THCP vs. Delta 9

Imperial vape pen showcasing two distinct flavors: Strawberry Pound Cake and Bacio Gelato, set against a white background

Cannabis is a truly fascinating plant that naturally produces a diversity of compounds. Among these, we have delta 9 THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis and the most famous cannabinoid.

However, the growing rise of hemp-derived alternative cannabinoids has led to the emergence of a variety of new and intriguing compounds, like THCP.

Keep reading to see how THCP and delta 9 compare; we’ll be taking a closer look at the qualities that differentiate these cannabinoids, their effects, uses, and possible benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Delta 9, also known as simply THC, is a natural and the most famous cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. THCP is a newcomer semi-synthetic cannabinoid made by synthesizing other cannabinoids.
  • Unlike delta 9 THC’s 5-atom side chain, THCP has a 7-atom side chain, which makes it more psychoactive.
  • To make THCP, manufacturers use hemp-derived major cannabinoids such as CBG or CBD that, through a series of chemical reactions involving acids and solvents, modify their molecular structure, converting it to THCP.
  • Deciding which of these cannabinoids is better depends entirely on what you want. Delta 9 can give you that traditional and well-known high associated with marijuana, while THCP can provide a similar nature of effects but with increased potency.

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What is THCP?

Discovered in December 2019, THCP, or tetrahydrocannabiphorol, came about when a group of Italian scientists were analyzing a phenotype of the FM2 medical cannabis strain provided by the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Institute in Florence.

Unlike traditional THC with a 5-atom side chain, THCP surprised everyone, boasting a 7-atom side chain, which further enhance its psychoactive effects.

Experts suggest this longer alkyl side chain gives THCP a whopping 33 times greater affinity to endocannabinoid receptors compared to regular THC, making it probably the most potent known cannabinoid so far.

A man is standing in a white building and exhaling smoke

Is THCP Natural?

Yes, THCP does appear naturally in cannabis plants. But despite its natural occurrence, most of the THCP we find on the market comes from the artificial synthesis of other major cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, or delta 8, as cannabis plants naturally produce THCP only in tiny portions.

Due to the fresh entry of THCP into the market and the recentness and scarcity of studies on its natural presence in cannabis plants, scientists have not yet been able to develop strains that naturally produce THCP in large concentrations.

How is THCP Made?

As we mentioned, the THCP that we find in the current market is artificially produced in laboratories using precise and controlled production methods.

To make THCP, manufacturers use hemp-derived major cannabinoids such as CBG or CBD that, through a series of chemical reactions involving acids and solvents, modify the molecular structure of those cannabinoids, converting them to THCP.

How Cannabis Plants Make THCP

Cannabis plants make THCP through intricate synthesis processes, starting from precursor cannabinoids such as CBGA or THCA. Then, some specific enzymes convert these precursor cannabinoids into THCP by modifying their chemical structure.

What are the Effects of THCP?

THCP is causing a stir in the cannabis scene due to the increased potency it carries. Nonetheless, there are still many questions about the full range of effects of THCP, including the prevailing doubt about whether THCP produces a high.

The answer to this common question is yes; THCP produces a high that can be even more potent than the traditional THC high, depending on the dose.

Still, THCP’s effects are pretty similar to delta 9, with the most common reported effects including:

  • Mood improvements
  • Heightened cognitive stimulation
  • Altered time perception
  • Greater relaxation
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Intensified sensory experiences

How Does THCP Work?

Let’s break down the interaction THCP has with your body’s endocannabinoid system and how it makes you feel its effects:

  1. It Gets into Your Bloodstream – When you take THCP, whether you vape it, smoke it, or eat it, it finds its way into your bloodstream, with variations in the onset of effects depending on the method of consumption.
  2. It Binds to Receptors in Your Endocannabinoid System – Once in the bloodstream, THCP binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and nervous system, and this is where THCP begins to work its magic.
  3. You Start Feeling its Effects – By binding to our endocannabinoid receptors, THCP influences the release of certain neurotransmitters, impacting your mood positively and sensory perception.

​​The current studies on THCP’s impact on the body confirm the belief that THCP goes further, having a deeper interaction with the endocannabinoid system compared to delta 9 THC.

How Do You Take THCP?

How to take THCP will go hand-in-hand with the consumption method and the product you choose. In the THCP scene, you’ll generally find:

  • THCP Vapes – Known for their quick and easy usage and for delivering a rapid onset.
  • THCP Infused-Flower – The perfect choice for those old-school smokers who love tradition.
  • THCP Edibles – Great for a potent and long-lasting trip, but starting with a low dose and gauging the effects before eating more is crucial.
  • THCP Tinctures and Oils – This is one of the most versatile and discreet methods; you can just pop them under your tongue for quick absorption or mix them into your favorite foods and drinks.

Remember, whichever path you take, start with the smallest dose and give it time for the effects to peak, especially if you’re just stepping into THCP.

