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What Is THCP: Benefits, Risks, and Legality

Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD

Written by: Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD

Updated on December 30, 2023

What Is THCP: Benefits, Risks, and Legality

In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THCP, has the most somewhat of a success. While it is similar to its familiar counterpart, THC, this compound has unique characteristics. It is these unique characteristics that have intrigued many researchers and cannabis enthusiasts. In the following lines, we will explore the potential benefits, associated risks, and the legal landscape surrounding the use of THCP. Plenty to learn from this brief about this fascinating compound that is for sure!

What is the THCP?

THCP is a phytocannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant. This compound was discovered in 2019. It has structure similarities with the tetrahydrocannabinol. THC has been known as a psychoactive compound for many years. However, the difference between the two compounds lies in the purported potency. Researchers have been able to discover that this compound is at least 33 times stronger than the traditional THC molecule. It is this discovery that has raised so many questions regarding this compound’s interaction with the human body and whether or not its effects will produce a differing long-lasting impact as compared to THC. This is the focus of the research conducted by many research groups worldwide.

How does THCP Affect Your Body?

The interaction between THCP molecules and the human body is interesting. Of course, the central player in this interaction is our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of receptors that play a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes. The endocannabinoid system has key components such as enzymes, receptors, and, of course, the endocannabinoids themselves. You might have heard of the most famous receptors already are CB1 and CB2 receptors. Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors and produce their respective effects. Cannabinoids such as THCP bind to these receptors as well. Primarily, they bind to the CB1 receptor. The CB1 receptor is often concentrated in the central nervous system. This binding results in alterations in mood, perception, and cognition. Researchers are trying to find out how THCP specifically produces an effect. The research, while still in infancy, suggests that THCP potency can often lead to more pronounced psychoactive experiences when compared to the traditional THC molecule.

Is THCP 33 Times Stronger than Traditional THC?

The purported potency of this compound is perhaps one of its most intriguing aspects. Research studies indicate that this molecule can be up to 33 times stronger than the traditional THC. It is this assertion which has sparked debates within the scientific community. Questions have been raised regarding the accuracy of these measurements and the potential implications for users. One has to be certain before finalizing the extent of PHCP strength and its implication for medicinal and recreational use.

Benefits and Uses of THCP

The compound has been discovered quite recently. But, this has not stopped researchers from trying to discover the many benefits and uses it might offer. In recent times, the molecule has already generated a significant bit of interest, courtesy of its potential therapeutic benefits. Researchers have discovered that the compound possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and appetite-stimulating properties. As you might already be aware, traditional medicine seems to be giving in to these challenges. So, the research for novel compounds has been accelerated in recent times. Hence, THCP’s potential has been investigated thoroughly. Because the compound offers effective pain-relieving properties, it can be a promising candidate for medical applications. However, before these compounds are used regularly in the medicinal setup, comprehensive studies must validate these preliminary findings. Only then can one establish the full range of THCP’s therapeutic users.

Risks and Side Effects of THCP

As is the case with many cannabis-associated potent compounds, this compound also comes with its own set of risks and side effects. If consumed in excess, it can lead to intensified psychoactive effects. These psychoactive effects include anxiety, paranoia, and impaired cognitive functioning. Furthermore, the long-term effects of this compound remain largely unknown. This underscores the importance of cautious exploration, for folks who already have a history of adverse reactions to THC or cannabinoids should exercise particular caution. Consulting with the healthcare professional before they indulge in such compounds is advisable. Commenting on the long-term effects of these compounds at this stage is well within the realm of guessing, but a cautious approach is the wisest course of action.

Will THCP Cause a Positive Drug Test?

The compound is structurally similar to THC. Hence, there’s a legitimate concern that this can trigger a positive result in standard drug tests. But, the existing testing protocols are designed to detect the THC molecules. Cross-reactivity with TCP is uncertain. As a result, unless more comprehensive testing methods are developed, users can adopt a mindful approach to the potential for false positives. This is especially true for situations where drug testing is required, such as driving licenses, attached competitions, and so on. As mentioned earlier, the wisest course of action is always to be cautious!

Is THCP Legal?

