THC-O and THC-P are the most mind-blowing cannabinoids in the hemp industry – both are much more potent than delta-8, HHC, and even THC. But which cannabinoid comes out on top in a THC-O vs THC-P showdown?
In this post, we will debate THC-O and THC-P on potency, effects, legality, safety, product, variety, and more. There is plenty to compare these cannabinoids on, and while some enjoy both, most users have a firm favorite.
It's time for the battle of the super cannabinoids to commence! Let's start with a general overview of THC-O and THC-P.
What is THC-O?
THC-O-acetate (aka THC acetate ester and THC-O) is a lab-synthesized THC derivative and the acetate ester of THC. Every tetrahydrocannabinol has an acetate ester, and delta-9 (THC), delta-8, and delta-10 are no exception.
THC-O is not found naturally in cannabis and comes exclusively from the laboratory. But the cannabinoid is reportedly 200% stronger than THC and is already famous for its spiritual, psychedelic-like properties. It also has a murky history!
The first evidence of THC-O’s existence comes from the Edgewood Arsenal human experiments conducted by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps between 1948 and 1975.
THC-O was examined as a possible non-lethal incapacitating agent, not unlike how the CIA trialed THC as a truth serum during Project MKUltra.
But THC-O has emerged from the shadows and is now a popular hemp-derived recreational drug. And that’s no shock given THC-O’s outrageously potent properties.
Chemistry-wise, THC-O has the same carbon-hydrogen-oxygen makeup as THC. But THC-O has two fewer carbon atoms, two more hydrogen atoms, and one additional oxygen atom.
What is THC-P?
(-)-Trans-Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (Delta-9-THCP, THC-Heptyl, and simply THC-P) is an incredibly potent naturally occurring and lab-synthesized cannabinoid. THC-P is an agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
But here’s the crazy thing: THC-P is at least 30 times more potent than THC, making it mind-bogglingly psychoactive and the strongest natural cannabinoid known.
Researchers thought THC-P was synthetic until as recently as 2019, until a remarkable study from Italian researchers popped up in Scientific Reports.
The paper described naturally-occurring THC-P and cannabidiphorol (CBDP) for the first time. THC-P and CBDP are the heptyl homologs of THC and CBD.
THC-P has a longer side chain than THC, which explains its significantly more potent effects. THC has a pentyl side chain, but this becomes a heptyl side chain in THC-P. Delta-8 also has a heptyl homolog known as Delta-8-THCP.
THC-P is an up-and-coming recreational cannabinoid, with vendors emboldened by its newly-discovered natural origins. Due to its strength, products typically contain tiny amounts of THC-P, often as a complement to other cannabinoids.
The THC-P molecule is almost identical to THC, with its carbon-hydrogen-oxygen structure. However, THC-P has two additional carbon atoms and four extra hydrogen atoms.
THC-O vs THC-P: Which Cannabinoid is Best?
Objectively, neither THC-O nor THC-P is superior to the other. Both cannabinoids possess unique and desirable characteristics, and each works wonders in different scenarios. But there are circumstances where one is better than the other.
Let’s dive into the THC-O vs THC-P debate with this comparison before we discuss each factor in depth. This table describes the hemp-derived versions of THC-O and THC-P available in the U.S.
|Strength||3x THC||At least 30x THC|
|Onset of effects||Delayed||Immediate|
|Average serving||1 to 3mg||Less than 1mg|
|Origin||Lab-synthesized||Natural and lab-synthesized|
|Side effects||Dizziness, hallucinations, paranoia, sedation, vomiting||Dry mouth, dry eyes, disorientation, lightheadedness|
|Drug tests||Likely detectable||Likely detectable|
THC-O might be triple the strength of THC, but THC-P is at least 10 times more potent than THC-O (and a minimum of 30 times stronger than THC!). These are staggering stats and make THC-O and THC-P the most hardcore cannabinoids available.
But the headline potencies don’t mean much – at least not yet. No manufacturer infuses as much THC-P into products as they do delta-8 or HHC. However, THC-O quantities in products are comparable to cannabinoid levels in other products.
Therefore, you can confidently assume that a THC-O disposable vape pen will be much more intense than an HHC or delta-8 pen. But the actual potency is less apparent with THC-P, so you may have to make some calculations!
But you should anticipate a punchy, THC-like experience with either and an increased risk of side effects. Err on the side of caution with your THC-O or THC-P dosage to reduce the likelihood of a bad trip.
Curiously, many people describe THC-O as a spiritual and psychedelic-like compound. These terms are typically reserved for genuine psychedelic drugs, not cannabinoids. But THC-O’s high intensity seems to push users into a different realm!
We are still learning about THC-O, although anecdotes suggest moderate amounts can give you visuals while larger servings can blast you into full-on psychedelia.
In contrast, THC-P has similar effects to THC. Unlike THC-O, the insane potency of THC-P does not translate into a psychedelic-style high, just super-intense THC-style psychoactivity. However, we could discover more subtle THC-P effects in the future.