What is Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and was first isolated in 1964 by Habib Edery, Yechiel Gaoni, and Raphael Mechoulam at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Israel.

As the leading psychoactive player in cannabis, most cannabis research points directly to delta 9, so it is by far the most studied and best-known of the more than 100 cannabinoids identified to date.

When talking about THC, most people are referring to delta 9 THC. Nonetheless, there is an entire family of THC cannabinoids, including delta 8, delta 10, HHC, and also THCP, which share similarities in chemical composition and nature of effects.

Still, despite the close relationship between these compounds, each one has unique characteristics that separate it from the rest.

Is Delta 9 THC Natural?

Yes, delta 9 THC occurs abundantly and naturally in cannabis plants. Delta 9 results naturally from the conversion or degradation processes of precursor cannabinoids such as CBGA and THCA.

How is Delta 9 THC Made?

Although countless cannabis strains produce large amounts of “regular” delta 9 naturally, there are two main ways to make hemp-derived or “legal” delta 9. One of these ways is isomerization, which generally involves:

  1. Extracting CBD from hemp plants.
  2. Converting that CBD extract into delta 9 THC through a series of chemical reactions.

Isomerization is the same method used to produce delta 8, delta 10, and other popular isomers of THC, including THCP.

The other method typically used to make delta 9 involves extracting the natural delta 9 from hemp plants and distilling other main cannabinoids from hemp, such as CBD.

Extracting delta 9 directly from the plant is attractive because it does not require the synthesis of other cannabinoids; instead, it extracts delta 9 from the plant in its original state.

How Cannabis Plants Make Delta 9 THC

Cannabis plants synthesize and accumulate delta 9 THC in its acidic form, more precisely THCA, which results from the degradation of CBGA, also called the “mother cannabinoid,” since most of the cannabinoids found in cannabis plants derive from it.

After we have a plant rich in THCA, it gradually decarboxylates when the plant matter is cured or heated, resulting in the occurrence of delta 9 THC.

What are the Effects of Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 THC induces a different set of effects that differentiate it from the rest of the THC family isomers, including THCP. Users often report the following effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Altered sensory perception
  • Increased appetite
  • Relaxation
  • Greater creativity
  • Altered time perception

There are even specific studies that delve into the impact of delta 9 THC on emotions, cognition, and attention, and data that suggests that its proper use could improve focus while studying.

How Does Delta 9 THC Work?

Delta 9 THC’s mechanism of action is basically the same as that of most cannabinoids. The interaction route of delta 9 THC goes like this:

  • It Gets into Your Bloodstream – Whether you’re smoking or eating edibles, delta 9 THC finds its way into your bloodstream, lungs if you smoke or vape, and stomach and liver if you eat it.
  • It Binds to Your Endocannabinoid Receptors – Once available in the bloodstream, delta 9 THC hooks up with CB1 receptors in your brain and nervous system, where the effects begin to kick in.
  • You Start Feeling the Effects – As delta 9 THC binds with your endocannabinoid receptors, it starts tweaking neurotransmitters that influence your mood and perception, giving you that characteristic euphoric yet relaxed state of mind most people relate to THC.

This is the way cannabinoids generally operate, but there is some evidence suggesting that THC might work slightly differently in the presence of other cannabinoids like CBD.

This is because the combo interaction of cannabinoids and other compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, could work synergistically, generating something known as the entourage effect, with each element playing its part in the symphony of effects.

How Do You Take Delta 9 THC?

How you should take delta 9 THC hinges on the product you have at hand. In the vast delta 9 THC universe, you’ll typically find:

  • Delta 9 THC Vapes – In rising fame and celebrated for their convenience, delta 9 vapes are the perfect go-to for a quick and easy onset.
  • Delta 9 THC Flower – Although still banned in many regions, delta 9 flower remains the number 1 favorite for most cannabis lovers.
  • Delta 9 THC Edibles – Edibles are perfect for a lasting effect, but we should always start with a low dose and wait for the effect to develop as this method has a delayed onset.
  • Delta 9 THC Tinctures and Oils – Tinctures and oils are discreet and versatile; you can either take them sublingually for a swift hit or mix them into your foods or beverages.

You may wonder what the differences between these types of products are and why you should choose one over the other. The answer is that both the potency and duration of delta 9 THC effects go hand in hand with the method of consumption you use.

This is an essential factor to consider when choosing your delta 9 products. But regardless of your choice, remember to kick with a small dose, especially if you’re just starting to venture into delta 9 THC.

How to Compare Cannabinoids

For accurately weighing delta 9 THC vs. THCP, always take a look at the following aspects:

  • Potency – Gauge the intensity of each cannabinoid’s psychoactive effects.
  • Origin – Prioritize natural sources over synthetic origins.
  • Molecular Structure – Try to understand the distinct structural features that separate each compound apart.
  • Receptor Affinity – Evaluate their binding efficiency with endocannabinoid receptors.
  • Effects – Compare reported user experiences.
  • Legal Status – Stay up to date with regional legality considerations.

