What Type of THC-Based Cannabinoid May Affect My Sobriety?

January 29, 2022
Sober THC, Cannabis Drunk
Sober THC, Cannabis Drunk

Many people have worked very hard to maintain their sobriety, and we commend them for it!  That being said, with all of the new hemp-based products emerging on the market, it can leave our sober friends feeling quite confused.  We know that marijuana is federally illegal due to its high THC status that makes the plant intoxicating and therefore not friendly to sober folks.  But, at the same time, more THC-based compounds are popping up on the fully legal hemp market.  So, what does this mean for those who abstain from intoxicating substances?

THC Compounds and Sobriety

Let’s first go over the key THC compounds available on today’s hemp market, offering an overview of their psychoactive effects:

  • Delta 8 THC: Mild psychoactive that’s about 70% as intoxicating as marijuana, with a more soothing high.
  • Delta 10 THC: Delta 10 has the same potency level as delta 8, only its effects are more uplifting and daytime-oriented.
  • Delta 9 THC: As most of us already know, is the intoxicant responsible for the high we get when we use marijuana.
  • THC-O: A potent, synthesized form of THC that’s about 3x as intoxicating as delta 9.
  • THC-V: Is mildly psychoactive in certain dosage amounts.
  • THC-P: A recently discovered cannabinoid that might be 10x as potent as delta 9.
  • HHC: The hydrogenated form of THC with a high commonly compared to that of delta 9.

If you read over this list, you’ll find that all THC compounds are, ultimately, intoxicating.  And therefore, you will not be sober if you consume them.  Now, we respect each person’s own rules on their sobriety, and know that each sober person is able to make the best choices for themselves, as things aren’t always black and white.  For instance, some people may view certain medications as compatible with their sober lifestyle, while others may disagree.

All this is to say that at Weed.com, it’s not our place to decide what a person must avoid in order to maintain their sobriety.  People are empowered make those choices for themselves on an individual basis.  But, the bottom line is that the cannabinoids listed above all have the potential to get you high.

The One Possible Exception: THCV

There’s always an exception to the rule, and in this case, it’s THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin).  THCV is a tricky cannabinoid, as its psychoactive properties are really unstable compared to the others.  For one thing, it requires a much higher temperature to become psychoactive – 428 degrees – so consuming it at the same temp you would other forms of THC won’t get you high.  Even more tricky is the threshold dose matter.  THCV is not psychoactive at low doses – it’s a CB1 antagonist, meaning it has zero intoxicating potential.  Only after you cross a certain threshold dose does it cause a high, which is still notably mild and short-lasting.  We can’t say for sure what that threshold dose is, because it seems to vary from person to person.  Most people who take THCV aren’t doing so for its high, but for its other properties which include a potential to regulate blood sugar and insulin along with fat storage in the body.

One thing to watch out for if you’re going to go for THCV as a sober individual is that many THCV products on the market pair this cannabinoid with one that’s more stably psychoactive, like delta 8 THC.  So, read the product description carefully to avoid intoxication as much as possible.

The Trace THC Level in Hemp

Let’s quickly draw our attention to the hemp plant in its natural form, which possesses 0.3% delta 9 THC, and even smaller levels of other intoxicating cannabinoids that we listed above.  We know that you can’t get high off of hemp flower or full spectrum hemp products because their THC levels are simply too low to have an intoxicating effect.  While some sober people may still feel that any trace amount of THC is incompatible with their lifestyle, the bottom line is that flower and full spectrum products will not get you high in any amount.

Of course, there is also broad spectrum hemp, along with CBD isolate, both of which have had all trace amounts of THC fully removed, so this can be an option for those who are completely abstaining from THC.

THC Compounds and Drug-Testing

We recognize that there are some people out there who are currently maintaining sobriety due to external factors such as employment conditions or probation.  Therefore, sobriety isn’t necessarily their personal choice, but a rule that they have to follow to avoid certain repercussions.

That brings us to the topic of drug-testing.  Both in employment and probation, urine tests are the testing method of choice.  And, urine tests are looking not for trace levels of marijuana, but an enzyme that the body produces to break down THC, known as THC-COOH.

THC-COOH is responsible for breaking down all compounds with “THC” in the name.  This means that any of the cannabinoids we discussed earlier will cause a positive drug test result, with one possible exception, which is HHC.  That is not to say that HHC won’t yield a positive drug test result, but only that we don’t yet know how it will impact a test.  Why?  Because it’s yet to be determined whether or not HHC is broken down by THC-COOH, since its hydrogenated structure could bypass this metabolite entirely.  Still, better to be safe than sorry.

Bottom Line: THC Compounds are Intoxicating

If your goals regarding sobriety are to completely abstain from all intoxicating substances, then at the end of the day, you’ll want to avoid all THC-type hemp compounds.  This applies to those who are drug-tested as well.  The good news is that the hemp plant offers a lot more than psychoactive cannabinoids – compounds like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN) can all produce very desirable effects while having zero intoxicating properties whatsoever.