There are many reasons why I love working in cannabis advocacy field, starting with keeping people from arrests, helping patients, and assisting small businesses create jobs and generate revenue. One aspect of cannabis that has brought me a lot of joy is the fact that you are continually learning new things about cannabis, even after studying the issue for a couple of decades or more. In fact, we are continually learning more and a potentially huge scientific development was just announced when researchers reported that they have discovered two brand new cannabinoids, as IFLScience reported:
At the turn of the new year, a team of Italian scientists announced the discovery of two new cannabinoids found in marijuana. Although exactly what the compounds do and how they affect the human body largely remain a mystery, the researchers say their findings add to our understanding of the “controversial plant” and highlights just how much remains to be discovered.
Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) has roughly the same structure as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main compound in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive properties – but is reportedly 30 times more potent than the well-known compound. In a pharmacological test, THCP “induced hypomotility, analgesia, catalepsy and decreased rectal temperature,” suggesting it has a THC-like effect on the body. However, it is not yet clear whether THCP is psychoactive or if it produces the same “stoned” effects as THC, although it appears to be more active than THC at lower doses administered to mice.
The researchers also isolated and identified cannabidiphorol (CBDP), which is linked to CBD (an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, and “antagonist of THC negative effects”).
From the study, published at www.nature.com:
Up to now, almost 150 phytocannabinoids have been detected in cannabis plant7,41,42, though most of them have neither been isolated nor characterized. The well-known CBD and Δ9-THC have been extensively characterized and proved to possess interesting pharmacological profiles43,44,45,46,47, thus the attention towards the biological activity of their known homologs like CBDV and Δ9-THCV has recently grown as evidenced by the increasing number of publications per year appearing on Scopus. Other homologs like those belonging to the orcinoid series are scarcely investigated likely due to their very low amount in the plant that makes their isolation very challenging. In recent years, the agricultural genetics research has made great progresses on the selection of rare strains that produce high amounts of CBDV, CBG and Δ9-THCV48,49,50, thus it would not be surprising to see in the near future cannabis varieties rich in other minor phytocannabinoids. This genetic selection would enable the production of extracts rich in a specific phytocannabinoid with a characteristic pharmacological profile. For this reason, it is important to carry out a comprehensive chemical profiling of a medicinal cannabis variety and a thorough investigation of the pharmacological activity of minor and less known phytocannabinoids.
Ongoing studies are devoted to the investigation of the pharmacological activity of CBDP and to expand that of Δ9-THCP. It is known that CBD binds with poor affinity to both CB1 and CB2 receptors55. Therefore, the evaluation of the cannabimimetic activity of CBDP does not appear to be a high priority, although science can hold great surprises. Our current work is rather focused on testing its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-epileptic activity, which are typical of CBD46.
It is exciting to know that scientists continue to unlock mysteries of the cannabis plant. We can only hope, and I certainly expect, that increased knowledge about the truth about cannabis will end the failed and harmful war on cannabis that has been waged against the cannabis community for far too long. Thank you, scientists, keep on discovering and we’ll keep on sharing the truth person by person, until we are equal and free.