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Understanding Cannabinoid Naming Conventions

Updated: Jan 12

There are many different anologs of THC and CBD and to the uninformed eye, they are just the letters "THC" or "CBD" combined with a mess of numbers and letters. If that's you, don't worry! In this article, I'll explain what all these prefixes and suffixes mean.


-O: Acetylated Cannabinoids

Examples:

THCo, HHCo, CBDo, CBNo


Effects:

Acetlayed cannabinoids are believed to function as prodrugs, after consumption the body internally cleaves the acetate group to yield the non-acetylated counterpart.


This translates to a spacy, dreamlike, feeling with a light body load. Head on a string kind of feeling. Makes high take longer to hit and last longer. Effects come on very gradually.


The marketing around acetates suggesting they are "3x power" compared to their non-acetylated counterparts is just untrue. I dose acetates the same way I dose HHC. The lack of any kind of heavy body load makes the whole experience feel kind of incomplete compared to their non-acetylated counterparts, really preventing a good direct comparison.


Unique Properties:

  • Long-lasting

  • Very low viscosity distillate (excluding CBNo, which is an isolate)

  • Very effective in edibles

  • Non-phytocannabinoid


Notes:

The acetylated noids have the most fought-over safety profile - a questionable study from the University of Portland is pretty much the main source of contention. I won't get into all that here, but if you are interested here is a post all about it.


Personally, I think acetates are the best in blends at a max of 30%, acting as a thinning agent and also adding some good backend to the high. They are great at enhancing blends, not so much at standing on their own.


-P: Phorol Cannabinoids

Examples:

THCp, HHCp, CBDp


Effects:

Phorol cannabinoids have very long heptyl tail chains and very high binding affinities. This causes the phorols to be very strong. You may be wondering where the name phorol comes from, as did I, so I asked HighAsDuck and got this explanation: "They're [phorols] named after Spherophorol which is a nickname for heptyl-resorcinol. Without that study that made the nickname, we would probably just call it THC-Heptyl.


Once again I must warn you against the "33x" claims. Getting high is not some linear scale that just multiplies like that.


That being said, don't underestimate them. It is a good idea to start with a very small dose and then work up. The phorols last a long time and are very very strong. A beginner can easily find themselves in a very uncomfortable place if they don't start small. Remember you can always take more but you can never take less - take your time and understand phorols can take up to 2 hours to start showing effects.


Unique Properties:

  • Strong

  • Average viscosity distillate

  • Very effective in edibles

  • Expensive


Notes:

The phorols do not need to be in high percentages to have a large impact on the blend as a whole. My preference is to have them in blends at 5-15%, but you can feel effects from as low as 2%.



-Po: Acytilated Phorol Cannabinoids

Examples:

THCPo, HHCPo


Effects:

These are tied for the strongest group of cannabinoids we have access to! Acetylated phorol cannabinoids have very long tail chains and very high binding affinities just like regular phorols, but with the longer-lasting and more "floaty" nature of acetates. Just like the acetates, phorol acetates are believed to function as prodrugs - after consumption, the body internally cleaves the acetate group to yield the non-acetylated counterpart.


Unique Properties:

  • Longest-lasting

  • Strongest

  • Dreamlike

  • Very low viscosity distillate

  • Very effective in edibles

  • Most expensive

  • Not a phytocannabinoid

Notes:

Just like the regular phorols, acetylated phorols do not need to be in high percentages to have a large impact on the blend as a whole. My preference is to have them in blends at 5-10%, but you can feel effects from as low as 1%.



H- / H4- : Hydrogenated Cannabinoids

Examples:

HHC, H4CBD


Effects:

Hydrogenated cannabinoids are often praised for their calm nature. Hydrogenated cannabinoids are around the same strength as their non-hydrogenated counterparts. Hydrogenated cannabinoids are very body-load heavy and are often the cannabinoid of choice for those with anxiety. It's important to note that total noid content isn't all that matters when it comes to hydrogenated cannabinoids, the specific diastereomer matters as well. To put it very shortly, R is what you want, but you really should read my whole post on it here.


Unique Properties:

  • Very calming

  • Shelf stable

  • Very high viscosity distillate

Notes:

Hydrogenated cannabinoids are some of my favorites! Both HHC and H4 make great base cannabinoids for blends. I hope to see more soon.



-B: Buytl Cannabinoids

Examples:

THC-B


Effects:

Very quick acting and feels about 3/5ths as strong as THCp. The quick come up is also accompanied by a quick come down. In my experience, THCb will last an hour or so.


Unique Properties:

  • Short duration

  • Fairly strong

  • Quick come up

  • Quick come down

  • Very viscous distillate

  • Expensive

Notes:

THC-B is currently the only buytl cannabinoid on the market. It is very unique for both its duration and power. I enjoy THC-B at 5-10% in blends. Adds a lot of front end and is great when paired with a phorol cannabinoid. A great novelty for sure, but a hard value proposition when the phorols are stronger and usually cheaper.



-H: Hexyl Cannabinoids

Examples:

THC-H, HHC-H


Effects:

The hexyl cannabinoids are a favorite for many due to it having many of the good qualities of both THCp and THCb. I would describe hexyl cannabinoids as the midpoint between phorols and butyls in terms of strength, effects, and price.


Unique Properties:

  • Strong, about 4/5 potency of D9 THC-P

  • Slightly stimulating

  • Head buzz

  • Very viscous

  • "All over the place" type feeling

  • Expensive

Notes:

I like the hexyl cannabinoids at 5-15% in blends. They are a group I need to explore more, I only have 2 blends containing hexyl cannabinoids. Like THCb, they are a fun novelty but a hard value proposition when the phorols are stronger and usually cheaper.



-V: Varin Cannabinoids

Examples:

THCv, CBDv, HHCv


Effects:

The varins are known for being the most energy-affecting of the cannabinoid groups. Varins can be found in relatively high amounts in sativa plants. (1-5%).


Unique Properties:

  • Stimulating (in the case of THCv and HHCv)

  • Calming (in the case of CBDv)

  • Focus

  • Appetite Suppression (in the case of THCv)

  • Very viscous distillate (CBDv is an isolate, however)

Notes:

The varins have very high melting temperatures and are therefore a bit annoying to blend. I find the varins work best at 5-15% in blends. Combined together with D8 and CBG, varins make an amazing morning time blend.



8-OH- / 9-OH- / 11-OH- : Metabolite Cannabinoids

Examples:

8-OH-HHC, 10-OH-HHC


Effects:

The two examples are all the metabolites on the market currently. A metabolite is what your liver turns edibles into. Metabolites are generally much more slowed, couch lock-inducing, and eye-blurring than other noids. All this being said you can get this chemical for much cheaper by just eating HHC.


Unique Properties:

  • Ability to "smoke and edible"

  • A bit stronger than D9

  • Expensive

  • Novel

Notes:

Currently, the state of metabolite cannabinoids is a bit sad. It's $30/g and beyond the novelty of smoking edibles it's not super worth it as I find the ideal blend percentage is around 15-20%. However, if for whatever reason you can't have edibles, this is for you.


Sometimes they are written out like #-HO instead of #-OH

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