In a breakthrough for cannabis research scientists have discovered a cannabinoid in the cannabis plant that is potentially 30 times stronger than THC.
Cannabis has over 400 known compounds in the plant, of which around 150 have been recognized as “cannabinoids”. The most commonly recognized cannabinoids are THC and CBD due to their pharmaceutical properties.
In an attempt to define the phytocannabinoid profile that characterizes medical cannabis, a group of Italian researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, the University of Rome, the university of Compañía, and the institute of Nanotechnology in Leece, have discovered new components: THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol) and CBDP (cannabidiphorol).
The team of researchers describe in the report, in the journal Nature, how they have isolated the two new cannabinoids, of which THCP bonds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of human’s endocannbinoid system.
Medical Network spoke to team researcher, Cintia Citti, from the Institute of Nanotechnology about the new discovery.
New Cannabinoids: TCHP and CBDP
THC and CBD have both been characterized in scientific studies which have highlighted the beneficial pharmaceutical properties of the compounds.
In this study the authors note that they expected THCP has an even higher binding affinity for the CB1 receptor and a greater cannabimimetic activity than THC itself.
Citti said: “Our in vitro experiments proved THCP has a high affinity for CB1 receptors, about 30 times higher than reported for THC in the literature. Since the psychotropic activity is generally associated with the affinity for this type of cannabinoid, we could speculate that THCP is psychoactive.
“Also in live experiments on animals showed that THCP has a cannabimimetic activity like THC. However, the actual biological effect on humans is still to be determined and only future pharmacological studies would either confirm or refute such hypothesis.”
Determining the chemical profiles of a cannabis-based medicines
Citti said, “I firmly believe both of these compounds could have medical applications, but we are still very far from that reality. Further investigation is needed to understand not only the benefits, but also the risks for humans in taking these cannabinoids as a pharmacological treatment. Only future pharmacokInetics students will disclose such information.
The next step is to search for the cannabinoids in other cannabis varieties and determine the exact concentrations in order to understand the extent of their effect on humans. The process will be be quite long, a number of pharmacological tests should be carried out on CBDP and THCP to access their benefits and risks.