Is THC-O Legal in Kansas?

Is THC-O Legal in Kansas?

Yes, THC-O is legal in Kansas. While Senate Bill 263 prohibits tetrahydrocannabinols (THCs) naturally contained in the cannabis plant and their synthetic equivalent, it exempts THCs obtained from hemp plants. Hence, it is legal to use hemp-based THC-O products in Kansas, provided the Delta-9 THC concentration does not exceed 0.3%. THC-O-infused products are available for purchase in vape stores and online THC-O and CBD stores in the state.

What is THC-O?

THC-O, or tetrahydrocannabinol-O-acetate, is a hemp-derived synthetic cannabinoid. It is not found naturally in hemp plants, unlike CBD and Delta-8 THC. THC-O is produced by extracting Delta-8 THC from the hemp plant and adding acetic anhydride to the extract. It is a psychoactive cannabinoid, and it causes euphoric feelings in users. While it has some potential medicinal effects like some other THC products, THC-O is commonly used for recreational purposes. The "high" experienced by THC-O consumers is more intense than those felt by Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC users. Reports from consumers indicate that THC-O is about five times more potent than Delta-8 THC and at least two to three times stronger than Delta-9 THC. THC-O-based products may also produce psychedelic (mild hallucinogenic) effects.

The growing popularity of THC-O has raised concerns about its safety for human consumption. Although research on the compound is still limited, it is generally believed to be safe for human consumption if used moderately. However, it has a high potential for abuse. Commonly available THC products include tinctures, vape pens, oils, edibles, and flowers. Nevertheless, consumers are strongly advised to be cautious when vaping or smoking THC-O. This is because THC-O contains acetic anhydride, which when exposed to heat, produces ketene, a harmful chemical that can potentially cause lung damage. THC-O edible products such as candy and gummies and THC-O oil products are safer for consumption without potential risks to users' lung health when consumed moderately.

Is THC-O Legal Under Federal Law?

No. Once perceived as a legal alternative to marijuana in the United States, THC-O is now considered illegal under federal law. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp and derivatives of cannabis, including low-THC derivatives of cannabis, from the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act. As a result, THC-O, being a derivative of hemp with no more than 0.3% THC concentration, was seen as an alternative to marijuana and believed to be legal. However, in February 2023, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confirmed via a letter that THC-O is a controlled substance and, as such, illegal. The argument was that Delta-8 THC-O and Delta-9 THC-O can only be produced synthetically and do not occur naturally in cannabis plants, and as a result, do not fall within the definition of hemp.

How Long Does THC-O Last in the Body?

The time it takes for the effects of THC-O to wear off in the body depends on several factors, including the user's tolerance, dosage, and consumption method. Generally, the effects can last for up to 8 hours, depending on the delivery methods. For instance, the effects of inhalable THC-O products (dabs and vapes) may not last longer than 2 hours in the body after consumption, while those of THC-O products consumed sublingually may last for between 4 to 6 hours. The effects of THC-O consumed in ingestible products like capsules or edibles usually last longer than others and can last up to 8 hours.

After the effects of THC-O have worn off in the body, it may take a long time for its metabolite (11-hydroxy-THC) to leave the consumer's system completely. This metabolite may remain in the body for 2 days to several weeks, depending on the many factors influencing how much THC-O the body has absorbed, including the user's metabolic rate, the last time THC-O was consumed, and the frequency of use.

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

Yes. If a person recently consumed a THC-O-infused product, the chances that such a person will fail a drug test for cannabis are high. This is because THC-O may still be metabolizing in the body, and drug tests typically look to detect 11-hydroxy-THC, the major metabolite of THC. However, how long THC-O will remain detectable in the body depends on the user's metabolism, frequency of consumption, the last time it was consumed, delivery method, and the type of administered drug test.

Saliva tests can detect THC-O in the user's body for up to 2 days after dosing. THC-O or its metabolites can remain detectable in the blood (using blood tests) for 24 hours to a few days after consumption. Urine tests can detect the presence of THC-O in a person's system for up to 30 days. With a hair follicle test, traces of THC-O may be found in a person's hair strands about 90 days after the last use.

THC-O vs Delta-8

Delta-8 THC is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids (although in very small quantities) in the hemp plant. On the other hand, THC-O can only be produced synthetically from Delta-8 THC as it cannot be naturally found in hemp. Both cannabinoids (Delta-8 THC and THC-O) are psychoactive, but THC-O produces a stronger "high" than Delta-8 THC. However, the effects of each cannabinoid differ from person to person. Reports by consumers even suggest that THC-O is four to five times more potent than Delta-8 THC.

Both THC-O and Delta-8 THC offer consumers some therapeutic benefits. For instance, they can potentially be beneficial in treating symptoms like poor sleep, nausea, and bodily discomfort. They can also help with appetite stimulation and give users a calming effect after consumption. However, some downsides to using products infused with these compounds also exist. For example, side effects of using THC-O may show up as dry mouth, red eyes, sleeplessness, and feelings of nervousness. Similarly, disadvantages of using Delta-8 THC include itchiness, forgetfulness, over-tiredness, eye redness, and confusion.

THC-O vs Delta-9

Delta-9 THC, unlike THC-O, is naturally occurring in abundant amounts in the hemp plant. In contrast, THC-O is made in the lab. The process involves converting hemp CBD into Delta-8 THC and then transforming it into THC-O. Delta-9 THC, although psychoactive, is considered to be less potent than THC-O. THC-O is believed to be about three times stronger than Delta-9 THC. Users describe THC-O's high as uplifting with slightly hallucinogenic effects.

Delta-9 THC benefits include anxiety relief, pain management, appetite stimulation, and insomnia relief. However, when consumed in large amounts, users may experience feelings of nausea, mental fog, anxiety symptoms, and paranoia. The potential benefits of THC-O include discomfort alleviation, intense euphoria, appetite stimulation, and calming effects. However, if overdosed, consumers may experience red eyes, paranoid thoughts, dry mouth, and queasiness.

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