Delta THC | Other Cannabinoids

THCP VS THC: Potency, Effects & Risks

With the legal cannabis market rapidly expanding, it seems like new cannabinoids are coming out all the time. 

THCP is one of the newer cannabinoids on the scene, and it’s gaining increased attention for its uber potent effects. 

What’s the difference between THCP and THC, though? Is THCP really more potent than the cannabinoid famous for the intoxicating effects cannabis contains? Is THCP really worth checking out? 

That’s exactly what we’ll take a look at in this article. 

Keep reading to explore the differences of THCP vs THC to determine if THCP is right for you.

THC VS THCP illustrated

Key Takeaways: THC VS THCP

  • Discovered in 2019, THCP is said to be 33 times more powerful than THC.
  • Like other cannabinoids, THCP works because of its influence on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
  • Because THCP occurs in cannabis in trace amounts, it is typically attained by a chemical conversion process. 
  • The chemical structure of THCP is different from THC, which lends to its extremely potent effects.

What’s THCP?

THCP, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol, is one of 100+ cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant.  

THCP works its effects on the human body through its influence on the ECS in a similar way to THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. Like most cannabinoids, THCP molecules target CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the ECS. 

The intoxicating effects of THC occur, for example, because of THC’s binding affinity to CB1 receptors. When this occurs, it essentially “turns on” CB1 receptors, resulting in the high cannabis is famous for.

THCP occurs in small amounts in the cannabis plants, meaning it needs to be chemically synthesized to produce enough of it to meet consumer demand. Because of this, most THCP products contain pure THCP distillate. 

Because of its chemical structure, THCP has an even stronger binding affinity to CB1 receptors compared to THC. This means that the effects of THCP are much stronger than THC. 

What’s interesting to note is that there are now multiple versions of THCP, including that produced from  Delta-8 THCP and Delta-9 THCP. 

The majority of the THCP products on the market are derived from Delta-8 THCP derived from hemp. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabinoids derived from hemp are legal, including THCP and all other minor cannabinoids.

How Does THC Differ?

THC is the primary cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa. It’s the major psychoactive component in cannabis and the most commonly occuring cannabinoid that exists.

The use of delta-9 THC is only legal in states that have enacted medical or recreational marijuana laws. 

THC is best known for its psychoactive effects and medical potential. It produces a euphoric intoxication and contains suggested benefits for a wide array of medical conditions. 

Research on THCP, however, isn’t as extensive as THC research. That said, THCP was only discovered a few years ago, and we can expect an increase in studies as cannabis legalization continues. 

Several states have legalized THC for recreational or medical use. THCP hasn’t been legalized like THC, but when obtained from cannabinoids derived from hemp, it’s considered federally legal. 

THC also contains several isomers, also known as  THC analogs or semi-synthetic cannabinoids. These compounds are structurally similar to Delta-9 THC but are typically produced from hemp-derived CBD, ultimately making them legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.  

Some of these THC isomers include Delta 8 THC, Delta 10 THC  and others.  Each contains its own unique effects depending on the analog.

THCP VS THC Compared

THCP and THC are both cannabinoids, but they contain some significant differences. 

The biggest difference of THCP vs THC is the chemical composition. Ultimately, this has everything to do with the effects each cannabinoid contains. 

THC contains five carbon atoms that attach to the alkyl side chain of the molecule. THCP, on the other hand, contains seven carbon atoms. 

What exactly does this mean? 

It’s simple. THCP has an even higher binding affinity for the CB1 receptor than THC, making it one of the highest THC analogs discovered to date. 

Even when using small amounts, THCP is more psychoactive than THC, which is all due to the chemical makeup of these molecules.


The average cannabis plant contains less than 0.1% of THCP compared to around 30% of THC found in cannabis. However, that does not affect the potency of THCP.

The difference in the potency is noteworthy, as THCP has been found to be 33 times more potent than THC in animal studies.

Anyone accustomed to the effect of THC who is interested in a more intense and potent experience should definitely look into THCP. 

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Safety Profile

Is THCP safe? 

When it comes to the effects of THCP, research is still in its early stages. Seeing as the cannabinoid is similar to THC (albeit much stronger), it may produce the following effects:  

  • Sedation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Fear
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

These effects are typically experienced with high doses of THC, and seeing that THCP is stronger than THC, it’s more than likely that consumers may experience one or more of these symptoms.

Keeping this in mind, make sure you consume both THC and THCP with caution. 

Depending on the user, even the smallest amount of either of these compounds can produce these effects, so it’s advised to start with small doses until you determine your tolerance.

THC is considered safe to a certain extent, but potential adverse effects may arise. Therefore, you should use these products at your own risk.  

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Chemical Composition

We mentioned above that the different chemical composition of THC and THCP is the primary reason THCP is so much stronger than THC. 

The THC molecule has what is referred to as an alkyl side chain. These side chains will lock into a CB1 or CB2 receptor. It takes at least three carbons on the alkyl chain to bind with a CB1 receptor, while maximum activity through binding is limited to eight carbons on the chain.

THC has five carbons, and THCP has seven. You would think that wouldn’t make a significant difference, but research continues to discover ways in which the ECS interacts with these cannabis-derived compounds.

THC and THCP both contain a high binding affinity to the CB1 receptor. But Delta-9 THC isomers with more than five carbon atoms on their alkyl side chain are found to be more potent than Delta-9 THC.

Because of THCP’s higher binding affinity for the CB1 receptor and increased cannabimimetic activity compared to THC, THCP has become the most widely studied THC analog. 

The potential of THCP has only just been tapped, and soon the benefits and risks of the cannabinoid will become available.


Which Is Right for Me: THCP VS THC?

Whether THCP or THC is right for you all comes down to personal preference and THC tolerance. 

If you’re a seasoned cannabis consumer looking for a more potent high, THCP is something worth checking out. Because it’s so strong, however, it’s advised to start with the lowest dose possible to determine how the cannabinoid might affect you. 

Because of the powerful effects it contains, THCP is not recommended for newbies. And if you’ve ever consumed regular THC products and felt panic, anxiety or other adverse effects, super potent THCP is probably not the best for you.

Medical patients interested in stronger effects may find benefit from D9 THCP, as it is over 30 times stronger than THC. This may help alleviate symptoms not relieved by traditional THC products. 

When starting with THCP-infused flower, consider having only a few puffs instead of a full joint. Then wait at least a half hour to see how you are feeling. If you are handling the buzz, then have a few more puffs. Don’t go super hauling on your joint until you know whether you can handle it.

The same goes for THCP vape cartridges. Take one or two hauls maximum if it is your first time. A little THCP can go a long way. If you find that THCP is too much for you, at least there is THC or THCV (aka diet weed) that are far less potent.

Wrapping Up

As of now, we don’t  know the full benefits of THCP, but scientists and researchers are dedicating a lot of time and money into this newly discovered cannabinoid. It’s only a matter of time before we find conclusive evidence of THCP’s effects and benefits.

A potential issue with THCP and other cannabis products sold online and in dispensaries is the lack of a safety profile. This is why we always recommend purchasing products from legit brands who offer products that have been third-party tested. 

For those interested in a powerful high that surpasses any THC product they’ve ever tried, check out THCP. And when you do, prepare yourself to reach new heights. 

As with any cannabis product, be sure to enjoy THC and THCP responsibly.