What Is Delta 11 THC?

Medically Reviewed By Naheed Ali, MD, PHD
What Is Delta 11 THC? - Secret Nature

These days, there are lots of different types of THC to choose from online. While delta 9 THC remains a federal Schedule I drug, other forms of tetrahydrocannabinol, including delta 8 and delta 10 THC, are generally classified as industrial hemp instead.

Recently, interest has started swirling around a new form of “hemp THC:” delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s understandable if all these similar names have gotten confusing, so we’re here to set the record straight with a detailed guide on delta 11 THC: what it is, what it isn’t, and where to get it.

What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a general term used to describe a class of cannabinoids found in cannabis. In the mid-20th century, the most abundant form of THC, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, was discovered to be the dominant cannabinoid in all natural forms of cannabis available at the time. Over the years, various forms of THC were isolated or synthesized, and breeders gradually produced strains of cannabis that were high in non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD or CBG but low in THC.

The very term “cannabis,” though, remains largely associated with delta 9 THC, and until a couple of years ago, even most cannabis users didn’t know alternative forms of THC exist. Following a trail of scientific publications, however, you can discover that cannabis researchers have been aware of delta 8, delta 10, and, indeed, delta 11 for decades, paving the way for today’s online hemp THC industry.

Why are there so many forms of THC?

As a plant, cannabis is incredibly complex. Each cannabinoid has multiple forms—THC isn’t alone in that. The unique chemical structure of THC, though, makes it much more prone to having variants than other cannabinoids. Featuring a chain of carbon atoms in its “head,” the chemical structure of THC can be changed simply by rearranging the location of a double-bond in this chain.

Nature performs this process automatically, leading to tiny concentrations of delta 8, delta 11, and other forms of THC being present in most strains of cannabis flower. Cannabis and hemp producers can also change other cannabinoids into these alternate forms of THC using relatively simple laboratory equipment, sparking the modern online THC renaissance.

Are all the forms of THC the same?

No, the unique chemical structures of the delta 8, delta 9, delta 10, and delta 11 forms of THC lead each compound to interact with the human body in a slightly different way. We don’t have enough scientific evidence to determine exactly how much of an impact these differences have—delta 9 is the only form of THC that has been well-researched. People who have used unconventional forms of THC often report, though, that their experienced effects are different from what they’re used to with delta 9.

Is there a delta 11 THC?

Yes, delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol is verified as being a genuine cannabinoid known to exist in Cannabis sativa. Delta 11 is structurally similar to more prominent cannabinoids, which means that the molecules of other forms of THC, as well as cannabidiol (CBD), can be rearranged to produce delta 11 isolates at a high rate. The first scholarly mention of delta 11 THC is in a 1974 paper on the social impact of cannabis use, and the metabolism of this rare cannabinoid was investigated in detail in a 1990 laboratory study. No research on delta 11 has been published since.

What is delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 11 THC)?

Delta 11 THC is a rare, natural variant of tetrahydrocannabinol found in small concentrations in many strains of cannabis. It’s possible to convert delta 11 from another cannabinoid using a simple laboratory process, and interest is growing in the potential usefulness of this chemically unique form of “hemp THC.”

What are the benefits of delta 11?

The benefits of delta 11 THC as compared to other forms of THC are unknown at this point. While cannabis scientists are certainly aware of the existence of delta 11, this cannabinoid has not been the subject of significant inquiry to date.  Because there are no delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol products on the market to our knowledge, establishing anecdotal benefits of this rare THC analog is also impossible. Until delta 11 THC is further studied, the extent to which its effects may differ from other THC analogs remains unknown.

Delta 8 vs. delta 9 vs. delta 10 vs. delta 11

At this point, three natural forms of THC have been marketed into products, and one of them is currently a Schedule I substance. We’re referring, of course, to delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10, and yes, it remains the case that delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is a federally illegal drug.

So far, delta 11 hasn’t been made into any consumer products, but given the rapid evolution of the online hemp industry, the advent of delta 11 products can’t be far off. Both delta 8 and delta 10 have recently exploded into popularity while neither industry even existed a year before.

The various forms of THC now available online and in states where cannabis is legal are generally believed to have very similar effects. There’s near-universal agreement within the THC-user community that while delta 8 and delta 9 don’t have exactly the same effects, the differences between the “highs” these cannabinoids impart seem minimal.

Minimal or no, it’s a fact that each form of THC interacts with your body in a slightly different way due to its unique chemical structure. These differences are unlikely to result in harm, but we’ll need to wait for more data to come in before we make any firm conclusions regarding the comparative benefits of the various natural forms of THC.

Delta 11 THC FAQ

Let’s finish things up by answering some of the most important questions swirling around delta 11 THC:

1. Is delta 11 THC the same as 11-hydroxy-THC?

No, these substances are quite different. If you look up “delta 11 THC” in a search engine, you’ll be bombarded with results for a THC metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is not the same thing as the natural phytocannabinoid delta-11 THC.

