No, it is illegal to sell or use hemp-derived products containing THC, including THC-O, in New Hampshire. Effective October 9th, 2023, New Hampshire classified THC-O as a Schedule I controlled substance and prohibited its sale, possession, distribution, or consumption within the state's boundaries. No licensed dispensary is authorized to sell THC-O-based products on its licensed premises.
THC-O stands for tetrahydrocannabinol-O-acetate, a synthetic cannabinoid produced from the hemp-derived cannabinoids. It is not naturally found in hemp plants. Instead, it is produced from CBD and Delta-8 THC. First, CBD is converted to Delta-8 THC. Afterward, acetic anhydride, a highly inflammable compound, is added to Delta-8 THC to produce THC-O. The process of making THC-O is dangerous and should only be done in a lab and with great caution. THC-O is becoming popular due to its potency. Reports from first-hand users have revealed that THC-O is 3 times stronger than Delta-9 THC and about 5 times more potent than Delta-8 THC.
The effects of THC-O may not be felt until about 1 hour after consumption. However, the exact impact on users vary from person to person. Common effects include a relaxed mood, paranoia, hallucinations, an increase in anxiety, and nausea. THC-O is mostly available as vapes, oils, and flowers. It may also be baked into edibles like gummies. Generally, THC-O is safe for human consumption, but smoking or vaping the substance should be done with caution. Smoking or vaping THC-O frequently for a long time may be harmful to the lungs. This is because THC-O is made by combining Delta-8 THC with acetic anhydride, which, when exposed to heat, can produce a toxic substance called ketene.
No. While hemp and hemp derivatives are legal under federal law as stipulated in the 2018 Farm Bill, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has clarified that synthetically produced hemp derivatives are exempted. In February 2013, the DEA, in its response to an inquiry by North Carolina Attorney Rod Kight asking about the status of THC-O under the Controlled Substances Act, confirmed that THC-O was illegal. The DEA explained that THC-O is a Schedule I controlled drug because it is not naturally occurring in hemp plants and can only be produced synthetically.
How long THC-O lasts in the body can vary depending on many factors. These factors include the consumer's metabolic rate, amount of THC-O consumed, consumption frequency, and consumption method. Generally, the compound’s psychoactive effects last between 4 and 8 hours after use. However, after consuming a THC-O product, it is metabolized and converted into a metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC, which can remain in the body for many weeks after use. For instance, a light and infrequent consumer may have this THC-O metabolite in their system for up to 2 weeks, while a heavy and regular user can have it in their body for up to 4 weeks or more.
Yes. A drug test on a person who has consumed a THC-O product can produce a positive result. This is because the compound is metabolized in the body similarly to Delta-9 THC to produce 11-hydroxy-THC, the metabolite screened in drug tests. 11-hydroxy-THC can remain in the body for a long time and can be detected several weeks after use. However, the detection window depends on the type of drug test administered and other factors, including frequency of use and the consumer's body weight and metabolism.
Saliva tests are less effective and may only detect the presence of THC-O in the body for up to 2 days. Similarly, blood tests are not as effective. Regardless of the frequency of use, they can only detect THC-O metabolite for up to 36 hours after the last consumption. Depending on the frequency of consumption, THC-O can remain detectable in urine for between 15 and 30 days. Hair follicle tests are very effective and can detect the presence of THC-O or its metabolite in the body for up to 90 days after dosing, especially in regular users.
Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid of hemp, and it is naturally occurring in the plant. However, because of its very small amounts in hemp, it is somewhat hard and expensive to extract. Hence, it is synthesized using some synthetic solvents to create an extract alternative. On the other hand, THC-O is synthetically produced from Delta-8 THC and does not occur naturally in any quantity in hemp plants. Although both compounds are psychoactive, Delta-8 THC produces a milder high compared to THC-O, which is reported to be about 5 times stronger than Delta-8 THC in terms of potency.
Delta-8 THC is more likely to provide sedative and soothing effects after consumption. In contrast, THC-O has the tendency to produce hallucinogenic effects because it is more potent. Both cannabinoids are touted to provide some therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, nausea treatment, anxiety management, and pain relief. However, consumers have also reported side effects of using both compounds. For Delta-8 THC, the downsides include dry mouth, red eyes, fast heart rate, drowsiness, and low blood pressure. Side effects of using THC-O include vomiting, paranoia, hallucinations, sedation, and seizures.
Delta-9 THC can be found naturally in hemp plants and can be easily extracted, unlike THC-O, which is made synthetically in the lab through a more complex extraction process. However, both have psychotropic effects, although at varying degrees. These effects can vary from person to person. Because of its psychedelic properties, THC-O is more potent than Delta-9 THC, and some users have reported that THC-O can produce a spiritual level kind of euphoria. In contrast, the effects of Delta-9 THC are uplifting, producing a sense of relaxation and calmness.
THC-O is believed to have some pain-relieving properties without users having to deal with strong muscle lethargy or dizziness. However, due to its potency, common side effects include grogginess, nausea, panic-like feelings, and hallucinations. Delta-9 THC is known to help with chronic pain management, relaxation, and increased focus. Despite its medicinal benefits, Delta-9 THC users may experience adverse effects like fast heart rate, red eyes, delayed reaction time, difficulty thinking, and increased appetite.