October 28, 2022 4 min read

THC-O has incredibly potent psychoactive effects, but still maintains a federally legal status. How? Because it's derived from hemp, a form of cannabis that was ruled legal back in 2018.

Hemp-derived THC-O can be found in stores and online from a wide array of distributors, but THC-O that isn't derived from hemp may be illegal (and subject to some pretty harsh consequences) in most of the country. Is there a difference between the two? Let's break down the most important details about hemp derived THC-O products to decide:

Table of Contents
How is Hemp-Derived THC-O Made?
Can THC-O Come From Different Sources?
Benefits of THC-O Made From Hemp?
Drawbacks of Hemp-Derived THC-O
Where to Buy Hemp-Derived THC-O?

Key Takeaways

  • THC-O can be made from hemp, which makes it federally legal according to updated hemp laws.
  • Hemp-derived THC-O is only subject to hemp regulations, so you should buy carefully.
  • Because it’s made from hemp and federally legal, THC-O can be purchased online.

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How is Hemp Derived THC-O Made?

Hemp flower being grown indoors to make THC-O and other hemp products

THC-O was discovered as early as the 1940's and was originally used in military research. At the time, it was technically legal, but unknown to the general public. Then, in 1986, THC-O and other THC analogues were banned by the FDA. It wasn’t until the 2018 Farm Bill that THC-O was legalized because of it’s classification as a hemp-derived cannabinoid and isomer.

But THC-O cant be extracted directly from the hemp. So, how is hemp-derived THC-O made?

Well, the answer lies in that second classification we mentioned above–”isomer.”

Let us explain:

“Isomers” are two molecules that have all of the same components, just in a different order. CBD, Delta-8-THC, and THC-O are isomers, meaning they have the same atoms, but their molecular arrangement is different.

The isomerization process just rearranges the molecules. It doesn’t add or remove molecules, rather it just moves atoms around to transform one molecule into its isomer.

For this reason, THC-O isn’t classified the same way as certain synthetic cannabinoids, which are synthesized entirely from other materials and contain no hemp or cannabis material at all.

To learn more about the isomerization process used to make hemp-derived THC-O, read “How is THC-O Made?

Can THC-O Come From Other Sources?

We already mentioned that THC-O can technically be made from traditional cannabis material. The components needed to make THC-O can be found in all cannabis strains, not just hemp strains.

However, THC-O is still almost exclusively made from hemp. Why? Because traditional cannabis strains contain high doses of Delta-9-THC, so there’s really no reason to tweak it around to create another psychoactive compound.

If THC-O were made from traditional cannabis (marijuana) strains, it would be federally prohibited. Remember–the source material and the final product must contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC to be compliant with federal laws. So, that means that marijuana-derived THC-O would be restricted to dispensary sales in many states and totally prohibited in others.

Other than that, THC-O from hemp and THC-O from marijuana is the same thing. Both require THC-O to be created through isomerization, and both are incredibly potent. Of course, hemp-derived THC-O may have a few unique benefits.

Benefits of THC-O Made From Hemp

As we mentioned, hemp is legal. Thanks to the wording used in the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 to legalize hemp and all hemp derivatives, so is hemp-derived THC-O. In addition to being federally legal, most states have also passed legislation that legalized all hemp materials, including THC-O. (To check the laws in your state, read “Where is THC-O Legal?”)

In other words, hemp-derived THC-O is much more accessible than other cannabis products. It’s also usually more cost effective, not only when comparing the base price of THC-O to Delta-9-THC products in many state-licensed dispensaries, but also when you consider that there’s no additional tax. In some places, Delta-9-THC cannabis products can be subject to high taxes, sometimes as high as 35%.

Another important benefit? You can order it online, even from out of state.

With cannabis products, you’re usually limited to what you can find locally, and some states have programs that allow you to order cannabis products online that are available in other parts of the state.

Hemp-derived products are legal to ship across the country, which means you have plenty of options to choose from and can more easily find the THC-O vaporizer or gummy for you.

Drawbacks of Hemp-Derived THC-O

There are, of course, also some drawbacks to THC-O being made from hemp. Most significantly, its that the hemp industry is not well regulated across the country. In fact, the federal laws that legalized hemp left most of the regulation up to the states. Although many states have hopped on boards, others have very few rules concerning hemp production. That means you have to be careful when choosing hemp-derived THC products.

You should look for a brand that uses organic hemp material, qualified cannabinoid extraction, and third-party testing to ensure label accuracy.

Also consider that although THC-O has been around since the 40’s, we really don’t have much research to evaluate the risks or benefits of consuming THC-O products. For now, most experts assume that THC-O’s risk and benefit profile is similar to that of Delta-9-THC, but you should still proceed with caution, especially if you are a new THC-O user.

Finally, consider that THC-O is much more potent than traditional THC products. In fact, its thought to be almost three times more potent than Delta-9-THC. That means that you’ll need to tread carefully when it comes to THC-O dosage in order to avoid any adverse reactions or a couchlock experience.

Vida Optima Elev8 THC-O Vape

If you want to know more about the safety of Hemp-Derived THC-O, read "THC-O Risks."

Where to Buy Hemp-Derived THC-O?

If you're sold on this legal psychoactive cannabinoid or just want to try it out before you make up your mind, you can check out our full hemp-derived THC collection to order online today.

We offer a variety of high-quality hemp-sourced THC vaporizers and edibles. All of our products are third-party tested and 100% Farm Bill compliant, meaning they are legal in the U.S.

Check out our Elev8 Collection today!


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