The state-by-state decriminalization of marijuana has created a booming pot industry that has few parallels in modern culture. More than three-dozen states have okayed medical cannabis. Nearly 20 have given the green light to recreational marijuana. If you are new to the whole pot thing, here’s the number one rule to follow: do not believe everything pot producers claim.
Though we prefer to say that states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana, they really haven’t. All they have done is decriminalize it – which is to say they have chosen not to prosecute marijuana production, distribution, and possession. But marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
As a result, there is absolutely no federal oversight of the marijuana industry. That gives pot producers a lot of freedom to make claims that would be easily struck down in any other industry regulated by the FTC and FDA. And some of the things pot producers claim are downright false.
THC-O-Acetate Is Overhyped
If you need examples of pot producers exaggerating their claims or outright lying, look no further than THC-O-acetate. Also known more simply as THC-O, it is a synthetically derived cannabinoid that is allegedly more powerful than Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC. But a recent study out of the University of Buffalo disputes producer claims of potency.
In their abstract, the researchers noted a rising interest in synthetically derived cannabinoids that currently skirt federal law regulating marijuana and Delta-9 THC. Producers are very aware of this interest and have no problems producing all sorts of synthetic cannabinoids and attaching exaggerated claims to them.
For their study, researchers surveyed some 300 participants who had reported trying products with THC-O. The survey questions were divided into two categories: those the researchers developed themselves and standard questions from the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEG), a scientifically accepted questionnaire used to assess psychedelic experiences.
What the Study Found
Despite plenty of hype about the alleged power of THC-O, 79% of the survey respondents reported that their experiences were either “not at all” psychedelic or only “a little” psychedelic. Responses to the MEQ questionnaire indicated that average experiences did not meet the threshold for having a legitimate psychedelic experience.
In short, the experiences among survey respondents did not match the hype attached to THC-O. Those experiences fell well short of what participants were expecting. Researchers say there are three possible reasons for the results:
- Unreasonable expectations
- A misunderstanding of psychedelic experiences
- Contaminated THC-O products.
In their conclusion, the researchers cautioned marijuana users to not believe the hype. They recommended being incredibly careful about buying unregulated THC-O products as well. Until regulators step in and create standards for synthetic cannabinoids, buying products containing them is a crapshoot.
Marketing to the Demand
As for why producers are synthesizing THC-O and adding it to their products, it is all about making more money. Their exaggerated claims about its psychoactive power is little more than marketing to the demand. By and large, recreational cannabis users are always looking for a better high. Producers are trying to help them get there.
In some states, like Utah, unregulated synthetic cannabinoids are a workaround. Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy explains that only medical cannabis is allowed in their state. People who want to use recreationally either need to find a way to get a medical cannabis card or find another way to buy.
Legal CBD products infused with THC-O are one option, especially given the fact that THC-O is derived from legal CBD. Even so, it is not as powerful as producers claim it is. Take the researchers’ advice: don’t believe the hype.