Most people are familiar with the popular cannabinoids THC (delta 9 THC) and CBD; both serve many purposes — medicinal and recreational.

Researchers have identified well over 100 cannabinoids, and THC and CBD users often wonder where the others stack up in terms of potency.


Cannabinoids are compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system.

The term most often refers to constituents of cannabis plants that take effect on this series of receptors and signalers. Popular cannabinoids include delta 9 THC (called THC), CBD, delta 8 THC, and CBG.


Cannabinoids bind to or block receptors in our endocannabinoid systems, namely CB1 and CB2 receptors.

These receptor sites in our bodies are closely linked to most bodily systems and help maintain balance, even our thought processes, mood, attitude, outlook on life, and perception of pain and pleasure.

Cannabinoid receptors help control neurotransmitters and hormones in our bodies, allowing cannabinoids like THC and CBD to affect our health.


The most potent cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabiphorol, more commonly referred to as THCP.

THCP has seven carbon atoms in its alkyl side chain, making it the most potent cannabinoid that currently exists. For comparison, delta 9 THC has only five carbon atoms. THCP is believed to be up to 33 times more powerful than THC.


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THCP is at the top of the spectrum of cannabinoid potency by a long shot. Early research suggests it’s up to 33 times more potent than delta 9 THC, but after testing it ourselves, we’d place it somewhere in the 10X range.

There are other cannabinoids that are stronger, but they don’t occur in nature and tend to come with a lot of risks. THCP is found naturally in both hemp and marijuana in small concentrations.

2. THC-O

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THC-O is a THC analog that has the same number of carbon atoms in its alkyl side chain. The key difference with this cannabinoid is the acetate group that replaces the hydroxy group found in delta 9 THC with an acetate group.

This small change makes THC-O significantly more bioavailable than any other form of THC. Its increased potency comes from a higher uptake of the molecule into the bloodstream and brain.

This cannabinoid is later metabolized into delta 9 THC, which then exerts the psychoactive effects.

THC-O is considered around 3 times as potent as delta 9 THC.


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Delta 9 THC is the most popular and well-known cannabinoid.

It’s also the most prevalent psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana plants, so other cannabinoids’ are compared to it. This is our baseline for assessing the relative potency of all other cannabinoids on this list.

Delta 9 THC has five carbon atoms in its alkyl side chain and a hydroxy group that allows the strong binding capability to CB1 receptors.

4. HHC

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Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) is a more stable form of THC. It’s very similar in chemical structure to THC but is referred to as “hydrogenated” because it contains additional hydrogen atoms that break the double bond (delta) found on other types of THC molecules.

The added hydrogen atoms produce a less snug fit into CB1 receptors, so HHC is about 80% as potent as delta 9 THC.


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Delta 8 THC is nearly identical to delta 9 THC in molecular structure. However, the difference between delta 8 and delta 9 is that the double bond of the carbon chain in THC is in the eighth position.

Most Delta 8 products are around 50-65% as potent as delta 9 THC. Most users report a clear-headed psychoactive experience and relaxation with a lower risk of unwanted side effects, like paranoia and anxiety.

When it comes to cannabinoids, potency refers to the molecule’s ability to bind to our endocannabinoid receptors. Higher potency means a more intense psychoactive effect or high. Those looking for a more intense feeling of euphoria and boosted mood from cannabinoids naturally look for the most potent option.

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