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THC-O Acetate: Will it replace Delta 8 THC?

THC-O Acetate: Will it replace Delta 8 THC?

What is THC-O Acetate and is it like Delta 8 THC?

As more states begin banning and regulating Delta 8 THC, manufacturers are looking for alternatives to skirt the rules. Bring in THC-O Acetate.

Before we dive into the latest designer cannabinoid that aims to replace Delta 8 THC as it becomes banned in several states and regulated in some others, let’s briefly run through what Delta 8 THC is itself.

All cannabinoids, from CBD to THC and beyond begin as CBGA. Because of the shared molecular structure of cannabinoids, manipulating them is simpler than it may seem. While Delta-8 is relatively new, producers have been using these methods to manipulate cannabinoids for a long time to find exotic new cannabinoids.

While Delta-8 THC exists in a wide range of cannabis strains, it is in minuscule, trace amounts. To extract and purify Delta-8 from raw plant material with less than one percent of the targeted cannabinoid is unprofitable. This is why producers have begun converting other, more prevalent cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9 THC into Delta-8.

Through a synthetic isomerization process, CBD is combined with a solvent to create Delta-8 THC. This is why the most popular products are vape cartridges and gummies. Cannabis cannot produce enough Delta-8 on its own.

Why Delta 8 THC is being banned

If you read the above section and started thinking, “That sounds pretty similar to those designer cannabinoids like spice that hurt a lot of people”, you would be on the right track. That is why over a dozen states have already banned Delta 8 THC.

Due to grey areas in the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp and all of its derivatives (besides Delta 9 THC), producers of Delta 8 believe they technically aren’t breaking any laws. However unlike CBD which was immediately popular and thus regulated by the FDA for safety, Delta 8 has had no such treatment.

In 2020, the DEA released a set of rules for hemp production in the country. This ruling states that any naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinols in the hemp plant that has a Delta 9 THC percentage below .3% is not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act. In other words, it would seem like Delta 8 in the clear.

However the DEA also includes that for synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols (like Delta 8 which is created synthetically), the concentration of D9 -THC is not a determining factor in whether the material is a controlled substance. All synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols remain schedule I controlled substances. In other words, maybe Delta 8 is not so in the clear.

For the states that have already banned Delta 8 THC, it seems the easiest solution to a product that the FDA and DEA have made no mention of regulating. For producers however, THC-O Acetate is the solution.

What is THC-O Acetate?

While Delta 8 THC occurs in low concentrations in cannabis that must be extracted and isolated, THC-O Acetate — commonly called ATHC or THC-O — is not naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and can only be made synthetically.

THC-O is a man-made cannabinoid produced by using specific chemicals to acetylate THC. Acting as a metabolic prodrug for THC itself, THC-O works in the same manner as heroin does as a metabolic prodrug for morphine. That alone is enough to rub many cannabis users the wrong way, especially whole plant advocates.

THC-O Acetate can also be made from Delta 8 THC, so in states where it has been banned and producers may have a bulk supply of Delta 8, it can be converted relatively easily. And what truly makes THC-O so popular is the effects users feel.

Traditional THC Molecule:

Delta 9 THC vs THC-O AcetateTHC-O Acetate Molecule:

What is THC-O Acetate and is it safe?

A better high than Delta 9?

According to user reports and the little science behind it, THC-O Acetate has been shown to be two to three times stronger than Delta 9 THC. You read that right. THC-O can be 300% more potent than traditional Delta 9 THC.

Users have claimed that THC-O Acetate is a much more introspective and psychedelic experience compared to Delta 9 or Delta 8 THC, which is likely due to the extreme potency. Similarly to Delta 8 THC, THC-O can only be made through isolation, which means most products will be either a vape cartridge or edibles.

While for most, normal Delta 8 or Delta 9 THC does the trick just fine and taking such a concentrated product would be excessive, there is a real appeal for medical applications of THC-O Acetate. For some, traditional Delta 9 doesn’t provide enough relief from pain, anxiety or other issues.

