What is the cannabinoid H4CBD?

H4CBD, or THD, is a cannabinoid created by synthetically modifying the CBD molecule.. This substance, created in the 1940s through British scientific research, represents one of the latest frontiers in the field of cannabinoids. In our article, we will explore how H4CBD is produced, the associated risks, and why choosing natural products might be the best option.. But let’s start from the beginning…

What are synthetic cannabinoids?

Unlike the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis light, synthetic cannabinoids are molecules created in laboratories with the aim of inducing strong alterations in those who consume them. They are generally produced illegally in some Asian regions and then sprayed onto herbal mixtures to be sold as synthetic marijuana in other countries. Besides H4CBD, this category includes H2CBD (dihydrocannabidiol), THCP, HHC, HHCO, HHCP, and HCCPO.

These products are usually marketed in brightly colored aluminum or plastic pouches, labeled with terms like “herbal incense” or “herbal smoking blends.” Naturally, there is no indication regarding the chemical content of synthetic cannabinoids, which can only be detected through laboratory analysis. Furthermore, the herbal mixture used allows producers to label this synthetic cannabis as a “natural product,” highlighting the severity of the situation.

Effects of synthetic cannabinoids

As you probably already know (and as explained in this article), cannabis light has a THC content of less than 0.5%, which is why, if consumed, it does not cause psychotropic effects. On the contrary, classic cannabis, with its high THC content, has a psychotropic effect on the body that can last several hours until it is metabolized.

The situation is different for the synthetic cannabinoids present in synthetic cannabis. These products may contain chemical additives, such as rat poison, intentionally included to prolong the distorting effect of the substance. Among the most common symptoms caused by the consumption of synthetic cannabis are:

  • Palpitations
  • Paranoia
  • Intense anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Prolonged confusion
  • Seizures
  • Withdrawal
  • Muscle pain
  • Kidney damage

Why can synthetic cannabis be sold?

After learning about the possible consequences of consuming synthetic cannabinoids, one might wonder how it is possible for such a product to circulate on the market. The reason is that there is no specific regulation on the matter and, consequently, no adequate chemical analyses are conducted on the product, thus allowing the evasion of drug laws. For this reason, it is impossible to know the quality and quantity of substances contained in synthetic marijuana, as well as to predict the effects each individual mixture may have on those who consume it. Moreover, this type of substance is marketed as not intended for human consumption and, containing a vegetable base different from hemp, it is not classified in the same way.

In the United States, between 2014 and 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded an exponential increase in deaths caused by the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids, with a figure three times higher than the previous year. As a result of these events, synthetic cannabinoids were included in the “Schedule I controlled substance” list, a document that lists drugs with high potential for abuse, such as cocaine and heroin.

The new synthetic variety of CBD: H4CBD

How is H4CBD produced?

H4CBD was invented in the 1940s through British scientific research. This substance is typically synthesized in a laboratory starting from another cannabinoid like CBD. This process involves chemical reactions that alter the molecular structure of the starting cannabinoids. For example, adding or removing hydrogen atoms can lead to the formation of new chemical bonds and, consequently, new cannabinoid molecules; this process is called hydrogenation. In the case of H4CBD, 4 hydrogen atoms are added to CBD; the CBD is hydrogenated. In simple terms, the production process can be compared to the production of margarine from vegetable oil.

The synthesis of H4CBD requires knowledge in chemistry and sophisticated laboratory equipment. Once a liquid mixture is obtained, it is mixed with flowers, oils, or resins; it can thus take various forms and percentages. These products are mainly composed of H4CBD and become H4CBD flowers, H4CBD resins, H4CBD vape liquids, or H4CBD oils.

How does H4CBD work?

H4CBD is still in the early stages of research and remains a relatively unexplored cannabinoid. However, some information suggests that H4CBD has a greater affinity for CB1 neuroreceptors and can affect the mind. H4CBD is actually a modified version of CBD that resembles the effects of HHC (hexahydrocannabinol, a semi-synthetic cannabinoid), but without the double bond. H4CBD is composed of two diastereoisomers, R and S, each of which has different effects. The R diastereoisomer shows significantly stronger effects than the S diastereoisomer. Users who have tried H4CBD have described its effects as similar to CBD but with psychoactive potency.

How is H4CBD used?

H4CBD is consumed in a manner similar to CBD. H4CBD can be inhaled using a vape or vaporizer. Additionally, you can prepare flower infusions by steeping 0.5 grams of H4CBD in a cup of hot water. It should be remembered that CBD and all hemp-derived substances are not soluble in water, but in fats. Therefore, it is necessary to add a fatty substance like coconut oil or milk. H4CBD hashish can also be used in infusions.

Legality

Many synthetic cannabis derivatives, such as H4CBD, are in a legal limbo, despite its low THC content of around 0.3%. France, the only European country that until recently considered H4CBD legal, made this substance illegal starting June 3, 2024, due to numerous reports of severe effects from addiction assessment and reporting centers. In Italy, the legality of the synthetic cannabinoid has not yet been definitively resolved, implying that specific measures must be enacted to determine its illegality.

H4CBD vs. CBD

CBD and H4CBD have many similarities, but also many differences.

Production process

Both CBD and H4CBD are derived from hemp. CBD is a direct extract from the plant, while H4CBD undergoes a transformation process, including hydrogenation, to obtain its final form. Therefore, H4CBD is considered a synthetic cannabinoid, although its synthetic nature is comparable to that of margarine. Technically, CBD can also be synthesized, but it is not necessary since it is abundantly available in cannabis.

Structure

H4CBD has been chemically modified to differentiate it from CBD. This process inserts hydrogen atoms into the selected molecule, adding four hydrogen atoms that alter its natural properties.

Effects

It is said that H4CBD could be 100 times more potent than regular CBD. However, even if this were true, this increased potency only applies to its effectiveness on CB1 receptors, where CBD initially has negligible efficacy. In fact, the first article from 2006 that mentioned this substance being “a hundred times more potent” than CBD actually referred to the very high affinity of hydrogenated forms (thus with more “hydro” in the formula) of cannabinoids with the endocannabinoid system. You can read about it in detail on PubMed. Therefore, further research on H4CBD and CB1 receptors is necessary to draw definitive conclusions.

Specific risks associated with H4CBD

The risks associated with H4CBD stem from its synthesis process, which generates uncertainties about long-term effects and interactions with other drugs. Due to the limited research available, users might experience potential risks such as unexpected side effects, undesirable interactions with other medications, or unpredictable individual responses. The long-term health consequences are not yet clear. According to the latest available data regarding H4CBD consumption, it has been shown that this substance stimulates CB1 receptors, causing psychoactive effects. Similarly to the consumption of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most common undesirable effects include anxiety and paranoia, nausea and drowsiness, disorientation, dry mouth, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. Furthermore, the production process is not always strictly regulated and canvary depending on the manufacturer. H4CBD is not supported by a standardized regulatory framework and clear regulations on its sale.

Choosing natural products with NativaCBD

In conclusion, although H4CBD represents an intriguing novelty in the cannabinoid landscape, it is essential to consider the benefits of natural and proven products like CBD. At NativaCBD, we are committed to offering high-quality natural products derived from low-THC Cannabis Sativa L. We invite our customers to explore our range of CBD products, made with natural ingredients and safe extraction methods, on our website. Choose the naturalness and reliability of NativaCBD products for your daily well-being!

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