or those taking medication.


McDonagh, M. S., Morasco, B. J., Wagner, J., Ahmed, A. Y., Fu, R., Kansagara, D., & Chou, R. (2022). Cannabis-Based Products for Chronic Pain : A Systematic Review. Annals of internal medicine, 175(8), 1143–1153. https://doi.org/10.7326/M21-4520

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