Everything You Need To Know About THC-O Acetate
There is a new substance that has been making its presence known within the cannabis world. That substance is called THC-O Acetate, or THC-O for short. There are many reasons why this substance has acquired so much interest, but chief among these is the fact that it is significantly more potent than typical delta-9 THC. But many questions remain, such as how is THC-O made, and where can you get it? Is it held to the same legal restrictions as delta 9, or is it federally legal like CBD, delta 8, and delta 10? In this article, we will answer these questions and many more. Here is everything you need to know about THC-O Acetate.
What is THC-O Acetate?
THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid. It has similar characteristics and properties to other cannabinoids and shares a very similar molecular makeup. But the difference is that THC-O does not naturally occur within nature. The only way it can be created is through synthetic means.
The process of making THC-O is both challenging and exceedingly dangerous. It involves corrosive chemicals with the ability to eat through metal. It also involves some highly complex processes in which the THC is acetylated with acetic anhydride. Once the acetylation is complete, the anhydride must be appropriately removed through distillation before the THC-O is safe to consume. Because of this, it is best to leave the procedure in the hands of skilled professionals in a laboratory setting.
The sophistication of the THC-O cultivation process is the main reason why the substance is so rare. The only people willing to take it on are those with a great deal of funding and access to cutting-edge equipment. Cannabis is still in the infancy of its legality, before which it would have been near-impossible to obtain the staff and facilities required to manufacture THC-O properly.
THC-O Acetate potency
We mentioned that THC-O Acetate is more potent than your traditional delta 9 THC. In fact, it is 300% more psychoactive than Δ9. That’s pretty significant. Keep in mind that Δ9 THC is already quite potent as far as psychotropic chemicals go. I mean, if one edible is enough to glue you to the couch for a few hours, imagine what an edible infused with this stuff could do. But what exactly is it that makes THC-O so powerful?
The reasons lie within the process of acetylation. Acetylation is the name given to the reaction that occurs when an acetyl group is introduced to a compound. An acetyl group is simply a small molecule made up of two carbon atoms, three hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. When this acetyl group is added to a molecule, like THC, a unique reaction occurs that causes the molecule to become acetylated. So in plain terms, THC-O Acetate is simply the acetylated version of THC.
Acetylated molecules are special because they have an easier time crossing the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is like the bouncer or security guard for your brain. It selectively prevents certain chemicals from entering into your neurons. So normally, if there were an overabundance of THC molecules floating around in your nervous system, the blood-brain barrier would activate and limit their absorption much in the same way that a bouncer stops letting people into a club to prevent it from getting overcrowded. But acetylated molecules can slip right past the barrier. Thus THC-O Acetate floods your neurons with a much higher number of THC molecules over a shorter amount of time, leading to a more substantial psychoactive effect.
Another common example of acetylation is the relationship between morphine and heroin. Heroin is the acetylated version of morphine. This dichotomy illustrates how substantial acetylation can be. It is the difference between morphine, a drug used to treat pain in a medical setting, and heroin, a dangerous and highly addictive illegal substance. This may beg the question, is THC-O dangerous? The answer is no. Overdosing on THC is close to impossible; even in the case of THC-O, it would take an astronomical amount to prove fatal. While acetylation may increase the potency, the properties of the molecules remain the same. Even morphine can cause fatalities if misused.
The history of THC-O Acetate
As we previously noted, THC-O Acetate’s appearance on the cannabis stage has been exceedingly rare. The one and only reported instance of recreational use in the US dates back to 1978. A man in Jacksonville, Florida, was found making it in his kitchen.
In 1995, New Zealand outlawed the substance after finding people synthesizing it based on instructions found in a book titled “Cannabis Alchemy: Art of Modern Hashmaking.”
At one point, about seventy years ago, the US military did some experimentation with THC-O. They found that it had a very strong sedative effect on dogs. But they decided not to move forward with it.
The future of THC-O Acetate
As it currently stands, THC-O is not found on the federal government’s list of banned substances. But this doesn’t necessarily make it legal. THC-O is considered a THC analog, meaning it falls under the same legal classification as delta 9. It is considered federally illegal, but it can be legally sold and manufactured in states where marijuana is legal.
As far as where to buy⸺certain dispensaries have begun selling THC-O products as more and more knowledge regarding the substance has pulled it into the spotlight. But the future of THC-O remains unclear. Consumers are still very skeptical, and rightfully so. Cannabis has long had a reputation as a natural substance. Some cultures consider marijuana to be a plant medicine. The Rastafarians smoke it to become closer to God and closer to mother nature. A synthetic cannabis product that’s manufactured in a lab kind of defeats the whole purpose.
But perhaps the future of THC-O lies outside of its potential as a recreational drug. The uses of THC go well beyond simply getting high. THC can relieve pain and ease nausea, for example. If the psychoactive components of THC-O are so much more considerable, it is safe to assume that its medicinal properties are enhanced as well. Perhaps the future of THC-O will be as an effective pain reliever or a sedative used in the medical industry. A lot more research needs to be done, and there is still much about this substance that we are yet to understand fully. But the fact of the matter remains: the growing interest in THC-O parallels the changing image of cannabis in our society. While the future of THC-O may be up in the air, one thing is clear, the future of cannabis, as a whole, looks very bright.