What is H4CBD and what are its effects?

H4CBD

H4CBD, also called hydrogenated CBD, THD or tetrahydrocannabidiol, is an emerging synthetic cannabinoid. This is an altered form of CBD that, according to what users report, has similar effects to CBD, but with a small psychoactive effect. Although not yet very popular, products with H4CBD are starting to fill the shelves of many CBD stores. Below, we will tell you more about what H4CBD is, its effects, possible applications and even whether it has therapeutic potential.

What is H4CBD?

H4CBD is a type of synthetic cannabinoid produced from CBD (cannabidiol). H4CBD is a CBD analogue to which hydrogen has been synthetically added.

This cannabinoid is not found naturally in the hemp plant, but can only be obtained through chemical transformations in laboratories.

The chemical formula of H4CBD is C21H32O2 and is characterized by its unique structure resulting from hydrogenation. Because 4 hydrogens are added to CBD, it is also called tetrahydrocannabidiol or THD.

The name tetrahydrocannabidiol or THD has not been used in scientific studies, but different sources on the web have started to use it.

Origin and synthesis of H4CBD

H4CBD is synthesized by a hydrogenation process using different chemical methods (1). In this process, the unsaturated bonds of CBD are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Thus, the molecular structure of CBD changes to become H4CBD, opening up new opportunities for biological activity in the body.

Differences between H4CBD and CBD and THC

H4CBD is an altered form of CBD and, according to what users report, has similar effects to CBD, but with a small psychoactive effect.

One peculiarity is that there is no conversion pathway from H4CBD to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This stands out, as there is a hypothesis that part of the anxiolytic or sedative effect of CBD is because, when consumed orally, it is converted to THC through a chemical reaction with gastric acids (1).

In other words, if one of the properties of H4CBD is that it has a slightly similar effect to THC, it does so because of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system and not because of its possible conversion to a psychoactive molecule when ingested orally.

H4CBD and the endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has different receptors in our body, the best known of which are the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It is through the various receptors of the endocannabinoid system that various physiological processes can be regulated and thus cannabinoids can produce different responses.

The effects of H4CBD are related to its affinity to the CB1 receptor of the endocannabinoid system (2), which are mostly distributed in the brain.

It is very likely that as a result of the interaction with the CB1 receptor, the effects of H4CBD may be perceived as psychoactive.

Likewise, not all possible cellular targets of H4CBD are yet known. It is still too early to draw conclusions about the effects of CBD hydrogenation.

Potential benefits and therapeutic applications of H4CBD

The properties of H4CBD are not yet fully understood. One might even think that the benefits of H4CBD could be similar to those of CBD, but it has been shown that it does not seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect like CBD (3). However, although its involvement in inflammation is low, H4CBD can inhibit tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) (3) which is involved in the inflammatory process.

Ultimately, the effects of H4CBD could have potential implications for the field of cannabinoid-based therapeutics, but it is something that science will have yet to answer.

How do you take H4CBD?

The dose of H4CBD is not known. Studies have been restricted to the experimental setting and therefore no guidelines exist for formulating an appropriate H4CBD dose. This knowledge gap highlights the importance of being cautious when considering the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids such as H4CBD, as the full effects of these compounds are not yet fully understood.

Products with H4CBD are currently commercially available in some countries. These H4CBD products range from cannabis flowers to gummies, tinctures and oils.

H4CBD is not found in the cannabis plant, so if you find cannabis flowers with H4CBD, it has been added to the flower.

For example, spraying a spray of H4CBD on CBD flowers. Do not forget that H4CBD is a synthetic compound.

Side effects and toxicity of H4CBD

The side effects of H4CBD have not yet been documented, so the possible risks of H4CBD should not be ruled out.

Based on the limited scientific evidence available, it appears that H4CBD shows a relevant safety spectrum, as it does not appear to be toxic to human cells (4). However, it is important to note that this finding is based on an “in vitro” study, where H4CBD was tested on lung cells, liver cells and neural stem cells as a model, and the results could vary when applied to the “living” human organism.

It has been suggested that the toxicity of H4CBD may be minimal, however, a physician should be consulted if there are unexpected effects.

H4CBD tests positive to a drug test?

No, but we cannot rule out that the test could be positive due to the presence of other cannabinoids contained in the product with H4CBD. At the moment, drug testing is focused on the detection of THC and the compounds produced by its metabolism in the body. In very specific cases (cannabis testing), where tests are used that are sensitive to the detection of CBD and other cannabinoids, it is a possibility that the test will be positive for H4CBD. This, although unlikely, should be kept in mind.

Legal Status and Regulation of H4CBD

H4CBD does not occur naturally in cannabis plants and is therefore not regulated. Thus, in theory H4CBD is not illegal in most European countries. However, as was the case with other synthetic cannabinoids such as HHC it is possible that new regulations will emerge in the coming months.

H4CBD regulations could be defined in the coming years as scientific research develops and yields more answers on the use of H4CBD.

In general, H4CBD is a cannabinoid whose presence in the market is beginning to emerge. Because definitive information on the properties, effects and toxicity of H4CBD is not yet available, special care should be taken with its use and possible abuse.

For the time being, in Cannactiva we will continue to offer you the best CBD flowers in Europe of ecological quality and 100% natural and without synthetic products. Because maximum perfection can only be achieved by nature!

Referencias
  1. Collins A, Ramirez G, Tesfatsion T, Ray KP, Caudill S, Cruces W. Synthesis and Characterization of the Diastereomers of HHC and H4CBD. Natural Product Communications. 2023;18(3). https://doi.org/10.1177/1934578X231158910
  2. Ben-Shabat, S., Hanus, L. O., Katzavian, G., & Gallily, R. (2006). New cannabidiol derivatives: synthesis, binding to cannabinoid receptor, and evaluation of their anti-inflammatory activity. Journal of medicinal chemistry, 49(3), 1113-1117. https://doi.org/10.1021/jm050709m
  3. Ben-Shabat, S., Hanus, L. O., Katzavian, G., & Gallily, R. (2006). New cannabidiol derivatives: synthesis, binding to cannabinoid receptor, and evaluation of their anti-inflammatory activity. Journal of medicinal chemistry, 49(3), 1113-1117. https://doi.org/10.1021/jm050709m

Tesfatsion, T., Ramirez, G., Collins, A., Ray, K., & Cruces, W. (2022). Evaluation of In-Vitro Cytotoxicity, Genotoxicity and Cardiac Safety of Hydrogenated Cannabidiol on Cells Using Metabolic Assay, AMES and hERG Test. PREPRINT (Version 1). https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2256889/v1

Masha Burelo
Investigadora en cannabinoides | Doctoranda en Neurociencia

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