Meet THCP and CBDP: Study reveals the identification of two new cannabinoids

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Cannabis
is
the
botanical
gift
that
keeps
on
giving.
As
research
into
cannabis
ramps
up,
the
chemical
complexity
and
potential
of
the
plant
are
becoming
ever
more
apparent.
On
the
cusp
of
2020,
a
group
of
Italian
researchers
announced




the
discovery
of
two
new
cannabinoids
:
meet
THCP
(tetrahydrocannabiphorol)
and
CBDP
(cannabidiphorol).
If
the
names
look
familiar
to
THC
and
CBD,
that’s
because
they
are
similar
in
both
structure
and
function.


At
present,
almost



150
phytocannabinoids
have
been
detected


in
the
cannabis
plant,
although
few
have
been
isolated
and
studied.
While
this
has
been
due
in
part
to
legal
reasons—cannabis
is
still
illegal
at
a
federal
level
in
the
US,
rendering
research
tricky—it’s
also
because
most
strains
of
cannabis
are
THC-
or
CBD-dominant,
making
the
isolation
and
study
of
minor
cannabinoids
challenging. 


However,
this
is
changing.
Cutting-edge



spectrometry
—which
is
used
to
identify
unknown
compounds
in
cannabis—and
advanced
analytical
techniques
better
enable
the
identification
of
new
cannabis
compounds. 


The
group
of
researchers
who
released
the
study
have
been
industrious
in
profiling
cannabis
and
also



identified
two
other
cannabinoids
,
THCB
and
CBDB,
last
year.
Aside
from
the
novelty
of
getting
better
acquainted
with
the
plant
and
its
myriad
cannabinoids,
identifying
previously
unknown
cannabis
compounds
also
holds
immense
therapeutic
implications. 


In
this
case,
all
signs
are
pointing
to
THCP
being
a
potential
game-changer.
So
what’s
so
unique
about
this
new
cannabinoid?

THCP:
What
happens
when
you
enhance
THC’s
binding
ability?


In
the
newly
discovered
THCP
molecule,
the
researchers
found
that
a
critical
side
chain
in
the
molecule’s
structure
is
elongated,
with
seven
links.
In
comparison,
regular
THC
has
five
links.
To
provide
further
context,
naturally
occurring
cannabinoids
with
more
than
five
links
in
this
side
chain
have
not
yet
been
detected
in
cannabis. 


The
length
of
this
side
chain
has
been
shown
to
play
a
vital
role
in



the
effects
THC
exerts
over
the
body’s
CB1
receptors


(brush
up
on
your
knowledge
of
the
body’s
endocannabinoid
system



here
).
A
minimum
of
three
links
is
necessary
to
bind
THC
to
the
receptor,
with
binding
affinity
peaking
at
eight
links
before
it
starts
to
decrease
in
activity
again.


What
are
the
implications
of
this
elongated
side
chain?
As
it
turns
out,
THCP’s
elongated
side
chain
appears
to
have
an
even
stronger
affinity
for
the
CB1
receptor
than
regular
THC,
which
suggests
it
can
work
its
magic
more
potently. 


When
the
researchers
checked
the
binding
affinity
of
THCP
against
human
CB1
and
CB2
receptors,
they
found
that
THCP
was
33
times
more
active
than
regular
THC
on
the
CB1
receptor,
and
5-10
times
more
active
than
regular
THC
on
the
CB2
receptor. 

The
molecular
structures
of
the
newly
uncovered
cannabinoids
CBDP
and
THCP.
(Scientific
Reports)

How
about
CBDP?


Like
THCP,
CBDP
also
has
a
longer
side
chain
of
seven
links,
rather
than
five
links.
According
to
the
researchers
of
the
study,
however,
while
the
investigation
into
the
anti-inflammatory,
antioxidant,
and
anti-epileptic
activity
of
CBDP
will
be
ongoing,
it’s
currently
not
a
priority. 


Why?
Because
it
has
already
been
established
that



CBD
has
a
poor
binding
affinity
with
both
CB1
and
CB2
receptors
,
so
it’s
possibly
unlikely
that
a
longer
side
chain
will
assist
CBDP
in
binding
more
effectively
with
the
body’s
receptors.


As
the
researchers
point
out,
however,
science
can
hold
great
surprises,
and
future
research
may
prove
that
CBDP
has
concealed
potency
or
therapeutic
qualities
we’re
currently
unaware
of.

What
are
the
implications
of
these
findings?


One
critical
implication
the
study
stresses
is
that
THCP
could
account
for



why
cannabis
can
provoke
such
disparate
experiences


in
consumers.
As
the
researchers
took
care
to
emphasize,
there’s
an
astonishing
variability
of
subject
response
to
cannabis-based
therapies,
even
with
equal
doses
of
THC. 


While
we’ve
always
thought
the
plant’s
psychotropic
effects
are
primarily
due
to
THC,
they
may,
in
fact,
be
partly
attributable
to
THCP
or
other
extremely
potent
cannabinoids
that
haven’t
yet
been
profiled.
Deepening
our
knowledge
of
the
pharmacological
effects
of
THCP
may
help
us
better
evaluate
the
effects
of
cannabis
extracts
on
people.


Another
fascinating
implication
the
study
suggests
is
the
need
to
cultivate
breeds
of
cannabis
that
are
not
THC-
or
CBD-dominant.
Genetics
research
into
cannabis
has
progressed
in
leaps
and
bounds
in
recent
years,
and
strains
that
produce
higher
quantities
of
minor
cannabinoids
such
as
CBDV,
CBG,
and
THCV
are
gradually
becoming
more
available. 


Sometime
soon,
cannabis
varieties
rich
in
other
minor
cannabinoids,
such
as
THCP,
may
follow
suit.
Cultivating
strains
rich
in
these
minor
cannabinoids
facilitates
the
production
of
the
extract
of
those
compounds,
allowing
consumers
to
enjoy
the
benefits
of
each
compound’s
specific
pharmacological
profile. 


Overall,
the
study’s
authors
assert
that
carrying
out
a
comprehensive
chemical
profiling
of
cannabis
is
vital.
Identification
of
minor
cannabinoids
and
presently
unknown
cannabinoids
may
offer
therapeutic
riches
that
have
the
potential
to
transform
medicine
further.
Or
not.
But
it’s
worth
finding
out.



 
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Emma Stone's Bio Image

Emma
Stone

Emma
Stone
is
a
journalist
based
in
New
Zealand
specializing
in
cannabis,
health,
and
well-being.
She
has
a
Ph.D.
in
sociology
and
has
worked
as
a
researcher
and
lecturer,
but
loves
being
a
writer
most
of
all.
She
would
happily
spend
her
days
writing,
reading,
wandering
outdoors,
eating
and
swimming.

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