October 24, 2022 5 min read

THC-O is federally legal and fully accessible, but that doesn’t mean its for everyone. Just like traditional cannabis products, there are some people who probably shouldn’t partake in THC-O. Some people may be able to dabble in THC-O microdoses, but need to be mindful of factors like medication intake and health conditions. Others simply won’t care for its super potent effects. So, let’s dig into the questions–who shouldn’t use THC-O and what are the risks involved for these people?

Key Takeaways

  • THC-O may be legal, but it isn’t right for every person or situation.
  • Certain medical conditions, allergies, and other lifestyle factors may make it unsafe to take THC products.
  • The quality of a THC-O heavily impacts its safety, and lower doses may be better for most people.

Risk Factors for THC-O Use

THC-O has suddenly risen in popularity, but it isn’t necessarily new. Actually, it was used in research carried out by the U.S. Army between 1948 and 1975, but research efforts were eventually ceased and have only recently been revisited. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of research to help us understand THC-O or its potential benefits and risks.

For now, we take what we know about THC-O’s risks from what we know about Delta-9-THC. After all, the two compounds are incredibly similar in the way they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. In other words, we can assume that THC-O’s risks are the same as Delta-9’s, save for a few increased risks that come from THC-O’s increased potency. Based on this assumption, you probably shouldn’t use THC-O if:

A person inspecting their prescriptions for a grapefruit warning before taking a dose.

You Have Liver Issues

Your liver is responsible for metabolizing many of the substances you consume, from prescription medications to cannabis products. THC-O relies on the liver, specifically cytochrome P450 liver enzymes, to be broken down. That means that THC-O may pose a threat for those who suffer from liver damage or other liver-related issues. In some cases, the enzymes available may not be plentiful enough to break THC-O down. Increased THC doses can cause extra stress on the liver in these cases.

You Take Certain Medications

As we mentioned, THC-O relies on P450 liver enzymes, the same metabolism pathway used by many prescription medications. These types of medications often come with what is commonly known as a “grapefruit warning,” because grapefruit juice was also found to reduce the amount of the p450 enzyme found in the body.

If you take other medications that rely on these enzymes, it may deplete the enzymes before they have a chance to break THC-O down. This relationship can also work in reverse–taking THC-O can prevent your body from absorbing important medications.

Of course, many medications can be taken at the same time, and it still may be okay to use THC products alongside some medications, but you need to talk to your doctor first.

Medications that may use this pathway (and therefore may have adverse interactions with THC-O) include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Antimicrobials
  • Anticancer treatments
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Anxiety medications
  • Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs)
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood thinning medications
  • Cholesterol medications
  • Corticosteroid
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • GI medications
  • Heart medications
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Pain medications

Keep in mind that elderly people are even more susceptible to drug interactions because they are more likely to take more than one medication daily, and because of physiological changes that alter the way that the body processes medications as we age.

A bottle of THC-O oil and a hemp leaf, the natural source of THC-O distillate.

You Have a Hemp Allergy

This one may seem straightforward, but it’s actually a little more complex than you’d think. Hemp allergies are rare, but they generally have to do with an allergen to the pollen made by the male hemp flower.

Thanks to the way that hemp products like THC-O are made, this pollen doesn’t usually make it through to the final batch. That’s because the CBD used to make THC-O (and other cannabinoids) are usually harvested from the flowering female plants.

Of course, this isn’t always the case, and you need to ensure that you choose a high-quality distributor to help avoid contact with hemp pollen. If you have a serious hemp allergy or have ever experienced anaphylaxis or another severe allergic reaction, definitely avoid hemp products until you talk to your doctor.

Note that some THC-O products may also contain other ingredients that can have allergy-related consequences for some people, like coconut oil, tree nuts, or gluten. Always check labels to ensure that all of the ingredients in a THC product meet your dietary needs. For a no-frills THC-O product that avoids most of these allergens, check out our Delta-8 + THC-O vaporizer.

You Have Certain Underlying Conditions

This one goes without saying for people familiar with the situation, but we’ll mention it anyways.

If you suffer from an underlying condition, like liver disease, kidney disease, epilepsy, heart issues, a weakened immune system, or similar conditions, you should never take THC-O (or any other substance) without first consulting your doctor.

This is conflicting information for some since some FDA-approved CBD and THC formulations may be beneficial for treating certain health conditions, like epilepsy or cancer. Still, the presence of an underlying condition likely means that there are various health risks involved with taking hemp products. .

For instance, underlying conditions usually mean that you are taking other medications, or that your endocannabinoid system may not be operating in its usual balance, which will affect the way that THC-O interacts with the body.

To put it simply, you should always consult your doctor before taking THC products if you have any underlying health conditions, no matter how small.

You Are Sensitive to Traditional THC

This one’s a big one–if you are already sensitive to traditional THC products, THC-O may not be for you. It’s incredibly potent, and the effects are thought to be more heady, so it may cause those who are sensitive to THC to feel overwhelmed. Even those who do well with Delta-9-THC products should seriously consider taking a lower THC-O dosage to start in order to evaluate the increased potency of effects.

If you are sensitive to THC products but still want to give federally legal, hemp-derived THC a try, you may want to consider Delta-8-THC. It’s a bit less potent and has relaxing effects that may be a better option for timid THC consumers.

Conclusion: Is THC-O Safe for Everyone?

Many people have the misconception that because THC-O is federally legal, its safe for everyone to consume, but that’s not necessarily the case. The safety of a THC-O product depends heavily on how it’s made, how much you take, and many of the other lifestyle factors we mentioned above. You can read “Is THC-O Safe?” to learn more.

If you’re looking for high-quality, federally legal THC products, check out our Elev8 Collection, which is 100% Farm Bill compliant with third-party lab test results that you can view before you buy.

Vida Optima Elev8 THC Gummies


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