Due to its potency, many believe that THC-O could be a great beneficial medicine for those who want to use cannabis but need a more concentrated dose that isn’t easily attainable through traditional consumption. With that said, THC-O Acetate is treated similarly to Delta 8 currently.

That means in states where Delta 8 has already been banned, you may be unable to have THC-O products delivered, or find them at smoke shops. However since there is so little information on THC-O, few states actually know about it, which means distributors may be able to get away with it for a while.

Is THC-O Acetate the new designer drug?

Of course for now it is too soon to say if THC-O is likely to end up in a similar grave to Spice or K2. These were synthetically created cannabinoid products that ended up hurting a lot of people, leading them to be banned across the country. However the way these products skirted the law was by minutely adjusting their chemical makeups every time one was banned.

Because the government would ban specific makeups of these products, small adjustments made them different products technically. It is always possible, being a fully synthetic creation, that THC-O befalls a similar fate. In grey markets, profits typically rise above safety. As competition grows, just like Delta 8 became more widespread, the same will likely happen to THC-O Acetate.

Producers will try to create stronger and cheaper versions of the drug, the latter effort being that which leads to danger. We all saw what happened when illicit market vape cartridge producers tried to cut costs by including Propylene Glycol and Vitamin E Acetate in their products. This resulted in hundreds of hospitalizations and even deaths.

With any grey or black market cannabis products, it is always on the user to ensure they are getting a safe and reliable product. If demand for THC-O Acetate grows enough, you can bet there will be a market for it.

However as a non-natural cannabinoid, THC-O isn’t measured with most testing methods used for cannabis currently. While some have claimed to created a reliable process for measuring THC-O, nothing has become the standard. Due to this it might be a while before there are truly reliable providers of THC-O products, but that hasn’t stopped consumers before, and likely won’t this time around either.

Study Reveals Humans Domesticated Cannabis 12,000 Years Ago

Study Reveals Humans Domesticated Cannabis 12,000 Years Ago

study shows domesticated cannabis could be over 12,000 years old

Cannabis was first domesticated around 12,000 years ago in China, researchers found, after analyzing the genomes of plants from across the world.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances on Friday, said the genomic history of cannabis  had been under-studied compared to other crop species, largely due to .

The researchers compiled 110 whole genomes covering the full spectrum of wild-growing feral plants, landraces, historical cultivars, and modern hybrids of plants used for  and drug purposes.

The study said it identified “the time and origin of domestication, post-domestication divergence patterns and present-day genetic diversity”.

“We show that cannabis sativa was first domesticated in early Neolithic times in East Asia and that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool currently represented by feral plants and landraces in China,” it said.

Cannabis has been used for millennia for textiles and for its medicinal and recreational properties. The evolution of the cannabis genome suggests the plant was cultivated for multipurpose use over several millennia.

The current highly-specialized hemp and drug varieties are thought to come from selective cultures initiated about 4,000 years ago, optimized for the production of fibers or cannabinoids. The selection led to unbranched, tall hemp plants with more fiber in the main stem, and well-branched, short marijuana  with more flowers, maximizing resin production.

‘New insights’

The study was led by Luca Fumagalli of the University of Lausanne and involved scientists from Britain, China, India, Pakistan, Qatar and Switzerland.

“Our genomic dating suggests that early domesticated ancestors of hemp and drug types diverged from Basal cannabis“, around 12,000 years ago, “indicating that the species had already been domesticated by early Neolithic times”, it said.

“Contrary to a widely-accepted view, which associates cannabis with a Central Asian center of crop domestication, our results are consistent with a single domestication origin of  in East Asia, in line with early archaeological evidence.”

Research finds cannabis terpenes as a promising for pain therapies

Research finds cannabis terpenes as a promising for pain therapies

managing pain with cannabis terpenes

When it comes to the medicinal and therapeutic properties of Cannabis sativa, an unsolved mystery is whether there exists an “entourage effect,” whereby the pain-relieving effects of the plant as a whole are greater than any of its individual parts. 