It’s well-known in the field of cannabis pharmacokinetics that delta-9 THC metabolizes into 11-hydroxy-THC in the body, serving as a middleman as this cannabinoid is further transformed into 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC, also known as THC COOH. 11-hydroxy-THC, sometimes referred to by its full scientific name, 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, only metabolizes from delta 9, not other forms of THC.

2. How much more potent is 11-hydroxy-THC?

One study found 11-hydroxy-THC to be up to three times as potent as delta 9 THC, but these results have neither been corroborated nor discounted with further research. As a result, some researchers have tentatively concluded that administering this partially metabolized form of THC may be a more effective approach. Due to the seemingly unprofitable difficulty of converting THC into 11-hydroxy-THC combined with this substance’s questionable legal status, 11-hydroxy-THC products are not available either online or in state cannabis dispensaries, making it difficult for cannabis users to confirm its increased potency for themselves.

3. Does delta 8 become 11 hydroxy?

Yes, delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol metabolizes into a form of 11-hydroxy-THC, but not the same form that delta 9 THC metabolizes into. Instead, delta 8 becomes a substance called 11-hydroxy-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, which was discovered in 1980 and has been researched to a limited degree ever since. We still don’t know enough about the delta 8 form of 11-hydroxy-THC to know how it compares to other derivatives and analogs of THC.

4. How do you make 11-hydroxy-THC?

It is unknown if there are any simple, safe ways to convert THC into 11-hydroxy-THC outside the human body. Scientists clearly must have isolated or converted this compound before to produce research, but the production methods they used have not been publicized, and there is no credible published information regarding non-bodily 11-hydroxy-THC synthesis. Make 11-hydroxy-THC the natural way in your own body by simply consuming the THC products you love best.

5. Is delta 11 THC safe?

Since there are currently no delta 11 THC products on the market, it is impossible to speculate on their safety. Also, the safety of the delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol compound itself has not been established in comparison to other forms of THC. Despite delta 11 THC’s resemblance to other forms of THC on the market, they are still distinct chemical compounds, and the one minor difference in its chemical structure may have a greater impact on safety than anyone could predict.

Once delta 11 products inevitably become available online, keep in mind that, as the newest alternative form of THC, delta 11 will initially attract all sorts of scam artists and low-quality products. As the delta 11 industry emerges, stick with what you know: Delta 8, or if you live somewhere it’s legal, old-fashioned delta 9.

6. Where can I find delta 11 THC for sale?

Right now, we aren’t aware of any delta 11 THC products available online or in cannabis dispensaries. Academic knowledge of the existence of this THC analog is widespread, but no efforts have yet been made to make delta 11 available to the masses. That’s probably a good thing—before this new form of THC becomes widespread, we should first determine if delta 11 even offers any additional benefits.

7. Is there a delta 12 THC?

There is no indication scientists have ever discovered a “delta 12” form of THC. With delta 8 as the lower limit and delta 11 as the upper, it appears nature has gifted us with just four natural forms of tetrahydrocannabinol: delta 8, delta 9, delta 10, and the little-known delta 11.

8. What is D11 THC?

The term “D11 THC” is sometimes used as an abbreviation of “delta 11 THC.” This isn’t some new, different cannabinoid — D11 is just a shorter way to refer to delta 11. In the same vein, delta 8 is often shortened to “D8,” and delta 9 THC is sometimes even called “D9” nowadays.

9. Is delta 11 a natural cannabinoid?

Yes, delta 11 is inherently a naturally occurring cannabinoid. However, the vast majority of the delta 11 THC on the market has been converted from another cannabinoid — usually CBD.

Fully synthesizing delta 11 or any other cannabinoid is very difficult and can sometimes even be dangerous. It’s comparatively simple, however, to convert the carboxylic acid precursors of cannabinoids into the precursors of other cannabinoids using natural enzymes.

If delta 11 were present in cannabis in usable concentrations, it wouldn’t be necessary to convert this cannabinoid from CBD. As things stand, however, most unconventional forms of THC will continue to need to be converted for the foreseeable future.

10. Does delta 11 get you high?

Yes, delta 11 certainly gets you high. So far, every discovered cannabinoid in the THC family causes intoxication to some degree or another, and based on anecdotal evidence, delta 11 appears to be one of THC's most intoxicating forms. When you vape delta 11 or use this cannabinoid any other way, expect an experience that’s thoroughly like THC and nothing like CBD.

11. How strong is delta 11 THC?

Anecdotal reports indicate that delta 11 might be considerably stronger than delta 9 THC. We still don’t know enough about this cannabinoid, however, to make any judgments regarding the level of potency you should expect when using delta 11. To our knowledge, the only research into the potency of delta 11 THC was conducted on animals over three decades ago.

