Avid cannabis consumers have had no trouble finding a place for vapes, tinctures, and various edibles made from ultra-potent THC-O, but THC-O flower is still a bit of an enigma. After all, cannabis flower naturally contains only trace amounts of THC-O, so THC-O can’t be harvested straight from the plant.
If you’ve found yourself asking “What is THC-O flower and how is it made?”, you’re in the right place. We’ll break down the details behind THC-O flower manufacturing and the benefits of this fragrant consumption method below:
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Ever since legal cannabis hit its peak, geneticists have gone wild creating new strains of high-THC cannabis flower that take on unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Each strain is responsible for its own range of therapeutic effects, and the wide variety of cannabis strains available offers cannabis consumers plenty of choices.
Many strains have been specifically bred to contain certain cannabinoids, like high-CBG or high-CBC strains. Unfortunately, researchers have not unlocked the code to making cannabis strains that contain naturally high amounts of THC-O, so THC-O flower needs to be made by a different method. Let’s talk about why THC-O flower cannot be easily bred:
THC-O is naturally occurring in cannabis material, but only in very small quantities, usually less than 1%. That means that while THC-O can be sourced from natural cannabis material, the method is pretty ineffective and would make THC-O products far too expensive for the general public to afford.
Luckily, a renowned cannabis researcher unlocked a method for converting CBD, a naturally abundant cannabinoid, into Delta-8-THC in the early 2000s. This method is now being widely used by cannabinoid extraction technicians to various extents. The same method is used to convert Delta-8 to THC-O, which makes THC-O material much more accessible than it would be otherwise.
Thanks to major advancements, you can now find legal THC-O material in the form of gummies, edibles, vaporizers, and—you guessed it—THC-O flowers. Now, let’s dig into how the flower is actually made:
Since THC-O flower has not yet been genetically mastered, THC-O flower is made from CBD hemp flower. Manufacturers looking to create a THC-O flower that replicates the natural aroma and flavor of traditional cannabis flowers start with premium hemp flowers. Then, they add THC-O concentrate to the flower using one or more of the following methods:
The raw flower material may be dipped in a liquid THC-O concentrate. However, distillate is an oily material that doesn’t ever dry completely, which can result in a soggy flower product that isn’t easy to smoke or produces heavy smoke.
Some manufacturers lightly spray THC-O distillate onto the flower material. This flower won’t be as potent, but the overall smoking experience may be lighter and more enjoyable, and the flower is generally less soggy and is, therefore, less harsh to smoke and more appealing to consumers.
An innovative but less common method involves creating a solid Delta-8-THC distillate material that is “dusted” onto the flower. This method allows Delta-8 to be added in larger quantities, resulting in a potent D8 flower that isn’t harsh or soggy.
Any combination of these methods may be used, but the end result (when made using high-quality materials) is still a potent, flavorful, herbal flower that burns and smokes just like traditional cannabis flower.
THC-O starts as CBD concentrate extracted from hemp flower. Then, the CBD is refined using one of many different extraction techniques and converted to Delta-8 using a process called “isomerization.” This chemical process simply transforms one compound into another. In this case, CBD is converted to Delta-8-THC. Manufacturers can take this a step further and use the same isomerization process to convert Delta-8 into THC-O. Finally, the extract is carefully refined to concentrate the THC-O material and remove any unwanted chemicals, including leftover acids or byproducts.
This concentrated material is what’s added to the hemp flower to create a THC-O flower. The concentrated material must be carefully lab tested to ensure its potency and purity.
As you can imagine, the THC-O flower offers a range of benefits thanks to its complete cannabinoid profile and “natural” dosing method.
Unlike other THC-O dosing styles, this unique product offers the benefits of whole-plant hemp formulation. Usually, hemp flower contains moderate to high levels of CBD and an arrangement of other cannabinoids that may work together to provide synergistic benefits, a phenomenon known as the "entourage effect."
Some of this synergy also comes from the naturally occurring terpenes in the hemp flower, which may provide a range of therapeutic benefits.
The specific therapeutic properties vary by strain, so you'll need to research each strain individually before you choose, but the variety of strains available makes it easier than ever to find a THC-O product that meets your needs.
There are some benefits to smoking hemp flower compared to other dosing types, like the following:
THC-O is federally legal thanks to its hemp classification, but its legality does vary by state. THC-O flower may have even more regulations to navigate since some states don't allow raw flower or smokable forms of hemp to be sold.
For the most part, THC-O laws follow suit with Delta-8 laws in each state, so you can check the Delta-8-THC laws in your state to learn more.
THC-O flower has one very significant advantage compared to Delta-9 flower—it’s much more accessible. In areas where THC-O is legal, you can buy THC-O flowers online. While it may be easy to find a slew of distributors in a quick web search, there are a few steps you should take to help weed out the low-quality formulas.
If you find that THC-O is not legal in your area, or you simply think you may benefit from a different dosing method, there is an alternative that may provide a similar dosing experience and therapeutic profile.
THC-O vaporizers are another inhalation method made from THC-O distillate. These products often have terpenes added to offer the unique benefits of different Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid strains. Unlike flowers, there’s no raw flower material, so other cannabinoids (like CBD) can also be avoided if necessary.
Still, like smoking THC-O flower, THC-O vaporizers are fast-acting doses that can easily be stacked as needed. The effects have a similar duration (2-4 hours) and provide very similar benefits.
If you’re looking for a THC-O vaporizer or another federally legal hemp-derived THC product to fit into your daily routine, check out our Elev8 Collection. We use premium, U.S. grown hemp material and industry-leading extraction techniques to make a variety of different Delta-8 and THC-O products. You’ll always find lab tests that you can view before you buy, and all of our products are 100% Farm Bill compliant.
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