Researchers Investigate Psychedelic Effects of THC-O-acetate Interview with:

Jessica Kruger PhDClinical Associate Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior
University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions

Dr. Kruger

Jessica Kruger PhD
Clinical Associate Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior
University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions What is the background for this study?

Response: The 2018 Farm Bill authorizing hemp production led to new cannabinoids in the consumer marketplace. As the market becomes increasingly saturated with suppliers, companies continually diversify available products.

The rapid emergence of novel cannabinoids outpaces systematic research necessary to inform regulations and harm reduction. Empirical evidence is needed to guide policies, practices, and education of consumers. Product manufacturers, social media participants, and cannabis oriented on-line news sources have claimed that THC-O-acetate is a “psychedelic” cannabinoid, producing experiences similar to those associated with LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and DMT. What are the main findings?

Response:  We did not find evidence to support the claim of psychedelic effects. Participants reported a low to moderate level of cognitive distortions (altered sense of time, difficulties concentrating, difficulties with short-term memory) and few visuals or hallucinations.

Participants completed items from the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), a common assessment for psychedelic experiences.

Responses were significantly below the threshold for a complete mystical experience on all four MEQ dimensions. Participants who had used classic (5-HT2A agonist) psychedelics had lower scores on all MEQ dimensions than those who had never used classic psychedelics.
When asked directly, 79% responded that using  THC-O-acetate is “not at all” or “a little” of a psychedelic experience. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: THC-O-acetate produces effects similar to those of THC, though possibly with a longer latency. As cannabis markets expand, companies will continue to use novel means and claims to promote interest in new products. There is currently no systematic process of verification, or anything approaching the clinical trials that are required for pharmaceutical drugs. Consumers should inform themselves regarding cannabis products, however information is often lacking due to the scarcity of research in this area. What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: Systematic research is needed to examine the properties of novel cannabinoids and verify claims in order to properly guide consumers and protect public health.  

There was no funding for this study, we have no conflicts of interest.

Citation: THC-O-Acetate: Scarce Evidence for a Psychedelic Cannabinoid

Daniel J. Kruger , Ph.D, Carlton CB Bone , M.S, Meredith C. Meacham , Ph.D., M.P.H, Charles Klein , J.D., Ph.D &
Jessica S. Kruger , M.S.H.E., Ph.D Received 11 Mar 2023, Accepted 09 Jun 2023, Published online: 29 Jun 2023

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Last Updated on July 12, 2023 by Marie Benz MD FAAD