Study Summary: Discovery of CBDH & THCH

Updated: Jul 10

Welcome to Higher Learning LV's Study Summary series. This series reviews and summarizes peer-reviewed research studies and was developed specifically for cannabis industry professionals. These study summaries provide easily digested quick reads for a variety of important issues regarding the commerce and chemistry of legal cannabis.


A 2020 study entitled "Identification of a New Cannabidiol n-hexyl Homolog in a Medicinal Cannabis Variety: Cannabidihexol" that was published in the journal Scientific Reports explored several newly discovered cannabinoids that are closely related to cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the neutral versions of these molecules.

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The scientists employed a high-resolution mass spectrometry to identify "a reasonable number of molecules, even when present in very small traces."


"The two most important and studied phytocannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa L. are undoubtedly cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic compound with other pharmacological properties and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which instead possesses psychotropic activity and is responsible for the recreative use of hemp," reported the study's authors.


Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC feature chemical cousins that are modified versions. Although their molecular structures are only slightly different, this results in varying endocannabinoid binding affinity and other biochemical characteristics among them.


The study cited previous research investigations that reported the discovery of four new botanically sourced phytocannabinoids that included CBDB and THCB and CBDP and THCP.

The study cited previous research investigations that reported the discovery of four new botanically sourced phytocannabinoids that included CBDB and THCB and CBDP and THCP.

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CBDH & THCH

"In this work, we report a new series of phytocannabinoids that fills the gap between [these recent discoveries of] homologs of CBD and Δ9-THC...that we named cannabidihexol (CBDH) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabihexol (Δ9-THCH), respectively," reported the study's authors.


Thus, within the span of a few short years, three new series of phytocannabinoids were discovered: CBDB/THCB, CBDP/THCP, and CBDH and THCH. The study described other isomers of CBD and THC, including cannabidiol monomethyl ether (CBDM) and tetrahydrocannabinol monomethyl ether (THCM).


The Results

The study reported that a detailed analysis and comprehensive chemical profile of a cannabis variety "is a rather arduous task" because the analytical tools "are not able to cover such a broad range of compounds." This provides a good insight into the sheer number of slightly different cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant species.


Thus, within the span of a few short years, three new series of phytocannabinoids were discovered: CBDB/THCB, CBDP/THCP, and CBDH and THCH.

"The present work expanded the scope of cannabinoids identification, completing the series of homologs with different alkyl side chain from three to seven methylene [carbon] units," reported the study. It noted that, prior to this investigation, only cannabinoids with an odd number of carbon atoms on the side chain had been discovered. It reported that cannabinoids featuring an even number of carbon atoms, such as CBDH and THCH, "have been supposed to be artifacts derived from fungal oxidation." This study proved otherwise.

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Conclusions

The scientists reported their certainty that these newly discovered cannabinoids, CBDH and THCH, "are actually present in a medicinal cannabis variety." Illustrating the subtle chemical differences between these various cannabinoid homologs (isomers), the study reported that CBDH and THCH feature "the same molecular formula of the monomethyl ethers, but with a different arrangement."


The cannabis samples tested revealed the presence of "both CBDM and CBGM," as well as their acidic precursors, CBDMA and CBGMA.

Again, this different arrangement results in a slightly modified binding affinity with the CB1, CB2, and other cellular receptors of the human endocannabinoid system. "It is...very easy to confuse CBDH and CBDM, as well as Δ9-THCH and Δ9-THCM," reported the study.


The cannabis samples tested revealed the presence of "both CBDM and CBGM," as well as their acidic precursors, CBDMA and CBGMA, respectively. "Clarity has been made about the possible confusion between...CBDH [and] THCH and CBDM [and] THCM," concluded the study. "Furthermore, two new phytocannabinoids, CBDH and THCH, have been identified," they added.


View the original study.


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