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What is THCO?

An Introduction to THCO

THC what? It is totally understandable if you don't know what THCO is. Having little to no knowledge of this new kid on the block doesn't take anything away from your pedigree as a cannabis connoisseur. However, if your cannabis game is tight, you must have noticed the cannabis revolution headlined by delta-8 and later followed by delta 10 THC. We are breaking it to you that Delta 9 is no longer the be-all of the cannabinoids, at least not in terms of benefits and high.

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 The Most Psychoactive Cannabinoid

One strong contender to THC fame as the most psychoactive cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol-o-acetate. Also known as THC-O-Acetate, THC Acetate or ATHC, not to be confused with THCA - a precursor to THC, the new cannabinoid is a highly potent, synthetic compound extracted from hemp. 

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Unlike delta-8 and delta-10, CBC, delta-9, even or CBD, THCO does not occur naturally in a cannabis plant. It is only an acetylated version of THC that doesn't exist in a natural form but is synthesized using specialized chemicals under meticulous laboratory conditions and methods. 


It is said to be three times more potent than the famous THC and a user can get psychedelic with a moderate dose. That is probably due to its better bioavailability as a result of the unique functional group (-O). It implies it is absorbed better by the bloodstream and the body organs before the resulting THC takes effect. 


Despite coming to the attention of the cannabis community recently, the origin of THCO goes as far back as the 50s when the military discovered it. Before the new fame, it appeared in public a few times down the decades, but it didn't attract attention then. Now that we have an idea of what THCO is, it only fits to check out how it affects you as a user, the benefits it packs, and other details.


What are the effects and benefits of THCO


Though a lot is still unknown about how THCO interacts with the body's cannabinoid system, it's only natural it captures the attention of cannabis users for its strength. Regular users and the community aptly labeled it as a "spiritual cannabinoid." A minimal low intake should give almost the same kick as delta 9. Going above that may result in intense altered consciousness or incapacitate the user. Ultimately, THCO is more psychedelic and hallucinogenic than any THC available in the mainstream cannabis market. 


One logical explanation for the intense trip of THC-O-Acetate is its fat solubility and membrane permeability. During metabolism, our bodies absorb more of the acetylated version of THC than delta 9. That process also means it takes a bit longer to feel the full effect of the cannabinoids. Though the experience varies depending on the user, mode of consumption, and other factors, it takes an average of an hour to kick in and lasts up to 5 hours instead of 30 minutes for THC. THCO falls under the category of a pro drug. 


With that the intense nature of THCO in mind, it is advised to exercise some patience after taking a dose. It is tempting to take another dose if the effect does not kick in as quickly as you want, but that can lead to incapacitation or loss of consciousness if both doses peak around the same time.  


When used responsibly, THCO flowers or pre-rolls take the cerebral buzz of THC an extra notch. Besides the guaranteed feelings of euphoria, it also gives a surge of energy, and creatives can expect their juices to flow more. It also has the potential to provide psychological relief when used in a controlled environment and manner. About its medicinal benefits, it is easier to assume it has less value than THC, considering it doesn't occur naturally. However, the actual health potential of the synthetically-produced THC is yet to be uncovered. 


The new compound may end up not as an alternative cannabinoid but an all-essential one for both medical and recreational use. With limited study into its interactions with the endocannabinoid and other body systems, it is also pretty hard to say if it is dangerous or safe for short- and long-term usage. At this point, there is no recorded adverse effect of consuming THCO, responsibly, of course.  

How was THCO discovered

The cannabinoid was first discovered at the Edgewood Arsenal Experiments in Maryland by the United States Army in 1948. It was born from a search to find substances that can serve as non-lethal incapacitating weapons. Before the project was halted, the researchers tested it on dogs, and it was relatively positive. It showed twice the effect of the same amount of THC in impairing muscle functions and mobility of the canines. Ever ask the question, "Does THCO show up on drug tests?"