THCP vs. Delta 9: Chemical Composition

Although THCP and delta 9 share undeniable similarities, they also have major differences that distinguish them from each other.

To begin with, THCP would not exist without delta 9 since THCP is basically delta 9 with a phenolic group added to its alkyl side chain.

This modified molecular structure radically impacts how THCP interacts with the body, resulting in effects 10 to 30 times more potent than those of delta 9.

Delta 9 has a five-atom side chain, while THCP has seven. This elongated alkyl chain gives THCP its characteristic and revolutionary amplified effects, separating it from delta 9 as a noticeably different compound.

THCP vs. Delta 9: Concentration in Cannabis Plants

In addition to their differences in chemical composition, delta 9 and THCP present an enormous difference in terms of their natural concentration levels in cannabis plants.

Delta 9 THC occurs in large concentrations naturally in cannabis plants classified as marijuana, while THCP only occurs in small portions.

Despite this, the current market already offers THCP-infused hemp strains or even THC flower infused with THCP to increase its potency.

THCP vs. Delta 9: Accessibility and Availability

The legal landscape for THCP and delta 9 is convoluted but relatively easy to understand. For one thing, marijuana-derived delta 9 is illegal under federal law. It remains banned in much of the country, except for states that have legalized recreational use, like California and Colorado.

Interestingly, although THCP delivers more potent effects, it is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill as long as it comes from industrial hemp and contains a delta 9 concentration of 0.3% or less by dry weight.

Let’s break this down to get a better picture of the whole scenario:

Delta 9 THC

  • Federal Level – Classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, delta 9 THC is illegal federally, as long as it is marijuana-derived. Hemp-derived delta 9 products are legal if their delta 9 content is less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
  • State Level – Many states have legalized medical or recreational use, with each state having specific regulations.
  • Hemp vs. Cannabis – Delta 9 THC derived from hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC) is federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. However, it is still subject to state laws. Marijuana-derived delta 9 is still a Controlled Substance nationwide but has been legalized in a few states.


  • Federal Level – THCP is less recognized and exists in a legal gray area. Since it is similar to delta 9 THC, it could be considered a controlled substance.
  • State Level – Few states have explicit laws regarding THCP, likely due to its lesser-known status.
  • Hemp vs. Cannabis – THCP is typically produced in a lab by synthetically manipulating hemp-based cannabinoids. Its precise legal standing remains unclear, but most industry leaders consider it permissible under the 2018 Farm Bill as long as it is under the 0.3% delta 9 content threshold.

THCP vs. Delta 9: Which is Better?

When you learn to appreciate the characteristics that separate THCP from delta 9 THC, it becomes clear how unique and fascinating each compound is.

Still, deciding which of these cannabinoids is better depends entirely on what you want. Delta 9 can give you that traditional and well-known high associated with marijuana, while THCP can provide a similar nature of effects but with incredibly increased potency.

The ideal is to weigh your desired outcome with the natural qualities of each cannabinoid to obtain the experience that best suits your specific preferences.

What to Look for When Buying THCP

When snagging THCP goodies, always prioritize quality to get an authentic, top-notch experience. To find your perfect THCP match, keep an eye out for:

  • Lab Tests – Always check third-party tests for potency and purity.
  • Ingredients – Opt for transparent ingredient lists.
  • Manufacturer Reputation – Go for brands with a proven commitment to quality.
  • User Reviews – Check user comments for insights on your desired THCP product.

Wherever you’re looking, remember to check these aspects in your THCP products to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

If you’re already looking for top-shelf THCP products, you just hit the bullseye! At Imperial, we have a curated catalog that boasts high-grade THCP Vape Pods and Vape Cartridges, offering a reliable gateway to explore the delights of THCP safely.

Where to Buy THCP Online

With the rising popularity of THCP products, they’re increasingly accessible, especially in local dispensaries and smoke shops. Yet, for safety and reliability, going online directly to reputable manufacturers remains the optimal choice.

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THCP vs. Delta 9: FAQs

Is THCP More Potent than Delta 9?

Experts believe THCP is more potent than delta 9 THC due to its longer alkyl side chain, potentially offering a more intense psychoactive experience.

What Kind of High Does THCP Give You?

The THCP high is characterized by intensified euphoria, heightened sensory perception, amplified relaxation, greater cognitive stimulation, elevated mood, improved creativity, and altered time perception.

Is THCP Indica or Sativa?

As a chemical compound, THCP does not fall strictly into the categories of indica or sativa.

How Strong is THCP Compared to Delta 8?

THCP’s strength compared to delta 8 THC is not definitively established, as individual reactions to cannabinoids vary significantly, and we still need further research to make precise comparisons. That said, as it’s stronger than delta 9, we can assume it’s also stronger than delta 8.

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