THCP vs THCA: Which is Stronger?

THCP vs THCA: Which is Stronger?

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Long gone are the days of just delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Today, we have a growing alphabet of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THC-P) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A).

For those who haven’t yet experienced what these cannabinoids have to offer, it's natural to ask how they compare. What are the similarities and differences between THCA and THCP? Most importantly, in a choice between THCP vs. THCA, which is stronger?

What is THCA?

closeup (macro) of THCA cannabis flower bud's bulbous trichomes

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (also called THC-A or THCA) is a non-psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in raw, unheated cannabis plants. It is the precursor to the famous psychoactive compound THC.

When cannabis is heated, smoked, vaped, or cooked, THCA undergoes a chemical change called “decarboxylation.” This process removes a molecular structure called a carboxyl group, which serves to convert it into THC. 

What about the effects of THCA vs. THC? THCA itself does not produce psychoactive effects when consumed in its raw, unheated form. But as explained, once decarbed, THCA transforms into THC. THC has much more noticeable mental and physical effects, like deep body relaxation, sleepiness, creativity, and euphoria.  

Just keep in mind that one's experience with THC is an individual one. The effects one person feels compared to another, even when the serving size remains the same, can be quite different. 

What is THCP?

Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (also called THC-P or THCP) is a novel cannabinoid that researchers only recently discovered in cannabis plants in 2019. Like its cousin, THC, THCP has a strong binding affinity for the body’s CB1 receptorperhaps even more so

THCP is structurally similar to THC (sometimes called delta-9 THC), but it differs by having a propyl chain with three carbon atoms, as opposed to THC's pentyl chain with five. This may affect its interaction with our endocannabinoid system

Because of its slightly different molecular makeup and stronger affinity toward the CB1 receptor, THCP is thought to have more powerful psychoactive effects than THC. This could lead to a more intense experience, so is not recommended for those with a low tolerance for psychoactive cannabinoids.

Unlike THCA, THCP is not a precursor to another cannabinoid. However, just like THCA, THCP naturally occurs in cannabis plants, but only at low levels. 

Most THCP products available today come from synthesizing other cannabinoids derived from hemp, like CBD and delta-9. 

We get the dash of THCP in our Sour Belts and 2-gram Live Resin Dispos through this process. By synthetically deriving the desired cannabinoids from hemp-derived ones, the resulting molecule is molecularly similar to the naturally occurring THC-P found in cannabis plants — just far more readily available.

THCA vs. THCP: Differences in Effects, Uses, and Legality

cannabis growing indoors

Effects

THC-A vs THC-P are markedly different in their effects. For starters, if THCA is in its raw form, it won't produce any psychoactive effects. That means no euphoria, no relaxation, and nothing like the mood lift you'd get from THC. Notably, scientists believe there may be beneficial properties but no noticeable experiential ones. 

But, all this changes once THCA is exposed to heat in a process called decarboxylation. Heat, whether it's from smoking, vaping, or baking, transforms the compound into THC, so you'll feel the euphoria and relaxation you were seeking.

THCP, on the other hand, doesn't require any additional steps to get the psychoactive effects. Researchers have suggested it's up to 33 times more active with the CB1 receptor than THC and 63 times more active than delta-9 tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv). This stronger affinity means it tends to have much more potent effects, including euphoria, relaxation, and contentedness.

Just keep in mind that if you've never tried THCP, you'll want to start with a lower serving than you would with your usual measure of THC. Because THCP is stronger, there is a greater risk of overdoing it (not in the sense of physical danger, but feeling overwhelmed).

Uses

In its raw form, THCA has no experientially euphoric effects, but, as mentioned, other fascinating properties. This may be ideal for people who can't tolerate the psychoactive effects of THC or who need to remain alert during the day. Of course, once it's lit up, THCA transforms into Delta-9 THC. The main benefit of THCA flower to a consumer is that it is hemp and allows people to experience inhalable Delta-9 in a federally legal form.

THCP has only been in the cannabis lexicon for a few years, and there are few studies into its use cases. Theoretically, because it is stronger and has a greater activation of the CB1 receptor, it may have the same uses as THC, yet perhaps faster or more powerfully. This is just a hypothesis, however, and we'll have to wait for new studies to determine potential applications.

Legality

Thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp-derived products like THCa and THCP are federally legal. However, certain states have walked back on the country-wide legalization to ban hemp-derived products, including both THCP and THCA. In a few states, the legal statuses of these products are now contradictory to their federal statuses. 

Cannabinoid laws are changing all the time, so before ordering either THCP or THCA, you'll want to do your research about what's legal in your home state. The good news here? If you place an order with Hometown Hero, we do the double-checking for you.

Which is Stronger: THCA vs THCP?

In a side-by-side comparison between THC-A vs. THC-P, THC-P comes out as the stronger cannabinoid. This applies whether you are comparing it with THCA in its raw form, where it's not psychoactive at all, or in its decarbed form when it becomes psychoactive Delta-9 THC.

If you're interested in more intense effects from cannabis or just want to explore the nuances of a new cannabinoid, try THCP in small amounts to start. This helps you get the serving size right to hit the sweet spot of greater effects without increasing unwanted side effects.

Of course, if you want to explore your limits, you can experience the potent effects of THCP alongside potent THCA liquid diamonds in our line of 2-gram Live Resin Disposables. Just remember to use our low and slow approach.

If you’re looking for more of a classic cannabis experience, try our high THCA flower, which is sure to deliver the same active effects of Delta-9 THC in a legally compliant form. Our 3 strains of premium THCA flower offer not only the potency of Delta-9, but also the aromatic terpenes and flavor of Donny BurgerMule Fuel, and Mimosa Haze. For those looking to savor the essence of Indica, Hybrid, and Sativa, freshly harvested THCA comes out as the obvious choice.

THCA and THCP on Your Cannabinoid Bucket List

Who would have thought that we'd be living in a world with a dozen or more cannabinoids beyond THC? But thanks to such cannabinoid diversity, dialing in the experience to get exactly the effects you are looking for is now more possible than ever.

Are you ready to dive into the cannabinoid spectrum? Explore both THCP and THCA in our potent vapes, edibles, and flower collections. 

Happy exploring, and until next time, mind your mind.

FDA Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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