Back in December, a team of researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia led by Professor Giuseppe Cannazza had found a new cannabinoid in their latest research activity. The team had discovered a cannabinoid that is 30 times more potent in comparison to THC.
They named the compound Tetrohydrocannabiforol upon discovery. They isolated it with corresponding cannabidiol, cannabidiphorol (CBDP) which consists of a side alkyl chain with seven terms.
The study was published in Scientific Reports in December 2019. It highlights that THCP has the potential to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. It was found to be 13 times more active in comparison to THCB.
The study of new cannabinoids began with the study of industrial hemp. The use of marijuana is considered illegal as per Italian laws. Hence, the researchers had to seek permission for studying the plant.
They contacted the Ministry of Health for the purpose. Currently, the Military Pharmaceutical Chemical Plant in Florence is the only state organization that can cultivate medical cannabis. Dr. Cannazza stated that the team could find new cannabis compounds as nobody was looking for them.
CBDP has a similar structure to that of CBD. Dr. Cinzia Citti who is a colleague of Dr. Cannazza’s is of the opinion that there THCP could be a correspondent of CBDP. They got the chance to study FM2 cannabis strain upon receiving authorization from the Ministry of Health.
“A phytocannabinoid was discovered while studying FM2 strain that possesses the same structure as THC. Dr. Cannazza explicated that THCP possesses a longer alkyl chain. It is 30x more potent than THC. The team has just done a drug study and now is excited to work on the new class of cannabinoids.”
As per the study, cannabinoids possessing a linear alkyl side chain having over five terms has not been detected to date. They have actually not been recognized in cannabis strains. The molecular structure of THCP was identified with a seven-term alkyl side chain.
A tetrad test conducted on mice revealed that THCP causes analgesia, hypomotility, decreased rectal temperature and catalepsy. This indicates that the cannabimimetic activity is similar to that of THC.
What does the discovery of CBDP and THCP mean to Us?
The team believes that the presence of new phytocannabinoid could shed light on the pharmacological properties of some of the compounds present in cannabis.
This also hints that the researchers will have to analyze the concentration of CBDP and THCP in different strains. This is because it is still not quite clear as to why some strains consisting of low THC levels possess high psychotropic properties. It may be due to THCP. Further research is needed to establish substantial evidence.
The goal of the study conducted was to provide a molecular imprint to FM2 strain. The researchers utilized metabolomics for carrying out a systematic study of chemical footprints left by particular cellular processes.
This also helps in the understanding of the molecular footprint of a biological sample thereby enabling the discovery as well as the identification of new compounds.
During the in vitro and in vivo studies, the researchers found that THCP is much more powerful when compared to THC. It is still not known about the impact it could have on humans.
Why this discovery is vital is that nobody has ever considered looking for any powerful phytocannabinoid. Dr. Cannazza explains that the team would next research the concentration of these newly discovered cannabinoids in different varieties.
The aim is to study why strains with low THC demonstrate high psychotropic properties. The research is still in its initial stages. The discovery of THCP is a part of the 3-year project on hemp. The project has a budget of 300 thousand Euros.