THCO vs THCA vs THCP vs THC: A Comprehensive Guide

The difference between THCP

Are you searching for your favorite hemp product but don’t know where to start? The hemp market is highly complicated, especially for someone just getting started and trying new things.

THCA, THCP, THC-O, THC — these names can make your head spin when trying to decide which is best for you. But you don’t have to worry anymore, in this article we will cover all the differences between the three and discuss their effects so it will be easier for you to decide. 

Without further ado, let’s get you started on your cannabis journey.

  • THCO, THCA, THCP, and THC are part of the “Tetrahydrocannabinol” family, where they largely differ in chemical structure, effects, and potency. 
  • While THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, THCP is the most potent among the bunch. 
  • Unlike other THC analogs, THC-O is synthetic, while THCA is the naturally occurring main precursor of the famous Delta 9 THC.

What is THCA?

What is THCA? Here’s the quick answer: Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the non-psychoactive precursor found in the raw cannabis plant. This cannabinoid undergoes a transformation into THC through decarboxylation — typically initiated by heat from smoking or vaping. 

THCA Effects

THCA normally does not result in feelings of euphoria or the “high” associated with THC. As we’ll see later in this post, the difference between the effects of THCP vs THCA is stark.  

What is THC?

THC, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is undoubtedly one of the most famous chemicals in the cannabis world. The abundance of THC in marijuana is why weed offers psychotropic experiences. THC has become synonymous with marijuana, but different types of it also exist in hemp. 

THC in marijuana is Delta 9 THC, also present in hemp, but in much lower doses. Based on the dosage, THC can cause the intoxicating feeling we like to call ‘high.’

THC offers these effects by interacting with the ECS, short for the endocannabinoid system. The ECS is an essential cell-signaling system in our bodies. It controls many bodily functions such as mood, appetite, hunger, pain, etc.

THC stimulates neurons that impact pleasure, memory, reasoning, coordination, and time perception by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Despite the high effects lasting just a few hours, THC may be detectable in the body for far longer than most other drugs.

THC Effects

THC boosts the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain, which generates feelings of bliss. However, the effects on the body will differ from person to person.

There are many types of high, and consumers react to THC differently based on numerous factors such as the amount and the consumption method.

THC is most commonly consumed through smoking different cannabis strains. The cannabis flower combines various cannabinoids such as CBN and CBG, the famous CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids. The ratio of these compounds will significantly affect THC’s effects. For example, CBD can tame THC’s effects, so the higher the CBD amount in the strain, the less intense THC’s effects will be.

Delta 9 THC gummies are also becoming popular on the market. They feature a specific THC amount and can include other cannabinoids as well. However, edible Delta 9 THC can take longer to kick in, so you’ll have to be patient.

What is THCP?

THCP, short for 9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol, is the most potent phytocannabinoid found in cannabis. It was discovered in 2019 by Italian researchers during the UNIHEMP project by accident. 

THCP is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in specific cannabis cultivars. It is much more potent than THC and can cause almost psychedelic effects, although it does not cause hallucinations.  

When comparing THCP and THC, the sole difference is in their chemical structures and the addition of two carbons to the tail. 

Despite the tiny chemical difference, THCP is way more potent than THC. Scientists are particularly interested in THCP because it is thought to have 33 times the binding potential of THC. As a result, THCP has the potential to be ten times as potent as THC.

Delta 9 THC-P was found to bind to the endocannabinoid receptor CB1 roughly 33 times stronger than Delta 9 THC. Empirical evidence suggests that THCP is substantially more potent than THC, but only in particular ways. In most cases, THCP was diluted to less than 20% of the mixture.

Most users perceive it as being stronger than D9 THC at this diluted level, with the most noteworthy difference being the claimed duration. Many users experience the effects for 12-24 hours, which is far longer than THC.

THCP Effects

If you were to compare the very mild THCA vs THCP’s high potency, these two are at opposite ends of the spectrum. But how does traditional THC vs THCP compare? 

Many THCP users regard the effects as being more prominent than THC. Because it is more potent, a lesser amount is required to have the same overall effects as THC. 

