Applied Technology

THCP – 33 Times Stronger than THC?

Petar Petrov
Written by Petar Petrov

A study published in Scientific Reports documents a very serious discovery with possible game-changing implications – two novel cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) and cannabidiphorol (CBDP). [1]

So, what does this mysterious “P” stand for? Well, for two extra carbon atoms in their alkyl side chains, which are key to their affinity for cannabinoid receptors.

While Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have five-carbon side chains, THCP’s and CBDP’s side chains have seven. For THCP in particular, the Italian team of scientists who conducted the study found that the two extra carbons translate to a 33-fold stronger ability to bind to cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors, and 5- to 10-fold stronger ability to bind to cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors.

Image Credits: New Atlas

That said, this doesn’t mean THCP is 33 times stronger. This result was documented in an in vitro test, and when replicated on mice, THCP demonstrated similar effects to THC, but with half the dose. And what the exact effects are on people and their power is yet to be seen.

But the strength might be the more superficial finding here. The researchers speculate that THCP, and perhaps other undiscovered cannabinoids, are the reason why the effects of cannabis vary so much, sometimes inexplicably, at least to a certain extent. More specifically, the researchers refer to trials in which cannabis cultivars with uniform THC amounts have produced vastly different effects, and since THCP has just been documented now, it might have contributed to the invisible X factor before.

In other words, THCP might play a role in the ensemble effect alongside other cannabinoids and terpenes, considering how potent it’s said to be.

“In our opinion, this compound should be included in the list of the main phytocannabinoids to be determined for a correct evaluation of the pharmacological effect of the cannabis extracts administered to patients,” the researchers state. “In fact, we believe that the discovery of an extremely potent THC-like phytocannabinoid may shed light on several pharmacological effects not ascribable solely to Δ9-THC.” [1]

It’s unclear just how much THCP might be found in cannabis cultivars, but considering extraction advancements, we might soon find out and possibly see this cannabinoid specifically targeted and isolated for various applications.

References:

Citti C, et al. “A Novel Phytocannabinoid Isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an In Vivo Cannabimimetic Activity Higher than Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol.” Scientific Reports, vol.9, 2019. Journal Impact Factor =  4.122; Times Cited = N/A

Image Credits: Canna Media

About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.

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