New research from the University of Arizona Health Sciences has found evidence that favors the entourage effect theory and positions Cannabis terpenes, the part of the plant that provides flavor and aroma, as a promising new target for pain therapies that would require lower doses and produce fewer side effects.

A lot of people are taking cannabis and cannabinoids for pain. We’re interested in the concept of the entourage effect, with the idea being that maybe we can boost the modest pain-relieving efficacy of THC and not boost the psychoactive side effects, so you could have a better therapeutic.”

– John Streicher, PhD, lead researcher, member of the UArizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and associate professor of pharmacology at the College of Medicine – Tucson

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants and are the basic component in essential oils. The terpene linalool, for example, gives lavender its distinctive floral scent. In addition to terpenes, Cannabis sativa contains naturally occurring compounds known as cannabinoids, the most well-known of which are cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.

Researchers found that Cannabis terpenes, when used by themselves, mimic the effects of cannabinoids, including a reduction in pain sensation. When combined with cannabinoids, the pain-relieving effects were amplified without an increase in negative side effects. The paper, “Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity,” was published in Scientific Reports.

Is Delta-8 THC Safe?

Is Delta-8 THC Safe?

is delta 8 thc safe to consume?

If you’re a cannabis or Hemp/CBD consumer, you have more than likely heard of Delta-8 THC. But is Delta 8 THC safe?

Fourteen states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Utah — have already banned Delta-8. For a consumer looking to possibly try Delta 8 for the first time, this could be a cause for concern.

If Delta 8 was totally safe, then why would states be banning it en masse? That’s what we’re going to break down.

The answer to the question, “is delta 8 THC safe?” isn’t so black and white. Just like a couple years ago when many were unsure about the safety of CBD products, D8 THC is in a similar phase.

Is Delta 8 THC safe to consume?

The short answer is we don’t know. That is partially the reason that so many states have already moved to make it illegal. With zero — and we mean zero — regulation, it is much easier to just ban Delta 8 than go through the same process as CBD.

To clarify, CBD has had a rocky road over the last few years. After the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, all hemp and its derivatives (aside from Delta 9 THC) became fully legal. CBD, CBG, CBN and others all became legal at this time, which sparked the CBD movement.

As soon as the CBD industry began exploding, the FDA was forced into action. Regulating the safety of consumable CBD products like gummies, ointments or other topicals was essential. While some states decided to ban CBD altogether like some are doing now with Delta 8, most saw the growing market and recognized that regulation was necessary.

However CBD does not create a psychoactive effect like Delta 8 does, nor is it synthetically derived. And that’s where the issues with Delta 8 arise.

How Delta 8 THC is made

CBD has been bred into hemp in higher concentrations over the last few years, which is then extracted to make various products. Delta 8 exists in such small traces in hemp and cannabis that it can’t be extracted on its own and produces negligible results.

Due to this, Delta 8 is actually made through the synthetic conversion of CBD.

The process of creating Delta 8 from CBD is nothing new, and is actually a patented isomerization process. It involves dissolving CBD in a solvent like heptane. An acid is then added into the solution and stirred constantly up to 18 hours on a heat plate. Once the chemical reaction is complete it will separate, where it can then be washed and dried and tested.

Compared to how your average Delta-9 extract is made, Delta-8 is a more lengthy, “synthetic” process. That can be a turn off for a lot of people.

The new “spice”?

We see you clenching your fists about to throw your phone from reading that title. No, we don’t believe that Delta 8 THC is as dangerous as spice. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to be just as dangerous.

You may remember in 2019 when hundreds of people wound up in the hospital (and several actually dying) due to dangerous chemicals being cut into illicit, black market vaporizer cartridges. Vape cartridges are currently the most popular way to consume Delta 8, and they are completely unregulated just like illegal cartridges sold on the street.

