Is THC-O Legal in Arkansas?


Is THC-O Legal in Arkansas?

Although Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill to ban hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids, including THC isomers and synthetic equivalents, in April 2023, a federal judge blocked the move via a temporary injunction. Hence, THC-O products remain legal in Arkansas until the final decision on the matter. A trial for the case has been set for August 2024.

What is THC-O?

THC-O, short for THC Acetate, is a synthetic or chemical form of THC. Unlike many THC isomers, THC-O does not occur naturally in cannabis plants but is typically made in the laboratory. First, CBD is extracted from hemp, and then Delta-8 THC is extracted from the CBD. Afterward, acetic anhydride is added to the Delta-8 THC molecules, and terpenes and flavonoids are later removed from the molecules, leaving only THC isolates. The final product is a stronger compound, more potent than traditional THC.

There are currently no verified studies to support claims that THC-O is dangerous to use. Although there are no generally accepted manufacturing standards for THC-O products, it is believed to be safe for use, especially at low dosages. Anecdotal evidence suggests THC-O can be used to ease pain, induce sleep, and stimulate appetite. However, it has also been commonly reported to produce side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sedation, seizures, and lethargy. Note that due to the difference in individual endocannabinoid systems, experiences with using THC-O may differ from one user to another.

Is THC-O Legal Under Federal Law?

Hemp's legalization and the many interpretations of the Farm Bill enacted in 2018 created an industry for several hemp-derived products, including THC-O. However, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency confirmed via a letter that THC-O is a controlled substance and is, therefore, illegal pursuant to federal law.

Earlier in August 2022 and in February 2023, North Carolina cannabis attorney Rod Kight wrote to the DEA inquiring about the status of THC-O under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The DEA responded in a February 2023 letter that Delta-8 THC-O and Delta-9 THC-O were illegal controlled substances as they do not occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Since Delta-8 THC-O and Delta-9 THC-O can only be derived synthetically, the DEA concluded that THC-O does not fall within the definition of hemp. This conclusion meant that THC-O products cannot be sold legally under the 2018 Farm Bill.

How Long Does THC-O Last in the Body?

Upon consumption, THC-O undergoes metabolic processes in the liver, resulting in metabolites. The primary metabolite is believed to be 11-hydroxy-THC, similar to Delta-9 THC, meaning that both compounds remain in the body for similar periods. The period over which THC-O metabolites remain in the body may last up to 90 days but also varies based on factors like frequency of use, dosage, metabolism, and individual differences. Frequent users may retain THC-O in their bodies due to the accumulation of THC-O metabolites in the body's tissues over time. Infrequent or one-time users may have THC-O metabolites exit their bodies over shorter periods.

Metabolism plays a crucial role in determining how long THC-O remains in the body, as individuals with faster metabolism tend to eliminate substances more rapidly. Factors like age, weight, and overall health also influence metabolism and, consequently, how long THC-O lasts in the body.

Can You Fail a Drug Test From Using THC-O?

THC-O, while often not explicitly tested for in standard drug screenings, can lead to a positive result due to its similarity to THC. Most drug tests are designed to detect THC or its metabolites.

In urine, THC metabolites can be detected within 60 minutes of THC-O consumption, lingering for up to 30 days based on factors like usage frequency and individual metabolism. Saliva tests, with a brief detection window, typically identify THC metabolites for about 48 hours post-use.

Blood tests show a short window as well, detecting THC-O metabolites for up to 36 hours after recent use. Hair tests, offering the longest detection period, may reveal THC-O metabolites for up to 45 days following the last use.

THC-O vs Delta-8

THC-O and Delta-8 THC are distinct cannabinoids with unique properties. Delta-8 THC is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Delta-8 THC is typically derived from hemp using isomerization, interacting with the endocannabinoid system to produce psychotropic effects, including relaxation and euphoria.

On the other hand, THC-O acetate is a modified form of THC created by introducing an acetyl group. Unlike Delta-8 THC, THC-O is not naturally present in hemp and is synthesized through isomerization or derived from Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC.

Both compounds share similarities in their molecular structures, leading to comparable interactions with the endocannabinoid system. However, THC-O acetate is believed to be more potent, with anecdotal reports suggesting that it may be 6-8 times stronger than Delta-8 THC.

The impact and side effects of these compounds can vary among individuals. Common side effects include dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, and altered perception of time. Due to its higher potency, THC-O acetate may induce more pronounced effects, potentially leading to stronger euphoria or sedation.

THC-O vs Delta-9

Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, responsible for the characteristic "high" associated with marijuana use. It occurs naturally in cannabis and is commonly consumed for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

In contrast, THC-O acetate is a synthetic derivative of THC, produced by introducing an acetyl group to the THC molecule. Unlike Delta-9 THC, THC-O is not naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and is typically synthesized through chemical processes, often involving isomerization or acetylation of Delta-9 THC or Delta-8 THC.

Both compounds share similarities in their interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various physiological processes. However, THC-O acetate is reputed to be more potent than Delta-9 THC. Users have reported that THC-O acetate is three to four times stronger than its Delta-9 counterpart, leading to more intense psychoactive effects.

The benefits and side effects of these compounds can vary among individuals. Delta-9 THC is known for its analgesic properties, antiemetic effects, and potential benefits in managing conditions like chronic pain and nausea. However, it can also produce side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and impaired cognitive function.

THC-O acetate, being a synthetic and more potent derivative, may offer intensified psychoactive effects. Users have reported experiencing a more “spiritual” or introspective high, but the potential side effects may also be more pronounced. Common side effects of THC-O acetate include dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, and altered perception of time.

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