THCjd: What It Is and What to Look Out For When Buying

Is THCjd the next big thing or just a new marketing gimmick?

Written by

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Fact checked byTanja Bagar, PhD

Fact checked by

Tanja Bagar, PhD

Tanja Bagar, PhD, is the co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Expert Council of the ICANNA International Institute for Cannabinoids. She lectures in microbiology, biochemistry and topics on ecology at...

CBD Oracle's Editorial Process

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Marijuana plant rich in THCjd cannabinoid
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Not too long ago, THC meant one thing: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. But the 2018 Farm Bill changed all that, opening the door to delta-8 THC, THC-O, HHC and more alternative cannabinoids than most cannabis users even knew existed five years ago.

THCjd is one in a long list of rare cannabinoids you’ll see advertised across the country, but what is it and what are the effects?

The bad news, right off the bat, is that scientific knowledge of THCjd is very limited, but we’ve collected what we know so far – and what we don’t – to get you up to speed.

What Is THCjd?

THCjd is otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabioctyl, and can be simply described as a form of THC with a longer side-chain that increases its potency.  

Understanding THCjd is much easier if you understand the basics of THC as a molecule. One half of the THC molecule (usually shown on the left) is composed of a few connected rings, and the other half (usually right) is a long alkyl side chain. This might sound a bit scary, but it really just means it’s a chain composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

The length of this chain is important, though. We spoke to Dr. Erik Paulson, lab manager at InfiniteCAL, who explained to us that:

“The length of the alkyl side chain can have an effect on how tightly the molecule binds to the CB1 receptor (the main receptor in the body responsible for the psychoactive effects caused by the cannabinoids). There is a pocket in the receptor that accommodates the alkyl side chain, and the longer the chain (up to a point) will theoretically allow for more favorable interactions.

Ordinary THC and CBD molecules have a five carbon-atom side-chain, and research shows that they need to have at least three to have any interaction with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. Dr. Paulson continues:

“Actual binding studies with four different THC analogues (THCV – 3 carbons, THCB – 4 carbons, THC – 5 carbons, and THCP – 7 carbons) have shown that binding affinity increases with increasing chain length. The 8-carbon chain present in THCjd is the length that correlates with the highest theoretical binding affinity. Importantly, the expectation is that the stronger the binding affinity, the more potent the effects should be.

So to summarize: tetrahydrocannabioctyl/THCjd is a THC molecule with an eight carbon atom side chain, and that’s why it has the “octyl” in the name. This also means that THCjd binds more strongly to the body’s cannabinoid receptors than the ordinary THC you’ll find in large quantities in cannabis.

THCjd: The Cannabinoid With Many Names

THCjd is not named in a consistent or particularly helpful fashion: it may be called tetrahydrocannabioctyl, THCjd or THC-C8.

Here’s a little run-down of each of the names you may encounter THCjd under.

  • THCjd: This is the most commonly-used name in the industry, but the least informative. It’s supposedly taken from the initials of the person who discovered it, but nobody seems to know who that is.
  • Tetrahydrocannabioctyl: This is literally THC-octyl, or in other words, “THC with an eight-carbon alkyl chain.”
  • Delta-9 THC-C8: The C8 here is another way of saying “with an eight carbon alkyl chain,” and so is again pretty self-explanatory. However, note that THCjd can be in delta-8 or delta-9 form.
  • Delta-8 THC-C8 (aka JWH-138): When the double-bond in the ring structure of THC is on the 8th atom (using the most common modern numbering), you have delta-8 THC, and likewise, with an eight-carbon chain, you have delta-8 THC-C8. This is also called JWH-138, after its discoverer, John W. Huffman.

How Is THCjd Manufactured?

THCjd isn’t naturally extracted from hemp plants, because the amount present naturally is very small. This means that any products offering THCjd have to manufacture it if they want it to have a noticeable effect.

We asked Dr. Paulson about how this was done, and whether it works like the conversion of CBD to delta-8 THC:

“THCjd can be made through an analogous process to the synthesis of THC from CBD, but the process would require first the synthesis of CBDjd. There is no synthetic process to form CBDjd (or other CBD analogues with varying alkyl chain lengths), so that compound would need to be made from simpler materials. After the CBDjd is formed, the cyclization from the CBD-like compound to the THC-like compound (THCjd in this case) would essentially be performed in the same way as the CBD to THC conversions regardless of the alkyl chain length.”

In other words, the process of production basically works by creating the long side-chain version of CBD, and then going through the same process manufacturers use to produce delta-8 THC.

This has consequences for the legality of THCjd in states like New York that ban the process of “isomerization” (more descriptively called cyclization in Dr. Paulson’s answer), because it would also be captured by these laws.

What Are the Effects of THCjd?

There isn’t much hard data on the effects of THCjd relative to other cannabinoids, but from what we know it appears to be much more potent than traditional delta-9 or delta-8 THC.

With limited scientific evidence on THCjd overall, it’s natural to look to user reviews of THCjd products when you want to find out about effects. The problem with this approach is that many THCjd products don’t contain much or even possibly any THCjd and are loaded with other cannabinoids like delta-8 THC (see below for more info). This means that product reviews (for example, the collection on this page or the ones here) have to be taken with a big pinch of salt.

That said, the reviews on various sites suggest that THCjd is a potent cannabinoid, or at least that products claiming to contain it tend to be potent. Unfortunately, most of the time these reviews are light on details as well as possibly clouded by the combination of cannabinoids in commercial THCjd products.

