In the modern-day recreational cannabis market, there is a constant, ongoing race to isolate and utilize the most potent, safe, and legal compounds from the cannabis plant. Since Delta 9 THC is the unlucky one to fall into the category of federally prohibited, we look to alternative THCs to get the job done. At this point, most people have heard of Delta 8 THC, or maybe even Delta 10 and THCV, but the newest one to make waves in the industry is THCh, or tetrahydrocannabihexol.
Discovering new cananbinoids is always exciting, with THCh we’re at 150 so far, and still counting! To say up-to-date with more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter – your top source for industry information as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products. And save big on Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!
What is THC-H and how was it discovered?
Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabihexol (THCh, Δ9-THC-H or n-Hexyl-Δ9-THC), along with is cannabidihexol (CBDh), are phytocannabinoids that were discovered in 2020 by the same group of Italian researchers who first isolated THCP and CBDP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol and cannabidiphorol).
In short, THC-H is a hexyl homolog of delta 9 THC. A homolog is simply a molecule that has a nearly identical structure and function to another molecule, and primary cannabinoids have many homologs. Many of the alternate THCs, like Delta 8 and Delta 10, share terpenophenolic profiles with Delta 9 but the double bond on their linear alkyl side chain varies in location (ie Delta 8 has the link on the 8th chain, whereas Delta 9 has it on the 9th chain).
However, in the case of THC-H, this compound bears a n-hexyl side chain. These are the first hexyl derivatives of cannabinoids that have been discovered thus far. The definition of a hexyl group is “an irregular, saturated radical compound of hydrogen and carbon, derived from hexane.” Often this is the result of the loss of one or more hydrogen atoms.
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THC-H can be both naturally-derived and synthetically produced. When it comes to consumer products, expect the latter, as it exists in much too low of concentrations to be successfully extracted from plant matter on a regular basis. Most likely, hemp-based CBD will be converted into THC, and that would then be turned into THC-H, although I’m personally unfamiliar with the exact process of how to do that.
Effects and Benefits
Any specifics on what exactly THC-H can do for us are still up for debate, but experts do have some theories on what conditions it could best treat. Initial reports indicate that THC-H is effective in elevating the mood and relieving pain.
The team that discovered this cannabinoid tested these hypotheses on mice and found that THC-H was able to block the neural pathways that are responsible for the physiological detection of pain. So basically, it subconsciously stops our brains from recognizing pain. More studies are needed to back up these results, as well to further explore its potential for providing mental health relief.
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When it comes to THCs in general, the way the work is via their ability to bind with one of the two cannabinoid receptors found in the human body. CB1 receptors are found in our brains and nervous systems and CB2 receptors are found throughout the immune system and surround structures. CB1 receptors are the primary binding points for THC, which make the psychoactive effects make that much more sense.
As far as effects go, there isn’t much to go on there either. I haven’t tried it and have not been able to find any accounts from anyone who has. That being said, it’s believed that THCh is more potent than Delta 9 THC but slightly less potent than THCP, if that helps put it into any kind of perspective.
More about CBD-H
During this experiment, researchers also discovered CBD-H; it was actually the focal point of their entire study, and THCh was the added bonus. What’s unique about CBD-H, compared to other compounds in the same family like CBD and CBDP, is that it binds directly to the CB receptors.
Most CBD-type cannabinoids have very little affinity to CB receptors. They typically bind to TRPV1 receptors, which are known to encourage higher levels of anandamide production. Anandamide is a fatty acid neurotransmitter and the first endocannabinoid to be discovered. Anandamide does bind directly to CB receptors. So, simply put, CBD does stimulate those same receptors, but in a secondary, roundabout way.
But, since CBD-H is different and does engage these receptors, its pharmacological benefits could be much greater than CBD’s. In the initial study, it was determined that much less CBD-H is need for pain relief and management than CBD or CBDP.
1.2 mg/kg of CBD-H reduced pain response and 2 mg/kg of CBD-H significantly blocked the physiological detection of pain. Conversely, higher doses (3 and 5 mg/kg) had no pain-relieving effects. This isn’t entirely uncommon – with some compounds, going over a certain dose does absolutely nothing as the body will only process and utilize so much at a time.
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Delta 8 THC-H?
Another isomer being discussed is Δ8-THC-H, or Delta 8 THC-H. It’s currently a synthetic cannabinoid categorized under the code number JWH-124 in Clemson University’s, John W. Huffman’s, research group list of cannabinoids. In total, this group has identified about 450 cannabis plant compounds, about a third of which are cannabinoids.
Theoretically, this could be a naturally occurring compound as Delta 8 is found in very small concentrations in cannabis and is also sometimes a degraded form of Delta 9 THC; but Delta 8 THC-H has not yet been isolated in the plant.
To expand more on that degradation: Delta 9 THC, although very abundant in marijuana strains, is an extremely unstable compound. When exposed to heat and light, THC molecules start breaking down at a rapid rate. During this process, roughly 90 percent of THC becomes CBN (cannabinol, non-psychoactive), but the other 10 percent will turn into other compounds, often Delta 8 THC.
Any products available?
*** UPDATE: THC-H products are finally here! Subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter and get our 25% discount codes for the best THC-H products.
Currently, you can experience THC-H in regular, full spectrum cannabis products, since it’s naturally occuring in small amounts, but you won’t find many items containing an isolated version of this cannabinoid just yet. But make sure to check back with us because as soon as decent products are available, we will do what we can to get them to our readers.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.
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