What is THCP and CBDP?

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Cannabis is a beautiful and complex plant that we are continuously exploring and learning more about. As medical and recreational legalization grows across the world, more scientific studies and clinical trials have emerged.

Phytocannabinoids, frequently known as just “cannabinoids”, are the active compounds found within cannabis that are largely responsible for the reported recreational, medical and therapeutic benefits associated with the plant. Today, we have discovered more than 150 phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant and only a small number have been isolated and thoroughly studied.

Did we discover a new cannabinoid?

On December 30, 2019, a group of Italian researchers announced the discovery of two new phytocannabinoids that were isolated from the Cannabis sativa L. plant species. The study was led by Professor Giuseppe Cannazza from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and was published in Scientific Reports. These two previously unknown compounds have been named THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol) and CBDP (cannabidiphorol) respectively.

These molecules may sound familiar to you. This is because THC and CBD are the most well-known and abundant active chemicals typically found within the cannabis plant. THCP and CBDP are almost biologically identical to THC and CBD, except they have seven-term side carbon+hydrogen (alkyl) side chains attached. The letter “P” represents the “-phorol” suffix, which is derived from the term “sphaerophorol, a common name for 5-heptyl-benzen-1.3-diol. This is the chemical that separates CBDP/THCP from CBD/THC. These freshly discovered “phorol cannabinoids” are being considered an entirely new class of cannabinoids. Did you get all that? Don’t worry, we break it down more in the next few parts.

All of this is important to consumers because carbon chain length is said to be partially responsible for the different felt effects that cannabinoids produce. As the number of carbons increase, so does binding affinity. THC and CBD both have five carbon chains, while CBDV and THCV have only three. Up until December of 2019, it was widely believed that there were no naturally occurring cannabinoids with more than five carbon chains. The Italian researchers surprised the cannabis world with the discovery of THCP and CBDP, which both have an unprecedented seven carbon chains attached.

What is THCP?

As previously mentioned, Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) has a similar molecular structure and biological purpose as Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). However, this new cannabinoid is now making headlines as it is said to be more than 30 times more potent than THC. Just like the majority of other cannabinoids, THCP binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. But unlike other cannabinoids, THCP was found to be 33 times more active than THC and 63 times more active than THCV.

Up until recently, experts would claim that THC is the primary molecule responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use. However, these Italian researchers used the Tetrad Test scientific method and found that THCP gets mice 30 times higher than THC.

All of the potential uses of THCP are not yet fully known. It is believed that THCP would mimic the effects of THC, but with increased potency. THCP may contain some medical properties that its counterpart, THC, does not.

THC is the molecule that produces the recreational effects desired by most cannabis consumers. The commonly reported effects of THC are: euphoria, a sense of intoxication, sedation/relaxation, altered perceptions, social and sexual enhancement, pain relief, appetite stimulation and relief of nausea, among others. Some of the negative side effects associated with THC are rapid heart rate, paranoia, dry mouth and red eyes.

It is fair to assume that THCP possesses many of the same qualities as THC, but until further studies are published, we cannot know for sure.

What is CBDP?

Cannabidiphorol (CBDP) has an almost-identical structure and function to Cannabidiol (CBD), another abundant cannabinoid that has experienced a surge in popularity for wellness-related purposes over the past few years.

The full extent of the usefulness of CBDP is still unknown, but it’s quite possible that it could provide even more potent therapeutic effects than its counterpart, CBD. CBDP may even have completely novel medical applications.

CBD is an anti-inflammatory agent and is used for a wide range of medical conditions including: chronic pain, insomnia or sleeping conditions, anxiety and epilepsy.

It is fair to assume that CBDP possesses many of the same qualities as CBD, but until further studies are published, we cannot know for sure.

What are the implications for consumers?

There are some serious implications associated with these discoveries. For example, it has been anecdotally observed that some strains with low THC levels still produce a strong psychoactive effect. This effect could actually be due to the presence of the previously undetected THCP cannabinoid. Well-known cultivars will need to be re-assessed and re-classified based on their content of these new “phorol cannabinoids”.

Once THCP and CBDP are effectively isolated, concentrates and ingestible products can and will be made with these molecules. As more studies are published, both brands and consumers will gain a deeper understanding of the use cases and applications for these newfound cannabinoids.

Where to try THCP or CBDP?

Now that you’ve learned all about THCP and CBDP, you may be looking to get your hands on some. Both of these cannabinoids were isolated and derived from the “FM2” cultivar. FM2 Is the only legal cannabis strain that is currently available in the country of Italy and it is grown exclusively by the military. The Italian government permits medical marijuana patients that have qualifying conditions to purchase the cultivar for around $7 USD per gram.

Until further studies and testing is conducted, we won’t know for sure if THCP is unique to FM2, or if it is found within a wide range of strains. Your average cannabis lab will not be able test for THCP or CBDP until a standard solution and testing protocol is implemented.

Stay tuned to Supreme’s Strain Guide for strains high in THCP and CBDP, once proper testing is published.

The Future of Cannabis

These discoveries reveal that there is a lot more to be learned. Future studies and trials may reveal things that completely change the way we look at cannabis. These cannabinoids weren’t discovered until recently simply because nobody thought to look for them. What other chemicals and applications have we not thought to look for yet?

Earlier last year, the same Italian research team announced the discovery of two other previously unknown cannabinoids, CBDB and THCB. Initial studies showed that THCB seemed to relieve pain in mice. However, not much is known about the properties of these molecules either.

The Italian researchers are now currently working to understand the potential applications for these cannabinoids. The team is conducting a variety of experiments, such as investigating CBDP’s anti-convulsive and anti-inflammatory properties. It will be interesting to read their final conclusions on these chemicals.

We always suggest that you do your own research before coming to conclusions about complicated cannabis-related topics. This is only one study and much more research is required before any definitive statements can be made.

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What is THCP and CBDP?

A group of Italian researchers announced the discovery of two new phytocannabinoids that were isolated from the Cannabis sativa L. plant species. The study was led by Professor Giuseppe Cannazza from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and was published in Scientific Reports.