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Found at very low concentrations in some strains of the Cannabis sativa plant, THCP is a recently discovered cannabinoid. It was found accidentally in 2019 by a team of Italian researchers as they analyzed a specific cannabis strain.
Although like all cannabinoids THCP begins as CBGA, it can be made in a lab from legal hemp-derived CBD. This does not mean THCP is not intoxicating; it is more akin to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in its effects than CBD. Abbreviations for this analog of THC include THC-P, THCP, THCp, and delta-p.
Since delta-8 THC has taken the cannabis industry by storm, a variety of hemp-derived cannabinoids have joined the delta-9 THC that you find in traditional cannabis strains on the shelves. These other cannabinoids are all growing in popularity.
For example, THCV is often thought of as “diet” weed, as is delta 8 THC; delta 10 THC is a mild, de-stresser like HHC; and THC-O is known as the psychedelic cannabinoid. These are all popular fruits of the cannabis plant, and THCP is ready to join them.
THCP (not to be confused with THCC) may offer recreational users a potent new high, not to mention medical marijuana patients new therapeutic benefits. Researchers are just starting to learn about the potential of THCP.
THCP is an organic phytocannabinoid much like delta 9 THC, the cannabinoid that occurs naturally in the greatest abundance in most cannabis strains. Although it is a natural cannabinoid, THCP is usually extracted from CBD and legal hemp or cannabis plants in a laboratory.
THCP has a different molecular structure compared to delta 9 THC. Specifically, THCP binds more readily with human CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, because it has a longer alkyl side chain with seven carbon atoms.
The Italian researchers who first identified THCP found experimentally in human tissue that, perhaps due to its extended seven-atom side chain, THCP binds 33 times more effectively with human CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) than delta 9 THC. The CB1 cannabinoid receptor is central to producing psychoactive effects, although THCP also binds more handily with the CB2 receptor.
THCP binds well with cannabinoid receptors, so it produces effects that are similar but perhaps stronger than delta 9 THC in some ways. The research into this new cannabinoid showed that mice displayed a trance-like state at higher doses. THCP also offered pain relief at higher doses.
In fact, minuscule amounts of THCP in well-known cannabis strains may be partly responsible for the known healing powers of the cannabis plant. This powerful binding effect could also mean that less pleasant THC side effects—such as anxiety, dry mouth and eyes, and paranoia—might also be amplified.
[You can read about THCP in the 2019 study here, although there is still no human research into side effects, so this can only be extrapolated from what is known about other forms of THC.]
Most THCP products currently available also contain other hemp-derived cannabinoids. For example, the team who discovered THCP in 2019, also found cannabidiphorol (CBDP) in the same sample of cannabis. CBDP is an analog of cannabidiol (CBD) with a seven-atom side chain similar to the chemical structure found on THCP.
You can never be sure whether you are buying naturally occurring cannabinoids or hemp-derived cannabinoids. In truth, it is not clear what the difference is.
It is not clear whether THCP will appear on a drug test, but you should avoid THCP if you are subject to testing along with all other hemp derived cannabinoids and all forms of THC (except pure CBD).
With the 2018 Farm Bill Congress legalized hemp and its derivatives and compounds that have less than 0.3% delta 9 THC. A federal court has confirmed that delta 8 THC is also legal, and this appears to extend to other hemp-derived products.
Some states have restricted hemp-derived cannabinoids on their own, or kept them to licensed cannabis dispensaries. Other states may follow Oregon’s example and ban all THCP and all cannabinoids they claim are “artificially derived.
Buying THCP can be confusing since it’s new to the hemp-derived cannabinoid marketplace. Most products called THCP really contain THCP mixed with other, more common hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta 8 THC that are cheaper to come by.
There are disposable vapes and standard vape pens with THCP, and THCP edibles like gummies and tinctures. Edibles are probably the most common products, and although vapes are out there, be advised that THCP vape cartridges can also be potent!
The online retailers that have the better selections of hemp-derived cannabinoid products usually sell THCP products. We also have the highest quality!