THC vs THCP and CBD vs CBDP: What is Tetrahydrocannabiphorol & Cannabidiphorol?

A fresh look at the significance of new cannabinoids THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol) and CBDP (cannabidiphorol); plus how the discovery may impact the cannabis market in 2020 and beyond.

THC vs THCP and CBD vs CBDP: Newly-Discovered Cannabinoids Could Be Next Big Trend in Cannabis

By now, readers of HealthMJ know Scientists in Italy have recently discovered two new cannabinoids called THCP and CBDP. The molecules are structurally similar to THC and CBD, the two most popular cannabis compounds in the world, but are 30 times more potent.

Over the years, scientists have identified hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Of course you've probably heard of the two best-known cannabinoids: THC and CBD. However, when we broke the news about scientists identifying two new cannabinoids, THCP and CBDP, that could be 30 times stronger, the sub-culture of the cannabis industry went crazy as thousands of people scoured the ground-breaking research and revelation.

Researchers in Italy published their results in late December. The news has shocked the cannabis community. To be very blunt, the discovery of these cannabinoids sent shock waves throughout the cannabis community due to the thought of a more potent marijuana high molecule possibility becoming a reality.

Since our initial report made headlines news, Vice has since described how the discovery of THCP and CBDP “demonstrate how much more we have to learn from studying marijuana”, while Futurism.com described the discovery as a “newly discovered weed compound [that] is 30 times more potent than THC”.

Now that time has passed since our initial analysis, let's further refine the story with THC, THCP, CBD, and CBDP. Did scientists discover new and improved forms of THC and CBD? Will we one day consume weed that’s 30 times more potent than today’s weed? Keep reading to find out more about this discovery.

Researchers in Italy Discover THCP and CBDP

To recap, let's start where we left off last and begin with the study. On December 30, 2019, researchers in Italy published the results of their work in Scientific Reports.

The study is entitled, “A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol”.

While that is very wordy and requires a pharmacology dictionary to understand at the surface level, a easy to digest translation of the cannabis study’s title into non-scientific terms could better be put as: “We discovered new weed molecules that are stronger than THC and CBD”.

In an effort to learn more about the chemical structure of the cannabis plant and identify the reason behind marijuana’s benefits, researchers used liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry.

Last year, the same Italian research team used a similar process when discovering two other previously unknown cannabinoids: CBDB and THCB.

This testing led scientists to identify two new compounds, which they decided to name:

  • Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)
  • Cannabidiphorol (CBDP)

Researchers derived these names from the traditional naming system of phytocannabinoids, which comes from the resorcinyl residue.

Then, scientists tested THCP and CBDP on mice – and this is where things got interesting.

THCP Was 30 Times More Potent than THC in Tests on Mice

The researchers performed five tests on mice and analyzed the effects. Mice underwent a tetrad test, body temperature test, open field test, bar test, and hot plate test to assess the effects of THCP.

“The cannabinoid activity of THCP was evaluated by the tetrad of behavioral tests on mice,” explain the study’s authors.

“The tetrad includes the assessment of spontaneous activity, immobility index [catalepsy] analgesia, and changes in rectal temperature.”

Essentially, researchers were testing these mice to see what types of physiological effects were caused by the ingestion of THCP. Decrease of locomotor activity and pain relief (analgesia) are well-known physiological symptoms of cannabinoid activity.

What did scientists discover?

Notably, ingestion of THCP “markedly reduced the spontaneous activity of mice in the open field” while enhancing other metrics of marijuana “highness”.

In other words, THCP appeared to work more effectively than THC at getting mice high. In fact, the metrics were about 30 times more powerful with THCP compared to THC. If these results are echoed in humans, then it’s possible that THCP could make you 30 times as high – with the same dosage – as THC on its own.

In the report, researchers added that they expect THCP to be endowed with “an even high binding affinity for CB1 receptor [in the brain] and a greater cannabimimetic activity than THC itself.”

It’s not yet clear how CBDP could work. However, CBD has poor binding affinity to CB1 and CB2 receptors. If CBDP has better binding affinity to those same receptors, then it’s possible that CBDP could provide similar benefits to CBD – but at a much higher potency.

Last year, the same Italian research team identified CBDB and THCB and analyzed the benefits of the newly-discovered cannabinoids. Researchers found that THCB caused pain relief in mice, although more research is needed to verify the benefits.

Similarly, more research is needed to verify the benefits of THCP and CBDP. The early results are promising – but we have a long way to go before the results are proven.

THC Versus THCP: A New Rivalry?

Italian researchers just discovered THCP. Based on their report from late December 2019, however, it’s possible that THCP could be the new and improved version of the popular cannabinoid.

Based on the little research so far, THCP seems to be a more effective and potent form of THC. It’s absorbed by your body more easily and it binds to CB1 receptors more effectively.

Researchers discovered that THCP was 30 times more powerful than THC – at least in mice.

THCP is just like any other cannabinoid: you can breed strains of cannabis to increase the concentration of the cannabinoid. It’s possible that we could see growers emphasize high THCP strains in the near future for “maximum highness”.

Of course, more research needs to be done to verify these benefits.

CBD Versus CBDP: Is CBDP an Improved Version of CBD with Better Absorption?

Could a budding rivalry be forming between CBD and CBDP? It’s certainly possible. Researchers focused mostly on testing THCP for the latest study, and it’s not really clear what effects CBDP will have over CBD benefits – if any.

One of the most exciting areas of improvement, however, is in the way CBDP could bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD has poor binding affinity to CB1 and CB2 receptors, weakening its biosorption and making it more difficult for your body to access the benefits of CBD, like pain relief. If CBDP has the same benefits of CBD with better biosorption, then CBDP could quickly become the next big thing in cannabis.

Of course, this is all conjecture at this point. Scientists just announced the discover of THCP and CBDP last week. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

While this will likely take much longer than any high-THC or high-CBD advocates may wish for in terms of when a consumable or smokable product may hit the market (if ever), as Vice and many others have reported now; we are still in the early days of understanding all of the medicinal values of cannabis as much more scientific research needs to be conducted and medical analysis submitted before we truly understand the impact and signifcance of tehse new cannabinoids discovery. As the cannabis industry unfolds and matures, there's no doubt it will be an entertaining and eventful journey into the depths of where the versatile cannabis plant can take us in the future for 2020 and beyond.

Alexia Akbay
Alexia is a NYU pre-med student majoring in Chemistry and Social Entrepreneurship. Alexia is inspired by healthcare and the public interest. A graduate of our Spring 2015 intern program, she continues to be the creative mind behind most of our infographic content. She is also our resident gif master.

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