What's THCP and CBDP?

All you need to know about THCP and CBDP- a new cannabinoid discovery

THCP and CBDP may sound familiar, but don't get them confused with well-known cannabis compounds CBD and THC – as they have some key differences.

As of December last year, Professor Giuseppe Cannazza and his team at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy carried out a study that found that these new cannabinoids, particularly THCP, were more than 30 times more potent than THC.

This discovery added the two new cannabinoids to an ever-growing list of cannabis components, of which there are now over 150. Moreover, given the current federal illegality of cannabis in most countries across the globe, cannabis research remains quite difficult. As laws continue to relax surrounding cannabis research, we may see many more compounds emerge from the woodworks.

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So, what's different about THCP and CBDP?

The structures of THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol) and CBDP (Cannabidiphorol) are very similar to THC and CBD – hence the similarity in name.

The researchers have found that THCP binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body's endocannabinoid system, which proved to be 33 times more active than THC.

A minimum of 3 links in THC is needed to bind the cannabinoid to the receptor. Regular THC has five links whereas researchers found THCP to have an elongated molecule structure with seven links. This means that THCP is more likely to have a stronger attraction to the CB1 receptor that THC, allowing THCP to have a stronger impact on the body.

The research was carried out on lab mice who were administered THCP, with mice showing similar reactions to the compound as they would with THC. The animals began behaving in a much slower manner, their temperature had decreased, and their reactions to painful stimuli had reduced by a significant amount.

Though these results, while similar to THC, provide early indications that THCP may indeed be far more powerful than THC. Though, as is the case with all things surrounding cannabis, much more research is necessary, particularly involving human trials, in order to fully understand the impact THCP has on the human body. 

Similarly to THCP, CBDP also has seven links in its molecular structure however, researchers are yet to uncover the importance this has when looking at the effects of CBDP on the human body. While nothing has been established yet, the future still could hold something for CBDP, more research may find untapped potential.

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Is there a future for THCP and CBDP?

Research into the genetics of cannabis has progressed enormously over the past few years and it's only the beginning. This study has allowed scientists and consumers to better understand the newly found minor cannabinoids, which is essential for continued development. As suggested by the study, there is a need to continue to cultivate new breeds of cannabis that are neither THC or CBD dominant.

Placing a greater spotlight on minor cannabinoids such as CBN, THCA and CBG will soon provide consumers with a wider variety of cannabis compounds to use either for recreational use or medicinal treatments based on the benefits of the compound. Further research may reveal that these newly discovered cannabinoids can be used to treat certain conditions, and if this is the case, we may be able to better tailor different cannabinoid constituents to patients' differing needs and conditions.

As for the future of this study, Dr Cannazza has said: "The next step will be to research the concentration of these cannabinoids in other cannabis varieties to find out why some varieties with a low THC level have extremely high psychotropic properties and one answer would be THCP."

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Niki Mohazeb
Niki Mohazeb

Niki is a Sydney based writer, with a passion for promoting the health benefits of medicinal cannabis. Niki also enjoys researching and writing about the future of cannabis along with the many other benefits that the plant provides, such as the diverse utilities of hemp.

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