One of the latest phytocannabinoids is THCh. It was only discovered in 2020, and there is little information on it, but people are screaming, “take my money!”
This Interest is primarily due to the fact that the potency of this cannabinoid is likely much higher than your average THC.
We will compare the two to learn the differences between THCh VS THC.
THCh Is A THC Homolog
First, let’s get some of the key terms out of the way so you can better understand the discussion of THCh.
For starters, THCh is a phytocannabinoid. This term is used to describe one of 150 different phytocannabinoid compounds found in cannabis and hemp.
Cannabis and hemp plants produce what are referred to as phytocannabinoid acids. These are located on the surface of trichomes situated on the flowers.
For example, CBD-A and THC-A which go through the process of decarboxylation (where heat or UV light alters their chemical structure.) These end up as the cannabinoids we have come to love, like CBD and THC.
THCh is another one of these phytocannabinoids, but it is found in such tiny amounts on cannabis and hemp plants that they need unique extraction and synthesizing to produce an amount large enough to use.
What is important to remember is that THCh is a homolog of THC. A homolog is a molecule with a very similar structure and function to another molecule. In this case, THCh is similar to THC.
Where THC is a psychoactive and psychotropic chemical that will produce the “high” feeling many people seek, THCh also creates a similar buzz. But where they differ is in potency. According to anecdotal evidence, it is apparently ten times stronger than your typical Delta-9 THC.
However, there are not any detailed publications on the use of THCh. But due to how similar the chemical composition is, we expect the potency of this latest phytocannabinoid to fall somewhere between regular Delta 9-THC and the more potent and almost hallucinogenic THCP.
Whatever these researchers are doing, they are doing it right because these products are already beginning to flood the market.
THCh VS THC
Currently, we know very little about THCh. Most of the data we have is accumulated from consumers who have tried products on the market listed as containing THCh.
But so far, the main difference between THCh and THC from the scientific perspective is the length of the carbon chain in these two molecules.
As a homolog of THC, THCh also has an alkyl side chain. On the THCh molecule, this is a hexyl chain made up of six carbon atoms, whereas regular Delta 9-THC contains a side chain consisting of five carbon atoms.
This is different from the chemical makeup of Delta 8-THC and Delta 9-THC. In these homologs, Delta 8 has a double bond on the eighth carbon atom, while Delta 9-THC has a double bond on the ninth carbon atom.
These double bonds seem to have an effect on the potency of Delta 8 and Delta 9, with Delta 8 being less psychotropic.
On the other hand, increasing the side carbon chain length seems to vastly increase the potency of THCh over THC.
The reason cannabinoids cause us to feel high and produce medical effects is due to the cannabinoid and endocannabinoid receptors throughout our central nervous system. Some of them act on different receptors as well.
Cannabinoid receptors are also found in peripheral tissues such as the spleen, reproductive tissues, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, endocrine glands, arteries, and even the heart. In reality, cannabinoid receptors are found in every organ system.
The receptors that phytocannabinoids bind to are dubbed CB1 and CB2. And the current theory is that these alkyl side chains must bind to these receptors differently according to their length. But this is far from proven as the entire endocannabinoid system is yet to be understood.
As such, due to the longer length of this six-carbon atom side chain, it’s expected that THCh will be significantly more potent than THC as it has a longer carbon side chain.
Another critical difference between THC and THCh is that THCh is federally uncontrolled, unlike Delta 9-THC, which is a Schedule 1 substance.
This in itself makes THCh more appealing to people in states where Delta 9-THC is not available recreationally or medically.
Related Read: THCP vs THCh
THCh VS THC Products
The primary issue with THCh is that it is so new, and products with THCh in it are usually found in combination with other cannabinoids. For instance, they will have terpenes added for flavor and are most commonly paired with Delta 8 THC.
Because of this, we cannot be certain about THCh’s individual effects. The current products containing THCh usually contain 4-5 different cannabinoids in varying ratios.
Therefore, it would be better to call these products THCh-enriched rather than dominant.
And most of these contain Delta 8 as the dominant cannabinoid. So how much of the “high” due to this cannabinoid than another? We cannot say.
On the other hand, THC products have become significantly more developed over the years. From the initial weed smoked throughout history to the rise of cannabis concentrate use we have seen over the past two decades.
And let’s not forget that cannabis is simply more economical. This fact is due to THC’s dominant presence in Type I cannabis.
THC products can contain up to 99% Delta 9-THC. For example, crystalline THC-A, which sells for $100-150 a gram, contains 99.9% THC!
But, though it may be a less potent high than THCh, THC will always be a great contender. It is cheaper and easier to produce.
And the creation of cannabis concentrates has become common throughout the industry. The market regularly provides us with potent concentrates that average anywhere between 70-95% THC for a lower price.
This is especially true for cannabis flower as higher percentages of THC are bred into cannabis strains searching for the highest THC percentages.
Until they have mastered the art of creating all these additional cannabinoids, cannabis, CBD, and their by-products will reign supreme.
THC VS THCh Testing
There are further issues with using THCh. This is the lack of third-party testing standards for potency.
Not to mention, most products lack testing for residual solvents from the production of THCh and other cannabinoids being produced, processed, and mixed into THCh products available on the market.
This lack of established federal or state standards makes using these THCh products potentially risky. We do not know the long-term or short-term effects of using THCh or products advertising containing it.
Also, since labs do not have testing standards, labs do not even have a baseline for what is 100% pure versus 0% THCh. Nor if it is naturally derived or semi-synthetic.
The only type of measuring the potency and presence of THCh is a mass spectrometer with its peaks and troughs. This isn’t a test that consumers can easily decipher, nor is it as accurate or convenient as looking at a genuine Certificate of Analysis (COA).
Conversely, THC has years of data backing up its short and long-term effects as well as the medical properties that it contains. Like the fact, it works well for certain epilepsies, cancer-induced nausea, increasing appetite, and more.
Also, the cannabis industry, testing labs, and regulatory authorities have had years to set standardized protocols throughout the growth process, harvesting, distribution, THC content, determining the presence of harmful chemicals like pesticides and heavy metals, the requirements of COAs, and the standards set for sale to consumers.
And due to this, THC is likely the safest and most regulated cannabinoid you can consume. Whereas THCh, you do not know what you are getting into. So make safe and well-thought-out decisions!
Wrapping Up THC VS THCh
We are in the very early stages of discovering what THCh can do. Research and standards will take a while to catch up since the phytocannabinoid was only found in 2020. But if it is as potent as consumers claim, expect big things to come from this compound.
Also, judging by proxy and if the THC homolog is an indicator of what it can do therapeutically, we could see another boom as we did with the emergence of Delta 8 THC products.
Do your research and your own due diligence. Check to ensure that it is legal in your state to consume, and be sure to buy from vendors who have a record of creating excellent cannabinoid products with COAs.
Lastly, consume THCh at your own risk.