A team of Italian researchers who were doing a study on industrial hemp, stumbled upon two new cannabinoids; THCP and CBDP. They published their study in Scientific Reports on December 30, 2019. In this article I will explain the ramifications of this exciting yet unexpected discovery and discuss the analytical tools used in their study.
Professor Giuseppe Cannazza of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia conducted the study. His team included Cinzia Citti and Pasquale Linciano. The original focus of their project was to investigate an industrial hemp strain known as FM2. In doing so, they identified two new cannabioids, which they named THCP and CBDP. The team had also discovered two other cannabinoids, THCB and CBDB, the previous year.
This research is part of UNIHEMP (Use of Industrial Hemp Biomass For Energy and New Biochemical Production), funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and the European Regional Development Fund.
Why This Is Such A Big Deal?
THCP was shown to contain a 7 link side chain which has never been seen before in a natural occurring cannabinoid. THC contains a 5 link side chain. These extra two links allows THCP to bind more effectively to CB1 and CB2 receptors.
- THCP was 33 times more active than THC
- THCP was 63 times more active than THCV
- THCP was 13 times more active than the newly discovered cannabinoid THCB against CB1 receptor
- THCP is more lipophilic (making it easier to dissolve in or combine with fats)
According to Dr. Cannazza, his research team stumbled upon the discovery of THCP precisely “because no one was looking for them.” The research uncovered the presence of the phytocannabinoids, THCP and CBDP Isolate in the strain supplied by the Italian government. That has left the team in the dark about whether or not and to what extent other chemovars can produce these two cannabinoids.
The discovery of THCP may explain why some strains that have low levels of THC are more potent, both in their psychotropic effects as well as in their therapeutic benefits.