Powered by Smartsupp

What is THCH? Production, effects, risks and comparison with other cannabinoids

What is THCH?

Industrial hemp contains hundreds of compounds called cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, terpenoids and alkaloids. Around 150 minor cannabinoids have already been found in the plant, as confirmed by a study in 2022. THCH, or tetrahydrocannabinoxol, is a minor cannabinoid in cannabis, but is only found in low concentrations in the plant. It is a compound that occurs naturally in nature and can also be produced synthetically.

How is THCH produced?

The cannabinoid THCH was discovered by Roger Adams in 1942. In 2019, a group of Italian scientists, the same group that discovered the cannabinoid THCP, managed to isolate it from the cannabis plant. Both of these compounds are rare and likely to be psychoactive. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports states that the researchers identified not only THCH but also CBDH.

How is THCH produced? The researchers used a chromatography column to separate small amounts of THCH from the extract of cannabis strain FM2, the same strain in which they identified THCP. This process is called separation of substances by chromatography.

The researchers poured the cannabis extract into a chromatography column that was filled with silica filter particles. This method yielded a variety of cannabinoids at different column and layer flow rates.

THCH production: how does it work in practice?

Dr. Mark Scialdone is a recognized expert in the field of organic chemistry specializing in natural product chemistry and has pointed out that THCH products are not natural. As an argument for this claim, he cites a study describing the synthesis of THCPs by chemical reaction. He stated that cannabinoids with different carbon chain lengths, such as THCH, are not extracted from cannabis but are produced synthetically.

According to Dr. Scialdone, scientists use a chemical process called "terpenylation" to produce THCP, which combines a substance called heptyl resorcinol with a terpene derivative of limonene called PMD (p-mentha-2,8-dien-1-ol). This process produces a new molecule that has a longer chain than THC. So instead of adding extra carbons to the THC molecule, scientists use a synthetic substance (precursor) that already has the appropriate number of carbon atoms when terpenylated.

To produce THCH, chemists use resorcinol with a chain length of six carbons (hexylresorcinol). Resorcinol is an organic chemical compound that belongs to the benzenediols.

But since one Italian cannabis strain (FM2) is definitely not sufficient as a source of THCH for commercial production, it can be synthesised from other cannabinoids, for example by converting CBD/CBDH into THCH.

 

THCH lze syntetizovat i z jiných kanabinoidů, například přeměnou CBD/CBDH na THCH

Chemical structure

THCH (Δ9-THCH, Δ9-Parahexyl, n-Hexyl-Δ9-THC) is the hexyl homologue of delta-9-THC (THC or tetrahydrocannabinol). This means that it has a similar structure to delta-9-THC, but instead of the classic pentyl side chain, it has a hexyl side chain.

In chemistry, the term homologue refers to a series of chemical compounds that differ from each other by a repeating unit. In the case of cannabinoids, the usual repeating unit is the length of the alkyl side chain attached to the molecule.

Hexyl is an alkyl group that consists of six carbon atoms in a linear chain. And that's exactly what THCH has. THCH therefore contains the same functional groups as THC, but has a different side bond length.

As a 2018 study suggests, side chains in cannabinoid compounds can lead to changes in the affinity and pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors.

Effects of THCH

The chemical structure allows THCH to bind better to receptors in the brain (CB1), which is why it is also more active on these receptors than THC. THCH appears to bind to these receptors up to 10% more efficiently. Some vendors report that its activity on the CB1 receptor is up to 25 times stronger than THC, suggesting that it is another cannabinoid that has very intense psychoactive effects. However, it should be added that stronger binding to receptors does not automatically make a compound more potent. Although THCH appears to be more active, this says nothing about its overall effect on the body.

The claim about the strength of the effect of THCH on receptors has not been scientifically substantiated. Therefore, it is necessary to wait for relevant research and take this information with a grain of salt.

As we have already mentioned, THCH has psychoactive properties. Some users have reported feeling relaxation, euphoria, improved mood, pain relief and intense physical and psychological effects.

The Italian research team behind the discovery of THCH tested its pharmacological effects on mice and suggested in a scientific study that THCH helps to relieve pain-related sensations.

As a tetrahydrocannabinol compound, THCH is expected to have similar properties to THC, for example:

  • appetite stimulation
  • relieving symptoms of pain and inflammation
  • neuroprotective properties
  • help with nausea
  • sleep support

Further research is needed to demonstrate the potential benefits. Most of the reported effects are based on a single study and anecdotal reports from users. The cannabinoid THCH may have similar effects to THC, but is likely to affect the body with greater intensity.

