What is CBDP?

Discovered recently in 2019, CBDP could be one of the best therapeutic cannabinoids.

CBDP cannabinoid in cannabis plant

Cannabidiphorol (CBDP) is one of over 140 similar naturally-occurring chemical compounds found in cannabis and is one of the more understudied and overlooked cannabinoids currently in existence. It’s a heptyl homolog of cannabidiol (CBD), non-intoxicating, and won’t induce a euphoric high, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP). However, CBDP might be similar to CBD in activating certain receptor types and influencing brain chemicals to improve mood and sleep. These benefits mean CBDP might potentially be a psychoactive compound (without mental or cognitive impairment).

What is CBDP?

CBDP-rich cannabis strain

Definition: CBDP, short for cannabidiphorol and scientifically known as (-)-trans-CBDP, is one of 140 similar natural chemical compounds (cannabinoids) present in certain strains of cannabis. Like CBD, it’s non-intoxicating and won’t induce a euphoric high but could potentially affect the brain and entire central nervous system via targeting receptor sites, including serotonin and opioid receptors (in theory). This receptor targeting means CBDP is likely psychoactive. 

Cannabidiphorol CBDP chemical structure

Chemical formula: CBDP has the chemical formula C23H34O2, meaning its chemical formula consists of 23 carbon atoms, 34 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. It’s also a heptyl homolog of cannabidiol, with seven carbon atoms on its alkyl side chain. By comparison, CBD has five. Researchers theorize heptyl cannabinoids with seven-link chains have greater affinity at various receptor sites, as evidenced with THCP, which is approximately 30-times more efficient at binding to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors than THC

Minor cannabinoid: CBDP is what’s known as a minor cannabinoid, meaning it makes up roughly 1% of a cannabis plant’s total cannabinoid profile. By comparison, CBD makes up approximately 15-20% of a cannabis plant’s overall cannabinoid profile. 

Discovery: CBDP was discovered by a group of Italian scientists funded by the UNIHEMP research project in 2019. The team studied a specific medical cannabis cultivar provided by the Military Chemical Institute named FM2, utilizing advanced mass-spectrometry and liquid chromatography to analyze the plant matter precisely and determine what’s inside. The team also uncovered THCP, CBDB, and THCB.

Research on CBDP

Currently, CBDP is under-researched. We know very little about this cannabinoid and how it works within your body. Even the research team that discovered CBDP is unaware of its pharmacological effects. However, one very recent study looked at how a combination of CBDP and CBD might help combat breast cancer. The results are pretty fascinating. 

Researcher studying benefits of CBDP in cannabis

CBDP as a potential anti-proliferative (breast cancer)

A recent study published September 14, 2021, shows combining CBDP, CBD, and drugs inhibiting enzymes that break down endocannabinoids produces anti-proliferative effects. 

Using human breast carcinoma cells as a model, the researchers discovered both cannabinoids activated catastrophic processes that induced cancer cell death. The most interesting is their ability to significantly increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, which leads to apoptosis and autophagy. In simple terms, apoptosis and autophagy are the ridding and cleaning out of abnormal cells, which in this case are cancer cells. 

The researchers conclude by saying these results “represent the first step of further in-depth studies required to confirm the potential use of these homologs as an adjuvant in anticancer chemotherapy.” 

In the future, we hope to see more preclinical or clinical studies on CBDP’s potential as an anti-proliferative.

Benefits: What is CBDP good for?

From the little we know so far, CBDP has similar therapeutic benefits to CBD and is likely good for anxiety, depression, and stress. CBDP might also be great for epilepsy, pain, and inflammation. 

CBDP is similar to CBD in its chemical formula and molecular structure. These similarities mean CBDP likely has a minimal affinity with cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors but acts on other receptor sites to provide your body with a host of benefits. 

For example, CBDP might be good for anxiety, stress, and depression. CBD activates serotonin receptors (5-HT1A) in the brain. This activation affects how your brain’s serotonin receptors respond to the natural levels of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is an endogenous hormone known as the “bliss molecule.” It primarily regulates mood and anxiety. Research shows CBD’s activity at serotonin receptors produces significant anti-stress and anti-depressant effects. Researchers also theorize that CBD’s activation of serotonin receptors either fully or partially induces anti-epileptic effects. 

