Is THC-O Legal in West Virginia?

Is THC-O Legal in West Virginia?

Yes. West Virginia has not enacted any laws banning the sale or use of THC-O. Following the Agricultural Act of 2018, which legalized CBD and hemp production by removing hemp (cannabis containing no more than 0.3% THC) and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act, West Virginia also legalized the production and sale of certain hemp-derived THC and CBD products. With THC-O obtained from hemp and no specific law banning it, some cannabinoid sellers in the state offer THC-O products to individuals willing to buy.

What is THC-O?

THC-O is a novel cannabinoid synthesized in the laboratory. It is not naturally occurring like other common cannabinoids, such as CBG or CBN, but requires multi-step chemical synthesis in a controlled environment to be created.

Researchers in the U.S. military studied THC-O as early as 1949. Subsequently, in the 1970s, the DEA uncovered an illegal lab in Florida engaged in combining cannabis extracts with acetic anhydride. Despite these early investigations, widespread interest among consumers in THC-O has only emerged in recent years.

Despite the growing interest, there remains a scarcity of scientific research on THC-O. Hence, further research is required to understand the uses and side effects of THC-O products comprehensively. Presently, information on the psychoactive effects of THC-O relies predominantly on anecdotal reports from consumers, and THC-O products are said to be more potent than Delta-9 THC.

THC-O is typically available in gummies, vapes, wax dabs, and oils.

Is THC-O Legal Under Federal Law?

No. As a result of the legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives under the 2018 Farm Bill, many cannabinoid manufacturers began selling THC products derived from hemp, provided they do not contain more than the Delta-9 THC limit stated under the 2018 bill. According to the Farm Bill, cannabinoid products derived from hemp and containing no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC are legal federally. With THC-O technically derived from the hemp plant, many sellers assumed THC-O to be legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.

With controversies trailing the legal status of THC-O due to its synthetic nature, Rod Kight, a cannabis attorney in North Carolina, wrote to the DEA, requesting clarification on the status of the cannabinoid. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) responded in February 2023 that both Delta-8 THC-O and Delta-9 THC-O are illegal controlled substances because they do not occur naturally and, therefore, do not fall under the legal definition of hemp.

The DEA warned that although Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC are naturally occurring cannabinoids in cannabis plants, Delta-8 THC-O and Delta-9 THC-O do not occur naturally and are, therefore, classified as Schedule I substances.

How Long Does THC-O Last in the Body?

THC-O is metabolized the same way other THC compounds are broken down in the body. Upon consumption, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and subsequently travels to the liver, where enzymes break it down. The resulting metabolites are then expelled from the body through urine and feces.

While the euphoric effects of THC-O present for a few hours post-use, its metabolites can remain in the body for a few months after the last use. The exact duration that THC-O or its metabolites stay in the body varies depending on factors such as:

  • Dose: Higher doses generally result in a longer presence of THC-O and its metabolites in the system. Smaller doses may lead to a shorter duration of effects and a faster elimination from the body
  • Method of Administration: Inhalation methods, such as smoking or vaping, often lead to quicker onset of THC-O effects. Inhaled THC-O may also be eliminated from the body more rapidly compared to other administration methods. Edibles and tinctures, on the other hand, can have a delayed onset with effects that last longer indicating that THC-O consumed in these forms stay longer in the system
  • Metabolism and Individual Factors: The efficiency of an individual's metabolism, influenced by factors like age, weight, and overall health, affects THC-O elimination. Faster metabolism generally contributes to quicker clearance of THC-O from the system. Unique physiological differences among individuals can also impact how their bodies process and expel THC-O metabolites
  • Frequency of Use: Regular users are likely to have a buildup of THC-O in the body over time, leading to longer detection windows. Infrequent or occasional use may result in quicker elimination, reducing the overall presence of THC-O and its metabolites
  • Hydration and Diet: Adequate hydration can potentially expedite the elimination of THC-O through urine. Certain dietary factors may influence the absorption and processing of THC-O, impacting its duration in the body

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

Yes. THC-O use can lead to a positive drug test result, as typical drug tests lack the capability to differentiate between different THC compounds or cannabinoids. Furthermore, since THC-O is metabolized in similar ways to other THC cannabinoids, you can expect a positive drug test result after THC-O use. Drug tests only screen for the presence of THC metabolites and not specific THC cannabinoids.

THC-O metabolites can be found with swab, urine, blood, and hair follicle tests. However, the effectiveness and precision of these tests are influenced by the frequency and quantity of THC intake as well as individual variations in metabolism and body composition.

THC-O is typically detectable in the blood for up to 48 hours, in urine for 3-7 days, and in saliva for 24-48 hours. Hair follicle tests have the capability to detect THC metabolites for much longer, potentially up to 90 days.

THC-O vs Delta-8

THC-O and Delta-8 THC are both cannabinoids but can be obtained in different ways. Delta-8 THC can be found naturally in hemp plants, but THC-O cannot. THC-O can only be created in controlled environments in a laboratory.

THC-O originates from a synthetic modification of Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC. Its production involves acetylating Delta-8 THC or Delta-9 THC, introducing an acetyl group into the molecule and fundamentally altering its structure. This modification results in a compound reputed to offer a more potent and spiritually uplifting experience compared to Delta-8 THC.

In contrast to THC-O, Delta-8 THC can be directly derived from hemp or synthesized from Delta-9 THC through isomerization. This process involves rearranging molecules, leading to a slight shift in the double bond's location in the chemical structure compared to Delta-9 THC. This minor alteration is responsible for the milder psychoactive effects associated with Delta-8 THC, making it a more attractive option for individuals sensitive to the stronger effects of THC-O.

Anecdotally, the effects of THC-O are often touted as being six or seven times more potent than that of Delta-8 THC, delivering the psychedelic experience desired by consumers.

THC-O vs Delta-9

Delta-9 THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana responsible for the “high” feeling experienced by users when they ingest or smoke marijuana. When people refer to "weed" or "pot," they are likely referring to Delta-9 THC products. Delta-9 THC can be found naturally in the cannabis plants, while THC-O is synthetically created.

There is limited peer-reviewed research on the potency of THC-O in comparison to other THC isomers like Delta-9 THC, but users report that it gives a more intense high than Delta-9 THC. THC-O is purported to be a psychedelic cannabinoid capable of inducing three times the intoxicating effect produced by Delta-9 THC.

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