It took another three decades after the US military experiment for the acetate version of the cannabinoid to resurface in public. This time, an individual in Jacksonville, Florida, was producing it commercially using the same method of making heroin illegally by treating morphine with acetic anhydride or acetyl chloride. First, the cannabis was extracted using a Soxhlet extraction method. The extract was then treated with acetic anhydride, and he got rid of the excess acetic anhydride with distillation. Though DEA shut down the operation, the lone incident didn't necessitate the authority classifying THC-O-acetate as illegal. 


Later in 1986, the United States government outlawed all analogs of THC. Depending on who you ask, the classification of the synthetic cannabinoid is still clouded in confusion. There are arguments for and against whether it is technically an analog of THC. 


Outside the United States, there have equally been few reported incidents of the production of THC acetates. Only the United Kingdom and New Zealand had such and were later shut down. 


Different forms of THCO on the market, vapes, flowers, edibles 

In its isolated form, THCO is a motor oil-like, ethanol soluble. Packaging in different delivery methods makes it easier to consume. Sweet, fruity, and other traditional strain flavors are sometimes added to make the acetated cannabinoid, which is flavorless and odorless in its normal state, more enjoyable. 

For a beginner, a threshold dose of about 2 mg is advised. 10mg is enough to achieve the common psychoactive effect, but those who desire a psychedelic impact can start with 15mg. Having said all that, you should always start with a lower dose for any psychoactive cannabinoid, more so for THCO that produces a strong effect. 

As a cannabinoid on the rise, it is imperative to source from brands with a good track record in producing and marketing other cannabis products that are impurity-free and of premium quality. Like other cannabinoids, you can expect THCO to come in the stated deliveries that have become a norm in the cannabis market.

THCO Flower

Infusing THCO extracted synthetically, of course,  and natural terpenes extract to CBD flower guarantee to give users an exquisite combination of deep relaxing bliss along with a burst of energy and euphoria. 


THCO Tinctures

A tincture is a preferred smokeless method of consumption to make the most of the hemp-derived THCO. It is not just for the ease and enjoyable experience but also for an optimized buzz without damage to the lung. 


THCO Gummies

Considering THCO is not very palatable in its isolated state, enjoying the bliss with a burst of sweetness and fruity sensation in the form of candy is a no-brainer. However, extra care needs to be taken not to get carried away by the pleasure of the sweet edibles as the relatively new cannabinoid is stronger than delta-9 and way more potent than delta-8 and delta-10. 


THCO Distillate

Distilled oil contains the highest concentration of THCO and can be as high as 90% pure. The extract is purged of all - not only impurities but other cannabinoids and terpenes. It is odorless and tasteless, giving users versatility. THCO distillate can be further processed to wax to make it user-friendly. 



The jury is still out about the potential risk of vaping because it remains many cannabis users' choice of consumption. THCO vape comprises pure THC-O-Acetate distillate, a good proportion of cannabis terpene, and flavor for smoother smoking. Though it takes a while for THCO consumers to experience a pronounced effect, vaping acts faster than other methods. After a hit or 2, starters need to resist the temptation of another drag.  

How to determine if THCO is for you

Many users still desire the 'high school' high they got using cannabis for the first few times. For seasoned cannabis users, THCO is a modified version with a slight change in properties that offers the opportunity to experience that once again. 

However, if you are a first-time user of cannabis, the chance of your tolerance level being low is high. You might want to avoid the psychedelic properties of this cannabinoid. Instead, go for a milder THC such as delta-8, delta-10, or even delta-9 to understand and boost your tolerance level. Even building to delta-8 or delta 9 THC tolerance doesn't equate to building resistance for these cannabinoids. 

In other words, THC-O-Acetate may not be for everyone. But If you are feeling up to the challenge of getting your feet wet, a very minimal dose is recommended to see how your body takes the psychoactive effects. It is essential to point out you may need to cancel your plans for the day other than sitting on the couch watching movies. 


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