A Content Analysis of Social Media Discussions on THC-O-Acetate


  • Daniel Kruger Population Studies Center, University of Michigan
  • Amila Karahmet University of Michigan
  • Sydney Kaplan University of Michigan
  • John Redfield University of Michigan
  • Taylor Stacy University of Michigan
  • Vitush Agarwal University of Michigan
  • Mutaz Faqqouseh University of Michigan
  • Carlton CB Bone Portland State University


Novel cannabinoids require systematic research to inform policies and practices. There is a growing interest in semi-synthetic cannabinoids by consumers, manufacturers, and regulators. However, there is a scarcity of research on these substances. Online discussion forums can provide guidance for research questions when current knowledge is scarce. The current project investigates the topics and issues covered in a social media forum devoted to THC-O-acetate (THCO), a semi-synthetic cannabinoid with rapidly rising popularity. Reddit comments posted on the THCO subreddit from June 2021 through November 2021 were coded for major and minor themes by a team of five coders and a supervisor. Major themes were established and clarified through group discussions. A second round of coding confirmed major themes and identified minor themes. The analysis identified several future research topics for THC-O-acetate, including the extent of variation in product composition, the characteristics of user experiences and comparisons with other substances, whether THC-O-acetate produces psychedelic effects, concerns and adverse experiences, and user harm reduction practices. As an acetate ester, THC-O-acetate may break down when heated and release toxic ketene gas. Although several users expressed safety concerns regarding THC-O-acetate, some explicitly mentioning ketene risk, the most common administration method reported was heated inhalation.






Brief Report