What is THCO? THC-O, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is not a natural cannabinoid. It is a form of THC, that is produced by processing delta 8 or delta 9 with acetic anhydride. THC-O is many of the one’s recently marketed cannabinoids and it is created in a laboratory. THCO does not occur in nature, at least not from the hemp plant. THCO is seen as synthetic THC, not ‘hemp.’ Therefore, it is considered a controlled substance under the federal law.
In 1978, the U.S. DEA came across THC-O acetate as a controlled substance. The DEA says THC-O is not hemp due to it being created in a lab. Therefore, it is illegal under the Farm Hemp Bill that was passed in 2018. This bill legalized hemp that has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana) concentration that has no more than 0.3%. This means it is taken away from being a schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. States are allowed to regulate the production of hemp by submitting a plan to the Department of Agriculture. The bill also makes hemp producers eligible for programs and grants, but it falls under certain programs/grants with the USDA.
The bill legalized hemp production worldwide, but it also started a production of other products that contain cannabinoids such as tinctures, lotions, creams, edibles, disposables, pet products, etc. Unlike delta-8 and delta-9, they exist naturally in the hemp plant. The THC acetate, or THC-O, does not.
The DEA stated, they don’t know how it will affect the market industry, much less the businesses that sell the product. They are currently uncertain on the clarifications of it. Either way, their investigation and explanation of the law is straightforward and clear. If the hemp plant does not produce something naturally, then it is not hemp. This is not something new to them though.
When the hemp plant produces a cannabinoid compound, such as delta-8 or delta-9, that is ok, due to the fact it is not a controlled substance. The plant produces it naturally. It is not made up in a lab. It does not matter if they are synthetic or naturally occurring, psychoactive cannabinoids need to be regulated responsibly. With it not being naturally produced in the plant it is now ban in all states.