THC-O is the shortened name for THC-O-Acetate, also referred to as THC Acetate and ATHC. THC-O is a cannabinoid just like THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN. At their most basic, cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors in your brain.
The thing about THC-O is that it is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid (like THC and CBD). It takes some hefty — and volatile — chemistry to create THC-O in a lab. The process strips away all the other beneficial chemical compounds (terpenes and flavonoids) and leaves behind a potent THC isolate with no flavor and no aroma, which becomes an analog of THC. An analog is a compound having a structure like that of another compound but differing from it in respect to a certain component. In this case, the original compound is THC. The variation of the THC molecule chain with the addition of the acetate molecule makes THC-O a THC analog.
This chemistry makes the THC molecule stronger. Lab tests show that THC-O can be 300 percent stronger than regular THC. However, THC-O is not water soluble, therefore less THC makes it into your bloodstream. But because of its potency, even a few molecules that make it through will have you feeling the full force of THC-O. This results in a slower onset of effects; you’ll have to wait 30 to 60 minutes before you feel the effects of THC-O. This is because your body must separate (digest) the acetate molecule from the THC molecule before it’s sent to your brain, the good news is it can stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in your brain in a way that regular THC can’t.