If you’re new to cannabis and its derivative compounds, the acronyms THCA and THCP might seem a little strange. But don’t feel bad. Both terms may be somewhat unfamiliar even to seasoned cannabis enthusiasts.
Either way, we’ll make one thing clear today — THCA and THCP are not the same.
In this article, we’ll dive into the characteristics of both THCA and THCP, highlighting the similarities and differences in their structures, effects, and potential applications.
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Table of Contents:
- THCA and THCP are cannabinoids that are derived from the cannabis plant.
- In its natural state, THCA is non-psychoactive, while THCP will likely get you high if you consume it.
- THCP is a relatively recent discovery and has a higher potency level compared to other cannabinoids.
- Both compounds have completely different chemical structures.
What is THCA?
THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a compound found in raw cannabis. Its chemical structure is characterized by a carboxylic acid group, which distinguishes it from its more well-known derivative, delta-9 THC.
When cannabis is in its raw form, it contains THCA instead of THC, which is the more well-known psychoactive compound.
THCA is abundantly present in live cannabis plants and undergoes decarboxylation, triggered by heat, to transform into the psychoactive THC.
You might be wondering; how exactly is THCA formed?
THCA forms in the trichomes of the cannabis plant, which are tiny, resinous structures, and these trichomes contain enzymes that convert precursor molecules into THCA.
When you smoke or heat cannabis through methods like cooking or vaping, a process called decarboxylation occurs. Essentially, this process removes the carboxylic acid group from THCA and turns it into THC, which is responsible for the high you get after using cannabis. So, essentially, THCA will only get you high if it’s heated and converted into THC.
So, in simple terms, raw cannabis contains THCA, and it only transforms into THC when you apply heat.
Benefits and Uses of THCA
While more studies into the potential benefits of THCA are needed, some users have reported potential benefits in managing pain and promoting better sleep. Many consumers also claim it has strong neuroprotective benefits and boosts coordination and memory.
THCA can be consumed in many ways, but it’s important to note that these are methods that don’t expose it to heat, as heat converts THCA into THC.
You can consume it by eating fresh, raw cannabis leaves, or spice up your salads with them. Alternatively, you could also juice raw cannabis plants and add them to other beverages or drink it alone.
You could also try it in tincture form. Some tinctures are made with raw cannabis, preserving THCA, and these can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) or added to beverages.
Another way to consume THCA is to use THCA-infused topicals like creams, lotions, or balms that can be applied directly to the skin. Remember that these methods keep THCA in its non-psychoactive form, offering benefits without the psychoactive effects.
What is THCP?
THCP is also known as tetrahydrocannabiphorol, and is a relatively new and potent cannabinoid found in cannabis. It was discovered fairly recently in 2019 by Italian scientists while analyzing different cannabis strains.
It caught their attention because even though it shares a similar structure to THC, it appeared to be more potent than THC, the well-known psychoactive component of cannabis.
Unlike THC, THCP has an elongated alkyl side chain, which contributes to its unique characteristics and heightened potency and affects how it interacts with our body’s cannabinoid receptors.
THCP is found in cannabis plants, but it’s not as abundant as THC or CBD. It’s mainly present in certain strains and typically in small amounts. Of course, the levels can vary, and researchers are still studying which strains have higher concentrations of THCP.
Essentially, THCP is like a new player in the cannabis world, which can be worrying on the one hand, but on the other hand, it means its potential has yet to be fully realized.
Potency and Effects of THCP
Compared to other cannabinoids, THCP stands out the most for its potency. This impressive potency leads to more pronounced physiological and psychoactive effects than other substances, making it a subject of interest for researchers and enthusiasts alike.
Even though its high potency levels might sound great, you should consume it with caution because it may result in more intense psychoactive effects compared to traditional cannabinoids.
This caution is even more important because research on its potential long-term side effects is still in its infancy.
Even though its effects aren’t fully understood, it is believed to interact with the endocannabinoid system similarly to THC and have potential effects like enhanced euphoria and relaxation and other common side effects like red eyes, increased heart rate, and dry mouth.
Keeping these possible effects in mind, you have to remember that individual responses to cannabinoids vary. Your reaction to THCP might differ from someone else’s, and you absolutely must be careful, as excessive consumption can have adverse effects such as anxiety.
THCP vs. THCA Isomers
Chemical Structures Compared
The molecular difference between THCA and THCP lies in their chemical structures.
Even though both are cannabinoids found in cannabis, THCA has a smaller structure, and THCP has a larger one, and this structural difference means THCP might interact with our body’s receptors differently compared to THCA, potentially leading to different effects.
Is THCA Stronger Than THCP?
The potency and effects of cannabinoids like THCA and THCP can vary, and you should note that research on THCP is limited compared to well-studied cannabinoids like THC and THCA.
THCP is thought to be more potent than THCA because THCA itself is a non-psychoactive substance, but after interacting with heat, the game changes completely, and it could be said to have a similar potency to THCP.
Therapeutic Benefits: Which is Better?
Like other cannabinoid substances, THCA and THCP both have potential therapeutic benefits that are unique to them based on their different characteristics. However, there’s a lot more information on the benefits of THCA than THCP because of its newness to the scene.
THCA offers anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits, while its counterpart, THCP, has a reputation for being a great source of pain relief. If you’re trying to choose between one or the other, you should consider your individual needs and preferences and go for what suits them.
THCA or THCP: Which One is Safer?
Since research is still largely ongoing, the safety of using products containing THCA or THCP hasn’t yet been definitively established. However, while THCA is generally considered non-intoxicating, THCP may have stronger psychoactive effects.
Notwithstanding their difference in potency, you should make conscious efforts to consume these compounds responsibly.
You can do this by:
- Starting with low dosage and working your way up to assess your tolerance.
- Digging into the sources of the products you consume.
- Seeking advice from healthcare professionals first.
You should also try to avoid combining THCA and THCP products with alcohol or other drugs.
Where to Buy Reliable and Safe Products Containing THCA and THCP
It is usually best to shop THCA, THCP, and other hemp-derived products from reputable brands to reduce the chances of buying inferior quality. Thankfully, Imperial offers you a one-stop online store for your THCA and THCP.
Elevate your experience with our premium THCA-loaded prerolls, available in 3 strains, and made with top shelf flower infused with THCA diamonds.
If THCP is what you’re going for, our THCP vape pods or cartridges, available in 9 strains are a super discrete and straightforward way of trying this potent cannabinoid.
The world of cannabinoids continues to unveil new substances and secrets ever so often, with THCA and THCP emerging as notable players. Even though both have similar roots, their potency levels are vastly different, and their potential benefits and effects have yet to be fully explored.
But this is only the beginning.
As more and more advancements begin to occur in the coming years, it’s safe to assume that a clearer picture of their risks and benefits will emerge, and there will be an inevitable Increase in the production of innovative cannabis products.
THCP vs. THCA: Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between THCA and THCP?
THCA is a precursor to THC found in raw cannabis, while THCP is a recently discovered cannabinoid known for its heightened potency.
How Do THCA and THCP Relate to Other Cannabinoids like THC and CBD?
THCA transforms into THC through decarboxylation, contributing to THC’s psychoactive effects. THCP, with a unique structure, boasts higher potency than THC.
What are Some Potential Benefits of Consuming THCA and THCP?
THCA may offer anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits, while THCP’s increased potency could lead to more pronounced effects like pain relief.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Consuming THCA and THCP?
The fact that there’s so little research makes it challenging to pinpoint the potential risks of consuming them, but more common cannabis-related risks include increased anxiety and paranoia, which can be avoided with responsible consumption.