Many sources online have mistaken delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol with the delta 9 metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC, which has been researched in considerably more detail. Since they’re entirely different classes of substances, however, there’s no reason that what’s true for delta 11 would also be true for 11-hydroxy-THC.

12. Is delta 11 THC legal?

To our knowledge, delta-11 tetrahydrocannabinol is not directly mentioned in any state or federal legislation pertaining to cannabis. As a result, legal positions regarding this cannabinoid default to the FDA’s overall position on cannabinoids that aren’t delta 9 THC — namely, that they’re industrial hemp.

As delta 11 becomes more popular, it’s possible that the FDA will move to restrict its sale to some degree. So many alternatives to delta 9 are now available online, however, that it will be difficult for the federal regulatory agency to keep track of them all.

13. Where can I buy delta 11 carts?

Delta 11 cartridges are starting to become available online. Most of the sites that offer cartridges containing delta 11, however, go by names like “Delta 8 Resellers,” which doesn’t reflect positively on their honesty as a brand or the quality of the products.

To be honest, most major companies have yet to move on delta 11 since we know so little about it and its advantages over existing alternative cannabinoids are unclear. Due to the overall newness of the delta 11 market, exercise extreme caution when choosing delta 11 THC products online. There is also a greater possibility that these products will not be tested for purity and conformity due to lack of competition.

14. Can I buy delta 11 THC edibles online?

We are not aware of any edible delta 11 THC products. At this point, the only delta 11 products we’ve come across are vape cartridges and grams of distillate.

If you are able to find edibles that contain delta 11 THC, make sure to check the ingredients they contain, and track down third-party lab reports. Due to the lack of competition within this relatively unpopulated sector of the online hemp economy, any brands that end up producing delta 11 edibles won’t be held to the same quality standards imposed by the fervent competition surrounding other cannabinoids. You may opt to other cannabinoids such as CBD and delta 8 (delta 9 THC’s nicer younger sibling) from many different brands, and be assured that the majority of these products will be of high-quality.

15. Delta 11 THC vs. delta 8: Which is stronger?

Based on what little we know so far, delta 11 appears to be considerably stronger than delta 8. Even before this alternative form of THC became available on the internet, delta 8 was known by medical authorities to be less potent than conventional THC.

Compare that to anecdotal evidence relating to delta 11 THC. People who use this cannabinoid indicate that it is considerably stronger than conventional delta 9 THC, meaning that the gap between delta 8 and delta 11 is even wider. Measured on a scale of 1-4, the strength of each form of THC would be:

  • Delta 8 THC: 1
  • Delta 11 THC: 4

16. Which is stronger: delta 9 or delta 11?

The effects and potency of delta 11 are still largely unknown, but anecdotal reports indicate that this variant is considerably stronger than delta 9. While the delta 9 form of THC is already considered to be quite potent, we’ve known for decades that it isn’t the strongest form of THC.

The mid-20th century Edgewood Arsenal experiments resulted in a variety of synthetic cannabinoid chimeras that eventually led to the development of the modern-day monstrosities K2 and Spice. More recently, scientists have discovered natural super-cannabinoids like THCP, and it appears that delta 11 may also be in the category of “THC+.” Compared on the same scale we used above, here’s how delta 9 and delta 11 would theoretically shape up:

  • Delta 9 THC: 2
  • Delta 11 THC: 4

17. Is delta 10 or delta 11 stronger?

We know almost as little about delta 10 as we know about delta 11. If you’re starting to see a pattern here, however, you’re not the only one. The location of the double carbon bond within the THC molecule appears to have a direct correlation to its potency, so by this logic, delta 10 would be the most potent form of THC next to delta 11.

Based on initial anecdotal reports, this theory appears to have some merit. Users indicate that delta 10 is stronger than either delta 8 or delta 9 even if direct comparisons between delta 10 and delta 11 are still rare.

  • Delta 10 THC: 3
  • Delta 11 THC: 4


Aizpurua-Olaizola O, Zarandona I, Ortiz L, Navarro P, Etxebarria N, Usobiaga A. Simultaneous quantification of major cannabinoids and metabolites in human urine and plasma by HPLC-MS/MS and enzyme-alkaline hydrolysis. Drug Testing and Analysis. 2016;9(4):626-633. doi:10.1002/dta.1998

Goggins P. What is delta-10? Leafly. Published August 26, 2021. Accessed November 10, 2022.

Kruger JS, Kruger DJ. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling? Journal of Cannabis Research. 2022;4(1). doi:10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8

PubChem. Dronabinol. @pubchem. Published 2022. Accessed November 10, 2022.

Shishira Sreenivas. What Is Delta 8? WebMD. Published July 8, 2021. Accessed November 10, 2022.

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