THC-O-acetate (THC-O) is still a relative newcomer to the hemp market, and one of the most unique derivatives to come from the hemp plant. Of course, the fact that THC-O is 3x as intoxicating as delta 9 THC makes it extremely appealing to those who desire a powerful and euphoric high that goes above and beyond what they’re used to with other cannabinoids. But, what’s equally fascinating about this cannabinoid is how it’s made, since the process of actually producing THC-O-acetate and THC-O vape products is one of a kind.
A Quick THC-O History Lesson
In the 1950s, THC-O-acetate was used at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland as an experiment conducted by the military to determine whether or not it could be used as a weapon to incapacitate soldiers of the opposing side. It was tested on dogs, and was shown to greatly impair their muscle function, far more potently than standard delta 9 THC derived from marijuana.
Because the process of making THC-O-acetate is quite complicated and requires expert chemistry skills and equipment, it really just isn’t in circulation. One thing we know is that in 1978, a man in Jacksonville, Florida did produce it before getting caught, and having his operations completely shut down.
Making THC-O Starts with Industrial Hemp
You may already know that THC-O-acetate is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the hemp plant. Besides the more recently developed HHC-O, THC-O is the only real synthesized cannabinoid on today’s hemp market. But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t technically come from industrial hemp, just like every other cannabinoid at Binoid.
THC-O-acetate begins with tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which’s a naturally occurring cannabinoid in hemp that acts as the raw precursor to THC prior to decarboxylation (a heating process that activates the psychoactive properties associated with THC). So, ultimately, THC-O comes from industrial hemp which should ideally be grown organically to be free of pesticides, here in the United States where hemp is grown under strict farming standards.
Creating THC-O Extract
There is no THC-O in the hemp plant. Again, this cannabinoid was “invented” decades ago and produced using synthetic means. But, it does rely on raw hemp material, through a process known as isomerization.
All cannabinoids are isomers of one another. What this means is that we can take one cannabinoid, rearrange its molecules and convert it into any other cannabinoid we choose. The reason for this is that all cannabinoids in the hemp plant come from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is known as the “other cannabinoid” for good reason. CBGA is the cannabinoid found in the hemp plant prior to reaching maturity, and over time, CBGA essentially splits itself to convert into over 100 unique cannabinoids, which each have the same molecular components, but a distinctive molecular configuration.
Since THC-O starts with THCA, a somewhat trace cannabinoid in the hemp plant, and the raw precursor to CBD, and due to being trace, we take the CBD cannabinoid, which is far more abundant, and rearrange it to turn it into THCA. Then, it’s chemically modified to convert it into THC-O acetate.
The process is as follows:
- Applying a Solvent: The first step is applying a solvent to the raw hemp material to create a purified CBD extract.
- Add an Acid: Next comes adding an acid to CBD which automatically converts it into THCA.
- Decarboxylate: Now, THCA is heated to convert it into delta 9 THC, the “active” version of THCA.
- Add Acetic Anhydride: Acetic anhydride is added to the THC, which changes its chemical properties to make it more potent than delta 9 THC.
- Test the End Result: Liquid chromatography is used to analyze the resulting THC-O, to make sure that the extract is pure and authentic.
Making THC-O Products and Vape Carts
Now that we have a refined THC-O-acetate extract, it’s time to apply that extract to make a THC-O formula. Here is how each formula is produced.
- THC-O Flower: THC-O flower is raw hemp flower that is infused with this purified THC-O extract.
- THC-O Vapes: Both vape cartridges and disposables should contain only pure THC-O-acetate distillate and terpenes which are extracted from either the hemp plant or other botanical materials.
- THC-O Tinctures: THC-O tinctures consist of THC-O-acetate distillate and a carrier oil, such as MCT oil, which dilutes the cannabinoid for the ideal concentration.
- THC-O Edibles & Gummies: THC-O edibles consist of THC-O-acetate distillate combined with any number of ingredients to create a gummy, or another type of edible product.
- THC-O Capsules: THC-O capsules simply place THC-O-acetate distillate into a gel capsule, and, may or may not contain a carrier oil.
- THC-O Concentrates/Dabs: You can find pure THC-O distillate, which is a pure THC-O concentrate. You can also find solvent-based dabs like wax and shatter, which combine a highly concentrated form of full spectrum hemp with pure THC-O distillate in a particularly high concentration.
Lab-Testing Through a Third-Party Source
Now comes the time to have the THC-O products tested by a third-party lab that is licensed by the state. This required step involves sending a sample to a state-approved laboratory, where it’s tested for its purity, its breakdown of chemical compounds, its potential toxins, its potency and its compliance with federal law. Once the product has been tested, a lab report is given back to the company, which should be made accessible to the public.
Packaging THC-O Products
Finally, the THC-O products can be packaged. First off, the package must be airtight, as THC-O-acetate does degrade and lose its effectiveness if not properly sealed. The product’s package must provide information about the milligram strength (if applicable), serving size, directions for use, and ingredients.
THC-O: Unlike Any Other Cannabinoid from the Hemp Plant
The process of making THC-O is unique to the cannabinoid, and a great example of the quickly evolving technology that allows the hemp industry to find new and exciting ways to satisfy our hemp-related desires. At Binoid, we produce our THC-O products using all that was mentioned above, to ensure that we can provide our customers with clean, pure, effective and federally compliant formulas that deliver the impressive high people have come to expect from the cannabinoid.