Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made a statement declaring THCO as a federally illegal Schedule 1 drug. This decision has left many confused about the legality of THCO and how it differs from other popular hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, HHC, and THCP. Let's dive into what you need to know.
What is THCO?
THCO is the acetate ester form of THC, which is produced by processing either delta 9 THC from marijuana or delta 8 THC derived from hemp-sourced CBD with acetic anhydride. Unlike other popular hemp-derived cannabinoids, THCO does not naturally occur in the hemp plant, which is why the DEA has deemed it illegal.
Why is THCO Illegal?
The DEA has confirmed that THCO is illegal because it is not a naturally occurring compound in the hemp plant. It is a laboratory creation that does not occur in nature, at least not from the hemp plant. This means that companies making and selling THCO products are subject to federal enforcement, including seizure and prosecution, as well as potential state or local police actions.
How does THCO Differ from Other Hemp-Derived Cannabinoids?
While all hemp-derived cannabinoids are produced commercially by processing hemp-derived CBD with heat or chemical catalysts, only THCO does not occur naturally in the hemp plant in at least very small amounts. This is why the DEA considers it illegal, while other popular hemp-derived cannabinoids such as delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, HHC, and THCP are still legal.
What About the Farm Bill and Recent Ninth Circuit Decision?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and all of its compounds and derivatives, as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent delta 9 THC. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled that delta 8 THC meets the Farm Bill definition of a federally legal hemp derivative. However, this decision does not apply to THCO since it is not a naturally occurring compound in the hemp plant.
It is important to note that while THCO may be illegal, there are still many other hemp-derived cannabinoids that are legal and widely available, such as delta 8 THC, delta 10 THC, HHC, and THCP. As with any cannabis-related product, it is essential to understand the legalities and regulations in your area before making any purchases. By staying informed and making educated decisions, you can ensure that you are staying within the bounds of the law while still enjoying the benefits of hemp-derived cannabinoids.