September 13, 2022 5 min read

THC-O is highly intoxicating, federally legal, and pretty easy to access, but is THC-O addictive? It’s a fair question to ask–nobody wants to take a few innocent tokes of THC-O at a weekend shindig just to find that they can’t put it down. We want to clear up any confusion–THC-O can be addictive, but not in the way you may think. Here’s what you have to know:

Table of Contents
What is THC-O?
Can You Get Addicted to THC-O?
Psychological Addiction vs Chemical Dependency
THC-O is Tolerance Building
Avoiding THC-O Dependency
Where to Buy THC-O

Key Takeaways

  • THC-O can be habit forming, but it's not thought to be chemically addictive.
  • Some people are at higher risk of psychological dependency.
  • You may be able to mediate the risks by using a high-quality THC-O product at responsible doses.
A THC-O vaporizer, the most common way that THC-O is consumed.

What is THC-O?

THC-O is a hemp-derivative with highly potent psychoactive effects (about three times more potent than traditional Delta-9-THC) but it isn't naturally extracted like CBD, CBG, or other hemp cannabinoids.

Instead, THC-O is made through a process called isomerization, or the process of transforming one cannabinoid into another. This process is perfectly safe and can create a high-quality THC-O product when carried out by an experienced cannabinoid manufacturer, but THC-O still has some of the same risks associated with Delta-9-THC, including a risk of dependency.

Can You Get Addicted to THC-O?

The truth is, THC-O may have addictive properties in the same way that Delta-9-THC is addictive, but it may not be what you think.

Generally speaking, people do not get chemically addicted to THC, rather they run the risk of developing psychological addiction. In other words, people may be overly attracted to the feeling that THC provides, but you won't experience the same chemical addiction that is possible with harsher substances, like many illicit drugs or prescription pills.

One way to potentially avoid this is to microdose THC-O, a practice of taking small doses that do not necessarily insight psychoactivity but still provide therapeutic relief. To further understand the risks associated with THC-O’s habit forming capabilities, let’s discuss the difference in psychological addiction and chemical dependencies:

Psychological Addiction vs Chemical Dependency

Chemical addiction, also known as physical addiction occurs when your body becomes so dependent on a substance that your cells cannot functions without it. As the body starts to become depleted of the substance, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. This is why you cannot rid yourself of a chemical addiction by quitting cold turkey, as withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. Luckily, THC-O is not known to be chemically addictive, so you won’t have to worry about THC-O withdrawals.

Psychological addiction, also known as emotional addiction, occurs when you develop a compulsion or need for a substance based on the way it makes you feel. For instance, many people who are experiencing emotional distress may become addicted to the relaxing properties of THC. Psychological addiction also occurs when a person believes that they need a substance to perform a task. For instance, some people who frequently use THC to help them sleep may feel that they need THC in order to sleep.

However, ultimately the person can eventually fall asleep without THC (or potentially with the use of other sleep-aids) and will not experience any withdrawal symptoms when THC is not used.

Make no mistake–chemical and psychological addiction can both have life altering effects. Chemical addiction is often characterized as more dangerous because of the risks associated with withdrawal and overdose.

THC-O Is Tolerance-Building

Aside from the possibility of forming a habit when using THC-O in large doses every day, you need to consider that THC-O is tolerance building. For most people, this is the most severe risk of taking THC-O regularly.

A few hand rolled joints rolled from THC-O flower

We don’t have a lot of information about THC-O tolerance, but we do know a bit about how the body builds a tolerance to Delta-9. Since THC-O and Delta-9 are very similar, it’s probably safe to assume that the biological process used to break them down and build tolerance is similar, too.

Frequent Delta-9-THC use can lead to over-stimulation in the brain’s neural pathways. The body reacts by reducing the number of CB1 receptors in the body. Less CB1 receptors mean less receptor sites that can absorb THC, which means reduced effects after using THC products.

Fortunately, the body can produce more CB1 receptors to help regulate endocannabinoid system levels over time when exposure to THC is reduced. Some evidence even suggests that CBD may help to increase the number of receptors in the Endocannabinoid System, which is one of the reasons why CBD is not thought to be tolerance building.

Avoiding THC-O Dependency

You don’t have to worry about the risks of chemical dependency when using high-quality THC-O products, but there are some important things to note when it comes to avoiding addiction overall. Here’s how you can avoid forming a THC habit:

Use High Quality THC-O Products

Keep in mind that certain illicit synthetic cannabinoids, like K2, are addictive, and they’ve been known to show up in shady THC-O formulas on rare occasions. This is an unlikely occurrence, but finding a high-quality THC-O product is paramount to ensuring the best possible experience.

Check Other Ingredients

Pay attention to the other ingredients in the THC-O formulas you choose and assess the likelihood of forming a dependency on these ingredients. This is especially true with edibles, which contain the widest variety of additional ingredients, but can be the case for any type of THC-O product. One example of this would be caffeine added to a THC-O formula. Caffeine can cause both psychological and chemical dependencies to form.

Assess Your Risk

Since the only addiction risk associated with THC-O comes from psychological dependencies, you can assess your risk of forming an addiction. Anyone can form an emotional addiction to any substance, but some people are at a higher risk. For instance, past exposure to violence, certain environmental stressors, chronic anxiety or depression, and other mental health disorders all put you at an increased risk for forming a psychological addiction to THC-O.

Use THC-O Responsibly

For those who hope to avoid forming any habits, it’s best to use THC-O moderately. Avoid daily use. Instead, reserve THC-O for the weekends, unwinding with friends, or enjoying during special occasions. You can use THC-O daily without side effects, but doing so may increase your risk of forming a dependency.

Vida Optima Elev8 THC-O Vape

Where to Buy High-Quality THC-O Products

Thanks to its natural hemp source, THC-O is federally legal and legal in many U.S. states, which means it's far more accessible than traditional cannabis products. It's important that you source from trustworthy hemp manufacturers that provide third-party lab tests for every batch. If you're interested in trying THC-O, we also recommend that you take dosing slowly and feel out the effects of this highly potent THC product in order to ensure a safe, positive experience.

Looking for THC-O products you can buy online? Check out our Delta-8 + THC-O Vape Cart. Our entire Elev8 Collection is third-party lab tested, batch tested throughout production, and cGMP and Farm Bill compliant.

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