Tired of your same ol’ Mary Jane?
Italian scientists have discovered a new cannabis compound that could be as much as 30 times stronger than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the stuff in weed that gets you high.
However, the researchers admit that the newfound cannabinoid, named tetrahydrocannabiphorol, or THCP, has not actually been tested for its intoxicating effects.
Authors of the report, published in the journal Nature, estimated THCP’s effects by assessing its ability to bind to human cannabinoid receptors, which impacts the entire nervous system, scientists say. THCP has a bond 33 times stronger than THC, and 63 times stronger than another compound called THCV.
“This means that these compounds have higher affinity for the receptors in the human body,” Cinzia Citti, lead study author, tells CNN. “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.”
Research has revealed that the molecular chain of nearly 150 cannabis compounds is five atoms long, while THCP has seven. This is the first time they’ve seen atom chains of more than five in any naturally occurring cannabinoid, leading authors to believe it may be the most potent compound yet discovered.
Scientists are considering further studies on the medical benefits of THCP, which could help uncover even more unintended compounds.
“There are other minor cannabinoids and traces in the plant that can be hard to study, but by isolation we can continue to assess the effects they might offer,” Jane Ishmael, associate professor in Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy, tells CNN.
“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.”