CBDP might also be great for pain and inflammation. Several studies show CBD potentially combats symptoms of pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.

Effects: How does CBDP make you feel?

As with all under-researched minor cannabinoids not yet made into legitimate products, the effects of CBDP are unknown. There are no anecdotal stories from users who have tried CBDP products because they’re not widely available, at least not yet in the US.

However, CBDP is almost identical to CBD, but with a seven-alkyl side chain instead of a five-alkyl side chain, so we can reasonably assume CBDP is a potentially stronger, more potent form of CBD. We can also safely say CDBP causes no euphoric high, as it likely doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors the same way as THC, delta-8, or any other THC isomer. 

Therefore, future CBDP-based products might make you feel the same things as CBD but with noticeably more potency, meaning it could be a viable option for harder-to-treat symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.

The effects of CBD include: 

  • Relaxation
  • Cognitive stimulation 
  • Calmness
  • Mood-enhancement
  • Stress reduction 
  • Internal balance 

Is CBDP legal to buy?

CBDP rich marijuana flower strains

Yes, as far as we’re aware, CBDP is federally legal and not considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), provided it’s sourced naturally from hemp plants carrying no more than the federally legal 0.3% THC. If the THC content rises above 0.3% THC, hemp is immediately considered marijuana and a federally prohibited controlled substance. Therefore, marijuana-derived CBDP is also federally illegal by default.

How does CBDP compare to CBDA and THCP?

CBDP vs CBDA

  • CBDP and CBDA belong to the same class of cannabidiols. However, CBDA stands for cannabidiolic acid. The “acid” part is one of the main differentiators between the two cannabinoids. 
  • CBDA is primarily present in raw cannabis. It’s the acid precursor to CBD before decarboxylation. Decarboxylation occurs when cannabis is exposed to heat and UV light, thus activating CBDA, removing its acidic carboxyl group, and turning it into CBD. It’s still unknown how CBDP forms in the cannabis plant. 
  • CBDP and CBDA are both potential treatments for cancer. However, while CBDA inhibits COX-2 enzymes and decreases cancer cell growth, CBDP’s exact anti-cancer mechanisms remain unknown. 

CBDP vs THCP

  • CBDP and THCP were discovered at the same time in 2019. However, we know more about THCP’s pharmacological effects and interaction with your endocannabinoid system. 
  • CBDP and THCP are heptyl cannabinoids with markedly different effects within your body (at least in theory). Similar to THC, THCP interacts with and binds to cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 in the brain and central nervous system. This CB1 binding behavior causes a high. 
  • On the other hand, CBDP likely doesn’t bind to cannabinoid receptor types or induce a euphoric high. However, it almost certainly has several beneficial effects similar to CBD, e.g., anti-anxiety, anti-inflammation, and anti-pain. 
  • One of the main similarities between CBDP and THCP is their alkyl side-chains. Both cannabinoids have seven-link alkyl side chains, meaning they’re more effective at binding with receptors than THC and CBD, which have five-link side chains. 
  • THCP’s seven-link alkyl side chain means it’s 33 times more active at CB1 receptors than THC and approximately 5-10 times more active at CB2. 
  • Since CBDP’s pharmacological mechanisms are still under investigation, we can only presume it has similarly enhanced binding activity at receptor sites.

Where can you buy CBDP products?

If you’re currently on the lookout for CBDP products, we have some bad news. Very few CBDP products currently exist for human or veterinary use. Spyglass Wellness is one of the few brands selling CBDP products. However, we expect an explosion of CBDP-based products over the next coming years. 

CBDP oil product with THCP
Photo Courtesy of Spyglass Wellness

For now, we recommend sticking with hemp-derived CBD products, which are incredibly useful for anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, and sleep, especially if you choose one with a full-spectrum hemp extract carrying <0.3% THC.

Conclusion

CBDP is a mysterious cannabinoid with a whole lot of power ready to be unleashed. With a similarity to CBD and an alkyl side chain consisting of seven links, CBDP could outshine CBD by quite a considerable margin. All we need now are producers equipped with the necessary tools to harness its power and send it out into the market. Unfortunately, very few CBDP products exist right now. We wait with bated breath until more products come on the market.