Penguin Pete, your blogger elite, here with an update on THCO’s legal status. You might recall last time when your present author passed along the news that the DEA had listed THCO as Schedule 1. Let’s pause a minute to recap my last article about this:
- I’m under the impression that this makes THCO illegal to sell.
- I discovered this science paper which says THCO vapes into ketene, and that’s bad on its own.
Whew! Going forward I’ll make a disclaimer here: I don’t claim myself a legal expert nor chemistry expert, beyond the extent of whatever topics are familiar on my beat. I’m not over here holding Master’s degrees, I’m writing blog posts. But for all my experience in investigative research from thoroughly vetted sources, the above is the interpretation of the facts as they stand today.
Vivimu Says THCO is Still Federally Legal
And the author at Vivimu may very well have a legal argument.
I am not writing this piece to contest that point at all. We are all familiar with the bunny-beheading machine that is US Federal drug legislation.
However, even disregarding what the Drug Enforcement Agency says (far be it from me to take their word as gospel), some other EXTREMELY important points have been raised in this debate:
- THCO is not a naturally-occurring cannabinoid, unlike dozens of others
- THCO is an acetate
- Vaping cannabis acetates may produce the harmful chemical ketene
The ketene argument, if this fully proves out, makes all the DEA legality arguments null and void.
THCO Stills Makes Ketene?
Yes, indeed, it does, according to Kaelas R. Munger, Robert P. Jensen, and Robert M. Strongin at Department of Chemistry, Portland State U. They state,
> “Ketene was consistently observed in vaped condensates from all three cannabinoid acetates as well as from a commercial Δ8-THC acetate product purchased online.”
Here is a PDF copy of the Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet on ketene published by the good people of the New Jersey Department of Health, take a gander. Two things leap out at me, “irritate the nose and throat” and “pulmonary edema”!
I Don’t Care if Santa Claus Legalizes THCO, I’m Not Vaping It!!!
So, this is a chain of information that leaves me, for my part, highly speculative of THCO’s safety as a vape oil ingredient. If THCO were the only cannabinoid in the world, this would still apply. As it stands, there are dozens of cannabinoids that DON’T turn into ketene if you vape them, so why take stupid chances? Especially when I’ve tried a few THCO vapes, as have most of our review staff, and found them ineffective and underwhelming to begin with? In addition to hacking up a lung when I try to inhale one.
As the Portland U paper points out, THCO has “a similar substructure to vitamin E acetate, which has been shown to form the poison gas ketene during vaping.” We all remember the entire 2019 EVALI lung illness outbreak, and what a nightmare it was for the vaping world.
I don’t know about the rest of the cannabis industry, but I just about have PTSD off that EVALI health scare. When 64 people die and thousands more are hospitalized, I try not to become a statistic. The laxity of safety standards in the vape industry also concerned the site owner enough to found this site, and continue in our efforts to make sure that the vaping community has the info it needs to make an informed choice.
Bottom Line: I’m not getting anywhere near THCO unless any of the above cited sources turn out to be disproved later. Not if it was signed by the Easter Bunny and blessed by the Virgin Mary.
I’m Sorry to Hear That Many Vape Companies Still Have THCO to Unload
It’s a financial hit, to be sure. We knew going into this industry that it’s dicey – legislation hasn’t ironed out, it’s more of a democratic experiment at this stage. But the reality as it stands now is that, just maybe IMHO that we should not have been using THCO to begin with!
What happened to those all-natural, non-engineered cannabinoids we all know and love? What’s wrong with sticking to them? Extraction laboratories can tweak CBD molecules into D8THC molecules all day, and I practically consider delta 8 a food group by now. We’ve been cultivating cannabis for thousands of years and there is no known directly harmful cannabinoid. Let’s skip this acetate business and move on, shall we?
Readers, you are extra-welcome to respond in the comments if some other information comes to light. Or feel free to post your own findings in our forum. As for Vivimu, I feel for you but I can’t quite reach you.