What Will New Cannabis Cannabinoids Unlock?

The discovery of two new cannabinoids sent some shockwaves through the medical and cannabis communities as the new scientific developments offered more questions than answers. I guess that it shouldn’t have been surprising that two new cannabinoids were discovered, but it is still a remarkable event demonstrating both the untapped potential of the plant and the need for more quality studies.

Some internet research reveals a lot about cannabis, but also many mysteries. For instance, the exact number of cannabinoids seems to be a number that’s in dispute. Vice, reporting on the recent cannabinoid discovery, states that there are 60 cannabinoids while Wikipedia, which I assumed is NEVER wrong, says that there are 113. The Italian researchers that isolated the two new cannabinoids report that there are 150 cannabinoids in their research paper.

These two new cannabinoids, THCP, similar to THC, and CBDP, similar to CBD, could provide new insight into the plant, but what they exactly do isn’t known just yet. THCP, for instance, could be many times more potent than THC, or might not produce the same euphoric results in humans as Live Science reported:

This compound boasts not five, not six, but seven carbon rings in its alkyl side chain. When applied to a makeshift receptor concocted in a lab dish, the compound tended to bind the substance 30 times more reliably than THC did.

The researchers then gave THCP to lab mice and found that the animals behaved as if they were on THC, meaning their movement slowed, their temperature decreased and their reactions to painful stimuli diminished. And the animals reached this state at relatively low doses of the newfound compound; it would take about twice as much THC to induce the same effects.

Although potent in the lab, THCP may or may not induce dramatic effects in humans, Vice reported. First of all, the compound appears to be present in plants in only small amounts, at least in the low-THC cannabis variety used by the researchers. Even assuming THCP can be grown in larger quantities, we still don’t know whether the compound would induce a high similar to that caused by its psychoactive cousin. And while THC offers some medicinal effects, including pain and nausea relief, no one knows if THCP has these qualities, Vice reported.

This new scientific discovery has me very excited, not just for what these two new cannabinoids may do, but also rekindling a new sense of wonder about the cannabis plant. It’s easy to get cynical and jaded and upset with laws and regulations that stifle the potential of cannabis, so it’s great to see positive steps forward in science as each step forward will lead to new doors opening. Entering into a new year and decade (please don’t “Well actually…” me that the ’20s aren’t a new decade) a lot of things are uncertain, but I think that it is safe to say that cannabis is going to be a big part of our future.


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