Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
March 9, 2023

Did you know there is a new cannabinoid that is causing quite a buzz within the hemp community? If your guess was THC-O-acetate (THC-O), you are absolutely correct. Any compound with “THC” in the name is going to come with the assumption that it is psychoactive, but it is important that first-timers have a more solid idea to know exactly “ Does THC-O get you high ?” since it is unlike any other cannabinoid that exists on the market.

THC-O-acetate gets you high as it has prominent psychoactive properties. This means that if you consume THC-O in any form, you will get intoxicated. It is molecularly synthesized to be particularly psychoactive as a derivative of THCA, the precursor cannabinoid to THC, which is processed to yield an entirely new molecular structure. However, it is not all that sunshiny. Let’s dig into this!

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

The High of THC-O Compared to Other Cannabinoids

THC-O-acetate is psychoactive, but as we know, the specific effects of a psychoactive substance can vary. What is important to know about THC O is that it was developed to be 3x as psychoactive as delta 9 THC – this means that unlike delta 8 THC and delta 10 THC, THC O is not associated with a mild high by comparison. It was developed in the 1950s at a military base in the United States in an effort to develop a form of THC so strong that it could incapacitate opponents, and what was quickly determined is that it produces a strong psychedelic experience in concentrated amounts, which is something that other forms of traditional THC are not capable of.

People call THC-O the “spiritual cannabinoid,” and from what we have heard, this description is completely warranted. It can act like a hallucinogen, and many people say that its effects are more similar to those of psilocybin than marijuana. Now, like all cannabinoids, THC O acetate ultimately affects us all differently, but what we can say is that it offers a high that’s one-of-a-kind, and this is the primary reason why so many people wish to try it. No real studies have yet been done on its specific effects, but that could very well change as this hemp derived cannabinoid begins to become more mainstream.

The Delivery Method and Strength Matter

Does THC-O Get You High

If you are interested in trying out THC-O-acetate, remember those effects that you feel are dependent on the same factors that pertain to other cannabinoids. In other words, like CBD, delta 8, and other popular hemp derivatives, THC-O will affect you in a way that depends on the delivery method and milligram strength, primarily.

The milligram strength tells you how many milligrams of pure THC-O are in the hemp product, thus impacting its potency. And as for the delivery method, although inhalable THC products like vape cartridges will produce the fastest, strongest, and most short-lived psychoactive effect, when it comes to THC-O, this is better not be an option at all.

THC O is produced by chemically turning either delta 9 THC or delta 8 THC into CBD, which is subsequently converted into the cannabinoids’ acetate ester form, also known as THC-O. According to the studies1, 2, the thermal breakdown of THC-O can result in the creation of ketene, a harmful lung toxin, when sufficient heat is applied.

The combination of heat with the acetate form of numerous compounds, including THC, is what poses a threat rather than the cannabis plant or vaping itself. In fact, ketene might be created by heating any acetate ester. It is not known for sure, but it is possible that the ketene created by a vape cart will be enough to put the user in urgent danger. Moreover, repeated minor exposures may result in lung damage.

This does not apply to THC O gummies and other edibles or topicals, as these delivery methods are not exposed to heat. Because of the highly psychoactive nature of THC acetate as it is, we strongly suggest that only experienced THC users explore THC-O dabs, as the high may be somewhat overwhelming to casual or moderate users.

Tolerance Dependency

All THC-based cannabinoids have tolerant-dependent effects. This is because of the nature of the endocannabinoid system, which utilizes cannabinoids in the hemp plant. The more we expose this system to specific cannabinoids, the more it develops a tolerance which means that eventually, you won’t get as high off of a small amount of THC.

THC-O is no different. One thing that users have told us is that an overall tolerance to THC can result in a higher tolerance to the THC O effects. In other words, if you are already a regular THC user, it is likely that your first experience with THC-O won’t be as powerful. This tells us that THC-O and delta 9, as well as delta 8 THC, may be structurally similar enough that they work on the same receptors in the body.

It also means that if you have never used any form of THC before and wondering, “Does THC-O get u high?” – you should definitely start slow. In fact, we recommend that you do not take THC-O-acetate unless you have used delta-8 or delta-10 before and have, therefore, already built up something of tolerance so thatthe particularly powerful effects of THC-O are more manageable once they are active in your system.

And, as you use THC-O more frequently, there is a good chance that you won’t get so high off of a tiny amount of the product. Ultimately, this is seen as a positive because it gives you more control over how high you get and can help you avoid getting “too high” simply because your body is not used to these effects.

So, if you want to take THC-O-acetate initially, we suggest going with a low-strength product and consuming only the smallest dosage amount possible. For instance, if you’re buying a THC-O vape cartridge, start out with just one puff. Overall, the effects of THC-O can be felt quickly, but the peak is a bit more gradual, so definitely wait a while before deciding whether or not you wish to take more.

Is THC O Safe?

THC-O is a powerfully psychoactive compound compared to all of the other forms of THC which had been widely available on the market. Unfortunately, when heated, it becomes not that safe, thus as with any other cannabinoid, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before using any hemp-derived natural or emerging synthetic cannabinoids.