What is THCP and How Is It Different From THC?

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Added 29 October 2022

Cannabis has over 200 cannabinoids, and if you thought we knew all of them, you would be wrong. In 2019, we discovered yet another cannabinoid in cannabis that is 33 times more potent than THC and can get you really high while also offering various health benefits. It is THCP, an analog of THC.

What is THCP and how it can help your body, its potential risks, and legality — here’s everything you need to know about this novel cannabinoid, THCP. 

What is THCP?

What is THCP

THCP stands for tetrahydrocannabiphorol, and it is a potent phytocannabinoid (or organic cannabinoid). It is a synthetic homolog of THC, acting as an agonist on CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body. 

Since it is a homolog of THC, it structurally resembles Delta-9-THC, the active cannabinoid of cannabis, but THCP contains an extra side chain — the pentyl side chain is extended to heptyl. Essentially, THCP contains seven carbon atoms unlike five in THC.

Thanks to the extended side chain, THCP acts much stronger on CB receptors, leading to higher psychoactive effects compared to Delta-9-THC. THCP is more potent than regular THC.

According to an Italian study, THCP is approximately 33 times more potent than Delta-9-THC!

But don’t think you have never consumed THCP before; you probably have consumed it if you use cannabis regularly because it is present in some strains in high quantity. This is why some strains hit you a lot harder than others even if the latter has a higher THC content. 

How was THCP Discovered?

How was THCP Discovered?

So far, almost everything we know about THCP is thanks to a 2019 study by Italian academics. On 30th December 2019, the study was published in Scientific Reports, titled, “A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis Sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than delta-9-THC…”

The study used advanced mass-spectrometry and liquid chromatography on cannabis samples supplied by the Military Chemical Institute of Florence, Italy. The analysis showed the plant matter more precisely, allowing the researchers to spot THCP — all by accident.

Apart from the first study and minor case studies here and there, not a lot is known about THCP and its effect on human subjects yet. Experts aren’t even sure of any side effects or safety issues related to THCP. 

How is THCP Made?

How is THCP made?

As mentioned earlier, THCP was always present in some strains — which is why almost all regular cannabis users have experienced it at least once — but its quantity is still not enough for any commercial value.

So, THCP needs to be manufactured in labs by chemically manipulating hemp extracts (CBD). Otherwise, there isn’t enough of it naturally present in cannabis.

How is THCP Different from THC and Other Cannabinoids?

How is THCP Different from THC and Other Cannabinoids?

THCP is a homolog of THC, so it maintains a lot of similarities with THC, but there are still a lot of differences between THCP and other cannabinoids. Here’s more on the same.

  • THCP vs Delta-9-THC

THCP is quite similar to Delta-9-THC, but the primary difference between the two is their potency. As mentioned earlier, THCP is nearly 33 times more potent than Delta-9-THC. But that does not mean you will get 33x higher with THCP — the real-world effects are less magical.

For example, if a normal dose of Delta-9-THC for you is 10 mg, you would only need 0.3 mg of THCP to get similar levels of high. 

This difference in potency may also lead to increased chances of side effects since it is easy to over-consume THCP and not anticipate the potent high that may follow.

  • THCP vs Delta-8-THC

According to the same Italian study, THCP is approximately 60 times more potent than Delta-8-THC. But another difference is the effect — Delta-8-THC produces a more relaxing, gentle high with various health benefits. On the other hand, THCP produces more of a head high which is not mellow. 

Theoretically, THCP can also be made like Delta-8-THC, but there is not a single study to back this up yet and tell us how it would fare when compared to Delta-9-THCP.

  • THCP vs Delta-10-THC

Delta-10-THC is famous for its nootropic qualities and its high is known to be more stimulating than Delta-8-THC and Delta-9-THC. Compared to Delta-10-THC, THCP tends to produce a more mind-altering high that may affect your cognitive function while you are high. The same is usually not the case with Delta-10-THC in moderate doses.

  • THCP vs THC-O

THC-O is a potent cannabinoid and is approximately 3 times more potent than Delta-9-THC. Here, THCP differs from THC-O in terms of its source. THCP occurs naturally in the plant but THC-O is synthetic in nature and does not occur naturally in cannabis. 

Another difference between the two is their onset time. THCP is quick to act and produces a high almost instantly if smoked or vaped. On the other hand, THC-O has a slightly slower onset of effects.

  • THCP vs HHC

The hexahydrocannabinol or HHC cannabinoid is another novel discovery and is a hydrogenated form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both THCP and HHC produce similar effects but the major difference here is that HHC is not as potent as THCP or Delta-9-THC.

In fact, THCP is roughly 60 times more potent than HHC!

Does THCP Get You High?

Does THCP Get You High?

From the points discussed above, you may have already gotten an idea that THCP can get you high. But let’s dive deeper into this.

When Italian academics discovered THCP, they experimented on cultured human cells and found that THCP binds 33 times more effectively to CB1 receptors compared to Delta-9-THC due to its extended side tail. 

