What is THCP?
THCP is the rarest cannabinoid on Earth and the most difficult to extract. Almost a year ago, we read about THCP, (Tetrahydracannabiphorol) for the first time. A team of Italian military scientists set out to study cannabis for its many medical uses and ended up extracting THCP in 2019 from the FM2 hemp strain. The full text of their findings are available for free on Nature.com. The paper published on December 30, 2019 suggested that THCP might have 30 times the binding affinity to the CB1 receptor as THC ∆9. We’ve heard it can be even stronger. What that means is yet to be determined, but I have a feeling it could tear a hole in the space-time continuum.
We immedately started to follow the evolving story on THCP with enthusiasm. Months passed one after the other and no news on THCP appeared. A couple of websites had gummies marked as ‘out of stock’ with THCP in them. Neither of those websites provided any additional information beyond the nutritional value of the gummy and a lab report that verified the presence of other cannabinoids. I kept looking for more information and reading the same article over and over again. I wanted to know more about THCP, but the information was not out there.
Josh Garrison, the CEO of Alpine Dispensary, and I traveled to Denver for The Mountain CBD Hemp Expo early in the Spring. Thoughts of THCP swirled in the back of our minds. We attended the conference to find new products, gather ideas and listen to industry panel discussions. Our primary concerns involved new THC ∆8 bud strains, skin care products, and edibles. Finding out more information on THC ∆10 was also an interest. I talked to several growers and extractors to find out how much they knew about THCP along the way. The ones that did know about it kept their lips sealed in regards to their companies specific plan. It was clear that no one was close to having a marketable THCP product and many had no idea that it exists. We left Denver hopeful, but still no dice.
Three days after we arrived home, Josh recieved a phone call. We were informed that a THCP prototype vape cartridge had been developed and our opinion on the cart would be valued. Also, if we liked the cart, we would have the opportunity to bring it to market. We waited through the long 5 days for the cart to show up. When I took the package from the courier my hands started to sweat; I put it in the safe and notified Josh.
Josh wanted to try it at his house. The last thing we need is budtenders laid out in the store overnight or for the entire week. Nobody fully understands the potential of THCP at this point, either medically of psychoactively. We do understand the importance of environment, especially when doing R & D, everyone needs the option of having a soft place to land just in case. I clocked out and followed him up to his house. My gut churned in anticipation.
We pulled in the driveway and parked the cars. We went straight to the backyard and sat down out of sun, looking accross the coffee table and pool into the backyard of the house. The coffee table sits at the far edge of the backyard, framed on three sides by the fountain, the pool and the edge of the forest. Chairs and an outdoor love seat surround the table, allowing plenty of room for company.
“Here it is!” Josh said, holding up the vape pen and cartridge, light beams punched holes in the shade behind him. The cartridge, like a prism, split the beams into a brilliant glare. Blinded, I squinted and stared in awe.
“How much is in it?” I said.
“12 mg.” He replied while taking a puff.
“That’s not a lot.” I spoke before I had really thought about it. My expectations for this experience were high, but tempered. I didn’t want to go in too far too fast and I didn’t want to get all bent out of shape if the first prototype wasn’t that amazing. After all, we know that everyone’s individual experience will vary.
I kept thinking and talking while Josh held in his toke. The initial Italian study said that it could have 30 times the affinity for the CB1 receptor. Lately, we’ve heard the bond could be more than 300 times stronger. “Well, I guess we have to consider a 95% ∆9 cart is 950mg THC ∆9. Allegedly, THCP is 60 times stronger psychoactively. Twelve times 60 is 720 so this prototype should be like hitting a 72% THC ∆9 cart, in theory. But what does 300 times tighter of a bond mean for the body? What if it means that THCP lasts way longer than THC ∆9?”
“Dyer, calm down and breathe. The science on this is about to be in your lungs and we know numbers don’t tell the whole story. Text everybody working today and see if they want to try it too,” he spoke in a long puff of vapor.
“I’m sure I won’t have to tell ‘em twice! They’re always down for R & D.” I grabbed my phone with one hand and started texting. I took the vape pen in the other and leaned back deep into the chair. I took a long toke and held it in for a few seconds and blew it out, “Wow! that’s smooth!”
“What have the other people said about it so far?” I continued.
“It’s just like anything else, it will be a little different for everybody. The only way to tell is to take a puff and see what happens. Slow down and pay attention to what you feel.”
We waited five minutes after the first toke to make sure that we didn’t dematerialize before taking another one. We agreed to pass it back and forth 4 more times to see what happened. At first I didn’t really feel anything different from a normal buzz, now I do admit that it did feel like there was more coming. I was getting a little bit antsy, but went ahead and took a sixth one. Almost immediately I began to get a glimpse of what THCP was about. I could see the particles in the air catching the reflection of the sun creating a shimmering golden veil about 50 yards into the future. It felt like my hearing was a little better too, the fountain sounded louder and the birds and bugs were striking up a groovy jazz beat.
“Let’s get up and walk around,” I said to break the trance. That turned out to be the catalyst for a series of events, we kept hitting the cart throughout the process. I lost track of how many times I hit the cart. For the next hour we sat on both sides of the pool, circled the yard four times, got in both of our cars to listen to the bass and tried really hard to determine what THCP was doing to our bodies and minds. Nothing about it felt bad or scary at all. Now, were we high? I think it would certainly look that way from a third party perspective, I mean we were circling the yard and rattling the windows with bass. “What will be entertaining now is watching everybody else try it.” I said.
“Only five people that I know have tried this 12mg THCP cart. Two reported relatively normal results, they said it was about like smoking a bowl or two after hitting it several times. Two others reported psychedelic and visual effects beyond what they normally feel from cannabis. The fifth person didn’t feel that much at all.” Josh stated.
“Well, out of the box I think that it should be stronger. According to the math I did a little while ago, this prototype cart should not be quite as strong as a THC ∆9 cart of the same size. Either way it’s incredible that 12mg of a molecule can come close to what a 720mg THC ∆9 cart can do. Two times the strength would put the cart at 24mg. Using the same relative formula that I did before, 24 times 60 is 1440. That would be well beyond the potential strength of a THC ∆9 cart. I don’t even like comparing the two by numbers because this seems like it could be entirely different from regular old THC. It’s also hard to compare binding affinity with physical sensations and effects. Potency is relative to so many things. I didn’t get high the first few times I smoked pot and then one day it wiped me out.”
About that time the Budtenders pulled into the driveway. Josh and I giggled to ourselves a little thinking about all the potential outcomes. We were both well on our way to a good buzz and didn’t even know it at the time. What was intriguing to us both, from the stories that we had heard, is that THCP can have drastically different effects on different individuals. With THCP the science is yet to be performed. We have only glimpsed the potential of this rare cannabinoid.
What we do know is how it affected us. The night of the initial experiment we made an audio recording of our conversation as we consumed THCP for the first time. As with any session some ridiculous things were said that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were indeed high and feeling no negative bodily sensations. We thought it imperative to share this information with the public since we plan to bring a THCP cartridge into the marketplace. The recordings that we took on the night of the initial THCP experiment and the subsequent reflections of the staff members that participated in the THCP experiment are now Alpine Dispensary’s first audio/video podcast. The science is truly in our lungs on this one and we are grateful for the opportunity to ask you to join us at Alpine Dispensary as we make the history of THCP.
Visit either of Alpine Dispensary’s two stores in Helen, GA, send us an email via AlpineDispensary.com or give us a call during store hours at 1-855-420-HEMP and we will be delighted to answer any questions related to our products.
J.C. Dyer, Mojo Coordinator