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August 9, 2023
6 min to read

THC-H: What Is It and How Does It Compare to Other Cannabinoids?

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Hayley Heidelbaugh
The selection of hemp-derived cannabis products available to American consumers is growing each day.

So far, the biggest psychoactive hemp success story has been delta 8 THC. Since the rise of delta 8 carts and D8 gummies, retailers have eagerly followed the discovery of each new cannabis byproduct. It doesn’t take long for these newcomers to reach the market!

THC-H is one of the most recent cannabinoids to be isolated by chemists. So far, it’s mainly seen in the form of vape carts, compatible with any 510 thread battery. Gummies and tinctures containing THC-H are also available from certain sellers.

Seeing as THC-H was only discovered in 2020, very little is known about the cannabinoid and its effects. The limited research seems promising, however, and it appears THC-H may be more potent than delta 9 THC, the primary intoxicating cannabinoid in marijuana.

While its full name is tetrahydrocannabihexol, most retailers shorten this to THC-H. You may also see the compound referred to as THCH (standard in scientific literature), THC H, or, less commonly, THCh.

What is THC-H?

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First isolated by a group of Italian scientists in 2020, THC-H is a potent psychoactive cannabinoid and hexyl homolog of delta 9 THC. It was discovered by the same researchers who identified THCP (in the same marijuana strain). Both of these compounds are rare, but they’re likely capable of powerful intoxicating effects.

With regard to its natural availability in cannabis, THC-H is extremely limited. It’s even rarer than other trace cannabinoids like HHC or delta 10 THC. Naturally occurring THC-H has only been identified in the FM2 cannabis strain, a variety available mainly in Italy. It’s entirely possible that tiny amounts of THC-H are also found in other strains; we just don’t have the research to confirm or disprove this.

Obviously, one Italian marijuana strain isn’t a viable source of THC-H for commercial production in the United States. The cannabinoid must instead be chemically converted from legal CBD—the same process by which delta 8 and other hemp-derived compounds are made. Converting THC-H from legal and abundant CBD makes the new cannabinoid cost-effective for manufacturers.

Does THC-H get you high?

Yes, based on user accounts, vaping or otherwise consuming THC-H will get you high.

We’re still not sure exactly how strong THC-H is when ingested, but it may possess a greater or similar potency to delta 9 THC. This would make THC-H one of few hemp cannabinoids to match its marijuana-derived counterpart.

Some sellers claim that THC-H is anywhere from five to 25 times as strong as delta 9 THC. However, none of these claims have been confirmed by science, so take them with a grain of salt.

Because we have no way to quantify THC-H’s exact potency at this time, it’s best for new users to play it safe and start with small doses. Take a couple of hits of your vape or a small portion of a gummy. Then, wait for the effects to kick in and see how you feel. If you’re comfortable upping the dose at this point, go ahead.

What are the effects of THC-H?

Aside from the fact that THC-H is intoxicating, we don’t know the details of its recreational or medicinal effects. Some users have claimed that THC-H aids in pain relief and mood elevation—typical effects of most cannabinoids. More research is needed to uncover its full range of benefits.

At this time, no research regarding the effects of THC-H has been performed with human participants.

It’s worth noting that while the effects of THC-H are mostly unknown, CBD-H (the hexyl homolog of cannabidiol, which was discovered at the same time) seems to possess therapeutic potential. This closely related cannabinoid had an antinociceptive effect on mice. In short, the administered CBD-H blocked painful sensations from being perceived by mice’s neurons.

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THC-H vs delta 9 THC

It’s hard to compare the effects of THC-H to those of delta 9 THC. While delta 9 THC has undergone decades of research, THC-H was recently discovered and we’re only just beginning to understand its effects. User anecdotes account for most of what we know about THC-H’s impact on those who consume it.

As homologs, delta 9 THC and THC-H have a very similar molecular structure. The key difference lies in the length of each cannabinoid’s side chain. Where delta 9 has a five carbon chain, THC-H has a six carbon chain.

The size of this tail points to, potentially, THC-H binding more effectively to human cannabinoid receptors. We’re waiting on research to determine exactly how THC-H’s alkyl side chain impacts its “binding affinity” and potency.

Some users claim that THC-H produces a stronger high than delta 9, although this is purely anecdotal. In any case, it seems likely that THC-H is a powerful contender, regardless of how it compares to delta 9 THC.

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THC-H vs THCP

It’s easy to draw parallels between THCP and THC-H, seeing as the compounds were introduced by the same team of academics—and just a year apart. Still, THC-H and THCP have notable differences in their structures.

For comparison, THCP has a side chain that’s much longer than that of delta 9 THC. This chain of seven carbon atoms may allow THCP to bind more effectively to CB1 and CB2 receptors.

THC-H, on the other hand, has a tail built of six carbon atoms. Although this is slightly longer than delta 9 THC, it’s shorter than THCP. We don’t know to what extent this will impact THC-H’s influence on the endocannabinoid system, and how its potency will compare to THCP’s.

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Will THC-H show up on a drug test?

Of course, we all understand that marijuana is a no-go before a drug test. That doesn’t mean you can substitute a hemp-derived form of the cannabinoid though.

Cannabinoids like delta 8 THC—and probably THC-H—are just as likely to trigger a positive result. These tests aren’t looking for the compound itself. Instead, they’re seeking out something that lasts far longer in the body: metabolites.

More specifically, tests are designed to detect THC-COOH. Traces of this secondary metabolite can linger in your system for several weeks. Hair tests, though rare compared to a routine urine screening, can identify THC consumption up to three months after your last use.

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Is THC-H legal and where is it sold?

Psychoactive substances found naturally in hemp plants (phytocannabinoids) are federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC. However, some states have passed laws banning their sale or restricting them to state-regulated cannabis dispensaries.

As hemp products become more widespread, so do restrictions on production and distribution. Make sure to review your state’s laws before seeking out a particular type of hemp product for the first time.

If THC-H is locally legal, it isn’t too difficult to find sellers that ship to your state. Always check for third-party testing results before buying hemp products from an online seller.

THC-H isn’t particularly widespread yet, so it may be challenging to find through in-person smoke or vape shops. Online retailers are the most convenient way to access high-quality THC-H carts, edibles, and tinctures.

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Hayley Heidelbaugh

Vaping since: 3 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: White Wedding, Northern Lights, Platinum Valley, OG Kush

Expertise in: Oil carts, cannabis concentrates, cannabis flower

Hayley Heidelbaugh

I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.

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