Scientists from Italy discovered a new cannabis compound during an experiment that could potentially be 30 times more powerful than THC, the most talked-about marijuana compound.
As reported by CNN, the compound called THCP (Tetrahydrocannabiphorol) was found by the Italian scientists who were researching the basic chemicals and compounds of a molecule.
As published by the journal Scientific Reports, the cannabis compound THCP works in the same way as THC does. It targets the cannabinoid receptors of the brain affecting the communication between the neurons.
The only difference is that THCP is 30 times more potent than THC, as in its binding abilities are stronger than that of THC.
However, the scientists are yet to determine if, along with its potency, the compound is also 30 times more psychedelic.
According to the CNN report, the study used Italian medical cannabis called FM2 to isolate the compounds and study the basic chemistry of the molecule. The researchers sent the compound to the labs for a test to figure out the ability of THCP to bind with the endocannabinoid system.
The reports suggested that THCP bound itself to both the CB receptors 33 times more strongly than THC does. And 66 times more stronger than THCV. This result left the authors of the paper intrigued, and they speculated if this was the primary reason for some cannabis to work better than the others.
“This means that these compounds have a higher affinity for the receptors in the human body,” said Dr. Cinzia Citti, lead author of the research and post-doctoral fellow in life sciences at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.
“In cannabis varieties where THC is present in very low concentrations, then we can think that the presence of another, more active cannabinoid can explain those effects.” she added.
While we know how CBD and THC work in unison to healthify the human body, the identification of THCP could open more doors for the cannabis industry cannabis industry. The author of the study said the alkyl side chain is the backbone of cannabinoid’s effects on our brain, and all the cannabinoid compounds have just a five atoms long chain.
The THCP differs in this aspect. It has seven atoms long alkyl chain, which may be the reason for its triple potency. According to the author, this is the first instance where a cannabinoid with an atomic chain longer than five has been isolated as it is a challenge in itself.
“The challenge is that it can take a long time to isolate, especially with rare sources,” said Dr. Jane Ishmael, Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy’s associate professor. “I get the impression that these products were present in small amounts, so it’s a surprise to find the natural products from a cannabis plant that we’ve known about for a long time.”
This could be a major breakthrough that might change the direction of cannabis’s medical use in the country. We wait for more news on this.