Some individuals who have tried THCP say its results are practically identical to THC’s. So, the main difference when consuming these two is about dosage. Be careful when first trying out THCP products, and start with a much lower dosage of THCP vs THC to feel similar effects.

What is THC-O?

So, what’s the difference between THC-O vs THC? 

THC-O, also known as tetra cannabinoid-O-acetate or THC acetate ester, is a type of ester of THC. It is a synthetic version of delta-9 that does not occur naturally in cannabis. 

THC has been molecularly altered by acetic anhydride and sulfuric acid to become THC-O. It is frequently chemically produced in the laboratory from delta-9 or 8. When the chemical is metabolized, THC-O and THC produce the same observable metabolite, THC-COOH. 

THC-O’s potency is its most significant advantage over other cannabinoids. Because it is an analog of delta 9, the two chemicals have many of the same benefits, but THC-O delivers them about three times stronger than delta 9. 

As a pro-drug, THC-O is activated only after the body has broken it down; therefore, the results of this potent cannabinoid will be delayed.

THC-O Effects

Is THC-O stronger than THC? Yes, THC-O at high levels might cause hallucinations, resulting in a heightened emotional state and a profound spiritual experience. Therefore, it is not recommended for beginner use.


Let’s examine the main differences between THC-O vs. THCP. Both THC-O and THCP have unique properties and different impacts on the body. 

THCP, characterized by its longer chain of molecules, stands out for its potency and immediate effect upon entering the body. This cannabinoid, with seven connections in its structure, interacts more intensely with the body’s cannabinoid receptors than THC-O, which has five. This added length in THCP’s molecular structure contributes to its significant potency, making it approximately 200% more potent than THC-O. 

On the flip side, THC-O is a prodrug and requires a longer process to break down and activate fully, leading to a milder impact and a slower onset of action compared to THCP.

THC-O and THCP are part of the “Tetrahydrocannabinol” family, yet they differ. THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid created in the laboratory, while THCP is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid. Despite their origins, both interact with the human body’s endogenous cannabinoid system. 

When it comes to strength, THCP’s potency surpasses that of THC-O, being approximately ten times stronger. THC-O, in turn, is known to be two to three times more potent than regular THC. 

High doses of THC-O can lead to hallucinogenic and psychedelic effects, whereas THCP’s potent effects kick in immediately without requiring additional bodily processes.

One thing that the two have in common is that both are much stronger and more potent than THC and not suitable for people who are new to the cannabis world and don’t have much experience. The combined euphoria of these psychoactive cannabinoids may be highly intense and overpowering when used simultaneously. Anxiety, panic attacks, and other unpleasant sensations are all possible side effects.

THC boosts the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain, which generates feelings of bliss.

The Legalities

The legal status of THC-O and THCP is a gray area. The Controlled Substances Act does not make certain cannabinoids illegal in the United States, but it exclusively addresses delta-9 THC. On the other hand, THC analogs are subject to the Federal Analog Act’s requirements.

The 2018 Farm Bill created an unexpected legal loophole by allowing hemp-derived cannabinoids, including THC analogs. This is because the statute states that all hemp-derived goods must have less than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

THC-O, THCP, HHC, and Delta-8 THC are legal at the federal level. However, some states have banned such goods or imposed 0.3% limitations on all THC variations.

Final Thoughts

THC is the most researched among the three cannabinoids. THCP and THC-O are relatively new on the hemp market, and we don’t have much information regarding their effects and benefits. 

To put it simply, THCP is the most potent one on the list, then comes the THC-O, and the last place goes to THC. THCP and THC have similar effects, except that THCP can be way more intense. 

Unlike the other two, THC-O does not occur naturally and can cause psychedelic hallucinations in higher doses. If you’re someone who is just starting their cannabis journey, we would recommend you stay away from THCP and THC-O for the time being and maybe first try less potent THC to see how your body reacts to it.

Whatever your hemp product choice, we have what you need. Shop at The Hemp Doctor for the most innovative cannabinoids and cannabis products the industry has to offer, including delicious edibles, fruity gummies, and vape carts!