The THC gang: how to distinguish between THC, THCV, THCB and THCP

De: Contributor Cultura

As the legalisation of marijuana spreads around the globe, the cannabinoids of this plant seem to multiply before the astonished eyes of the scientific community. Gone are the days when THC was the greatest thing since sliced bread; now it has many siblings who claim our full attention. Today we will tell you everything you need to know about THCV, THCB and THCP, what makes them special and why we should follow their trail very closely.

Although there are around 130 phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant, many of them have not yet been isolated, so their properties are rife with mystery. Except for the THC molecule that was discovered in Israel in the 1960s and whose functioning is best known.

THC, also scientifically called Δ -tetrahydrocannabinol, is a sedative-hypnotic compound to which the psychoactive effects of the cannabis plant are attributed, so it is responsible for the “high” of marijuana.

THC exerts this effect by activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system, a neuromodulatory system responsible for maintaining the balance of our body and for regulating many of the functions that affect our health.

Through this interaction, THC can exert analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, among other therapeutic uses, making it of great interest for the medical cannabis industry. On the other hand, recreational cannabis users have always shown a penchant for THC-rich strains.

However, with the arrival of new cannabinoids, all this could change. Is THC the most psychoactive cannabinoid? Is it the one with the most therapeutic properties? Let’s find out.

THCV, the new star of medical cannabis

Δ -tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a minor compound that is usually found in a very low proportion compared to the main cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. However, according to a study published in 2020 in the ‘Journal of Cannabis Research’, this cannabinoid has more than one interesting effect on our body:

–  Decreases appetite.

–  Increases satiety.

–  Activates the metabolism.

–  Has a neuroprotective function.

–  Exerts a glycemic control.

Unlike THC, which can increase appetite or cause the famous cannabis “munchies”, this cannabinoid could be used to lose weight, as well as to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes.

All of these effects could be due to the THCV ability to interact with our endocannabinoid system. THCV is a CB1 receptor antagonist, that is, it binds to the receptor, but does not activate it and prevents other cannabinoids from activating it.

What is interesting is that THC and THCV have a very similar chemical structure, which is mainly differentiated by two carbon atoms in the side chain that make the THCV chain shorter.

This small difference is enough to generate a myriad of effects totally opposed to those of its elder brother, THC, which reduces even its psychoactivity and makes this phytocannabinoid the new star of medicinal cannabis, earning it the name of “dietary herb”.

The THCV is naturally found in marijuana in very small quantities, but in Kannabia we have been able to launch to the market our THCV variety thanks to an intense work of breeding and stabilisation. A strain that contains acceptable amounts of this compound (7% of THCV specifically) so you can check for yourself its virtues.

THCP, the new king of psychoactivity

No wonder, this cannabinoid is turning heads in the cannabis industry. Since a group of Italian scientists discovered it in 2019, as a result of advances in mass spectrometry (a tool that scientists use to measure the mass-to-charge ratio molecules and to identify compounds), its great psychoactive power has stolen the spotlight from its elder THC chain brother.

Δ -tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) shares the chemical structure of THCV and THC, but its carbon side chain is longer than the THC’s. It also has the ability to bind with the CB1 receptor and activate it, so its action is agonistic as in the case of THC.

However, its level of affinity with the receptor appears to be 30 times higher than in THC, so it has more facility to bind to this receptor. In this way, it is credited with a great psychoactive potential that could surpass the “high” caused by THC.

This could be because the binding capacity between cannabinoids and the CB1 receptor is directly related to the length of their side chain. This theory had already been tested in the laboratory with synthetic cannabinoids with more than 5 carbons in their side chain. However, before THCP, a natural phytocannabinoid with such a long chain (7 carbons) had never been found.

The discovery of this new cannabinoid could explain why some varieties with a low THC percentage show such powerful psychoactive effects; so possibly, we would be overlooking their amount of THCP.

The therapeutic properties of this new phytocannabinoid are still under investigation, but great things are expected of it. At the moment, the Italian study showed that with only half the dose of THC, THCP exerted the same analgesic effects in mice, so the interest in its medicinal application would be fully justified.

THCB, the quiet brother of the new cannabinoids

The same research team that discovered THCP in 2019 can take credit for the isolation of this new cannabinoid, THCB or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabutol. Little is known about this compound, as it has gone largely unnoticed compare to the THCP, although its chemical structure is very similar.

At the moment we know what happened at the University of Modena, where researchers managed to isolate the THCB along with another new cannabinoid, the CBDB, from a medicinal variety of Cannabis Sativa.

During the study, tests were performed to determine the binding capacity of THCB with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which turned out to be similar to the THC binding capacity. In addition, its therapeutic properties were tested in mice and the result was positive, as analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects were observed.

Also the most common effects of THCB can help induce a feeling of deep relaxation and drowsiness. This suggests that it may be helpful for many people who have trouble falling asleep. Since insomnia is a common reason for cannabinoid use, THCB is a promising compound that may have increased popularity and wider use in the future.

However, more studies will be needed to know all the uses of this new cannabinoid. The THCB is still very new, and there is only one study to date confirming its existence and barely describing its properties superficially.

Now that you know the main differences between the members of the THC gang, it is easy to deduce that this is only the beginning. The legalisation of cannabis in some countries has opened the doors to the research of this ancient plant, which despite its antiquity does not cease to surprise us.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.