What is THC-C1?

Discover yet another THC derivative with pain-relieving potential.

THC-C1 cannabinoid rich cannabis plant
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THC-C1, also called Δ9-THCC, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and homolog of THC and THCV first discovered in cannabis pollen. It is not a synthetic cannabinoid despite its resemblance to Dronabinol, an FDA-approved synthetic type of THC. Unlike THC and THCV, THC-C1 doesn’t activate or bind to CB1 receptors, meaning it won’t induce a euphoric high. However, it does activate the calcium ion channel TRPA1, producing antinociception and potentially pain-relieving effects.

What is THC-C1?

Definition: THC-C1 is an abbreviation of tetrahydrocannabiorcol and is also called Δ9-THCC. It’s a naturally-occurring minor cannabinoid and a lesser-known homolog of THC and THCV present in cannabis pollen. Cannabis pollen is a dusty, almost powdery yellow substance produced by male cannabis plants, which gets produced and released 4-5 weeks after flowering. Despite being a derivative of THC, THC-C1 does not induce a euphoric high, nor does it impair thinking or judgment. 

Chemical formula: THC-C1 has the chemical formula C17H22O2 (C17H22O2), meaning it comprises 17 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. This chemical formula is similar to THC’s but with four fewer carbon atoms. CBC-C1 also has a methyl group at the C-3 position of its phenolic group, whereas THC has a pentyl group. This difference means CBC-C1 is less active at cannabinoid receptors, thus reducing or eliminating the chance of inducing a euphoric high. 

Synthetic? No. As mentioned, THC-C1 is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis pollen. While THC-C1 molecular structure is similar to Dronabinol (an FDA-approved synthetic version of THC), it’s not a synthetic cannabinoid.

Research on THC-C1

Scientist studying THC-C1 cannabinoid in cannabis plants

Research on THC-C1 is almost non-existent. We are very much in the dark about how this mysterious cannabinoid works inside your body. However, one research paper suggests it’s a decent antinociceptive. 

In a 2011 study, researchers discovered that THC-C1 displays potent antinociceptive properties through activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) without affecting CB1 or CB2 receptors. 

Antinociceptive means an action that blocks the detection of harmful or toxic stimuli. In other words, THC-C1’s activity at TRPA1 reduces sensitivity to pain, making it a potential pharmacological tool to directly alleviate pain symptoms.

Benefits: What is THC-C1 good for?

THC-C1’s only documented benefits are its potential antinociceptive and analgesic qualities. We are not aware of any other benefits associated with THC-C1 treatment thus far.

Effects: How does THC-C1 make you feel?

THC-C1’s effects are largely unknown. All we know is it doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors and cause an intoxicating euphoric high, nor does it noticeably impair your thinking, judgment, or behavior. 

Unfortunately, since THC-C1 products don’t exist, we can’t turn to anecdotal stories from THC-C1 users either. Right now, all we can do is wait and hope researchers discover more about its effects.

Is THC-C1 legal?

The tentative answer is yes, THC-C1 is federally legal, provided it’s sourced from hemp plants carrying no more than the federal 0.3% limit. However, since THC-C1 is a homolog and derivative of the federally controlled substance THC, it could fall under the Federal Analogue Act (FAA). 

The FAA is a section in the US Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The FAA allows any chemical substantially similar to a controlled substance to be listed under Schedule I of the CSA. 

If THC-C1 is derived from marijuana, it’s federally illegal. The use, possession, sale, purchase, and product of all marijuana compounds are prohibited under federal law.

How does THC-C1 compare to other cannabinoids?

Marijuana plant rich in delta-9-thcc cannabinoid

THC-C1 vs THC

  • THC-C1 is a derivative and homolog of THC but with different effects in your body. 
  • THC binds to and actives CB1 receptors, which are part of your endocannabinoid system. THC’s CB1 binding activity induces a significant euphoric high. 
  • However, THC-C1 isn’t known to activate CB1 receptors the same way as THC. In fact, it doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors, meaning it won’t cause noticeable mental impairment or physical sensations. 
  • Both THC and THC-C1 are pain relievers but through the activation of different receptor sites. THC activates cannabinoid receptors found on nerve cells, reducing pain sensation. THC-C1 doesn’t affect cannabinoid receptors but does help manage pain perception through TRPA1.

THC-C1 vs CBD

  • THC-C1 and CBD are two very different cannabinoids. CBD is a major cannabinoid and abundant in cannabis plants, whereas THC-C1 is a minor cannabinoid found in trace quantities in cannabis. However, they do have similar ways of interacting with your body. 
  • Neither THC-C1 nor CBD activates CB1 receptors in your brain or central nervous system, meaning they don’t cause an intoxicating high. They do interact with TRPA1 receptors as agonists, potentially resulting in pain reduction. 

Bottom line

THC-C1 is not an up-and-coming cannabinoid and we expect it won’t enter the cannabis mainstream anytime soon. The spotlight is currently shining on other THC derivatives, such as delta-8, HHC, THCP, and THC-O.  However, we’re pleased to see some recent research on its antinociceptive and potential pain-relieving effects, and we’re sure researchers will take more notice later on in the future.

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