It is not inconceivable that a producer looking to cut costs and make more money could cut their products with something potentially dangerous to consumers. And that is the risk that many take when they place an order from an online Delta 8 THC retailer.

So is Delta 8 THC safe? Let’s be real here. It is just as likely that a consumer might get an unsafe distillate cartridge on the street as you are to get a dangerous Delta 8 product from a “reputable” online Delta 8 retailer. That’s the reality.

Some states might start treating Delta 8 like CBD in the future, regulate it and make it safe. There’s also the chance that federal government, such as the DEA or FDA gets involved. Similarly to states with cannabis legalization, Delta 8 could also be made legal on a state by state basis. Some argue it is already legal.

In other words the safety, legality and trustworthiness of Delta 8 THC products is anybody’s guess. And guessing is exactly what you do when order some Delta 8 online or grab it from the head shop.

CULTA Launches Maryland’s First Cannabis Tissue Culture Program

CULTA Launches Maryland’s First Cannabis Tissue Culture Program

CULTA medical marijuana dispensary Baltimore, Maryland

Maryland medical cannabis cultivator CULTA has launched the state program’s first tissue culture lab in an effort to further hone its approach to craft cannabis and extracts. Chief Cannabis Officer and co-founder Mackie Barch said that it’s a natural next step in the company’s growth plans and cultivation goals.

The team took their first tissue culture clones on April 8. (The news comes just a few months after CULTA moved its headquarters to a new office in Bethesda to accommodate a long-term growth strategy, which includes plans to add 100 more employees across its farm in Cambridge, retail dispensary in Baltimore and new HQ.)

CULTA’s current collection of 26 cultured strains includes: Dosido 22-22, Poochie Love and Scooby Snacks #2. New mothers are expected in the coming months. The plan is to bank all of CULTA’s genetics in the lab by the end of the year.

The prime motivation was “to ensure redundancy of our genetics, the ability to create clean new moms and to be able to store genetics for long periods of time,” Barch said. “The long-term implications are to ensure we don’t lose prized genetics to disease and age. Additionally, we can store more genetics in a safer manner and bring them back as needed.”

Cannabis strains can be moved in and out of production without a lot of additional cost. This flexibility translates to a greater engagement with sales trends in Maryland.

Looking ahead, the lab will also allow CULTA to develop an in-house breeding program.

“Plant tissue culture is not a hard process to do, but it takes a lot of knowledge and skill to master,” CULTA Tissue Culture Lab Supervisor Isaac Fisher said. “Lab experience is extremely beneficial, especially if it involves microbiology, mycology, botany or biochemistry. No new employees we’re brought on specifically for the Tissue Culture lab. I have past experience working in a molecular genetics lab, but started out at CULTA doing outdoor cultivation and then working in the extraction lab before helping start the tissue culture lab.”

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A hemp industry grey area

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A hemp industry grey area

Does delta-8 THC get you high?

Delta-8 THC is the latest cannabinoid to take over the hemp “grey” market, after CBD had its run in 2019 and 2020 before regulation on CBD products began. However D8 THC is likely to face a similar fate soon enough, and some states aren’t waiting around for the FDA to start regulating it.

So how does a hot new cannabinoid like this come about without regulation, and is Delta-8 THC legal?

What is Delta-8 THC?

What may be a surprise to some is that D8 THC is not a newly discovered cannabinoid. Pharmacological knowledge of D8 THC has been around since 1941 when its partial synthesis was discovered by Roger Adams. It is an isomer of Delta-9 THC, meaning that it has an identical molecular formula to Delta-9 THC, but Delta-8 THC is arranged differently which creates a variation in chemical properties.

But like many other cannabinoids including Delta-9 THC, scientific data surrounding Delta-8 THC was suppressed soon after its discovery, with the Marihuana Tax Act already being in effect since 1937. That changed with the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018.

