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To learn about other cannabinoids go to our Cannabinoid Dictionary page.

What is THCO?

THCO (sometimes written THC-O or THC-O-acetate) is shorthand for tetrahydrocannabinol-o-acetate. It is roughly three times stronger than Delta 9 THC and produces potent psychoactive experiences when inhaled or ingested. This is 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. This THC Acetate, or ATHC, is 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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When was it created?

Although it was first produced in the 1950s, studies on THCO are rare. Even its potency is not fully understood. Anecdotal evidence suggests THCO provides a more psychedelic experience than any other cannabinoid, including Delta 9. However, the extent of its psychedelic effects seems to be largely dose dependent. While low doses of THCO produce effects similar to Delta 9 THC, higher doses lead to more intense experiences.

How long before the effects take place?

Users also find that THCO takes longer to kick in than other cannabinoids. Ingesting edibles or oils made with THCO may only start to produce effects an hour after consumption. Smoking or vaping THCO causes effects to happen more quickly, but usually after 20 minutes or more. For this reason, users new to THCO are encouraged to wait at least 25 minutes between hits of THCO to ensure it has taken effect before they dose again.

Acetylation Process

Unlike most other cannabinoids, THCO does not occur naturally. Instead, it’s made through a process called acetylation. This involves chemically combining Delta 8 THC with acetic anhydride. The process is simple and very common. Many pharmaceutical options on the market today go through acetylation. For example, aspirin is created by acetylating salicylic acid. And, just like aspirin, THCO only becomes activated after it is processed by the liver.

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THCO is technically an analog of Delta 9 THC, meaning that it has a similar function but a different origin. This makes it notably different from Delta 8 and Delta 10, which are both isomers of Delta 9.

Learn More about THCO and other cannabinoids below: