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What Is THCP and Does It Offer Better Pain Relief?

One of the things we most appreciate about being in the cannabis industry is the research now being done. As Medical Cannabis has spread across the country, a lot of people in our industry are putting a ton of time and effort into really getting to know the plant in ways that were previously unknown. That insatiable desire has led to the discovery of additional cannabinoids, including THCP.

If you follow cannabis research, you might already be familiar with THCP. If not, the first thing you should know is that it is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. What makes this cannabinoid so interesting is that, as far as we can tell, it was completely unknown until 2019.

Similar But Distinct

Some of its distinct properties could make THCP an ideal candidate for Medical Cannabis. In fact, it was first discovered in a Medical Cannabis strain out of Italy, a strain known as FM2. We think it might have considerable potential for pain relief. More research would be necessary to know for sure though.

So, what makes THCP unique? Its carbon side chain. Without getting too technical, Delta-9 THC is the cannabinoid we commonly refer to as ‘THC‘. Part of its molecular structure is a carbon side chain. THC’s carbon side chain consists of five molecules. THCP’s chain is seven molecules.

Why does this make a difference? Because the molecular structure of a particular cannabinoid partly determines how it affects the endocannabinoid system. We could look at another example like THCV. Its carbon side chain is only three molecules long. It has the ability to block the CB1 receptor, whereas THC activates the receptor.

As a Pain Medication

At the current time, we don’t have definitive proof that THCP would be an ideal pain medication. But there is reason to suspect that this might be the case. We just need research to verify one way or the other. If it turns out the THCP is effective, the industry will have to decide how to move forward with producing it.

THCP occurs naturally in cannabis plants. But right now, we do not know of a single strain that produces enough of it to make extracting it from plant material worthwhile. The good news is that THCP can be synthesized in the lab, just like Delta-8.

All From the Same Precursor

By now you are probably wondering how THCP can be synthesized. For that, we turn to a compound known as CBGA, a.k.a. the “mother of all cannabinoids.” All 100+ cannabinoids extracted from plant material begin as CBGA. They are converted into cannabinoid acids through the plant’s normal growth processes. Manufacturers produce things like CBD and THC by decarboxylating their acid precursors.

All this is to say that the industry has figured out how to take CBD and convert it to other cannabinoids in the lab. It is easier and more cost-effective to produce cannabinoids like THCP and Delta-8 from CBD rather than trying to come up with strains that naturally produce high volumes on their own.

A Lot to Learn

We have a lot to learn about THCP and most of the other cannabinoids in the beloved plant. THCP could eventually turn out to be an incredibly good pain medication. Right now, we are still in the learning stages. We encourage you to join us and keep an eye on industry research. We should know more about THCP soon enough.

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Published September 20, 2022

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