THCP: a new cannabinoid 33 times stronger than THC

New phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L with cannabimimetic activity 30 times greater than THC has been detected in cannabis

The world's most potent plant cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) was recently discovered in a study in Italy. It is almost identical in structure to THC but is 33 times stronger than it, as well as CBDP, the corresponding derivative of CBD. Research may lead to the development of future strains of much more potent THCP.

So far, nearly 150 phytocannabinoids have been detected in the cannabis plant, although most of them have not been isolated or characterized. CBD and Δ 9 -THC well-known have been widely characterized and found to have interesting pharmacological profiles, hence the attention paid to the biological activity of their known counterparts like CBDV and Δ 9.-THCV has recently increased. 

Other counterparts like those belonging to the orcinoid series are hardly studied, probably due to their very low quantity in the plant, which makes their isolation very difficult. In recent years, agricultural genetic research has made great strides in breeding rare strains that produce large amounts of CBDV, CBG and Δ 9 -THCV, so it wouldn't be surprising to see cannabis strains rich in other minor phytocannabinoids in the near future. This genetic selection would make it possible to produce extracts rich in a specific phytocannabinoid with a characteristic pharmacological profile. For this reason, it is important to perform a thorough chemical profiling of a medicinal cannabis strain and a thorough investigation of the pharmacological activity of minor and lesser-known phytocannabinoids.

The new cannabinoid, whose full name is Tetra-Hydro-Cannabiphorol (Tetra-Hydro-Cannabiporol), was first able to completely isolate from plant extraction, as well as to characterize and produce it artificially.


The most promising finding about THCP is that it has a significantly higher ability to bind to cannabinoid receptors than even THC itself, especially the CB1 receptor.

Dance the study, published in the scientific journal Nature, the researchers hypothesize that the cannabinoid THCP could be one of the factors responsible for the characteristics of different varieties of cannabis even when they contain the same concentrations of THC and CBD.

Tetrahydrocannabiphorol, THCP, thcp cannabinoid, thcv new cannabinoid
The FM2 cannabis variety is obtained from the CIN-RO strain produced by the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) in Rovigo (Italy) and supplied to the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Institute (MCPI, Firenze, Italy) for selection. 

The concentration of THCP in the cannabis strain tested in the study, an Italian strain called FM2, was particularly low: only 29 micrograms per gram, or 0,0003% of the total. The amount of THC in this strain was also relatively low - only 3,9%.

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The researchers noted in the research results that cannabis strains could be improved in the future to contain more THCP, which would also allow it to produce concentrated extracts that could provide an increased medical effect for patients.

The most powerful cannabinoid in the world

During the study, THCP's binding capacity to cannabinoid receptors (receptors) was tested, and it was found to bind to the CB1 receptor 33 times stronger than THC and to the CB2 receptor 6 times stronger than THC, making it the most potent natural cannabinoid (phytocannabinoid).

In fact, the potency of THCP's attachment to cannabinoid receptors is similar to that of the more potent synthetic cannabinoids, but its structure is almost identical to that of natural THC.

(Figure 3
Activity vitro and calculation of the docking of Δ 9 THCP: Binding affinity of the four Δ homologs 9 -THC against CB receptors 1 and CB 2 humans

The biological results obtained in the binding test in vitro have indicated an affinity for the CB receptor1 more than thirty times higher than that reported for Δ 9 THC until today. In particular, the Δ 9 -THCP has been shown to be as active as Δ 9-THC but at lower doses. In fact, the minimum dose of THC used in this type of test is 10 mg / kg, while the Δ 9 -THCP was found to be active at 5 mg / kg in three of the four tetrad tests. 

A few decades ago, researchers hypothesized that stronger cannabinoids in cannabis could provide a stronger medical effect, and to test this hypothesis, researchers have created from the late 1990s to date a wide range of new and more potent synthetic cannabinoids.

Studies of synthetic cannabinoids generally give very promising results in experiments with mice or isolated tissues, but fail in human trials because of the serious side effects they cause.

But this THCP has an almost identical structure to THC, making it its closest derivative to date. It is hoped that this will provide the "best of both worlds" meaning the increased medical effect of strong cannabinoids, but without the severe side effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids of different structure.

The researchers conducted a preliminary experiment with THCP in mice, and the effect they observed was consistent with the typical physiological effects of THC in mice, including reduced sensitivity to pain, decreased body heat, reduced motor activity and catalepsy (hardening of muscles) - but the minimum dose of THC to produce these effects in mice is 10 mg / kg, and here the researchers produced them with only 5 mg / kg of THCP.

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In addition to THCP, the researchers also discovered the corresponding derivative of CBD called cannabidipurol or CBDP, but they have not yet thoroughly tested neither cannabinoid receptors nor mice. Thus, the effects of CBDP are unknown, but it is quite possible that it is also a stronger derivative of CBD.

There are ongoing studies to study the pharmacological activity of CBDP and to expand that of HCP. CBD is known to bind with low affinity for both CBs 1 and CB 2 receivers. Therefore, evaluating the cannabimimetic activity of CBDP does not appear to be a high priority, although science may hold some big surprises.


The potential of CBDP is not yet as well known as THCP. Like THCP to THC, CBDP shares a similar chemical structure to CBD. In each case, the length of the carbon chain is from five carbon atoms (for THC and CBD) to seven carbon atoms respectively (for THCP and CBDP). Unlike THCP to THC, CBDP does not bind well to cannabinoid receptors (at least in the mice studied in the published article by Nature ).

Due to this low binding potential, it is less likely that studies in the near future will focus so much on CBDP as they will continue to assess the potential of THCP.

Researchers in the published study, however, predict that CBDP will have similar effects to CBD. It could easily be developed further with applications aimed at relieving pain and anxiety. It may even be able to perform the same functions as CBD pain relievers, but at lower doses due to its concentrated nature. Further study will be necessary to properly assess its potential.

Why this could be great news

The discovery of these two concentrated cannabinoids will likely lend themselves to further study on the more potent cannabinoids and lead to greater availability of cannabinoid products in the market. It has been difficult to isolate some cannabinoids due to their extremely low volume in cannabis plants, but the discovery of these two has some researchers hoping that other cannabinoid counterparts can be found more easily. Recent research in agricultural genetics has made it possible to select less common cannabis species that produce particularly high amounts of minor phytocannabinoids like CBDV (cannabidivarin), CBG (cannabigerol) and Δ9-THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) from dozens of other. Further genetic research on cannabis strains will allow for increased production of extracts specifically rich in phytocannabinoids with varied pharmacological profiles that could unlock the potential of a wide range of new remedies for many diseases.

Tags : phytocannabinoidssyntheticTHCP

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