With THC crystals reaching close to 100 percent THC, we didn’t think weed could get much stronger. That is until we discovered THC-O-acetate, another psychoactive cannabinoid, said to be two to three times more potent than the THC we’re accustomed to.
Thanks to new legislation and medical advancements the spotlight has firmly been on CBD and THC over the past number of years. This has left THC-O-acetate to be a relative unknown, but it shouldn’t be. THC-O-acetate is unique and warrants our attention.
If that doesn’t sound intense enough for you, THC-O-acetate is made from THC in the same way that heroin is made from morphine. Here’s everything we know about THC-O-acetate.
History of THC-O-Acetate was funny enough military use
THC-O-acetate is the acetate ester of THC. Research on the cannabinoid is limited, but it was featured in a couple of studies between 1950 and 1980.
Technically, THC acetate is not a scheduled substance. However, it could be considered an analogue of Delta-9 THC. The Federal Analogue Act of 1986 made it so that any analogues of THC would be considered federally illegal. It is currently unclear whether or not THC-O fits the criteria.
Between 1949 and 1975, the U.S. Army Chemical Crops conducted human experiments at the Edgewood Arsenal facility in Maryland. THC acetate ester was used on dogs to test the substance’s potential as a non-lethal incapacitating agent. Researchers found that it had twice the ability to throw off dog’s muscle coordination when compared to delta-9 THC.
According to Donald A. Cooper of the DEA, THC-O-acetate was first encountered by the administration in 1978. That year, they came across THC-O-acetate extracts in Jacksonville, Florida.
Since that encounter, DEA laboratories have never seen another sample of the acetate. There was talk of classifying it as a controlled substance analogue. However, 10 years later the suggestion was dropped since the THC acetate they found ended up being an isolated incident.
The cannabis concentrate was made using a Soxhlet extractor. Cooper noted that the THC-O-acetate the DEA found was made using the same technique that turns morphine into heroin.
“The extract had been acetylated with acetic anhydride, and in the final step, the excess acetic anhydride removed by distillation. The product contained neither quantities of nonderivatized cannabinoid nor any identifiable plant fragments.”
The man arrested seemed ahead of his time. A similar case was reported in June of 1995 in the United Kingdom when a person using D. Gold’s book Cannabis Alchemy to make the THC acetate was convicted.
The effects of THC-O-Acetate
THC-O-acetate is a metabolic cannabinoid. This means that it only becomes psychoactive after it metabolises, which can take roughly 20 minutes to happen. It takes roughly the same amount of time to enter our systems as THC based edibles do. When extracted THC-O-acetate looks like a thick, gloopy, petrol-like substance with no aroma. But it is also water-soluble. It is this ability to be water-soluble that makes it so unique.
The two main differences between THC-O-acetate and THC are that THC-O-acetate is water-soluble and much stronger. This means that your body treats it differently once consumed.
THC is fat-soluble so when it comes to processing it your body can actually reduce the amount of THC entering the bloodstream. However, if something is water-soluble, like vitamins or THC-O-acetate, it is allowed to pass through the same system that reduced the amount of fat-soluble THC entering your bloodstream. In simple terms, because THC-O-acetate is water-soluble it is easier for it to enter your bloodstream compared to fat-soluble THC. This makes it much more powerful.
The effect of the acetate is more spiritual and psychedelic than that of the ordinary product. The most unique property of this material is that there is a delay of about 30 minutes before its effects are felt.
A review of the active principles of the cannabis plant found that natural THC acetate was approximately twice as potent as natural THC from cannabidiol.
Studies have shown that THC-O-acetate can be up to 300% stronger than THC. This opens the door for lots of medical applications. Doctors have been using THC to treat pain, insomnia and even glaucoma in their patients. However, some patients simply do not respond to treatment from THC medicine. Because of its higher level of potency THC-O-acetate can be used to stimulate a response in patients where THC had previously failed.