Is THC-O Legal in Texas?

Is THC-O Legal in Texas?

The legal status of THC-O in Texas is unclear. THC-O products remain on the shelves of several smoke stores across the state despite the federal ban on THC-O products. The state does not have a specific law addressing THC-O.

What is THC-O?

THC-O, commonly called THC-O acetate, is a synthetic cannabinoid created in the laboratory and reportedly producing more intense forms of the same psychoactive effects as Delta-9 THC. To obtain THC-O, CBD is first converted to Delta-8 THC and then goes through an acetylation process using acetic anhydride. Acetic anhydride is a highly flammable and corrosive liquid recommended for use only in highly controlled laboratory environments.

THC-O can be purchased in various forms including wax dabs, vapes, and edibles. Users are advised to use the compound cautiously as there is little to no regulation of THC-O products currently. Also, per a study published by the American College of Medical Toxicology, vaping THC-O products can lead to the sustained deposit of a toxicant in the lungs, which can ultimately harm them.

Anecdotal evidence suggests THC-O effects typically are several times more potent than Delta-8 THC, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-10 THC. THC-O, like other THC variants, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. The strength and duration of this binding contribute to the intensity of the psychoactive effects felt by the user. Therefore, it is recommended that users start with low doses and gradually raise their intakes in order to achieve desired results while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.

THC-O is often used for pain and stress relief and to induce sleep. However, commonly reported side effects include dizziness, seizures, dry mouth, altered perception of time and events, and nausea.

Is THC-O Legal Under Federal Law?

No. Cannabinoid product manufacturers are leveraging the inadvertent loophole created by the federal Farm Bill enacted in 2018 to flood the U.S. cannabis market with THC-O products. Following the passage of the 2018 bill, the federal government legalized all hemp-derived products containing no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, in February 2023, the U.S. DEA clarified its position on the legal status of THC-O, declaring the synthetic cannabinoid illegal. The DEA stated that Delta-9 THC-O and Delta-8 THC-O are illegal since they do not occur naturally in marijuana or hemp plants. Due to their synthetic nature, they do not qualify under the definition of marijuana and are therefore classified as Schedule I controlled substances.

How Long Does THC-O Last in the Body?

While the intense feelings experienced from consuming THC-O only last a few hours after consumption, metabolites from the breakdown of the compound remain in the body for longer. When you use THC-O, the compound breaks down in the liver like other THC compounds, releasing metabolites like 11-hydroxy-THC. If you use THC-O infrequently, you can expect the metabolites of the compound to last about a week in your system. However, if your use of the cannabinoid is frequent, you may have to wait longer periods, potentially up to 3 months, for all traces of the compound to leave your body.

Other factors that may impact the length of stay of the cannabinoid or its metabolite in your system include:

  • Method of Consumption: If you opt for THC-O edibles, the body takes a longer time to absorb and break down the cannabinoid, leading to a prolonged presence of THC metabolites. In contrast, vaping THC-O results in quicker elimination of THC metabolites from the body
  • Metabolism: Young adults with faster metabolism tend to break down THC-O more quickly, expediting the removal of its metabolites from their bodies. Conversely, older individuals with slower metabolism may retain THC-O metabolites for a more extended period
  • Dosage: The amount of THC-O consumed also affects the duration of metabolite elimination. Higher doses of THC-O lead to an extended presence of THC metabolites in the body, while lower dosing amounts lead to faster elimination of metabolites from the body

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

Yes. Due to the inability of most drug tests to distinguish between THC cannabinoids in the body, the consumption of THC-O products will likely result in a positive drug test. Despite the chemical differences between THC and THC-O, these distinctions are not discernible enough for standard drug tests to differentiate between them.

The detection windows for common drug tests are as follows:

  • Blood tests: Blood tests are commonly employed to identify recent THC-O use, with THC metabolites being detectable in the blood up to one week after THC-O consumption. For heavy users, these metabolites may be detectable in the blood plasma for an extended period, up to 25 days after taking THC-O
  • Urine tests: Occasional THC-O users may have THC metabolites detected in their urine for up to 3 days after use, while chronic users may have detectable THC metabolites levels in their urine samples for an extended period, up to 30 days post-use
  • Saliva tests: Saliva tests are commonly employed for same-day detection of THC use
  • Hair tests: Hair follicle tests offer a remarkably prolonged detection window. THC-O metabolites can be identified in hair samples up to 90 days after use, making this form of testing particularly effective for establishing a history of THC use

THC-O vs Delta-8

Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in hemp plants, although in trace quantities. It is famous for its milder psychoactive effects in comparison with the widely known Delta-9 THC. Compared to Delta-8 THC, THC-O is not naturally occurring in hemp or marijuana plants and must be manufactured in the laboratory.

One of the main differences between Delta-8 THC and THC-O is the potency level of both cannabinoids. Anecdotal evidence suggests THC-O is more powerful, yielding more intense psychoactive effects, such as altered perception and hallucination. Note that unique factors may affect the potency or impact of both cannabinoids in users.

Compared to THC-O, Delta-8 THC is linked with calming and relaxing effects on the body, which may help with sleep difficulties. Since Delta-8 THC effects are milder, it may cause fewer and less intense side effects that can also be linked to THC-O, such as anxiety and paranoia.

THC-O vs Delta-9

Delta-9 THC is the most potent form of THC isomer found in marijuana or hemp plants. Unlike THC-O, Delta-9 THC-O occurs naturally and does not have to be synthesized in the laboratory as it can be extracted directly.

While both Delta-9 THC and THC-O are psychoactive and induce "highs" in users, THC-O is considered inherently more potent, with users typically using smaller dosing amounts to reap the same effects that may be experienced with Delta-9 THC.

Research suggests THC-O's effects are at least 3 times more potent than Delta-9 THC's. Generally, users describe THC-O as not sedating but uplifting and potentially capable of inducing a potent euphoria. Some users even describe THC-O's effects as borderline hallucinogenic; however, it is unclear what dosages are required to reach these levels.

By contrast, Delta-9's high is less intense in comparison to THC-O but still potent in its own way. Delta-9 THC can induce strong body and head effects, which can be described as a bit more in the "middle ground".

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