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What is THCP? Is it Stronger Than THC?

What is THCP?

THCP (Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol) is a newly discovered, naturally-occurring analog of THC.

The only difference between THCP from “regular” THC is the presence of 2 extra carbons in its chemical structure. Instead of 5 carbons on its alkyl side chain like THC, THCP has 7. This subtle difference is enough to make THCP substantially stronger than conventional THC.

While this cannabinoid was only discovered in 2019, it’s believed to have been around for a long time unnoticed. Some researchers, such as Dr. Giuseppe Cannazza, believe THCP could be the reason why some strains of cannabis are so much more psychoactive than others despite having the same or lower THC concentrations.

THCP was first discovered by accident when a team of Italian researchers funded by the UNIHEMP research project. The researchers were examining the chemical profile of a strain called FM2.

Using high-performance mass spectronomy and other precision testing equipment, the team noticed some strange findings. Their report was published in December 2019 — which highlighted both THCP and CBDP.

CBDP appears to have virtually no interaction with the endocannabinoid system, so there’s been little interest to study it further. THCP, however, has been reported to have more than 30 times the binding affinity compared to THC. Most people who have used THCP place the potency closer to 5 or 10 times more potent than THC, but the true potency of this cannabinoid is still hotly debated.

Key Points: What is THCP?

  • THCP occurs naturally in cannabis in trace amounts

  • THCP is roughly 5–10 times more potent than THC (some reports suggest it to be 33 times more potent)

  • THCP may be the reason some strains are so much stronger than others, regardless of total THC concentration

  • Hemp derived THCP is legal in the United States

  • There are delta 7, delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10 versions of THCP

How Strong is THCP?

The main selling point of THCP is its aggressive psychoactivity. This cannabinoid is reported to be as much as 33 times stronger than delta 9 THC.

But this isn’t exactly true.

In vitro studies have shown that THCP has roughly 33 times the binding affinity for the CB1 receptors compared to delta 9 THC — but this doesn’t mean its effects are 33 times stronger.

Most people who have tried THCP (there aren’t very many) report the effects are somewhere between 5 and 10 times the potency of delta 9 THC (which is still a substantial increase in potency).

What Makes THCP So Psychoactive?

The molecular structure of THCP is nearly identical to THC. The only difference is that instead of having a 5 carbon alkyl chain, THCP has a 7-carbon chain.

In the past, researchers have demonstrated that in order for THC to have any psychoactive effects at all, there need to be at least 3 carbons on this chain. The more carbons, the stronger the effect (there are limitations to this).

For example, THCC has one carbon and is entirely non-psychoactive. THCV has three carbons and about 25% the potency of THC.

Delta 8, 9, and 10 THC comes next with 5 carbons each, and THCP at the top with 7 carbons.

Another popular, more potent form of THC is THC-O-acetate. This synthetic cannabinoid owes its higher potency to a higher bioavailability rather than having a stronger binding affinity to CB1 receptors.

This means more is absorbed through the gut and passes across the blood-brain barrier than conventional THC.

How Long Does THCP Take To Kick In?

Edible forms of THCP, such as gummies or tinctures, take about an hour to kick in. The effects continue to increase over the following hour and peak by hour 3. These effects remain in full force for about 2 hours before gradually tapering off. The whole experience lasts between 4 and 6 hours.

Inhaled forms of THCP, such as vapes or THCP flower, kick in much quicker — within about 15 minutes. Peak experience is reached by the 1-hour mark and begins to taper off about 2 hours later. The whole experience from inhaled THCP lasts between 3 and 5 hours.

What’s The Dose of THCP

There are no clearly defined doses for THCP yet. There simply hasn’t been enough research or anecdotal reports from people using this compound to offer any concrete dosages.

With that said, most people who have used this compound place the potency somewhere around 5–10 times higher than delta 9 THC. So we can use this to estimate the optimal dosage range.

Delta 9 THC is active starting around the 5 mg dose. The standard psychoactive dose of D9 THC ranges from 10 to 40 mg.

Therefore, an equivalent dose of THCP maybe somewhere between 1 and 4 mg. Most people start with a dose of 0.3 mg and work their way up from there.

Because of how potent this stuff is, it’s easy to take too much. Just a 1 mg difference in the dose could be enough to push you over the edge. While THCP isn’t inherently dangerous, taking too much can be very uncomfortable — causing users to feel incapacitated, anxious, dizzy, or nauseous.

Is THCP Legal?

THCP is not listed by name on any prohibited substances list. Furthermore the 2018 Farm Bill made every part of the cannabis plant legal with the only exception being for Delta 9 THC in concentrations of 0.3%. However, most countries, including the United States, have laws that automatically place analogs of prohibited substances within the same regulatory class. This means THCP, along with other THC analogs such as THCO and THCC, are likely considered illegal on a federal level unless they are derived from a legally licensed industrial hemp crop.

Many countries in Europe have comparable laws — making THCP most likely illegal in places like Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden.

The exception here is Canada, which doesn’t have analog drug laws — which makes THCP legal.

Comparing the Potency of THC Analogs

THCP is the strongest naturally occurring cannabinoid currently known. It’s most comparable in strength to synthetic forms of THC, such as THC-O.

THCP is roughly 1.5 times stronger than THC-O, 5–10 times stronger than delta 9 THC, 10–20 times stronger than delta 8 and delta 10 THC, and nearly 40 times stronger than THCV.

