We all know that THC can be a powerful substance, especially in its concentrated form. But what about a molecule that’s 300% more potent!? THC-O-acetate would plunge consumers into a psychedelic state that no cannabinoid can compete with.
All cannabis smokers are familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. This cannabinoid is the main actor behind the effects felt after marijuana consumption, thanks to the fact that this molecule binds to CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system. It produces a wide range of effects from euphoria to increased appetite, drowsiness, and complete relaxation. Cannabis extractors and breeders have long sought to increase the levels of this psychotropic chemical compound, which is obtained through the careful selection and state-of-the-art isolation techniques. Today, THC crystals are available with up to 99% purity and specific cultivars have been designed to achieve THC levels of up to 30% in their flowers.
THC is indeed the main psychotropic form of cannabis, but it exists in many other forms. THCA for example (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid acid produced by trichomes that have medical potential. The heating process, or decarboxylation, transforms this molecule into THC. THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is another cannabinoid that shares a similar molecular structure to THC and has a biphasic psychotropic effect: low doses can block the receptors to which THC binds, while high doses activate them.
And then there is THC-O-acetate, a chemical compound similar to THC, which would produce psychoactive effects 200 to 300% more powerful. Unlike the other cannabinoids mentioned above, which are bio-synthesized in cannabis flowers through enzymatic reactions, THC-O-acetate is a man-made chemical produced by laboratory equipment. Let’s discover this intriguing molecule together.
What is THC-O-ACETATE?
THC-O-acetate is the so-called acetate-type ester of THC and can be synthesized from THC and THCA. This process involves the use of highly corrosive and dangerous chemicals such as sulphuric acid or acetic anhydride, which means that trying to synthesize it at home is not only very dangerous but also potentially deadly. It’s best to let professional chemists like Walter White take care of it or your house could explode.
Once synthesized, THC-O-acetate is biologically inactive. This places the molecule in the prodrug category, a substance that can only become active when a metabolic process in the body breaks it down. In the concrete examples of prodrugs, we have psilocybin, which is converted into psilocin via metabolism.
Discover this rare cannabinoid
THC-O-acetate has a very interesting, but rather controversial history, especially considering how rare and virtually unknown this molecule is to everyone, including the cannabis community. Very little is known about this chemical compound, and many of its secrets have yet to be uncovered. The little scientific research done on it was conducted by the U.S. military between 1948 and 1975.
This research was led by the US Army Chemical Corps during classified research on human subjects at the Edgewood Arsenal facility in Maryland. More than 7,000 soldiers and 1,000 civilians were used as subjects and exposed to a range of chemical agents to explore the low-dose effects of chemical agents if they were to be used in wartime.
Part of the program was devoted to psycho-chemical warfare in which substances such as LSD, PCP, and cannabinoids, including THC-O-acetate, were administered to dogs. As a result of this research, one of the conclusions drawn from the effects of the mysterious molecule is that it exerts much more powerful effects than THC.
Apart from these clandestine experiments, THC-O-acetate has attracted very little attention in society, let alone in cultures linked and rocked by drugs and cannabis. The discovery of extractions by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in Florida has drawn the attention of the authorities in that country to that molecule. However, the lack of offenses related to the substance left it unclassified. Although technically it could be considered illegal as an analog of THC.
The cannabinoid has appeared in other Western countries, including the United Kingdom and New Zealand. In the United Kingdom, THC-O-acetate was classified as a class A drug, along with heroin and crack cocaine, following the conviction of a manufacturer who allegedly used the book Cannabis Alchemy to guide his steps in this dangerous chemical process.
The effects of THC-ACETATE
Remember the effects you felt when you consumed one of the strongest ganja in your life.
In any case, imagine those effects, but multiply them by 300%. That’s basically what THC-O-acetate looks like.
The purified extract would appear to be in the form of thick, brown oil. Once consumed, metabolic processes make it biologically active by breaking down the molecule. In just 30 minutes, a psychedelic experience described as almost spiritual is catalyzed.
Some consumers prefer the peace of mind of a manageable seal and will not be attracted to testing this substance. Other true psychonauts are constantly looking for new ways to ingest cannabinoids and discover and push their limits. If you fall into the latter category, we strongly recommend that you do not try to synthesize this chemical compound yourself at home.
Content Strategist Amanda Pennings holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Anatomy. Her scientific background allows her to transform convoluted clinical journal articles into digestible content for the average CBD consumer. Fascinated by the medicinal benefits stemmed from the complex interaction between cannabinoids and the human body, Amanda joined CannaServe in 2019, and today, is the mind and writer behind many of the company’s most engaging content. Currently, she is passionately working towards creating an overhaul of the (currently lacking) safety regulations for CBD in America through consumer education and outreach.