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The Clear (Tetrahydrogestrinone)

18a-homo- pregna-4,9,11-trien-17β-ol-3- one
Molecular Weight (base): 312.46
Formula (base): C12 H28 O2
Melting Point:  Unknown
Effective Dose (Men):
Active life: Undefined (~24 hours?)
Detection Time: Unclear
Anabolic: Androgenic ratio: Undefined

Unlike most anabolic steroids, this one was synthesized in the last couple of years with the intent for it to be used by athletes seeking to beat sports doping tests. Its actually a pretty decent anabolic, basically being a cross between gestrinone and trenbolone (1) Frankly, it would have likely still been beating tests and helping athletes break records, if a sample of it hadnt been sent by Trevor Graham (2-3), a disgruntled coach, to Don Cailin of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Although this profile is clearly meant to educate you on the chemical properties of this particular drug, no legitimate discussion of this steroid would be complete without an assessment of the major players involved in its creation, discovery, and vilification.  Even its most common name (The Clear) conjures up thoughts of BALCO, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Victor Conte, Don Catlin, and of course, Patrick Arnold (credited with bringing Androstendione to the supplement market, and often called the Father of Prohormones).

Initially, The Clear (THG) was developed after Victor Conte was complimented on his ZMA study on the internet, by Patrick Arnold. Subsequently, Victor e-mailed Patrick and asked if his Andro product would be detectable on drug tests. Pat responded by saying If you wanna go that route, I know much better things after which the program was developed. The program of course, was the synthesis and administration of undetectable steroids to elite athletes, and the eventual recognition (after being tipped off) of that program by anti-doping authorities.

And really, the only reason anybody ever knew about the program at all (other than it was creating world champions) is because a jealous coach who was watching his athletes lose to BALCO athletes eventually mailed a sample of THG to Don Catlin. Although my interactions with Pat have been pretty much of the superficial/internet variety, Im not against giving credit where its due. THG is really a very cool anabolic. In a similar vein, I find it in very poor taste that Mr.Catlin was soundly out-thought by Arnold, and refused to give him credit for creating a drug that he never would have detected had Smith not sent him a samplesaying:

Its hard for me to say hes brilliant...its hard to call somebody who works the other side of the street brilliant

Then adding, talking about the steroid Pat had synthesized:

we were absolutely blind to it

Well, his athletes beat every drug test they were given, and he fooled the largest antidoping agency in the world, and if youre the head of it, then he may not be brilliant, but hes likely much smarter than you are.

Alright, enough about the politics and back story surrounding THG. Lets get into some specifics about what it can do, anabolic-wise.

First of all, its a very strong androgen as well as progestin (1), but I doubt it has much potential for bodybuilders. This seems contradictory at first, but I think that if you were to really use this stuff to gain the kind of weight that is winning bodybuilding shows or to get as ripped as current judging standards require, you would need to take an amount of this stuff that would surely cause progesterone related side effects.

On a milligram for milligram basis, I would suspect its probably going to be very potent and maybe somewhere between 5-10mgs a day would be appropriate. The method of administration for BALCO athletes on the program was to take a few drops of it and allow it to be absorbed under the tongue. Personally, I would have liked to see how it performed as a nasal spray, but we will probably never have the answer to that question.

THG, which is essentially 17-alpha ethylated gestrinone, very well to the androgen receptor (like its parent compound) (1, 4), and likely produces many of the lipolytic (fat burning) and anabolic (muscle building) effects we typically see with such strong androgen binding, Unfortunately, it also exhibits progesteronic activity roughly 7x as potent as progesterone itself (making it literally dozens of times a more potent progestin than nandrolone). (1) Although it has no ability to aromatize (4) (and I suspect is 5a-reducatse resistant), because of its ability to act as a very powerful progestin, I would suspect that its ability to inhibit the natural production of testosterone would be literally off the charts. Its also possible that its powerful ability to stimulate the progesterone receptor was helping athletes feel better and less beat up from their workouts.

I still cant even imagine how badly it must have shut down natural testosterone production, though I would speculate that its probably staggeringly suppressive. Perhaps this is the reason it was orally administered, or perhaps this is the reason it was often administered in conjunction with the Cream which was a testosterone based transdermal product.

I dont know what kind of street value something like this would actually have, or even if its ever been attempted by an underground lab, but its unlikely to be widely available any time in the near future.


1.    Death AK, McGrath KC, Kazlauskas R, Handelsman DJ. Tetrahydrogestrinone is a potent androgen and progestin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 May;89(5):2498-500
2.    Catlin D. H., Sekera M. H., Ahrens B. D., Starcevic B., Chang Y. C., Hatton C. K. Tetrahydrogestrinone: discovery, synthesis, and detection in urine. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2004;18:1245049.
3.    Yu-Chen Chang; Borislav Starcevic; Brian D. Ahrens; M. Jane Strouse; Don H. Catlin. Identification of a Urinary Metabolite of the Designer Steroid Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). Drug Metab: Toxicology.
4.    Fernand Labrie, Van Luu-The, Ezequiel Calvo, Cline Martel, Julie Cloutier, Sylvain Gauthier, Pascal Belleau, Jean Morissette, Marie-Hlne Lvesque, and Claude Labrie J. Endocrinol., Feb 2005; 184: 427 - 433.

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