A Complete Guide to THCB Research, Potency & Effects

As cannabis science progresses, researchers are discovering the vast network of compounds present in cannabis and hemp plants. One of the latest is THCB, or tetrahydrocannabutol, a minor cannabinoid and homolog of delta-9 THC. 

Preliminary research suggests THCB may have a range of potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticonvulsant properties. Read on to discover more about this novel cannabinoid.

Potential THCB Benefits

Like THC, THCB interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system or ECS, a complex network of receptors and enzymes that helps regulate various physiological processes. THCB binds to CB2 receptors, primarily in the immune system, and CB1 receptors, mainly in the brain and nervous system. Its CB1 affinity makes THCB psychoactive, just like THC.

Preliminary research suggests that it may have a range of potential therapeutic benefits.

For example, a 2020 study published in Scientific Reports found that THCB promotes antinociceptive activity in mice, meaning it helps manage the body’s pain response to potentially harmful stimuli like toxins and harmful chemicals. An additional 2020 study published by the Journal of Natural Products found that THCB showed promising anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in mice.

Another 2020 study published in Pharmaceuticals demonstrates that THCB’s high CB1 affinity could benefit neurological diseases like epilepsy due to its strong anticonvulsant properties.

THCB vs THC: What’s the main difference?

THCB is a lesser-known cannabinoid found in cannabis with a distinct chemical structure compared to THC). The main difference lies in their molecular side chain length, which affects their overall molecular structure. THC has a pentyl side chain, while THCB has a butyl side chain.

The butyl side chain in THCB consists of four carbon atoms (C4H9) and is attached to the third carbon atom of the benzene ring, while the pentyl side chain in THC consists of five carbon atoms (C5H11) and is attached to the third carbon atom of the benzene ring. This difference in side chain length leads to variations in their overall size, shape, and chemical properties.

THCB’s unique molecular structure may impact its interaction with cannabinoid receptors and other molecular targets in the body, potentially resulting in similar psychoactive effects than THC. Preliminary research indicates THCB may feel exactly or even stronger than THC depending on the strain and dosage:

“In the human CB1 and CB2 radioligand receptor binding assay…Δ9 -THCB was found to bind with high affinity, exhibiting Ki values of 15 and 51 nM, respectively. Comparison of the binding affinity with… Δ9 - THC… shows that the CB1 value is similar to Δ9 - THC (5−40 nM)... With respect to CB2 binding affinity, there is no significant difference in binding affinity among Δ9 -THCB and Δ9 - THC”

Cannabis scientists must conduct further studies to fully understand the implications of the structural differences between THC and THCB.

How much THCB naturally occurs in cannabis plants?

Research indicates THCB makes up less than 0.1% of the plant’s trace composition. As a result, processors cannot extract the compound directly from the plant for commercial production.

How is THCB made? 

Due to THCB’s trace quantities, manufacturers do not extract it from cannabis.

According to cannabis chemistry expert Dr. Mark Scialdone, cannabinoids, like THCB, with different carbon chain lengths at the third position, are made synthetically.  Dr. Scialdone cites the THCP discovery paper in 2019 below as the basis for his assertion on THCB synthesis.

“In the 2019 paper by Citti and coworkers on the discovery of THCP, for example, the authors describe THCP synthesis in a chemical reaction that assembles the cannabinoid molecular skeleton called terpenylation reaction of heptyl (7 carbon) resorcinol with an oxygenated derivative of limonene called PMD (p-mentha-2,8-dien-1-ol). Simply put, the two-carbon longer chain at the C3 position in THCP does not come from adding two carbons to the five-carbon chain of cannabis-derived THC but rather by utilizing a synthetic precursor with the two additional carbons in the side chain already in it in the terpenylation reaction."  

In layman’s terms, scientists use a reaction called "terpenylation" to combine a substance called heptyl resorcinol with a terpene derivative called PMD to create THCP, which has a longer carbon chain than THC. So, instead of adding extra carbon atoms to the THC molecule, chemists start with a synthetic substance with the correct number of carbon atoms.

Scientists utilize a similar chemical process to create THCB, along with THCH and THCV according to Dr. Scialdone. But, they use different carbon chain-length resorcinols.

For THCB, scientists need a 4-carbon chain length or butyl resorcinol

To make THCH, chemists use a 6-carbon chain length or hexyl resorcinol.

