Comparing THC compounds: What we know about THC-O versus delta-9 & delta-8
THC-O acetate is even stronger than regular THC. Here’s what you need to know to try it safely.
From delta-8 to delta-10, cannabinoids from hemp are having a moment. And now there’s a new kid on the block poised for a takeover: THC-O. But while the deltas are gentler versions of the classic THC, or delta-9 of cannabis fame, THC-O can be three times stronger than its more mainstream cousin.
Because it’s made from hemp, THC-O occupies a different legal status than cannabis products, especially in many states that don’t have a recreational market yet. That being said, there is still some debate about whether THC-O constitutes “synthetic THC” under federal law, which is still a controlled substance and illegal even when derived from hemp, so proceed with caution.
There’s still a lot we’re learning about THC-O, although there’s research on it dating back as far as the 1940s. As its popularity rises, it’s critical to keep up with the facts—and how to find safe, effective, reputable products.
Here’s what we know about THC-O and how you can make sure it’s coming from a trusted source before you give it a try.
What is THC-O and where does it come from?
THC-O’s full name is THC-O acetate, and the earliest research we have on it dates back to American military experiments on non-lethal incapacitating agents in the 1940s. Researchers tested the compound on dogs. At the end of the experiment, the dogs had lost significant control of their motor function.
To derive THC-O from hemp, first CBD is converted to delta-8 or a similar THC modification. But it goes one step further. By adding Acetic Anhydride to the mix, it becomes an acetate—specifically, THC-O.
But don’t try this at home! Acetic Anhydride is highly corrosive and flammable, and puts your health, safety, and environment at risk unless it’s made in a highly-controlled lab environment. This is one of several reasons why you should only buy THC-O if you know it came from a reputable source.
How do you take THC-O?
Once finished, THC-O acetate is a kind of thick brown liquid. You can take it in a vape cartridge, a tincture, or an edible. It takes about 20-30 minutes to kick in.
What does THC-O feel like? How is it different from delta-8, -9, and -10?
Delta-8 and delta-10 are both milder, and generally less intoxicating, than traditional delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is known for more sedative effects, while delta-10 has a reputation for a more active, sativa-like high.
THC-O is significantly stronger than not only delta-8 and -10, but also regular THC. Some consumers have reported a more spiritual high with strong effects that can even border on hallucinogenic. Like any drug, effects and tolerance are going to vary from person to person.
How to buy THC-O safely
With THC-O largely unregulated, there are a lot of risks to buying THC-O from a mystery source. Cannabis researcher James Stephens told Leafly that sometimes producers don’t even know, or claim to not know, what’s in their own product: “I ask, ‘What’s the rest of the stuff?’, and they say, ‘We don’t know’…That’s what usually shuts down the conversation.”
There’s a possibility of toxic additives in THC-O oil, too—and we’ve already seen sketchy additives cause serious health problems. Because it’s so much stronger than other forms of THC, you’ll especially want an accurate potency.
You’ll want to buy from a company that’s completely transparent, with clear lab results and a high level of accountability to its customers. five has been making trusted, transparent, full-spectrum products that combine CBD with other beneficial hemp compounds for years, and they were one of the first companies to offer products containing delta-9 and delta-10. They know how to create perfect mixes of cannabinoids—and they’re experienced at making them safely, with the consumer’s experience in mind. They even offer certificates of analysis from third-party labs so you know that what it says on the bottle matches what’s inside the product.
five has been hard at work developing THC-O products that meet their high standards. For now, you can get to know them through their fan-favorite offerings—and if THC-O appeals to you, you’ll know that you have a producer that you can trust for a great experience.
Right now, five is offering a special deal for Leafly readers. Hit the link below to try a full size product for free. You just pay shipping, and five covers the rest.
Daily Buzz Gummies: five’s flagship gummies are both delicious and powerful, with a full suite of beneficial plant compounds and 5mg delta-9 THC per gummy. Like all their gummies, they’re vegan, too. *Availability subject to local laws.
Sleep Gummies: five’s gummies for better rest add natural sleep aid melatonin to their perfect blend of hemp-derived cannabinoids—with up to six times the minor cannabinoids as other brands.
THC+CBD Liquid Capsules: Get all the benefits of full-spectrum hemp in an easy-to-use capsule packed with CBD, THC, CBN, and CBC.
Full Spectrum THC+CBD Chocolate: For a more luxurious edible experience, five offers their signature blend of cannabinoids in two flavors of chocolate: Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate.
Full Spectrum THC+CBD Oil: This is the oil that started it all. Two flavors of tinctures, citrus and mint chocolate, are packed with CBD, THC, CBN, CBC, and terpenes.