What Are the Risks of Using THC-O?

What Are the Risks of Using THC-O?

In recent years, cannabis compounds that produce psychoactive effects have gained popularity. THC-O is one of these compounds. It reportedly has greater potency than THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. 

Because of its possible high potency level and lack of research, many people are concerned about the risks of using THC-O.  Here are some things you need to know about this dangerous cannabinoid.

What is THC-O?

THC-O (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is not derived from hemp in the same way as CBD, CBG, or CBN.  It is a non-natural substance also called THC-O-acetate that is not found in the hemp plant.  

THC-O is synthesized using acetic anhydride which is a combustible liquid that produces harmful vapors that should not be inhaled.  A large variety of products are made with this chemical, including pharmaceuticals, plastics, textiles, dyes, and explosives.  

Specialized equipment is required when working around this chemical; therefore, no one should attempt to produce the substance in a makeshift home lab.

Synthesizing THC-O begins by converting CBD into delta-8 THC.  Next, acetic anhydride is applied to the delta-8 THC molecules to produce THC-O acetate.

Effects of Using THC-O

Although little research has been done on the effects of THC-O, some news sources claim that it is up to three times more potent than THC.  Many people who use the substance report that the psychedelic effects are greater than what is experienced using other cannabinoids.  

Some people claim THC-O boosts appetite, reduces anxiety, and relieves pain.  Other users report the following side effects:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation, grogginess, lethargy
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

The euphoric effects can include some or all of the following:

  • Body high or a buzz
  • Consciousness expansion
  • Relaxation
  • Joy
  • Psychedelic effects

Often, these effects are sought by people who are seeking self-awareness, deeper understanding and insight, and a greater sense of creativity.

The effects increase steadily, so it’s wise to know the risks of taking too much.  In small doses, a person will experience mild psychoactive effects.  Moderate doses will produce common psychoactive effects.  With high doses, the person will experience psychoactive and potentially psychedelic effects.

Is THC-O Legal?

The legal status of THC-O is questionable for several reasons.  The substance is not listed by name under the CSA’s list of Schedule I substances.  However, the substance is derived from a hemp compound known as Delta-8. 

According to the FDA Cannabis Derived Products Data Acceleration Plan: 

“Delta-8 THC synthetically produced from non-cannabis materials is controlled under the CSA as a tetrahydrocannabinol.” 

Following that logic, THC-O could also be considered illegal tetrahydrocannabinol.

Producers of THC-O claim they are protected under the Farm Bill passed in 2018.  However, experts believe the compound is illegal according to the 1986 Federal Analogue Act.  As a result of this act, any substance comparable to a Schedule I drug also qualifies as a Schedule I drug.

Consumers of THC-O need to weigh the risks until these compounds come under a state-regulated system. Currently, the products do not have to meet any health or safety standards.  To clearly understand the psychological and physiological effects of THC-O, more research is needed.

In the U.S., THC-O is becoming increasingly popular. It can be obtained as gummies, vape cartridges, and tinctures.

What Are the Dangers of Using THC-O?

Anyone choosing to use THC-O should be cautious.  The substance, like other cannabinoids, is manufactured without any standards and is not regulated.  Most THC-O products are touted as being all-natural, but the production process always involves synthetic chemicals.  It is impossible to know the actual chemicals used or how potent the THC-O may be.  

THC-O is called the “spiritual cannabinoid” because it delivers a more potent experience than conventional THC.  This happens because the body absorbs THC-O at higher levels than it does THC.

Typically, the psychoactive effects of THC-O are not noticeable for up to 30 minutes because it must first be metabolized.  As a result, the person may think they haven’t taken enough and will take another dose.  When using edibles, the effects may take several hours to appear.  Vaporized THC-O takes about 20 minutes to an hour to kick in according to some consumers.

Is THC-O Addictive?

Like any recreational substance, the chance of developing a tolerance to or dependence on THC-O is a valid concern.  In the case of THC-O, if you find that you require more of the drug to achieve the desired effects, this is a warning sign that you should avoid the drug or seek professional help.  A potential addiction is not something you want to risk.

Other reasons to be cautious about THC-O are included in warnings from the FDA.  They report an uptick in adverse events including contamination due to manufacturing shortcuts.

Design for Change Recovery Wants to Help You

We urge you to get in touch with Design for Change Recovery right away if you are having problems controlling your THC-O consumption.  One of our representatives will talk to you about our unique, customized treatment plans and recommend one that is right for your situation.  Start your journey to a drug-free lifestyle by calling our Lancaster, CA facility today.

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