Ambiguity and rapid evolution enwrap the THCP’s current legal landscape. Currently, this compound is not explicitly regulated in many jurisdictions. Hence, it is still in the legal gray area. Nevertheless, the association of this compound with cannabis, coupled with its potential psychoactive effects, has promoted certain appropriate regulatory scrutiny in some regions in different countries. The fact that it has been recently discovered further adds more to this complex question. Many legal frameworks have yet to catch up with this pace of scientific exploration. Hence, users must stay informed about the local laws and regulations regarding cannabis-associated compounds, and this one is no exception for sure. The classification of this compound may vary from country to country. Researchers are trying their best to understand this compound’s properties and side effects. As their understanding develops, the regulatory bodies will adopt more innovation frameworks to address this cannabinoid. Adaptability is a common trend in the cannabis industry, and legal perspectives are offered in response to the scientific advancements in public opinion. Hence, as it gets more attention, there is no doubt that it will become a focal point for discussions on cannabis legality and regulation in the years to follow.

THCP vs. Popular Cannabinoids

The cannabis plant has many diverse cannabinoids, each with its unique properties and effects. THCP, a relatively recent discovery, stands out among its counterparts like Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, THC-O, and HHC. In the following lines, let us try to understand the distinctions between these cannabinoids, since it can give us a clue about the specific effects of these annabis compounds.

THCP (Tetrahydrocannabiphorol): This compound has garnered attention for its potential potency, claimed to be up to 33 times stronger than traditional THC. Its therapeutic profile is also intriguing, with early research suggesting anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Delta-8 (Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol): Derived from both hemp and cannabis, Delta-8 is a more moderate psychoactive compound. It is considered less intense than Delta-9 THC. Users have reported a smoother high with reduced anxiety, which makes Delta-8 an attractive option for those seeking a milder THC experience.

Delta-9 (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol): Is it the most well-known cannabinoid? We think so! Delta-9 THC, is responsible for the classic marijuana high that everyone is so familiar with. While it is psychoactive, its effects are widely studied and understood. The compound is well renowned for its analgesic and antiemetic properties, which makes it a primary focus in both medicinal and recreational cannabis use.

Delta-10 (Delta-10-Tetrahydrocannabinol): Delta-10, like its counterparts, induces psychoactive effects. Users of this compound have described a more energizing and euphoric high compared to Delta-9 THC. It has sparked interest in its potential therapeutic applications, however comprehensive research is needed to substantiate these claims.

THC-O (Tetrahydrocannabinol-O-Acetate): THC-O is a synthesized cannabinoid that is reputed to be highly potent. Users have reported a psychoactive experience that is akin to traditional THC but definitely more intense. Limited research and exploration make the usage subject to caution.

HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol): This compound is often known as the synthesized cannabinoid, it is said to have psychoactive effects similar to traditional THC. But there is limited data available on its properties, making it an area of ongoing exploration within the scientific community.

Cannabinoid Origin Psychoactive Potency Therapeutic Potential
THCP Cannabis Yes Potentially 33 times stronger than THC Anti-inflammatory, analgesic
Delta-8 Hemp, Cannabis Yes Moderate Anxiolytic, antiemetic
Delta-9 Cannabis Yes Standard THC Analgesic, antiemetic
Delta-10 Hemp, Cannabis Yes Variable Energizing, euphoric
THC-O Synthesized Yes Potent Psychoactive, analgesic
HHC Synthesized Yes Potentially strong Limited data, exploration ongoing

Now, we know that THCP stands out due to its potential exceptional potency. But, the varying psychoactive profiles and therapeutic potentials of Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, THC-O, and HHC offer users a spectrum of choices. Each of these choices cater to a different preference and need. The ongoing research into these cannabinoids has promised to unravel more about their distinct effects and potential applications, shaping the future landscape of cannabinoid-based products. As with any exploration of cannabinoids, one has to be extremely cautious while approaching these compounds. Staying informed about the latest research and legal considerations sounds like the best course of action!

How has THCP’s discovery accelerated scientific research?

Ever since this compound was discovered, the dynamic nature of cannabinoid research has been more evident than ever. Now, we are exploring various compounds within the cannabis plant. And as the research has developed, it has become clear that each compound has unique characteristics and potential benefits. Nevertheless, the evolving legal landscape and the need for comprehensive research still exist, highlighting responsible exploration’s importance. One has to prioritize safety while ensuring that the pursuit of novel cannabinoids should align with the regulatory guidelines and personal health care considerations. This compels potency, and potential therapeutic applications add more complexity, which urges researchers and enthusiasts to approach the exploration with aa balanced perspective.

As we scribble the concluding remarks of this brief, we are sure of one thing: THCP’s emergence has added a fascinating dimension to the world of cannabinoids. A clearer understanding of its benefits, risks, and legal status will definitely unfold. Responsible exploration, adherence to local regulations, and ongoing scientific inquiry can shape the role THCP will play in the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis compounds.

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Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD
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