If you want an amped-up version of cannabis, choose a THC-P product. If you want to break the mold and enjoy an unusual high that is relatable but distinct from marijuana, try your luck with THC-O.
THC-O vs THC-P: Side effects
Not everybody suffers side effects from cannabinoids, including mega-potent ones like these. But the extra potency inevitably makes them an issue for more people. THC-O and THC-P can trigger similar side effects, such as:
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (in long-term, high-dose users only)
- Increased appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
As a psychedelic-like cannabinoid, THC-O may be more prone to causing hallucinations. Ultimately, scientists have much to uncover about the side effects of each THC offshoot and how they differ.
Never use THC-O or THC-P products if you suffer from severe mental illness, or if a disorder such as schizophrenia or psychosis runs in your family. Psychoactive substances can make these illnesses worse or trigger them if you are predisposed.
Onset of effects
Oddly, THC-O does not kick in immediately, even if you vape it! The delayed onset of effects can make dosing with THC-O tricky due to its high strength, particularly if taking it in edible form.
THC-P behaves like a classic cannabinoid, hitting hard and fast when vaped and slowly and steadily when consumed orally. This standard response time is a plus with a substance as mind-blowing as THC-P and gives it an edge over THC-O.
As THC derivatives and homologs, THC-O and THC-P could have impressive therapeutic benefits. We don’t have studies on the effects of either cannabinoid, but there is a growing body of evidence on the usefulness of THC.
THC-O and THC-P may be effective at reducing physical discomfort, boosting appetite, and elevating mood. THC-O could be better if you need sustained relief, while THC-P is preferable if seeking immediate benefits.
As a naturally-occurring cannabinoid, THC-P’s potential therapeutic value may come under more investigation than THC-O’s. In the future, THC-P could work as a solo remedy or in combination with other cannabinoids for more specific effects.
THC-O and THC-P might hold promise for various health issues, but they are currently unproven. Do not self-medicate with either substance. Over-the-counter, hemp-derived products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Hemp-based THC-O and THC-P products are available throughout the U.S., but both cannabinoids fall into a legal grey area. THC-O’s situation is arguably stickier because the compound does not appear in the natural world.
The legal status of THC-O
Federally legal, hemp-derived THC-O extract must come from delta-8 or delta-10. Hemp-derived THC-O cannot be sourced from classic THC, as such an extract would exceed the Farm Bill’s strict 0.3% THC cap.
Indeed, delta-9-THC-O has been illegal in the U.S. since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) first came across it in 1978. But the 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of delta-8 and delta-10 has given rise to both of their acetate esters.
THC-O’s supporters claim these versions are legal, despite being lab-synthesized. Per the DEA, the Farm Bill prohibits cannabinoids produced from non-cannabis materials. THC-O comes from delta-8, which is made from natural CBD.
The legal status of THC-P
We have a similar scenario with THC-P, although its natural discovery in 2019 may provide more solid legal backing. However, since THC-P is only found in cannabis in trace amounts, companies must synthesize it to acquire enough to make products.
But this makes THC-P no different from delta-8, delta-10, or HHC – all thriving cannabinoids in the hemp industry. Since THC-P is ultimately natural, it could be tough to ban. In contrast, we know for sure that any THC-O is synthesized.
Legality: THC O vs THC P
That said, lawmakers might not care about these nuances if they ever come for psychoactive, hemp-derived cannabinoids. While the federal government has not banned any cannabinoids legalized by the Farm Bill, several states have.
State-level legislation has targeted delta-8, the most popular of the emerging tetrahydrocannabinols. But some states have likely banned THC-O and THC-P, too, despite not mentioning them by name.
For example, Oregon banned all “artificially derived cannabinoids” in July 2022. The definition describes any substance created by altering the chemical structure of a cannabis-derived compound.
Right now, I would give THC-P a legal edge over THC-O – but it's not legal everywhere.
The THC-O market is more developed, with several brands manufacturing pure THC-O disposable vape pens, vape cartridges, edibles, tincture oils, and more.
Fewer companies make THC-P products, and even then, the cannabinoid rarely appears individually. But the THC-P market is gradually expanding as more brands recognize its potential.
Shelf life and storage
THC-O and THC-P likely have a similar shelf life, with both more durable than natural THC extract. Some estimates put THC-O distillate’s shelf life at six months or more, and there’s no reason to think that THC-P deteriorates at a different rate.
Whichever substance you use, what really matters is how well you store it. Cannabinoids can degrade fast if exposed to air, heat, or ultraviolet (UV) light.
Store THC-O and THC-P products in a dark, cool, and preferably protected place (i.e., a locked cupboard). Hemp-derived products are for adult consumption only - that applies even more so with these mightily potent cannabinoids!
THC-O vs THC-P drug test situation
As a THC derivative and homolog respectively, both THC-O and THC-P probably show up on drug tests – although we don’t yet have definitive scientific evidence of this.