However, there is a study that addresses the delta-8 form of THCjd, and supports the idea that the effects are more potent. Based on tests conducted on mice, the researchers found that THCjd had a five times higher receptor affinity and a potency of between 10 to 20 times higher than delta-8 THC. Compared to delta-9 in the study (which itself was estimated at 3 to 6 times more potent than delta-8), it was roughly 3 to 4 times more potent.  

There are many unanswered questions, though.

  • Firstly, this test used delta-8-THC-C8 (i.e. delta-8 THCjd) and it’s not at all clear how delta-9-THC-C8 would look, although we might assume that it would be stronger (just as ordinary delta-9 is stronger than delta-8).
  • Secondly, a study conducted on mice in 1999 is not the strongest of sources when we consider the effects of modern THCjd products on humans.
  • Thirdly, and related to the previous point, when the researchers say “more potent” they mean “decreased spontaneous activity, rectal temperature and the tail-flick response in mice.” I’m not sure about you but these are not on my usual list of “signs I’m high.” Of course in the context of the study this makes sense and is valid (e.g. the tail-flick test is used to measure pain response) but it’s important to keep in mind when thinking about the results.

Overall, it’s likely that the effects of THCjd are like those of ordinary THC except a few times stronger, but it is currently unclear and even people who have tried it are not necessarily reliable sources.

Are There Any Risks to THCjd?

Unfortunately we don’t know much at all about any possible risks of THCjd. There is very limited evidence on THCjd at all, and while we can make assumptions about the effects, it’s harder to anticipate what risks could arise. 

That said, based on the information about potency in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics study referenced earlier, it could be assumed that the risks of THCjd are similar to but more potent than those of THC. This includes short term effects like anxiety, confusion and even paranoia.

Likewise, the longer-term risk of psychiatric disorders from THC may be increased because THCjd is more potent than typical THC.

However, again we should stress that this is not known and it’s entirely possible that these risks won’t exist or that they will be more severe than we’d assume based on this study. It’s also possible that brand new risks could occur.

We asked Dr. Erik Paulson about this too, and he commented that:

“My concern with THCjd products are the same concerns I have with any of the novel semi-synthetic cannabinoids:

1) Potential presence of residual reagents or solvents used in the synthesis.

2) While the structural similarity of THCjd to THC may suggest a lower probability of adverse health effects, other minor side products less structurally related to THC have not been assessed for their long-term safety.

3) Until testing for THCjd becomes more common, products may advertise the presence of it without it actually being there, which deceives the consumer.”

Dr. Paulson points out that since THCjd products are manufactured from other cannabinoids, this manufacturing process may leave residual chemicals and create unintended byproducts.

This is a common problem with delta-8 THC products, according to research published in Chemical Research in Toxicology. Of course this depends on the quality of the manufacturing process, and the presence of byproducts doesn’t automatically mean products are dangerous, but it is certainly a risk. 

The Challenge of Buying Products Containing THCjd

THCjd is a cannabinoid, but whether it’s genuinely present in most commercial products is debatable at present.

The theory behind THCjd seems pretty solid, but in practice you’ll probably struggle to get what you paid for. Generally speaking, products claiming to contain THCjd generally have lab reports which show that it either wasn’t tested for the cannabinoid or that it was tested for it but none was detected.

Dr. Paulson’s work at InfiniteCAL means that he tests for specific cannabinoids all the time, and so we asked him for insight into this issue.

Firstly, he pointed out that the problems with not testing for THCjd basically come down to lower demand, “The detection itself is not markedly different from the other THC analogues, although it is possible that some labs do not run a long enough method to observe it. The more likely reason is that the demand is small enough that labs are not seeing enough requests to add it to their standard offerings.”

And secondly, he confirmed that while many products claiming to have THCjd actually don’t, there are some which do:

“We have seen products that claim the presence of THCjd, although there are no claims to the quantity made by those clients. We have seen only a handful that appear to actually contain the compound.”

This is unfortunately the state of the market right now. With a Google search, we were unable to find any THCjd products that were tested for and actually contained the compound. While Dr. Paulson’s experience performing tests tells us that it is present in some products, the broader picture makes it clear that this isn’t as common as consumers would hope.

THCjd Buying Guide: Here’s How You Should Look for Quality Products

As discussed above, it is debatable whether any products currently available actually contain THCjd, but if you’re interested in buying some, there are some general tips that can help.

  • Look at the lab report: The best and most important thing you can do is check the lab report for any product you’re considering buying. It’s likely that – as above – you will find that the lab report either doesn’t test for THCjd or did not detect it. If you genuinely want THCjd, this will probably become a sticking point. However, there is no other way to guarantee that you’re getting what you paid for.
  • Look for reviews of the product or the brand: While specific THCjd products might not have attracted many reviews, it can still be helpful to look at how other products from the brand are received. This isn’t always the most reliable approach, though, because even if THCjd products contain what they claim to, they are often blends of many different cannabinoids that all produce the effects together.
  • Avoid products that make big claims: As we’ve discussed above, the current knowledge about THCjd is tiny and it’s likely that any substantial claim made (other than basic points like “it’s more potent than ordinary delta-9”) is not supported by evidence or is outright false. So if anybody makes a confident claim about THCjd, it’s a bit of a red flag.

Conclusion: THCjd Products Are Not Reliable

The reality is that right now, you can’t depend on a THCjd product to contain what it claims to, and most of the effects people report appear to come from delta-8 THC, which dominates in most supposed THCjd products.

If you’re interested in novel cannabinoids, this might be disappointing, but with so few options for THCjd and the vast majority of them not even claiming to offer a solely THCjd experience, very few people would even know enough to truly describe the effects.

Unless things change in future, THCjd products are simply not reliable.