What is THCP and How Does it Affect You?

In early 2019, an Italian research team announced an incredible discovery: THCP, a novel cannabinoid discovered for the first time in the cannabis plant.

Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid discovered (in tiny quantities) in the FM2 strain of Italian medicinal cannabis. This THC-like cannabinoid was studied in rats and shown to be at least twice as potent as THC, with some laboratory experiments indicating that it is up to 30 times more attractive to the CB1 receptor than THC. This implies that milligrams for milligrams, THCP will be more potent than THC, but it may also have a higher risk of side effects.

What are the effects of THCP?

When understanding the effects of THCP, it is critical to understand how this molecule varies from other well-known cannabinoids. CBD, CBG, and THC all have a similar chemical structure, particularly a side chain known as the “C3 alkyl side chain.” The name of this side-chain is unimportant, but its length is critical, as it is the difference between THCP and THC. While THC has a 5-carbon long side chain, THCP has a 7-carbon long chain.

The side chain of THCP is responsible for its high action at the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The “P” in THCP does not represent for powerful but rather “phorol,” which denotes the 7-carbon long chain in chemist speaks.

THCP illustrates the relevance of side chain length. THCV is another excellent illustration of the significance of this side chain (tetrahydrocannabivarin). The “V” stands for varin, and the side chain is just three carbons long. And as previously stated, this variation in side chain length is directly related to pharmacological variations. Instead of being more active at the CB1 receptor like THCP, the THCV molecule might inhibit it rather than activate it. This indicates that, instead from providing THC-like effects, THCV may diminish the effects of THC—at least at lower dosages.

Is THCP legal?

When asked about cannabis in the United States, “it depends” is a typical response. THCP’s legality is more nuanced than THC, which is either legal or not based on a country’s or state’s marijuana regulations, but instead, its source. Since it is not on the list of restricted substances, THCP is in a legal grey area under the 2018 Farm Bill, according to most analyses.

Where does THCP come from?

There are many similarities between THC and THCP. The natural cannabinoid’s genesis is similar to that of THC: it is created from CBGA, but with the longer chain of THCP, the precursor molecule is termed CBGPA, which may be converted in the plant to CBDP or THCP. However, this occurs in highly tiny concentrations. 4

The customer has no idea how the THCP on the market is manufactured, but you can be sure that it is not derived from high-THCP strains. To date, there are no naturally high-THCP cannabis strains. Any flower sold as a high-THCP flower is either fraudulent advertising or coated with cannabinoids after harvest. Most THCP products today are created from CBD using synthetic techniques, similar to how most delta-8 THC is made. That isn’t to suggest that cannabis cultivars don’t create THCP; new technologies indicate that THCP may be more widespread than previously supposed.

Indeed, 2021 research financed by the US-based MSO Vireo Health examined 13 samples from four strains and discovered THCP in all of them, albeit in trace quantities. The Italian researchers discovered only 0.0029% THCP in their samples, whereas the second North American investigation discovered no more than 0.014% in any kind. According to US authorities, 5mg is the standard unit of THC; therefore, based on the highest THCP concentrations, it would require 35 grams of cannabis (far over an ounce) to generate a single 5mg dosage of THCP.

What does THCP high feel like?

It’s never simple to describe how a high feels, but the THCP high is best described as potent. The CB1 receptor, which THC or THCP activates, is significantly attracted to THCP. Early laboratory studies imply that THCP is almost 30 times more potent at CB1 than THC. However, rodent studies by the same researchers show just around double the potency. 5

Given how fresh this chemical is to science and the retail market, it’s difficult to say how much higher one could go off THCP than THC. However, pharmacologic research done so far suggest substantially greater. Furthermore, the majority of goods discovered through an online search warn users of significant THC-like effects in products containing as little as 1mg of THCP, which is one-fifth or even one-tenth of the average THC amount offered in retail outlets.

Is it safe to use THCP?

We know very little about the dangers of taking THCP. Humans have never studied this chemical. Animal studies show that it substantially affects the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, but the effects in humans have never been studied.

Based on animal studies and other pharmacologic ideas, THCP is expected to generate a high solid, and it is plausible that THCP will have more severe side effects than THC. These might vary from moderate side effects like dry eyes and mouth to low blood pressure or even psychosis. Because the ECS is not concentrated in the portion of the brain responsible for breathing, it is improbable that THCP, like opioids, could induce respiratory arrest and overdose fatalities.

THCP carts

THCP carts are among the most prevalent THCP products available. These carts should resemble a conventional delta-8 cartridge and be available in a comparable vape pod or 510-thread compatible with a standard battery. Because THCP cannot be extracted as a whole plant extract, terpenes must be added to the distillate in every cartridge. Picking items based on strain names should be avoided because there are no high-THCP strains. At best, these strain names explain the cannabis terpene profile that has been added to the THCP distillate; at worst, they are catchy titles that indicate nothing about the vape’s contents.

In conclusion, proceed with care.

Bay Smokes suggests that THCP is a more potent form of the THC we know and love, we don’t know much about its safety profile. There are also some severe quality problems; because no high-THCP strains are on the market now, all items are hemp-derived. Although nominally lawful, they are subject to the same dubious regulatory standards as isolated or synthetic cannabis products such as delta-8 THC, HHC, and THC-O.