The crude five and 9-panel drug tests employers use cannot spot minor differences between THC-like substances. And the cannabinoids in question are very similar to THC.
However, THC-O and THC-P’s drug test detectability does not put you on a one-way trip to a positive test. Much depends on how regularly and heavily you use these substances. Employers set up some tests to allow a little leeway.
Furthermore, the extraordinary intensity of both cannabinoids could make failure less likely than with THC, since you probably won’t be consuming as much.
If THC-P is more than 30 times stronger than THC, your intake could be more than 30 times lower. Similar is true of THC-O, albeit to a reduced factor of three.
So, while you are not guaranteed a clean drug test after taking THC-O or THC-P, you may face a substantially reduced risk. And since the latter is at least ten times more potent, choose THC-P if you want to indulge but are worried about getting tested.
THC-P and THC-O products contain lab-synthesized hemp extract, presenting more safety risks than a 100% natural product. But safety (or lack of it) is more of a brand issue than a cannabinoid one – some companies are more ethical than others.
Distillate should exceed 90% purity. However, researchers have tested hemp products with as little as 60% of the cannabinoid in question. We have no studies specific to THC-O or THC-P, but nothing suggests the purity situation is different.
There are concerns that traditional third-party safety tests cannot reliably confirm the purity of lab-synthesized products. But these are the best tests we have, and even committing to independent testing is indicative of a decent, transparent brand.
Interactions with prescription drugs
Cannabinoids affect the metabolization of several prescription drugs. THC-O and THC-P are chemically close to THC, so we do not need to wait for research to guess that they interfere with prescription drugs, too.
Cannabinoids inhibit activity in the cytochrome P450 system, which consists of liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing more than 60% of prescription meds.
By stifling these enzymes, cannabinoids keep these drugs in your system longer than they should be. If you stick to your dosage plan, you could theoretically overdose on your medication due to cannabinoid interference.
Yes, it really can be that serious. But it’s not a problem specific to THC-O or THC-P. You should never mix cannabinoids (even CBD!) with prescription drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450 system enzymes. Drug classes affected include:
- Calcium channel blockers
THC-O vs THC-P: Final Analysis
THC-P is the most potent of the two, but if you fancy spiritual, psychedelic-like effects from your product, try THC-O! Just prepare for a delayed reaction with THC-O, which can cause dosage issues if you aren’t patient.
Both cannabinoids are legal, although THC-P could be more resistant to government crackdowns. THC-P’s sky-high potency may also help you in a drug test. But if you want product variety, THC-O outshines THC-P.
The THC-P vs THC-O contest was closely fought – and I declare a draw! Each cannabinoid has stellar qualities, and the “best” is entirely a matter of personal preference.
Buy Legal THC-O and THC-P Products at CBD Genesis!
If this debate has piqued your interest, I am delighted to say we have a range of dispensary-grade, third-party tested THC-O and THC-P products at CBD Genesis!
As an industry leader with over half a decade of experience, we know what goes into top-quality hemp products. In addition to our CBD Genesis collections, we also stock offerings from other high-end THC-O and THC-P manufacturers.
ELYXR LA – THC-O Disposables (2 Grams)
These THC-O Disposable Vape Pens from ELYXR LA provide incredibly intense effects in plenty of delicious flavors, and in an ultra-convenient manner. Each 2ml disposable holds almost 2000mg of hemp-derived THC-O and plant-based terpenes.
ELYXR promises punchier and longer-lasting effects than its delta-8 and delta-10 disposables deliver. The pens have a sleek, rectangular design with the strain and cannabinoid name imprinted on the device – ideal if you use multiple vape pens.
ELYXR also stocks 1-gram versions of these THC-O Disposables. All hemp-derived products from this brand are third-party tested and approved and have less than 0.3%. Choose from nine sativa, indica, and hybrid THC-O vapes.
Strains: Sensei Star (Indica), Lava Flow (Indica), Maui Wowie (Sativa), Super Sour Lemon (Sativa), Forbidden Fruit (Hybrid), Wedding Cake (Hybrid), and more!
Hixotic – The Jeffrey Disposable (contains THC-P)
Hixotic introduces us to the vaporized effects of THC-P with the ground-breaking Jeffrey Disposable. This established brand is renowned for its quirky approach, and these mega-potent vapes are a true cannabinoid cocktail!
The 2-gram Jeffrey disposable is available in sativa, indica, and hybrid varieties and contains a mixture of delta-10, HHC, THC-O, THC-P, and live resin. There is no delta-8 or CBD in these disposables, and the THC concentration is below 0.3%.
Hixotic uses a carefully constructed coil in the Jeffrey, providing smoother hits, better flavor, and less clogging. These disposable vapes have a block-white design complete with the Hixotic logo. This product is third-party tested and approved.Strains: Alaskan Thunderf**k (Sativa), Pineapple Express (Hybrid), Russelwreck (Sativa), Snozzberry (Indica)