There’s a buzz around delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol, aka THCp, a phytocannabinoid that is potentially 33 times stronger than its commonly known cannabinoid cousin, Delta 9 THC. Delta 9 is known for being the heavy hitter of the 150+ known cannabinoids in the phytocannabinoid family. We are aware that D9 is the big guy responsible for the euphoric high that often accompanies cannabis consumption. And then, along comes THCp. THCp is allegedly up to 33x stronger than the almighty Delta 9 THC, and this information is throwing the whole cannabis science community for a loop.
This goes to show that cannabis scientists and enthusiasts have only just discovered the tip of the cannabinoid iceberg when it comes to cannabis phytochemistry and knowledge.
The THCp backstory – an accidental discovery
THCp was discovered by Italian researchers fairly recently, in 2019. Using advanced technologies such as mass-spectrometry and liquid chromatography, the researchers were analyzing a natural cannabis sample and came across THCp totally by accident. There’s nothing like an ultra-potent surprise cannabinoid discovery to keep scientists and researchers on their toes. Check out this article from December, 2019 detailing the recent discovery.
Just like CBG, THCp only appears in the cannabis plant in very low concentrations. It’s because of this that there hasn’t been a significant amount of formal research about THCp. The Italian researchers believe that THCp could be the reason why some low-THC cannabis strains still have a very strong psychoactive effect, even though they contain very little THC.
Research may start to pick up the pace soon, mainly because THCp is quickly becoming famous as the most potent cannabinoid on the block. It binds to the endocannabinoid system’s major receptor group C1 at a rate that exceeds THC’s capacity by up to 33 times. In the cannabis science world, this is kind of a big deal.
The one thing about THCp is that…natural levels of THCp in the cannabis plant are 0.1% or lower.
In comparison, the legendary THC can be found in concentrations of up to 35%.
Even the non-psychotropic, highly therapeutic CBD appears in female cannabis plants at a rate of up to 15%.
So, THCp plays a little hard to get. But, good things come in small packages, and THCp has the potential to be a valuable ally in the world of human health and wellbeing.
Is THCp legal?
THCp products currently on the market are derived from the male hemp plants. They are categorized under “hemp-derived THC” products. The US government legalized all hemp products when they passed the 2018 Farm Bill. All cannabis containing less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC is legally classified as hemp making THCp and many other cannabinoids legal under federal law. Just like several of the other cannabinoids, regulations on sales vary state by state. Most states require the consumer to be 21 years of age to be able to legally purchase THCp products.
The importance of size: the science behind THCp
Let’s get into the technical talk.
THCp is novel as it’s the first naturally occurring cannabinoid to contain more than 5 carbon atoms in its alkyl side chains.
This is important because the size and shape of the molecule has a direct impact on the physiological effects of cannabis. Higher numbers of carbon atoms present on an alkyl side chain equal higher levels of psychoactive properties.
All of this matters because it’s through the alkyl side chains that cannabinoids bind with receptors CB1 and CB2. By binding to a receptor, cannabinoids then impact activity in the brain and cells through the endocannabinoid system. Humans and other mammals have cannabinoid receptors in several of their bodily systems. It’s because of this that cannabis (and other plants containing cannabinoids) have such a broad and intricate effect on the body and mind.
Benefits of THCp
Due to a lack of research (so far), not much is known about the potential benefits of THCp. However, the Italian scientists who discovered THCp ran some tests regarding the effects of THCp on human cannabinoid receptors. Some of the physiological effects they uncovered include:
- Appetite stimulant
- Stress reduction
Because THCp is a more powerful version of Delta 9, many of the ailments treated by D9 can most likely be treated by THCp as well. The added strength of THCp could level up the benefits offered from THC and reach higher heights of therapeutic value. Time will tell just how valuable an ally THCp could be as research on the cannabinoid continues.
Proceed with care: Potential side-effects of THCp
Once again, due to the similarities between D9 and THCp, we can assume that the potential side effects are similar as well. Common side effects to these cannabinoids include:
- Dry mouth
- Red eyes
- Temporary short-term memory loss
- Rapid heart rate
We can’t emphasize enough how mindful one must be when choosing to consume THCp. This is because it is so much stronger than Delta 9 and the same dose of either one will have a very different effect. Proceed with care when giving THCp a try, start small and work your way up to larger doses once you’ve gone through the experience a few times. As always with psychotropic substances, less is often more and it’s best to explore little by little.
THCp is a psychoactive cannabinoid discovered in 2019. It is drawing lots of attention in the world of cannabis science as it is 33x stronger than D9 in its psychoactive properties.
The effects of THCp are very similar to Delta 9 THC. However, the cannabinoid binds to our endocannabinoid system’s receptor group at a rate that exceeds D9 by 33x. This makes THCp much stronger than D9 in physiological effects.
There are two types of technologies commonly used to study cannabinoids: mass-spectrometry and liquid chromatography.
Yes. THCp falls under the category of “hemp-derived products” and has been federally legal since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed. Age restrictions for purchasing THCp vary from state to state.
It’s wise to stay informed about THCp and other cannabinoids and cannabis products before giving them a try. The knowledgeable team at The Green Dragon CBD is always happy to answer any questions about cannabis science, legality, and cannabis products. Reach out anytime! Contact us here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, JEN OLSON
Jennifer Olson is a copywriter with a deep knowledge of the cannabis industry. She was born and raised on an island in BC, Canada and currently resides in the Slocan Valley, BC. She is passionate about science and research and could potentially bore you with talk of mycelium, neurochemicals, you name it. Connect with her on Instagram or read other posts by Jen.