Discovered in 2019 by a team of Italian scientists, THCP is a phytocannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis and hemp. As the popularity of THC alternatives such as Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 rose in recent years, the search for other derivatives continued.
Today, THCP is making its mark on the cannabinoid market and it’s believed to be even more potent than delta 9 THC.
What is THCP?
THCP or Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiphoral is a recently discovered phytocannabinoid that naturally occurs in low concentrations in some strains of cannabis and hemp. THCP was discovered in 2019 ‘accidentally’ by a team of Italian scientists while uncovering details about Cannabis sativa L. and discovered CBDP or cannabidiphorol alongside it.
How is THCP different from delta 9 THC?
THCP differs from delta 9 THC in very few ways. In the overall chemical structure of the two cannabinoids, they can almost be confused with each other. Scientists call this similarity ‘chemical homologs.’ However, this also means that THCP differs from delta 9 THC via the addition of two carbons on its alkyl side chain. Meaning, if delta 9 THC has 5 carbon atoms, THCP has 7.
Overall, the Italian team of researchers describes THCP as functioning the same as delta 9 THC. Meaning that it has the same effects and benefits on the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (or the ECS).
*The ECS is a complex system of the human body, in charge of the various important processes such as the body’s circadian rhythm, immune system, mood stabilizing, etc.
On the plus side, a study has surfaced describing THCP as having almost 33x more affinity to bind with the CB1 receptors in the brain.
*CB1 receptors are part of the delicate ECS, helping cannabinoids like THCP serve their purpose in the body.
This lends credence to the belief that it only takes a small amount of THCP to have an effect on the body compared to regular delta 9 THC. Likewise, it serves as the basis for the theory of why some cannabis strains have a more pronounced effect despite having lower levels of delta 9 THC.
Is THCP Natural?
Yes, THCP is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid and one of over 100 cannabinoids that can be obtained from cannabis and hemp.
However, as detailed in its discovery, THCP occurs naturally at low levels. Some measurements are as low as 0.1%.
In comparison, delta 9 THC can be found in upwards of 30% in regular cannabis strains. Heck, even legal hemp strains have delta 9 THC concentrations of up to 0.3%.
THCP Potential Uses and Benefits
Further studies on THCP are ongoing. Most of the descriptions of its possible benefits and uses come from the team that discovered it. The results of their work may be promising for potential therapeutic uses.
According to the study, THCP’s proclivity for analgesia and hypomotility needs further investigation. Analgesia refers to pain relief while hypomotility helps those that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
Similarly, following the idea that THCP is a more potent version of delta 9 THC, then its potential therapeutic effects may be similar to delta 9 THC’s.
But again, it must be reiterated that there are almost no studies that tackle the potential uses of THCP just yet. Please err on the side of caution and refer to an expert or a medical professional to help you determine if THCP is right for you.
Will THCP Get You High?
Yes. THCP is a chemical homolog or a close relative of delta 9 THC. One of the key traits that THCP has, according to users, is a strong buzz even from the smallest dose thanks to its potent binding affinity.
It is important to note that the researchers that discovered THCP discussed catalepsy as one of its effects.
THCP Potential Risks and Side Effects
As mentioned earlier, THCP is functionally similar to delta 9 THC. Meaning that THCP comes with the same risks and side effects of delta 9 THC. Add to that the caveat that THCP has 33x more affinity to bind with CB1 receptors. Therefore, there is a possibility to consume too much THCP and get the side effects of what would typically be a big dose of delta 9 THC.
THCP is also still very new and there aren’t enough studies that fully describe its risks and side effects. But if we follow the idea that it functions like delta 9 THC, some side effects will include:
- Dry Mouth
- Red eyes
- Change in mood
- Impaired body movement
Stick to your product brands’ “suggested use” to prevent unwanted THCP effects.
Will I Fail A Drug Test If I Take THCP?
While a standardized drug test will not test for THCP, most drug tests will test for a delta 9 THC metabolite which THCP will most likely have.
Let’s compare some points about delta 9 THC which may be related to THCP in terms of drug tests.
- Delta 9 THC lasts up to 30 days in urine from the last use. However, other factors can affect this such as frequency of use.
- Moderate use can be detected from 5 – 7 days, regular use at 15 – 30 days, and heavy use from upwards of 30 days.
- Other drug tests can also detect delta 9 THC from a variety of places such as, but not limited to, saliva, blood, and hair.
Is THCP Legal?
Yes… and no. It currently exists in this legal gray area.
On a federal level, the only illegal substance on the Controlled Substances Act list is Delta-9 THC. However, the Federal Analogue Act prohibits all delta 9 THC analogs by default. On the other hand, in the 2018 US Farm Bill, THCP products should be legal so long as it comes from hemp that contains less than 0.3% delta 9 THC in dry weight.
In May of 2022, a federal court in California decided that Delta-8 THC is a federally legal substance. The court goes on to elaborate that only Congress can change its legality by amending the 2018 Farm Bill which codifies the legality of hemp derivatives. This decision helps clarify the THCP legality issue somewhat as it tackles other hemp-derived products too.
However, that does not mean that some states do not have laws in place that can further complicate these matters. For example, Oregon has a law that bans all ‘artificially derived cannabinoids’ which may include THCP depending on its source.
Therefore, if a state has laws that dictate delta 9 THC to be illegal, it is safe to assume that they will come after THCP too.
As a final note on legality, it’s always better to stay clear on the long arm of the law. If you are not sure if THCP is legal to be used in your state, please clarify with local authorities before consuming THCP.
How Much THCP Should I Take?
Since the potency of THCP was discussed to be incredibly high, it’s just right to think about how much THCP you should take. However, since there is still little data that talks about its effects, its optimal dose is still unclear.
Anecdotally, its users claim that it is up to 10 times stronger than the average THC. As a result of this, it is probably safest to try THCP at the smallest dose possible when trying out THCP products.
Keep a journal and document how each dose affects you, the onset time, and the duration. You’ll figure out your ideal THCP dose in no time.
How to Use THCP?
Despite being very new to the scene, it doesn’t mean that THCP hasn’t caught the eye of the many CBD and delta 9 THC companies out in the market.
Currently, here are a few examples of THCP products that are available in the market right now.
- THCP Tinctures – taking into consideration the newness of the THCP niche, tinctures are the best way to start. It allows the user to have the freedom to use THCP however they want – be it to mix with an edible, smoke it, or vape it.
- THCP Vape Cartridges – in a simpler form, vape cartridges act as an easy way to consume THCP by inhaling its distillate form. These products should be compatible with any low-wattage vape pen.
THCP, alongside delta 8, -9, THCO, and live rosin is part of our Kayo Vape line-up available in 2gr carts and 3gr disposables.
- THCP Waxy Concentrates – compared to vapes, waxy concentrates are perfect for dabbing and provide a stronger hit compared to other forms of smoking.
Is THCP replacing delta 9 THC and its other derivatives? That remains to be seen as extensive THCP research is still needed for a full conclusion.
Right now, THCP is the new kid on the block that’s showing a heck of a lot of promise. Remember, though, that its potency might need to be kept in check when trying THCP out, and always seek the advice of an expert to know if THCP is right for you.