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Extra Potent 11-hydroxy-THC and the Power of Cannabis Edibles

11-hydroxy-THC
Written by Alexandra Hicks
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Lately we’ve been seeing quite a few new cannabinoids popping up, especially new forms of THC. Most are naturally occurring in cannabis, but some, like 11-hydroxy-THC, aren’t found in the plant at all. Let’s take a closer look at this ultra-potent psychoactive compound and what it has to do with the human digestive system.

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What is 11-hydroxy-THC?

11-hydroxy-THC is one of our naturally occurring endocannabinoids; meaning it’s made in the body. When you eat plant-based THCs, such as delta-8 or delta-9 THC, the body breaks it down and metabolizes it via the liver. 11-hydroxy-THC is a metabolite of the other tetrahydrocannabinols, and it’s much more potent. This is why delta-8 THC edibles are just as strong as delta-9 edibles, but the same can’t be said for flowers or vape products.

This process is known as first pass metabolism, and it’s the reason why ingesting cannabis products orally has much more intense and long-lasting effects compared to smoking. So if you’ve been wondering why edibles get you beyond baked, this why. If you’re anything like me and many other cannabis users I’ve spoken to, edibles hit different than smoking. Even though it takes a while to feel anything, once they kick in, I’m laid out on the couch almost every time. I feel more stoned, I’m laughing at everything, and eventually, I get super tired. This seems to be commonplace when it comes to edibles; but why exactly do they differ so much from smoking, from a scientific standpoint?

It comes down to two factors: the drug-metabolizing enzymes in your GI tract, and blood flow to the liver. When you first eat a cannabis edible, various enzymes in the GI tract begin digesting the food. From that point, blood flow from the GI tract goes through the liver where all these enzymes are metabolized, then the blood continues to general circulation. When the metabolites are formed, that’s when you get the effects of 11-hydroxy-THC.

However, when you smoke cannabis, THC is absorbed through the lungs and distributed directly into the bloodstream. The active compounds make their way to the brain where they interact with the CB receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system. In this scenario, you are feeling the effects of the phytocannabinoids (plant-cannabinoids) themselves, rather than the compound formed during metabolism.

The research on 11-hydroxy-THC

Although limited, the research we do have indicates that 11-hydroxy-THC is considerably stronger than delta-9 THC, which is the strongest of the existing, marketable THCs (delta 8, 9, 10). Some studies even claim that 11-hydroxy-THC is up to 7 times more potent than delta 9 THC.

Back in the 1970s is when this cannabinoid was initially noted, in radiolabled THC was utilized in labs to allow researchers to better study these compounds. Radiolabled THC (which yes, is radioactive) behaves just like regular THC but it allows scientists to see where all the metabolites go once it’s broken down within the body. This is how 11-hydroxy-THC was discovered.

At the time, very little 11-OH-THC was available, for obvious reasons, so for a very long time only small animal studies could be conducted. Once they had the ability create this compound on a larger scale, in a lab, seminal studies were launched to characterize the effects of 11-OH-THC in humans. Numerous studies of delta 11 taken intravenously showed it was not only more potent, but onset of effects was much quicker than other forms of THC also administered the same way.  

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How to avoid consuming too much 11-hydroxy-THC

When it comes to edibles, it’s easy to go overboard. Because it takes so much longer to notice the effects, a lot of people end up eating more than they should, thinking that the edibles aren’t working, then get surprised when all that THC finally kicks in. According to statistical surveys, the overwhelming majority of ER visits associated with cannabis are because of edibles, and this explains why.

Whether you make them yourself or buy them at the dispensary, if you want to avoid having any of these issues yourself, remember the adjunct “less is more”. That’s very true when it comes to cannabis edibles, especially if you’re a novice user. It’s also important to remember that not everyone feels edibles the same way. Some people are more sensitive to 11-hydroxy-THC than others. Those people will experience edibles in a much more powerful way than people whose bodies are more resistant to the compound.

Resources

It’s Not Your Parents’ THC – Welcome Cannabidiolic Acid Methyl Ester
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All About Delta 8 THC Distillate
New Vaping Bill: Effective March 2021 No More Mail Order Of CBD & Delta-8 THC Vape Carts
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Delta-8 THC Contaminated Products, or Just Bad Press?
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers).  Hemp-Derived DELTA 8 THC Products Now Available Online Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021
New Vaping Bill: Effective March 2021 No More Mail Order Of CBD & Delta-8 THC Vape Carts

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC DealsThe Bizarre History and Promising Future of Delta 10 THC
What Are Delta-8 THC Moon Rocks And Where To Get Them? INSIGHT: Delta-8 THC Pricing – The Fair Price for Delta 8 Vapes, Tinctures, Gummies and The Many Faces of Tetrahydrocannabinol – Different Types of THC and Their Benefits
Delta-8 THC and the UK: Is It Legal?
Delta 8 Update: Shipping Vape Ban Goes Into Effect Soon. Are You Ready? Delta 8 Flowers – Milder Than Cannabis, But Very Relaxing and Uplifting Now it’s the time to Stock-Up on Delta-8 THC Products
THC Isolate Explained – Everything You Need To Know
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
It’s Not Your Parents’ THC – Welcome Cannabidiolic Acid Methyl Ester
Delta-8 THC Exploits Fantastic Legal Loophole
Everything You Need To Know About CBG Isolate
A Complete Guide To CBN Isolate (Cannabinol)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Distillate
Get EU GMP-Certified Cannabinoid Isolates and Distillates
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate (European Market)
Get EU GMP Extracts: CBD Isolate, CBD Distillate and CBG Isolate
CBG Distillate Explained: What It Is, What It’s For, and How It’s Made

About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Alexandra is the managing editor at CBD Testers. She has always been interested in alternative and natural remedies, and the versatility of cannabis as a healing plant is something that greatly appeals to her. It's for this reason that she decided to work as a cannabis industry journalist and editor, to help spread accurate information about the benefits of this plant.

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