Potency refers to the intensity of effects for a given dose. There are two ways to assess the potency of THC; we can test the binding affinity of the compound on the target receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors), and we can compare the qualitative effects of two or more types of THC at the same dose.

Factors that can affect the potency of THC include:

  • Bioavailability and absorption

  • CB1 and CB2 binding affinity

  • Other receptor binding affinity

Ranking psychoactive cannabinoids by potency level:

  1. THCP (strongest)

  2. THC-O

  3. Delta 9 THC

  4. Delta 8 THC

  5. Delta 10 THC

  6. THCV

  7. CBN (weakest)

Qualitative Effects: How THCP Feels

The qualitative effects of a substance refer to the way a substance feels.

This information is hard to measure through scientific testing, so most of the qualitative profiles of these substances come from people that have tried the substance for themselves and report their experiences.

There isn’t a lot of information available for the qualitative effects of THCP. However, the few anecdotal reports suggest this cannabinoid shares the same general effects as delta 9 THC, but with more stimulating action and a stronger alteration in visual and auditory perception.

THCP is not hallucinogenic, but the experience is often described as psychedelic-like.

You won’t see things, leave your body, or experience any classical psychedelic effects — but it does push your perception away from the center point. You may find interest in things you normally wouldn’t, music may sound different than you remember, and colors may appear amplified.

The side effects are also amplified.

People who have a tendency to feel anxious or paranoid when using THC should consider avoiding THCP and opt for a more relaxing alternative like delta 8 THC instead.

Headspace & Cognition

Headspace refers to your mental state. In the context of psychoactive substances, it refers to the mental state a substance will induce.

Some substances have a substantial impact on headspace — such as alcohol or opiates. These compounds dramatically alter your normal thought patterns and affect your capacity to interpret and interact with your environment.

Other substances are psychoactive but have little impact on headspace. This means you may experience tactile, auditory, or visual hallucinations, but your thought patterns and mental capacity remain near normal.

Delta 8 and delta 10 THC are the only two that are considered to have a near-normal headspace. You feel high, but your thinking remains relatively clear. You still feel like you despite experiencing some differences in sensory perception.

THCP, THCO, and delta 9 THC, however, tend to have a much stronger impact on headspace. They can all change the way you interpret events and alter your decision-making process.

Will I Fail a Drug Test From THCP?

Conventional drug tests aren’t sensitive enough to differentiate between THCP and THC. If you’ve used THCP within the last 14 days, there’s a chance you’re going to register for THC use on urine or blood tests.

Research on THCP is lagging behind, and we still don’t know exactly how long THCP remains in the system.

It’s wise to avoid using any form of THC at least a month prior to a drug test.

THCP Frequently Asked Questions

There’s still a lot we don’t know about THCP. As researchers continue to test the effects of THCP and more users post their reports online, we’ll continue to update this page on any new findings or insights that present themselves.

Here’s a list of the most common questions and answers regarding this novel cannabinoid.

1. When Was THCP Discovered?

THCP was first discovered on December 30, 2019. It was reported in a research paper by researchers in Italy in an article published in Nature.

At the same time, the group also discovered CBDP — which is a CBD molecule with the same 7-carbon functional group attached.

2. Is THCP Addictive?

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that THCP is addictive or not — however, there are some experts who believe it could be because of how potently it binds to the CB1 endocannabinoid receptors.

Other compounds have been synthetically created with long carbon tails and a high binding affinity similar to THCP. Some of these chemicals have proven to have some addictive qualities.

It’s likely that THCP could be addictive if abused. Unhealthy relationships with any substance can lead to addiction — especially substances that have strong psychoactive effects.

Consider why you’re using THCP. Has it become a crutch or a means of escaping a reality you find uncomfortable? This is the starting point for any addiction.

Use THCP in moderation (just like anything else), and work on finding ways to cope with pain or other forms of discomfort without the use of psychoactive substances. This will substantially reduce the risk of forming unhealthy addictive relationships with THCP or other substances.

3. Is THCP a Synthetic Cannabinoid?

The answer depends on how you define “synthetic.”

THCP occurs naturally in marijuana plants in very low concentrations. To many people, this makes THCP not a synthetic cannabinoid because it can be extracted from cannabis plants directly.

However, manufacturers would need to process massive quantities of marijuana to get just one bottle of THCP isolate. Instead, most of the THCP currently available is either synthesized from scratch or converted from other cannabinoids. To some, this makes THCP a synthetic product because it’s assembled in a lab from other molecules.

What’s The Future For THCP?

The world of THCP is only just getting started. There’s been so much interest in the alternate cannabinoid space in the last 12 months it’s hard to imagine THCP not becoming more widely available as the market continues to mature.

With a potency range reported to be up to 33 times stronger than delta 9 THC (more like 5 or 10) — this cannabinoid is an easy sell for companies that market psychoactive cannabis extracts.

The real question comes down to how governments will decide to regulate compounds like THCP and THCO. Neither of these compounds is explicitly included on the list of prohibited substances in the United States and when derived from hemp are protected under the 2018 Farm Bill.

In summary, it’s likely we’ll see a dramatic spike in interest for THCP in the next 12 months. Whether the government decides to step in and begin enforcing laws against THC analogs or not will determine how big the public market sector will become.


  1. Citti, C., Linciano, P., Russo, F., Luongo, L., Iannotta, M., Maione, S., … & Cannazza, G. (2019). A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-13.

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