Cannabinoids of the Future: 11-Hydroxy-THC

Let’s Talk About 11-Hydroxy-THC


Unlike any other cannabinoid we’ve written about so far, 11-hydroxy-THC isn’t made within the plant, but within your own body. It’s a byproduct of both smoked and oral THC foods, oils and medical preparations, but it’s mostly associated with oral preparations and edibles, because eating and digesting THC can create up to 10 times as much 11-hydroxy in your system as smoked THC can. It’s drawing from the effects of first-pass metabolism, its greater efficiency in crossing the blood-brain barrier and its greater affinity for the CB1 receptor.

Can 11-Hydroxy-THC Get Me High?

Yes, and as you may have heard, far higher than THC on its own, because of its greater affinity for the CB1 receptor. It can often last longer as well. Plus, like THC, it can also linger around in the body as well, so you will fail a drug test on this one.


Potential Benefits of 11-Hydroxy-THC

Because of its longer, stronger effects, and its lack of pyrolitic carcinogens from smoking, oral 11-hydroxy’s effects are often sought after by medical patients who appreciate its powerful sedative effects. 

However, these effects can be quite variable: a recent metastudy found some preparations could take as long as 4.9 hours to reach their fullest concentration in the bloodstream, and as quick as a half hour. Plus, as Vitamin Weed author and cannabis expert Michele Ross mentioned to us during our chat with her in last month’s MOLECULAR SHIFT, “Some patients when they consume edibles experience no impact whatsoever. They lack enzymes or [possess] some other kind of very interesting physiological issues where they just don’t respond to sublingual or edible versions of cannabinoids.”


Liver metabolism is especially prone to this sort of variability as well.

Because of this variability within people and within products, it’s often best to “start low and go slow.” We recommend our blog post on How to Portion Edibles for pointers on how to do this for first-timers. 

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