THCO molecule in front of red bubbles

What is THC-O Acetate & How Does it Work?

THC-O is hands down one of the most potent cannabis-adjacent products that has arrived on the market in recent years. While THC-O is a type of THC, it’s important to know all the details about it before you make a purchase. In this guide, we’ll help you learn about THC-O and explain:

  • What is THC-O?
  • How is THC-O Made?
  • THC-O vs Delta-8 THC
  • THC-O vs Delta-9 THC
  • THC-O vs THC-A
  • THC-O FAQs

What is THC-O?

THC-O, Tetrahydrocannabinol-O-acetate, is a man-made compound that typically comes from hemp. Because it can be made from hemp, it finds itself in a similar legal loophole as Delta-8 THC, especially in states where marijuana consumption is still illegal. That being said, it is significantly different in potency. THC-O is so strong that, in large doses, it can cause overwhelming psychoactive effects, hallucinations similar to psilocybin, and even immobilization.

How is THC-O Made?

THC-O doesn’t occur naturally. Instead, the creation process requires the acetylation of THC or THCA–this is a fancy way of saying that we have to manipulate hemp-derived Delta-8 THC to create the THC-O available on the market today. This is done through a chemical reaction that replaces a hydrogen group with an acetyl group. The process strips away the terpenes and flavonoids and leaves only the THC-O isolate.

What’s the Difference Between THC-O vs Delta-8 THC?

There are two major differences between THC-O and Delta-8 THC.

  • If THC-O is stronger than Delta-9 THC, then you know it’s much, much stronger than Delta-8 THC. Some sources suggest THC-O is up to five times stronger than Delta-8.

  • While Delta-8 THC is a natural cannabinoid found in cannabis, THC-O requires the acetylation of THC-A or THC—typically Delta-8 from hemp—to exist. Because Delta-8 occurs naturally in such small amounts, the Delta-8 available on the market is mass produced by extracting CBD from hemp and converting it.

Interested in learning more about Delta-8 THC? Check out our guide!

What’s the Difference Between THC-O vs Delta-9 THC?

The popularity of THC-O has grown because of what it can do and its strength. Here are the two biggest differences between THC-O and Delta-9 THC:

  • THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in cannabis. However, THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid that requires human intervention to be created.

  • THC-O is also considered much more potent than THC, and it likely has stronger psychedelic effects than THC. These qualities have been compared to psilocybin, which is the psychoactive compound in certain mushrooms.

Just remember, how it works in your body might be different than how it works in someone else’s body, but the general consensus seems to be that it has strong, psychoactive qualities. While we may know the properties of THC-O, we don’t know exactly how it works with cannabinoid receptors in the body. So it’s important to ask yourself: Do you need something more potent? If so, would you be better off with a concentrate? It’s also helpful to note that because THC-O is somewhat new on the market, it is incredibly important to purchase it from a reputable, state-licensed dispensary. If you do try THC-O, start slow.

Want to know more about Delta-9? Check out our “What is THC?” guide. 

What’s the Difference Between THC-O vs THC-A?

THC-A is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid precursor to THC. In order to create THC, THC-A must be heated and converted into THC. (Also known as decarboxylation.) While this process typically includes some intervention from cannabis enthusiasts, both cannabinoids are naturally occurring. 

THC-O is created using THC, but it requires a significant process called acetylation which cannot be done at home by a cannabis enthusiast.

Answering FAQs about THC-O

Because it’s relatively new to the market, we get a lot of questions about THC-O. Here are a few of those questions and their answers:


Is THC-O natural?
No, THC-O is a semi-synthetic cannabinoid. This means it is derived from a naturally occurring cannabinoid - THC - but THC-O itself is lab made.

How strong is THC-O?
THC-O can be extremely potent. It has been reported that the effects may be up to three times stronger than Delta-9 THC.

Can I make THC-O at home?
No you cannot make this cannabinoid at home. The process required to make THC-O involves highly dangerous extraction chemicals used in a controlled laboratory.

Where can you find THC-O?
You should only ever purchase THC-O from a licensed, reputable dispensary. This will ensure you’re getting a quality product that you can trust.

Purchasing THC-O

THC-O is pretty new to the market, and many retailers are still trying to decide if they want to carry such a potent product. If you’re interested in the experience that THC-O can offer, you should visit one of our dispensary locations. Our budtenders can help you find the right products and answer any questions you might have in the process.


Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.