A large number of clinical studies have significantly improved people's knowledge of the therapeutic potential of cannabis products in recent 1 to 5 years. For centuries, cannabis-based drugs have been used for remedial purposes in many cultures. In addition to THC - the most potent psychoactive ingredient, cannabis contains a significant amount of other cannabinoids and plant substances. Most of the effects of cannabis compounds are based on the psychotropic effects of THC on the various cannabinoid receptors. However, some effects of cannabis compounds are caused by the effects of cannabinoids other than Delta 9. For example, CBD has antiemetic, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD is the cannabinoid that is found in the highest concentration in many cannabis strains after THC. Cannabis is so rich in benefits that nowadays, researchers discover more and more components and even create new ones.
What Is THC-O?
One of the new compounds is THC-O (tetrahydrocannabinol acetate) - a synthetic analog of Delta 9 THC. This particular component does not occur in the cannabis plant naturally but is made in the laboratory. Through acetylation (chemical reaction) of Delta 9 THC, Delta 8 THC, or THCA, the THC-O is created. Some people state that THC-O is more powerful than Delta 9 THC. However, we must not forget that cannabis has a complex mechanism of action. Therefore, cannabis's cannabinoids can have various effects on different people.
Nevertheless, neurologists can't deny the beneficial properties of marijuana, especially for medicinal purposes. Typically, in such cases, low doses of THC works effectively. And it is essential to mention that, for some people, higher doses of THC often can cause negative side effects. Choosing one over the other is an individual choice for everyone and a matter of what is convenient. However, if some people need more potent cannabis to feel the beneficial effects, alternately, they may benefit from a cannabis tolerance break.
Is THC-O Stronger Than THC?
THC-O is approximately five times more potent than Delta 8 THC and three times as potent as Delta 9 THC. THC-O is considered a pro-drug, which means it does not become active until after the liver metabolizes it. Once it is metabolized, what is left is principally just THC (Delta 9). So the question arises - why would this synthetic analog of THC be any more potent?
There is a lot of consideration around this topic, but the leading theory is that it eventually comes down to bioavailability.
The acetylated version of Delta 9 is exceptionally more bioavailable than the non-acetylated version of this compound. Once THC-O is digested by the body, the individual operative group (-O) is eliminated — allowing the THC to induce its effects as usual but only at a significantly higher dose. Users of THC-O report that it is maybe three times more effective than Delta 9 THC.
But is that necessary or helpful? This product demands more research and testing. Nowadays, researchers answer the question above with - no. And the principal reason is that Delta 9 is known as the CB1 receptor's weak partial agonist. It is easy to understand what by "weak" the researchers mean. Partial - means that its binding is not super tight. Agonist stimulates the CB1 receptor, which is the tool of action that gives the "high" of THC, including many of its remedial properties (mainly for eliminating the pain).
More potent - sounds desirable for cannabis enthusiasts. But this is the endogenous cannabinoid system of the body that works with a great deal of delicateness. In different words, what is needed when you are using a cannabis supplement to stimulate the body's endogenous system is a tender nudge, not a mighty push.
Is THC-O Legal?
For the time being, the answer is - yes. Because THC-O is obtained from federally legal hemp, containing zero Delta 9 THC. However, the chemical composition and potency of THC-O suggest an unpredictable future.
For the moment, as long as THC-O's supply chain can be followed back to federally legal hemp, THC-O will remain in a gray area to slide under the regulatory radar. Because the products containing THC-O, as the Delta 10 and Delta 8 products, exist in the limited legal space between hemp (legal) and cannabis (illegal). Currently, few popular hemp brands are displaying their THC-O products that are available for online purchase.
But before buying THC-O products, bear in mind that it is not considered a naturally occurring cannabinoid and should be used with caution.