The effects of THCH reportedly last longer than those of other cannabinoids with psychoactive properties. However, even this claim is not scientifically substantiated and is based only on the experience of users.

Possible risks and side effects

Although scientists agree that natural cannabinoids are safe for medical and recreational use, the purity and safety of synthetically derived cannabinoids often cannot be documented.

Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a California physician who has been recommending cannabis to patients for 15 years, cautions patients against taking such substances, "Natural cannabinoids have been shown to be some of the safest compounds known; however, the new synthetically produced cannabinoids are not only contaminated with a number of toxic substances, but can cause adverse effects."

Scientists have detected unknown substances such as unnatural isomers, residual solvents and other unidentified compounds in some synthetically produced products. This makes them potentially dangerous products for human consumption.

Possible side effects of THCH include:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Paranoia

THCH, like most minor cannabinoids, lacks scientific research on how it affects the human body.

Table: Comparison of THCH, THC, THCP and THCV

THCH

THC

THCP

THCV

Occurrence in cannabis

Yes, but in trace amounts.

Yes

Yes, but in trace amounts.

Yes, but in trace amounts.

Production

  • It is formed by a chemical process called "terpenylation".
  • It is formed in cannabis by the conversion of its precursor THCA under the action of heat.
  • It is produced in the laboratory through more complex chemical processes, by converting other cannabinoids such as CBD
  • It is formed from THCVA - by the process of decarboxylation it is converted into THCV.

Psychoactive properties

Yes

Yes

Yes

No (in small doses)

Interaction with receptors in the endocannabinoid system

Probably higher activity at CB1 receptors than THC.

It activates both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

It activates both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

It binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors with significant potency, the exact mechanism is still under investigation.

Effects

Similar effects to THC, but probably with greater intensity:



  • Release
  • Euphoria
  • change in perception
  • improvement of mood
  • increased appetite




  • sensitivity to environmental influences
  • feeling of relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • increased libido
  • change in perception
  • increased appetite
  • Euphoria
  • changes in auditory and visual perception
  • changes in the interpretation of time
  • better concentration and productivity
  • slower or faster perception of time
  • increase in mental energy (without "mental clouding")
  • different perception of sounds, music and colours
  • appetite suppression

Legal status in the Czech Republic

Prohibited by government regulation on lists of addictive substances.

THC is allowed in the Czech Republic up to 1%.

Listed as a banned substance since

1. 3. 2024

Legal

 

What is the safety of THCH products?

At the moment, THCH products appear mainly on foreign e-shops, for example in Austria, France and Greece. The range includes THCH vapes and cartridges, distillate, hash, flowers, tinctures, gummies and gummies.

If you purchase any products containing cannabinoids, the following information should be observed:

  • Laboratory analysis: third-party laboratory reports provide objective data on product purity, regulatory compliance, safety and more.
  • Ingredients: it is necessary to make sure that the product does not contain unsuitable additives, fillers and toxins.
  • Source of cannabis: It is advisable to find a company that uses locally grown cannabis that is as fresh as possible and free of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Company reputation: an established and reliable company that has been in the cannabis market for a few years and has positive reviews for its products and services.

At the moment, it can be quite difficult to detect the true cannabinoid content of a product, especially in unlicensed products. This makes it difficult to comment on whether THC is safe to consume. In addition, if the seller does not provide the results of third-party laboratory tests, it is impossible to know whether the products are free of undesirable substances (pesticides and heavy metals).

 

Nakupní košík s konopnými výrobky

Conclusion

THCH is the hexyl homologue of THC, so it has a similar structure to THC, but instead of the typical pentyl side chain it has a hexyl side chain.

The researchers who discovered THCH believe it is the second most potent psychoactive cannabinoid after THCP. Little is known so far and we need to wait for research to evaluate its efficacy, therapeutic potential and safety.

While the 2018 Farm Bill removed cannabis (with up to 0.3% THC) from the list of controlled substances, allowing it to be grown, processed and sold legally, some states may have stricter rules on the sale and use of cannabis products. THCH is illegal in the Czech Republic

Legislation on cannabinoids derived from cannabis can change rapidly, with each state taking a different approach. Thus, it is possible that THCH is banned or may be in a grey area in some countries.

 

Original text: Patricie Mikolášová, translation by AI

 

 

Photo: Shutterstock

"All information provided on this website, as well as the information provided through this website, is for educational purposes only. None of the information contained herein is intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis and such information is not to be considered medical advice or recommended treatment. This website does not promote, endorse or advocate the legal or illegal use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances or the commission of any other illegal activity. Please see our Disclaimer for further information."