Researchers have found two new cannabinoids, one of which is about 30 times more potent than THC.
The new discoveries have been named CBDP (cannabidiphorol) and THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol). They are analogues of the most common and well-known cannabinoids, THC and CBD.
While CBDP is considered non-psychotropic thanks a low binding affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, THCP has a particularly high binding affinity for both.
The discovery of these compounds, in particular THCP – which proved to be as active as THC but at lower doses – could have important repercussions for the use of medical cannabis.
Researchers said the presence of THCP could account for the potent effects of some cannabis strains that have lower amounts of THC than would be expected. For example, you’ll often hear anecdotal reports of buds with 10-15% THC hitting harder than flower with 20%-plus.
“It is… possible that the psychotropic effects [of some cannabis strains] are due to other extremely active phytocannabinoids such as Δ9-THCP,” the study says.
The study goes on to discuss the possibility of cannabis varieties rich in novel cannabinoids like THCP in the near future.
“In recent years, the agricultural genetics research has made great progress on the selection of rare strains that produce high amounts of CBDV, CBG and Δ9-THCV, 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.”
As the cannabinoids have not been identified before, they are currently uncontrolled in the UK and would, theoretically, be totally legal. There is also the possibility that the compounds are producible from hemp, which is legal to grow in much of the world.
Almost 150 cannabinoids have been identified, so far. THC and CBD are generally regarded as the major cannabinoids, while others including CBC, CBN and THCv are considered minor cannabinoids.
Most cannabis research has focused on the major cannabinoids and a small percentage of minor cannabinoids. The discovery of a cannabinoid more potent than THC, however, will surely be seen as worth studying further.
As for CBDP, the researchers say they will be focusing on testing its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-epileptic activity, which are typical of CBD.
THCP and CBDP were found in a medicinal cannabis variety, “the Italian FM2”, which was provided to the researchers by the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Institute in Florence, Italy.