While CB1 is the primary receptor for cannabinoids that create a high, THCP also binds more efficiently to CB2 receptors. 

Of course, that does not mean that THCP will get you 33 times higher than regular cannabis. Experts believe that there is a limit to how much cannabinoids can stimulate the CB receptors. So, even if THCP is 33x times more potent, a lot of it will get wasted as your CB receptors reach their ceiling threshold. 

Plus, each individual user experiences a different high. 

But THCP can still get you very high. Even in small quantities, THCP present in some strains makes it so much more potent than other strains with higher THC content. 

What’s It Like to Consume THCP?

What’s It Like to Consume THCP?

Remember, there are not a lot of official studies conducted on the effects of THCP on human subjects, but from anecdotal accounts, we do know what THCP feels like to consume. 

According to the people who have consumed THCP, it produces a high that is quite similar to that of Delta-9-THC but is a lot more stimulating and active, especially in terms of visual and auditory perceptions. 

THCP won’t make you hallucinate like acid or magic mushrooms, but many users have still described its high as psychedelic-like. That is, you won’t see strange shapes and UFOs but you may still feel your perception alter and experience amplified colors and sounds. 

Additionally, THCP may even affect your headspace and alter your decision-making abilities. 

But there is another side to this coin. THCP also has a higher chance of inducing a bad trip, especially if you consume a little too much. Many individuals who used THCP also reported feeling more paranoid and anxious. So, if you suffer from anxiety or similar symptoms, you should probably skip trying THCP. 

Does THCP Have Any Benefits?

Does THCP Have Any Benefits?

Cannabis is the magic plant with a ton of benefits, so why would THCP be left behind? Agreed, THCP is still a new cannabinoid for the community and experts don’t yet know a lot about it apart from one major study. But anecdotal reports suggest that THCP has a lot of potential medical applications.

For example, THCP may be more potent at pain relief for those who are suffering from chronic pain or inflammatory diseases — THCP has the potential to be a lot more effective than THC for users that require higher doses. 

At the same time, THCP may also be more sedative than THC, helping those suffering from insomnia or intractable pain that doesn’t allow them to sleep properly.

THCP may also have other benefits such as the following:

  • Hypomobility
  • Pain relief 
  • Anti-nausea benefits
  • Anti-seizure effects
  • Sedation, etc.

And for those of us who only consume cannabis for the fun of it — who wouldn’t like it? — THCP has one major benefit. THCP is more potent, so a single THCP joint would do you just as good as three joints of regular cannabis would. 

If clinical studies back this prospect and manufacturers figure out a way to mass-produce THCP for recreational users, it can change the way we consume cannabis. 

Do note that despite the claims and predictions, there is no real evidence that shows how THCP acts on human subjects. Although THCP is 33 times more reactive to CB receptors, experts still aren’t sure if the same higher reactivity translates to higher potency upon consumption. 

Is THCP Bad for Me?

Is THCP Bad for Me?

Cannabis is amazing and overdosing on cannabis is nearly impossible, but that does not mean THCP is also safe. There isn’t enough data on THCP, so we don’t yet know whether it is completely safe.

The problem isn’t that it will affect your health, but that it is easy to consume too much THCP and experience a bad trip. This is why it is advisable to employ plenty of caution when consuming THCP. 

Remember, THCP is potentially more potent than Delta-9-THC since it is more capable of binding to CB receptors than traditional THC. Even smaller doses set you on a bad trip

Some of the common symptoms that may accompany a bad trip after consuming THCP include:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Uneasiness
  • Mood swings, etc.

So, to avoid such nasty side effects, consider consuming a low dose at first to see how your body reacts to THCP. Ideally, you should start with a small dose of 0.3 mg, which can be as potent as 10 mg of THC. Once you gauge how tolerant your body is to THCP, you can build your way up to a bigger dose.

Is THCP Legal?

Is THCP Legal?

Delta-9-THC may be legal in your region or maybe not, and that is clear. But just like Delta-8 and Delta-10, THCP falls in a grey area when it comes to legality in most regions. 

It is not listed under controlled substances as per the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), but since it is still an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), THCP, like other analogs of THC, is still prohibited according to the Federal Analogue Act (FAA), unless mentioned otherwise by your local laws.

On the other hand, THCP occurs naturally in hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC too. So, it can be argued that it is protected as per the Agricultural Improvement Act (Farm Bill, 2018) which legalizes hemp and other hemp derivatives. 

This is why THCP falls in a legal gray area. You should check your local laws regarding hemp and THC to know for sure if THCP is legal in your area or not. 

Can You Buy THCP?

Can You Buy THCP?

Even though THCP is a relatively new discovery, many brands have jumped on the wagon and manufactured THCP products. So, yes, you can buy THCP in the market but from a few CBD brands. 

You can check your local dispensary or online stores to see if THCP products are available in your area.

With THCP products, you must be careful about where you spend your money because there is still a concern about safety since this is such a new type of product in the market. There is a lack of scientific study on THCP and its short- and long-term effects on the human body. 

How Much Does THCP Cost?

How Much Does THCP Cost?