For THCV, scientists need a 3-carbon chain length or propyl resorcinol

To make THCP, scientists need a 7-carbon chain length or heptyl resorcinol

THCB Products

Currently, THCB is available in limited hemp-derived consumer products, made legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. As more hemp producers become aware of the benefits of THCB, brands may start to develop more formulas. Currently, consumers can find THCB in products such as:

Vapes: In cartridges or disposable vape pens, consumers can find THCB concentrates and distillates from various hemp purveyors. These products are typically blended with hemp-derived psychoactive cannabinoids like Delta-10, Delta-8, and HHC. 

Edibles: Using the same distillates and concentrates in vapes, brands create THC-B edible gummies for consumers who prefer non-inhalable products.

THCB Potency Testing

At ACS Laboratory, we pride ourselves on being a trusted source for accurate potency testing. We currently quantify 25 different major and minor cannabinoids, including THC-B, using Ultra-High Performance Liquid Chromatography and other advanced methodologies. With an ever-growing market for alternative cannabinoids like THCB, brands must utilize DEA-certified labs like ACS to ensure their products are safe and high-quality.

The Bottom Line

THCB is an exciting exotic cannabinoid offering new possibilities for consumers to experience psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits from legal hemp-derived products. Preliminary research shows THCB interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system and may offer anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticonvulsant properties. THCB's unique molecular structure, with a butyl side chain, differentiates it from THC and may result in slightly milder to comparable psychoactive effects. Further research and potency testing are needed to fully understand the implications of THCB and ensure product safety and quality. 

Contact us to start testing your THCB products today.

The Cannabinoids Guide

This complete cannabinoid guide covers major and minor cannabinoids, how they work in the body, and highlights the top compounds brands and operators must test for today.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The Cannabinoid Guide

The definitive resource on leading major and minor cannabinoids, how they work in the body, and what to test for.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related Blogs

May 24, 2023

Cannabinoid Report: A Guide to CBD Extraction, Storage, Price, Benefits & More

CBD research indicates could relieve symptoms of anxiety, pain, inflammation, and insomnia, without psychoactive effects.

Elena Schmidt

April 27, 2023

Amanita Muscaria vs. Psychedelic Mushrooms (Psilocybin): What’s the Difference?

Here we explore the main differences between Amanita muscaria and other psychedelic mushrooms, examining where they grow, active ingredients, medicinal value, and legality.

Masha Ty

December 8, 2022

Companies Producing Edibles Containing CBD and Delta-8 THC Receive New Warning Letters from the FDA

FDA recently issued new warning letters to companies that produce CBD and Delta-8 THC edibles.

December 14, 2022

Visit the New and Improved ACS Laboratory Website

Enhanced education, intuitive navigation, mushroom program launch, compliance updates, and more!

Elena Schmidt

January 5, 2023

Functional Mushrooms: Exploring Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi Benefits & Uses

Reviewing functional mushroom benefits, research, and top products, with a focus on reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps.

Masha Ty

December 20, 2022

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Camphene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Research suggests that camphene possesses anti-microbial and antiviral properties, provides coughing relief, and may even be able to prevent heart disease.

Elena Schmidt

December 9, 2022

INTERVIEW: Live Rosin Delta-8: How It's Made, Effects, Safety & Quality

Live rosin delta 8 is a cannabis concentrate made from frozen plant material and manufactured delta-8 extract. Learn more.

January 25, 2023

Comparing Exotic Cannabinoids: Delta-9 THC vs. Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, HHCP, THC-O (THCOa), & THCP

The main difference between exotic cannabinoids and Delta-9 THC is their molecular structures, psychoactive intensity, and legality.

Elena Schmidt

January 19, 2023

Amanita Muscaria Part II: Active Ingredients, Effects, Nutrition & Legality

Exploring amanita muscaria’s psychoactive effects, toxic potential, edible preparation, and legality in the US and Canada.

Masha Ty

December 29, 2022

A Guide to Delta-8 vs. HHC: Extraction, Products, Safety, Legality, Testing & More

Delta-8 THC is a mildly euphoric psychoactive isomer of Delta-9 THC. HHC belongs to a completely different chemical class known as hexahydrocannabinol. Learn more.

