Italian scientists have made a remarkable discovery after years of research. They have identified a new cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol [THCP] that maybe 30 times stronger than the known psychoactive component present in the plant, Tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]!
Cannabis is believed to contain over 400 compounds, of which 150 have been categorized as cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the most commonly recognized cannabinoids owing to their therapeutic properties.
A group of Italian researchers from Institute of Nanotechnology in Lecce, the University of Campania, the University of Rome, and from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia has discovered two new compounds: CBDP [Cannabidiphorol] and THCP [Tetrahydrocannabiphorol] in an attempt to define the component profile of medical cannabis.
Discovery of Two New Cannabinoids
In the report published in the renowned journal Nature, the researchers have clearly specified the process employed by them for isolating the two new cannabinoids discovered by them. Cinzia Citti, a team researcher from the Institute of Nanotechnology shared some valuable insights from the study carried out by the team.
“Our in vitro experiments proved that THCP has a high affinity for CB1 receptors. This is about 30 times higher than that 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.”
The team carried out in vivo experiments on animals. The study revealed that THCP demonstrates cannabimimetic activity just like THC. The actual effect on humans is yet to be studied. Pharmacological studies carried out further may establish the truth behind such a hypothesis.
The researchers utilized an extract provided to them by the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Institute situated in Florence. The results concluded that THCP also has pain-relieving properties including decreased rectal temperature, catalepsy and hypomotility. The effects of the components are influenced by the presence of an alkyl chain.
What does this Discovery actually mean?
The researchers are speculating that THCP could be the cause of a variety of effects from different cannabis strains. Citti explained that “The problem is that nobody has ever searched for these two compounds in cannabis. Maybe, the identification of THCP in other varieties could account for inexplicable effects not ascribable solely to THC.”
Further studies can demonstrate whether these two compounds have any kind of medical applications or not. A lot of research is still needed to identify not just the benefits but also the risk of dosing these components to humans as a part of pharmacological treatment.
The research team concluded that the next step would be determining the exact effect these two components may have on humans. They said that the process is quite intense and long. Numerous pharmacological tests still need to be carried out on THCP and CBDP to understand their risks and benefits.
This research study is part of a project funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and the European Regional Development Fund. This study has certainly shed light on aspects that can further pave the way for a major breakthrough in the field of medical science. Only time and further intense research studies will prove the importance of this discovery.