Understanding the Positive Effects of THC O on Health

Marijuana’s medicinal properties have been recognized for thousands of years. Delta-9 THC (or regular THC) is the most popular compound due to its psychoactive and therapeutic effects that can increase happiness, help people relax, relieve pain, and more. Recently, a new series of psychoactive cannabinoids have entered the scene, including Delta-8, Delta-10, and HHC, with distinct properties. One of these compounds is THC-O acetate, a synthetic cannabinoid potentially more potent than THC. 

Cannabis scientists haven’t investigated THC-O’s potential health benefits yet. But people who’ve tried THCO say it improves mood, pain, anxiety, and appetite while delivering an intense psychotropic experience. 

This article explains how THC O works in the body, the THC O experience, THC O safety, and the positive effects THC O can have on health.  

What Is THC O?

Tetrahydrocannabinol acetate (THC-O acetate, THC-O, THCOa, THC O, or THCO) is a synthetic cannabinoid derived from hemp-based compounds. THC O is almost chemically identical to standard THC, the intoxicating compound that dominates marijuana plants, but it displays even more potent effects. Consumers can find THC-O in many products, including tinctures, distillates, vapes, and edibles. Check out THC-O syrups for sale here. 

How Do You Make THC O?

THC O is a synthetic form of THC that producers can only manufacture in a laboratory. First, convert hemp-derived CBD into Delta-8 using solvents and acids. Then they combine the semi-synthetic Delta-8 THC molecules with acetic anhydride, a highly flammable and colorless liquid, to create an acetated version of THC. 

The acetylation process makes THCO considerably more bioavailable than standard THC or more easily absorbed by fatty tissues in the brain and body, potentially producing more potent psychoactive effects.

How THC-O Works

THC-O seems to work like other cannabinoids in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a vast network of chemical signals and receptors that regulates essential functions such as sleep, mood, appetite, and more. 

Like THC, THC-O binds well with cannabinoid receptors (CB1) in the brain and central nervous system, increasing relaxation and euphoria. These psychoactive effects can also have therapeutic health benefits, such as helping to combat pain, insomnia, and depression. 

As a highly bioavailable variation of Delta-9 THC, THCO displays a few notable differences in how it works in the body:

Slower effects: THC-O qualifies as a “prodrug,” meaning the body must metabolize the compound, eliminating the acetic anhydride and converting it to THC before it becomes active. This slow digestion process produces more THC metabolites in the body, which theoretically intensifies the experience. Consensus says it takes 20 to 60 minutes to feel THC-O’s effects.

Stronger effects: The chemical “acetylation” process used to make THCO is common in the drug industry to increase bioavailability, making it easier for drugs to cross lipid-sensitive layers in the digestive tract and brain. As a result, THCO acetate can feel much stronger than other THC forms, with some online sources reporting it is up to three times more potent than regular Delta-9 THC. 

Also read: Proactive Healthcare: The Other Side of the Coin

THCO vs. THC: Effects and Experience

THC-O’s increased bioavailability causes notable differences between THC-O and THC.

THC O users report an intense high that feels uplifting, energizing, and heady. It can be stimulating in moderate doses, making people more talkative and energetic. 

Other users describe slightly otherworldly, “psychedelic” effects that create vivid visuals. Some even refer to the THC-O experience as “spiritual,” saying this potent compound expands awareness and opens their minds to profound and positive thoughts. Some people say THCOa can even feel mildly hallucinogenic in higher doses.

Common THCO descriptions include:

  • Intense euphoria and happiness
  • Mental and physical relaxation
  • Increased energy and focus
  • Enhanced creativity
  • A body high that can feel like floating 
  • Consciousness expansion
  • Higher sensitivity to color and brightness

THCO Positive Health Benefits

According to the NIH, THC and other cannabinoids display several therapeutic qualities that can treat medical and mental health ailments, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • PTSD
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Dependence on opioids

Limited research is available on THC-O, so any information about the medical benefits is primarily anecdotal. Yet because THCO interacts with receptors similarly to THC, it does have potential positive health benefits in line with other THC analogs, especially in the following areas: 

Mood boost: Users say THC-O can produce intense mental and physical euphoria, dramatically improving mood, which plays a significant role in patient recovery when dealing with chronic pain, depression, and stress. 

Pain management: Research, medical reviews, and survey responses suggest that cannabinoids can help with pain relief. THC O’s psychoactive effects come from engaging with CB1 receptors spread throughout the brain and central nervous system, which can also help regulate how the body perceives pain. 

Anxiety and stress relief: THCO has euphoric and relaxing qualities that some users report lean toward positive thoughts and better self-awareness. Some people even use THC-O to enhance meditation practices, suggesting it can help ease anxiety and stress.  

Sleep support: THCO also has viscerally relaxing effects in large doses that can cause intense sedation. These soothing effects lean more toward indica strains commonly used to help with insomnia and sleep disorders. 

On top of that, THC-O’s bioavailability and potency might have additional therapeutic potential. For those looking to take advantage of THC’s pain-relieving, sleep-inducing, or appetite-stimulating effects, THC-O might help get them what they seek at lower doses.

THCO Safety

THC-O research is still in the early stages. Although considered generally safe when used responsibly, there are potential risks with THC-O. For instance, THCO’s intense psychoactive properties could lead to unwanted effects, especially at high doses.

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

For the best THCO experience, users should:

Start slow: THCOa is a potent cannabinoid that requires low dosing, even for users experienced with other THC products. Start with a low dose, about one-third of a regular THC dose. For instance, a low THC dose is 5 mg, so start with 1-2 mg of THCO. 

Avoid smoking and vaping: A study released in early 2023 revealed that applying sufficient heat to THC-O can cause ketene to form, a dangerous lung toxicant, so users should avoid smoking or vaping THC-O.  Also, evidence suggesting THC-O is a prodrug discourages smoking altogether because the body must metabolize it first to take effect. 

Stick with edible products: THC-O edibles, such as gummies, tinctures, candies, and syrups, do not pose the same health risks for the lungs and are an effective way to enjoy THC-O. Edibles also have benefits compared to inhaled products, such as longer-lasting effects for helping to stay asleep or manage anxiety and pain throughout the day. 

The Bottom Line

THC-O acetate is a synthetic THC derivative. It causes psychoactive effects similar to regular THC but can be even more powerful. Specifically, users say THCO is mostly euphoric and has many positive attributes that could help with pain, stress, and depression. It also displays intense calming and relaxing effects that could help ease anxiety and sleep disorders. 

Still, THC-O is extremely powerful and exhibits potential adverse effects. Consumers should monitor dosages, avoid vaping, and purchase from trusted THCO brands that test products for potency and purity with verified third-party laboratories.