Following the federal legalization of hemp, a lot of farmers hopped on the CBD trend and saturated the market with biomass. But just like CBD, Delta-8 THC can also be extracted.

D8 THC is not as prevalent in hemp as CBD, and not as potent as Delta-9 THC. But that hasn’t stopped producers and consumers from capitalizing.

More money, more effects

If Delta-8 THC was all made up by illicit market producers trying to take advantage of the uneducated consumer, it surely wouldn’t be as popular as it has become. That is to say in the mind of consumers, D8 THC is a “legal” replacement for Delta-9 THC.

For someone living in a state with no access to medical or recreational cannabis, hemp is more than likely legal. Since Delta-8 can be extracted from hemp, and hemp is legal, Delta-8 is technically legal too, for now.

With the CBD market completely oversaturated, D8 THC also presents a unique opportunity for hemp producers to still make a profit off their hemp. Being a very close relative of Delta-9 THC, a massive market for those trying to get the “high” of Delta-9 without breaking the law in their state has been created.

Just since the beginning of 2021, Delta-8 THC has grown massively in popularity. It has become available in vape carts and edibles in head shops across the country and also gives consumers the option to have it shipped right to their door online.

However that may all be changing quicker than consumers and producers hoped.

States start taking action

While the FDA might just be catching wind of Delta-8 THC and are considering looking into the new hot cannabinoid, individual states have already taken notice, and they aren’t waiting to take action.

Vermont is the latest state to pass rulings that state D8 THC is now illegal, and they aren’t alone either. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, and Utah have all banned the sale of Delta-8 THC.

With so many states jumping to ban D8 THC so quickly, it isn’t a good sign for the future. Ultimately the reason that Delta-8 may fail is because of the lack of regulation. Without regulation, there will always be bad actors in the industry pushing fake and dangerous products.

A clear example of this issue gained nationwide attention in 2019 after several people died from ingesting illicit market Delta-9 vape cartridges, and hundreds more wound up in the hospital. The same problem could easily plague the rising Delta-8 industry, and that has lawmakers and consumers concerned.

While many are willing to take the risk and have Delta-8 THC delivered from an online service without knowing the true contents or lab results of the product, just as many are not. While there are a handful of reliable Delta-8 suppliers with lab testing provided, there are just as many if not more that don’t include lab results.

So what’s the solution?

Regulate Delta-8 THC or make it illegal

The question that many are asking right now is, will Delta-8 THC be regulated or just made illegal?

Unfortunately for consumers and producers, the latter is much more likely. Compared to CBD which has very little to no psychoactive effects, Delta-8 is described as a more subtle version of Delta-9 THC by consumers.

In a state like Utah where recreational cannabis is still illegal, Delta-8 is no different than Delta-9 in the eyes of legislators and regulators because the consumer can still get high from consuming it. So why would they allow one and not the other?

At least we can’t argue that they aren’t being consistent.

As for the potential for regulation, it is possible but unlikely in the near future. For example, despite being legalized in 2018, the USDA’s final ruling regarding hemp production wasn’t released until January of this year. The FDA has only recently begun cracking down on the unregulated CBD industry, sending out multiple emails to producers in March of this year warning about false advertising and making medical claims about CBD products.

But the USDA ruling doesn’t even address Delta-8 THC, let alone set a limit on its production. There is no evidence that the FDA is currently investigating Delta-8 either. So while we don’t expect there to be a federal ban on Delta-8 in the near future, we are likely to see more states take action on their own.

Colorado passed medical and recreational cannabis and has a thriving legal industry, yet is still choosing to keep Delta-8 THC illegal. Other states are going to take notice, and many may follow suit.

For now, if you want to try Delta-8 for yourself, make sure to search for a verified producer that provides detailed lab results from a certified lab. While the science may still be out on the safety of D8 THC itself, as long as the product is made properly with clean ingredients and certified by test results it may be the best alternative to Delta-9 for those who can’t get it for the meantime.

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