The cannabis plant is incredibly complex, with hundreds of unique cannabinoids that bind to receptors in our own bodies, producing a wide variety of effects. Most people are familiar with Delta-9 THC, a prominent and widely used compound from the plant, but many lesser-known compounds are gaining more attention and research in the cannabis consumer market. One of the newest cannabinoids attracting such recognition and interest is THCP.
Read on to learn more about this recently discovered compound and what we know so far about its potential benefits.
What Is THCP?
As the acronym suggests, THCP—short for Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabiphorol—is quite similar to THC. First, they are both naturally occurring in cannabis. They both bind to receptors in our bodies' endocannabinoid systems. Also, both compounds deliver psychoactive effects.
We know far more about THC than we do THCP, as the latter was only discovered in 2019. However, what we know thus far shows that there may be some incredibly promising uses for THCP in terms of its therapeutic benefits.
Like delta-9 THC, THCP could be useful in various settings as a pain management tool or sleep aid. More studies will be needed to confirm the promising news that THCP could also have anti-seizure benefits. Anecdotal evidence points to THCP as effective at quelling anxiety; it could even help regulate appetite.
THCP vs THC: Potency
Cannabinoids, including THC and THCP, bind to receptors in our endocannabinoid systems, and by doing so, they can contribute to homeostasis, which is regulated by that system. This is why cannabis products have become so wildly popular: they provide a natural means to help our bodies regulate themselves.
Not all compounds are alike, as we know. THC and CBD, for example, differ substantially in that one has psychoactive effects and the other does not. Both are indisputably useful, however. One might be preferred when an anti-nausea tool is needed during chemotherapy, and another might be preferred to boost muscle recovery after a workout.
THC and THCP are differentiated when it comes to potency. Even with our limited knowledge of THCP, there is a growing consensus that it packs a more potent punch. The potency of THCP is measured by its ability to bind to our endocannabinoid receptors. It is believed that THCP binds to our CB1 receptors up to 33 times more than THC does.
THCP is, therefore, routinely described as significantly stronger than THC, which might lead potential users to wonder if it is safe.
Does THCP Occur Naturally in Cannabis?
THCP does indeed occur naturally in cannabis plants; however, it occurs in such small amounts that extraction is not viable or worthwhile for cannabis product manufacturers. Instead, THCP can be created through a conversion process where chemicals are used to alter the naturally occurring compounds.
This also takes us right into an important area of legal distinctions: if the conversion process starts with hemp, that helps to ensure the resulting product can be classified as legal under the stipulations of the 2018 Farm Bill.
That bill represented a huge stride forward for the cannabis consumer industry as it made it legal to sell cannabis products derived from hemp and contains less than .03% THC.
Before you buy THCP (or any other cannabis products), you should still double-check the specific rules and regulations for your state.
Is THCP Safe?
Limited research and clinical studies make it difficult to offer definitive answers and guidelines when it comes to THCP and its safety.
However, we do know a great deal about how the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids, in general, can have both positive and negative outcomes. Therefore, we can safely make some assumptions about THCP worth following as general guidelines:
- Only purchase products containing THCP from reputable, high-quality manufacturers who are completely transparent about ingredients and testing procedures used with their products.
- When trying any new cannabis products, including THCP or other cannabinoids, always stick with the manufacturer's recommended dosing guidelines to start.
- Bear in mind that cannabis products containing THCP are typically more suitable for the evening hours; less potent cannabis products (such as delta-8 THC) may be better for use with daytime activities. THCP will likely have sedative effects, depending on how much you use.
- In some cases, large amounts of THCP could yield unwanted side effects such as nervousness, paranoia, or excessive sleepiness.
THCP and Drug Screenings
Just as is the case with delta-9 THC, products containing THCP will also show up on a drug screening. Therefore, you should avoid them if and when you know you will need to take and pass a drug test for your current employer (or a potential future employer). The same holds true if you need to undergo drug screenings for a variety of other reasons, such as a scholarship or custody requirement.
More often than not, urine tests are used to test for THC and other compounds. It can show up in your urine anywhere from a few days to six weeks after you have last used it. In the case of a saliva test, which may be used in a traffic stop, the THCP would likely show up for up to 10 hours after it was last used.
Where Can I Buy THCP Products?
While THCP products are not as widely available as delta-9 THC products, you can still find some in dispensaries and sold online by manufacturers. Before you buy any THCP products, make sure you double-check the ingredients as well as testing procedures. Because THCP is incredibly potent, heed the manufacturer's information about dosing and do not exceed it the first time you try the product.
Once you see how your body reacts to the effects of THCP, you may be able to tweak the dosing for your desired effects. It is always best with THCP—and any psychoactive cannabinoid—to start out slowly and work your way up rather than overdo it from the beginning.
A high first dose of THCP could mean unwanted effects or a negative experience. Play it safe rather than sorry!