With a little research and due diligence, you can find high-quality THCP products in your area but prepare to spend a little more money because THCP products are generally more expensive than other comparable CBD products

This is because the cost of cannabis products is based on two factors — demand and cultivation. THC is cheaper because it is easier to produce and quick to sell. On the other hand, THCP is new and making it in commercial quantities requires lab manufacturing — it does not occur naturally in large quantities. Additionally, there isn’t a lot of demand for THCP yet, which stops many manufacturers from getting into the game. 

For example, a pack of gummies with CBD only would cost you around $1 to $2 per serving. However, a pack of THCP gummies with 1 mg of THCP can cost you over $30, and we are not even counting the shipping charges yet. 

And you might be wondering if the high cost is worth it for THCP products. The straight answer is that we are not sure. THCP may have many benefits but it may not justify the high markup of price for many users.

Until THCP becomes a common product and many other manufacturers start producing THCP products, the prices will probably remain high. Until then, you have to decide if you are okay with paying the high price for the potential benefits of THCP.

Does THCP Show Up in Drug Tests?

Does THCP Show Up in Drug Tests?

Say what you will about the Mass Resignation movement, many users still would prefer to stick to their job. And a drug test coming positive at their workplace can be a setback for many such users. 

So, if you are wondering about THCP showing up in drug tests, you are not alone and the answer is not so simple.

As mentioned numerous times, THCP lacks any real research and data that states how long it can stay in your system. So, it is advisable to compare its properties to other THC analogs of similar nature. 

For example, THC — can be detected in your urine for a month after the last use, depending on how much you smoke. Generally, moderate usage shows up in urine tests for up to a week, regular usage shows up for around two weeks, and chronic usage shows up for up to a month.

In the same vein, it is safe to assume that THCP, too, can be detectable in your urine for up to a month, depending on how much of it you consume.

And of course, urine is just one type of drug test. Other types of drug tests include saliva, hair, and blood tests. If you have to deal with a hair test, it's a bit challenging because cannabis can be detected in your hair for over 90 days after the last use. 

It is better to be safe here and avoid THCP in all forms a month before your drug tests. And you can also detox your body from cannabis using various tactics. You can try out detox kits, creatine supplements, detox drinks, activated charcoal products, etc. that help flush out THCP from your system. 

But such tactics are also easy to spot for labs — you will be drinking too much water for detox and that can help the labs spot some mischief. For this, you can use creatine supplements to conceal overhydration. 

How to Consume THCP Safely?

How to Consume THCP Safely?

While THCP has many potential benefits, it can still be a little risky in terms of bad trips. So, you should practice caution and consume it safely. Here are some tips on consuming THCP safely.

  • Start With a Small Dose

As with any other potent form of cannabis, always start with a low dose of under 0.3 mg of THCP. A low dose lets you get a lay of the land and see how your body reacts to it. Over time, as your body gets used to THCP, you can move on to bigger doses.

  • Consume THCP in a Safe Environment

One of the common reasons why people experience a bad trip after consuming cannabis is due to fear of being caught or not feeling comfortable. Panic, anxiety, and fear only make things worse when you are under the influence of cannabis.

This is why it is crucial that you only consume THCP in a safe environment where you don’t have to worry about anything. Perhaps only consume THCP when you are home or with a friend, or avoid consuming it in a crowded place.

  • Don’t Operate Vehicles or Heavy Machinery

Even if you are consuming THCP for medical reasons, it is best to avoid operating vehicles or heavy machinery after consuming it. THCP has the potential to get you very high and it can impair your cognitive and motor functions. 

  • Clear Your Mind Before Consuming THCP

THCP is an analog of THC, so it is assumed that it alters your state of mind in nearly the same way, albeit more effectively. So, you should also clear your mind and consume THCP with a fresh mind where you’re not worrying or feeling anxious about anything.

If You Experience a Bad Trip, Follow These Tips:

For most users, a bad trip is only a possible outcome of consuming THCP, but for a few users, it can occur more easily. In that case, if you are experiencing a bad trip, follow these tips:

  1. Have some CBD to counteract the effects of THCP
  2. Focus on positive thoughts and activities
  3. Talk to a friend
  4. Take a nap or a shower
  5. Eat and hydrate yourself 
  6. Move to a more comfortable environment

Summary: What is THCP and How Is It Different From THC?

THCP is not very different from THC. The former is an analog of the latter with a longer side chain, which makes it 33 times more potent than THC. But in the real world, THCP is only a few times more potent.

Apart from being just more potent, THCP also has other potential benefits like pain relief, anti-nausea benefits, anti-seizure benefits, and sedation. But it also has one major drawback — the chances of you getting a bad trip are more common with THCP.

But there isn’t a lot known about THCP yet to make conclusive statements, which is why a lot of the information you find on this cannabinoid only discusses a few specific points. Regardless, it has the potential to change how we consume cannabis.

And if you want to be ahead of the curve, you should consider trying out some THCP. It is expensive and may not be legal in your local region, but if you find a high-quality product, you should go for it. 



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