Cannabis has been popular among human societies since antiquity for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from therapeutic to medicinal. However, it is only in modern times that an evolving understanding of sciences like chemistry and pharmacology has enabled us to adapt this plant to a wide variety of uses. This has led to cannabis-derived products covering a wide variety of use cases and delivery systems. This article will be covering one such formulation: thc o carts, and why you should care about them.
What is THC?
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most famous and significant psychoactive cannabinoid found in the plant. It is primarily responsible for the plant’s intoxicating effects, producing the high people associated with drugs derived from cannabis. It is one of nearly 150 cannabinoids identified in the plant. Still, it has historically played a prominent role in ancient communities, such as in shamanistic rituals or to dull pain for soldiers. THC is an agonist for the body’s ECS (endocannabinoid system) and binds strongly to its receptors, triggering effects such as euphoria, lethargy, and confusion. It is made available in various forms, including oils, capsules, and liquid extracts, but is most often smoked. THC is outlawed as an illegal narcotic in most countries, outright banned if not heavily controlled.
However, what is commonly known as THC is actually an umbrella term covering various closely interlinked compounds. For starters, the widely known ‘Delta-9’ THC has two isomers identified for now, which are Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC. Both of them can be synthesised using Cannabidiol (CBD), usually derived from industrially grown hemp. They vary little in chemical composition but have wildly different effects compared to the original compounds. Both bind to cannabinoid receptors, but they also have their separate uses. Delta-8 THC has potent sedative effects and is often applied in situations demanding a sleep aid. On the other hand, Delta-10 isomers have an enlivening impact and increase energy levels and focus, similar to caffeine.
Hemp is a name for cannabis plants grown specifically for industrial or medicinal use. Despite THC being illegal in most places, its synthesis from hemp is not expressly illegal as of now, and this grey area is being used by manufacturers to its fullest to exploit this avenue commercially.
5 Facts About THC-O And Its ‘Carts.’
What is THC-O?
Compared to the more well-known variants of THC, THC-O (formally known as THC-O acetate) is remarkably recent as a phenomenon because it can only be artificially synthesised from hemp. Its effects were first studied by the US military in 1949. However, the compound was not recognised by drug enforcement agencies for a long time until it was discovered by the DEA in America. It is manufactured by extracting CBD from hemp plants, treating it chemically to convert it into Delta-8 THC, and then combining it with an unstable and highly flammable compound called acetic anhydride. The process is incredibly delicate and dangerous and is ideally only performed in controlled lab conditions.
Strength of THC-O
THC is a potent psychoactive agent, considered around three times as potent as normal Delta-9 THC. Its effects almost match those of hard-line psychedelics, bordering on hallucination. In fact, its strength is leading experts to believe that it may break cannabis’ defining characteristic of not having directly caused death to date; its potency might lend itself to fatal side effects if overused.
Works Better Than It Looks
THC-O is all bite and no bark; it has no taste or aroma as the purification process strips all terpenes and other allied compounds out of the mixture, leaving behind only pure concentrate. In its natural form, it looks like a thick, heavy liquid that flows like oil. It’s fat-soluble like regular THC; however, it is so much more vital that even the extra filtration process undergone by lipids in the body does not diminish its potency. At a glance, it seems like a fairly disgusting sludge any self-respecting cannabis user would want nothing to do with. But it has its uses, after all.
Therapeutic, Not Recreational
Using THC-O for recreational use is a lot like killing a fly with nerve gas: it will work, but at what cost? THC-O is so incredibly strong that its effects are wasted on most recreational users; regular THC or its isomers are usually more than enough to get you the ‘high’ you are looking for. Where it does find use is when THC is used medicinally. Due to the inherently individualistic nature of the endocannabinoid system and biology in general, THC may not be strong enough to give people the pain or anxiety relief they desire. Or, even if it can, the dose size may become impractical. In such a case, the far more potent THC-O-acetate can step in and provide the concentrated burst of cannabinoid stimulation required.
What is a ‘Cart’?
A ‘cart’ of THC-O is nothing more or less than slang for a vaping cartridge containing an inhalable e-liquid suspension of the compound. Like regular THC, it can be imbibed by smoking, but it’s challenging to roll a liquid into a blunt. For this reason, the preferred method is vaping. Users have described the high from THC=O as far more introspective and surreal than mundane cannabis. However, they must take care not to overdose and carefully control the vape doses. Another thing to remember about the compound is that it is a ‘prodrug’; it only becomes pharmacologically active once processed by the body. For this reason, THC-O has a lag time of about 20 to 30 minutes before the imbibed compound becomes active.
THC-O is still very much in a legal grey area, far more than even THC isomers. States across the world are scrambling to update their narcotics legislation to control this novel substance. While this may be beneficial for manufacturers, lack of legislation only means lack of regulation; the effects of the compound have not yet been studied in detail. Additionally, there is a possibility of toxic additives in products due to imperfect and bootleg purification processes. As an attempt to synthesise the compound at home may end in grievous injury, you are nevertheless advised to source the product only from reputed and trustworthy manufacturers.