WHAT IS THCP?
THCP stands for tetrahydrocannabiphorol. It was discovered as recently as 2019, so there hasn’t been much (if any) official research on its effects quite yet. The only research we do have has been exploring its safety and potency using animal and in vitro cell cultures.
Here’s what we know so far.
THCP exists naturally in cannabis plants — albeit in very low concentrations. It can be extracted and isolated from hemp and marijuana using chromatography techniques.
This cannabinoid appears to bind to the CB1 receptors 33 times more often than delta 9 THC. Activation of the CB1 endocannabinoid receptors is what gives THC and THCP their psychoactive effects.
IS THCP NATURAL?
Yes! THCP is one of the 140 phytocannabinoids found in cannabis.
However, natural levels of THCP are well below 0.1 percent. Some plants, such as the Italian-bred FM2 strain, contain almost 0.1% THCP.
For comparison, THC can be found in concentrations of 25%-30% in marijuana and around 0.3% or less in hemp.
CBD is usually present in concentrations between 20% and 30% in hemp and around 15% in marijuana.
HOW IS THCP MADE?
Because of the extremely low concentration of THCP in cannabis, researchers need to recreate THCP artificially in order to study it further.
The first paper reporting THCP extraction from a cannabis plant wasn’t published until 2019 and was later adapted to develop the manufacturing process that’s used today.
CBD is used as the starting material to make THCP — which means it can be effectively derived from hemp.
HOW CANNABIS PLANTS MAKE THCP
Virtually all cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp plants, including THC, CBD, and THCP, begin their life as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
Without turning this article into a chemistry lecture, suffice it to say that CBGA undergoes an enzymatic reaction with other acidic compounds in cannabis to create a precursor molecule for THCP called tetrahydrocannabiphorolic acid (THCPA).
THCPA is then slowly converted to THCP by the cannabis or hemp plant through a process called decarboxylation.
IS THCP LEGAL?
Delta 9 THC is the only cannabinoid scheduled by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, meaning that THCP is internationally legal. THCP’s legality is slightly different In the United States, where it is legal as long as it is derived from hemp plants and not marijuana plants.