Elena Schmidt

February 14, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need To Know About Fenchyl Alcohol Flavor, Fragrance, And Health Benefits

Everything you need to know about fenchyl alcohol benefits, aromatic profile, and how it impacts your favorite cannabis strains.

Elena Schmidt

December 16, 2022

Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric): History & Toxicology of the Most Misunderstood Mushroom

Amanita mushrooms are fully legal in the United States and have a long history of use. Discovery Amanita mythology and toxicology in this ACS blog.

Masha Ty

January 3, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Farnesene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Farnesene is a cannabis terpene known as sesquiterpenes and is thought to have sedative and regulating effects on the human body and mood.

Elena Schmidt

February 2, 2023

A Guide to Delta-8 vs. THCOa: Extraction, Products, Safety, Legality, Testing & More

Comparing Delta-8 THC and THCOa’s chemistry, effects, potency, and extraction methods.

Elena Schmidt

February 20, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Ocimene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

As a cannabis terpene, ocimene offers strains potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-viral, anti-seizure, and anti-inflammation.

Elena Schmidt

February 24, 2023

Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Orientin Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Orientin is a flavonoid prevalent in cannabis, bamboo leaves, and various teas is. Its impact as an antioxidant extends into numerous human therapeutic benefits.

Elena Schmidt

March 7, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Valencene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Valencene is a rare terpene found in cannabis. It exudes an herbaceous, sweet citrus aroma with woodsy notes and is abundant in citrus fruits.

Elena Schmidt

March 15, 2023

Understanding Amanita Pantherina Mushrooms: Appearance, Effects, and Legality

The Amanita pantherina, or the Panther Cap, is a relative of the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Its cap features ochre brown dots with white spots. It's a delirium rather than a psychedelic, and it's legal!

Masha Ty

March 23, 2023

Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Vitexin Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Vitexin fans praise it for everything from benefiting the brain and heart to fighting diabetes and helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Elena Schmidt

March 20, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Sabinene Hydrate Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Sabinene Hydrate is a vital component of various plant essential oils, including cannabis. It displays antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial uses.

Elena Schmidt

April 11, 2023

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Benefits, Risks, and Legality

In this blog, we will explore the history, science, and potential benefits of psilocybin and its potential risks and legal status.

Elena Schmidt

April 12, 2023

H4 CBD Guide: Experience, Legality, Products & Benefits

This guide examines H4-CBD from every angle, explaining its effects and chemical structure, user reviews, comparison to CBD and THC, and commercial products.

Elena Schmidt

May 3, 2023

A Complete Guide to THCH: Research, Products, Potency & Effects

THC-H’ is a unique minor cannabinoid whose chemical structure allows it to readily attach to receptors in the brain, making it notably stronger than Delta-9 THC.

Elena Schmidt

May 10, 2023

A Complete Guide to THCB Research, Potency & Effects

Preliminary research suggests THCB may have a range of potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticonvulsant properties.

Elena Schmidt

May 18, 2023

Psilocin Guide: Effects, Benefits, Risks, and Legality

This guide compares psilocin to psilocybin, highlighting differences and similarities in how they work in the body, their effects, strength, benefits, and legality.

Masha Ty

February 17, 2023

DEA Says Delta-8 and Delta-9 THCOA (aka THCO) Falls Under Controlled Substances Act, not Farm Bill

According to the DEA's interpretation of the law, THCOA doesn’t fall within the Farm Bill's definition of hemp because hemp plants don’t naturally produce the cannabinoid.

Elena Schmidt

March 28, 2023

The Powerful Benefits of Beta-Glucans in Functional Mushrooms

Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber located primarily in the cell walls of mushrooms and whole grains, known to lower blood sugar, defend against infections, and even kill cancer cells.

Elena Schmidt

April 5, 2023

ACS Laboratory Launches the First Premium Hemp “Bored Gummy” COA on the Blockchain

New collection of Bored Gummy, Launches April 7 in the Automatic Slims Metaverse Marketplace

Elena Schmidt

January 30, 2023

ACS Laboratory Receives 82 Emerald Badges for Exemplary Hemp and Cannabis Test Results, More Than Any Laboratory in the USA

Recently Awarded 21 Emerald Test Proficiency Badges for 2022, ACS has Reaffirmed its Position as the Most Trusted Third-party Hemp and Cannabis Testing Provider

ACS Laboratory