New Cannabis Compound Potentially 30 Times Stronger than THC Discovered
Italian researchers have discovered a new cannabis compound that could be 30 times stronger than THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. The cannabinoid, which has been named “tetrahydrocannabinol” or THCP, is currently being studied to determine if it would provide a significantly stronger psychoactive effect than its THC counterpart. The discovery was recently published in the journal, Nature, Scientific Reports.
By measuring the impact THCP has on cannabinoid receptors in the body, researchers believe this indicates a strong potential to affect mental and physical functions to a much higher degree than THC. The findings may explain why some particular cannabis strains cause a strong effect on the body, despite having a low concentration of THC.
One of the defining characteristics of cannabinoids’ effect on a human body is its alkyl side chain. While most of the nearly 150 cannabinoids contain a chain that is five atoms long, THCP has a seven-atom long chain, marking it as the first-ever of its kind reported as naturally occurring. Due to the difficulty of locating and isolating obscure cannabinoids, a discovery like this is quite rare.
While the discovery of such a potent cannabinoid will likely have many wondering if it can provide a stronger high, there is an opportunity to determine if the compound can provide other health benefits. CBD is one of the more studied compounds in cannabis research, but due to THCP appearing to have a much stronger binding ability to receptors, the authors of the study believe there is potential for uncovering new benefits. With these findings, the research could point towards the eventual development of potent cannabis extracts that can be used for targeted physical treatments.
The study concludes by stating “Historically, many of our medicines have been derived by or inspired by natural products. By having new compounds that bind with very high affinity, that will give scientists a new probe into biological sciences.” With cannabis research dipping into the forefront of medical research, there are vast opportunities for new medicines and treatments to be derived and developed from natural sources. As the general acceptance of cannabis becomes greater, so will its use as an effective natural healer in mainstream medicine.