Yes. THC-O is legal in Nebraska under the state's Hemp Farming Act (Legislative Bill 657). The Nebraska Hemp Farming Act legalized hemp and all its derivatives, cannabinoids, extracts, and isomers with up to 0.3% THC concentration. Residents can purchase THC-O-based products online from reputable hemp brands within the state.
THC-O, or tetrahydrocannabinol-O-acetate, is a synthetic compound created from hemp. It is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the hemp plant. THC-O is made through a sequence of extractions, beginning with extracting CBD from hemp. Afterward, CBD is converted to Delta-8 THC and then subjected to an acetylation process. This involves combining Delta-8 THC with acetic anhydride, a highly flammable and corrosive substance, to produce THC-O-acetate. THC-O is psychoactive and is believed to be more potent than Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC due to its psychedelic properties. Some users liken the high produced by THC-O to a very spiritual experience, although this can vary by person. Users can also experience dizziness, increased anxiety, and feelings of relaxation.
THC-O products are available in various forms including edibles, flowers, oils, and vape cartridges. Although the research on THC-O is still very sparse, reports from first-hand users reveal it is relatively safe for human consumption when used in moderate doses. While THC-O edibles such as gummies and chocolate can be taken safely without concerns for health risks, consumers are advised against smoking THC-O products. Vaping or smoking THC-O has the potential to cause lung damage, similar to that witnessed in the EVALI epidemic in 2019, due to its acetic anhydride content. Typically, heating acetic anhydride produces ketene, a harmful gas capable of causing lung injury.
No, federal law prohibits the sale or consumption of THC-O-infused products. Contrary to the general belief that THC-O is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in February 2023 made it clear that synthetic cannabinoids are illegal under federal law.
According to the DEA in a letter to North Carolina Attorney Rod Kight, Delta-8 THC-O and Delta-9 THC-O are illegal controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Rod Kight had written to the DEA asking about the status of THC-O in the CSA. The classification of THC-O as a controlled substance is premised on the fact that it does not naturally occur in cannabis plants and, as a result, falls outside the definition of hemp.
THC can produce strong effects that can last for several hours depending on factors such as dosage and consumption method. In most users, the effects will clear out in between 3 and 8 hours. However, THC-O metabolite, 11-hydroxy-THC, remains in the body long after the effects have cleared out. Typically, the metabolite can stay in the body for several weeks and can remain detectable for a long time after the consumption.
Yes, THC-O can trigger a positive result in a drug test because most drug tests find the presence of THC metabolites, including 11-hydroxy-THC. Generally, when THC-O is metabolized, it circulates throughout the consumer's system and remains in the body's fat cells until they are passed out via feces or urine. The duration THC-O and its metabolite remains in the body depends on several factors, including the following:
Besides these factors, THC-O's detection window also depends largely on the type of drug test administered. THC-O and its metabolite can be detected for up to 36 hours with a blood test, while they can remain detectable for up to two days with saliva tests. These two are the least effective methods of screening people for THC metabolites. A more effective and widely used test method is the urine test. The presence of THC-O can remain detectable in urine for up to 15 days in an occasional consumer and up to 30 days in a frequent user. Hair follicle tests are the most effective and can detect THC-O metabolite for up to 12 weeks.
Delta-8 THC is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant, while THC-O is a synthetically manufactured cannabinoid. They are both derived from hemp and have psychoactive properties, however, at varying degrees. Although the research on THC-O is limited, many users have reported it to be four or five times more potent than Delta-8 THC. This means that Delta-8 THC delivers a less powerful high (usually relaxing) than THC-O, whose effects are considered psychedelic (hallucinogenic). Both have therapeutic uses and can help with sleep, stress management, pain management, and inflammation management. THC-O particularly has the potential to help people with depression.
Even though it can be used for medicinal purposes, THC-O can cause side effects such as sleepiness, low blood pressure, hallucinations, disorientation, dye eyes, and dry mouth. Similarly, Delta-8 THC users may experience side effects like confusion, drowsiness, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, dry mouth, eye redness, and slowed reaction time. These side effects will vary from one person to another.
Delta-9 THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that is naturally present in hemp plants in abundance. THC-O is also psychoactive but cannot be found naturally in hemp. It can only be produced synthetically in the lab. Both compounds have similar effects, but those of THC-O are usually stronger. For instance, Delta-9 THC can deliver an overall relaxation experience. On the other hand, THC-O causes a stronger euphoric high with the tendency to get users to hallucinate. It is widely believed that Delta-9 THC is three times less potent than THC-O.
The potential benefits of THC-O include making its users more focused and productive due to its tendency to produce a euphoric high. It can also help with stress management, increased appetite, anxiety management, and nausea treatment. The downsides of using THC-O include confusion, coordination problems, dizziness, a drop in sugar level, and cold sweats. Delta-9 THC can potentially help in the treatment of seizure disorders, nausea, and muscle spasticity. In addition, it provides feelings of relaxation, increases the user's appetite, and improves sensory perception. However, Delta-9 THC consumption in large amounts can lead to increased anxiety, sedation, paranoia, dry eyes, dry mouth, and low blood pressure.